When I worked at a coffee shop in San Diego’s Hotel Circle while in college, the number one question the tourists would ask was, “Where is La Jolla,” followed by, “How did you get to Black’s Beach?”
Ok, so why so many inquiries?
The answer is that Black’s Beach is one of the most extensive public nude beaches in the United States. Just thinking about seeing naked people made me uncomfortable when I was young, so going there at that time was out of the question.
Fast forward twenty-five years later, and I will take my two teenage daughters there!
Did I also mention that the surf is phenomenal?
Black’s Beach is a Nude Beach, You Say?
The naked truth is yes; you may be swimsuit-free on this beach or fully clothed if you wish. Yes, my girls and I had clothes on, if you were wondering.
In the mid-1970s, Black’s Beach was the country’s first and only public nude beach. Around 1977, the southern portion of the beach was taken over by the City of San Diego, and nudity was no longer allowed, but the northern section still allows nudity to this day.
How To Get To Black’s Beach
Black’s beach is located in the southern portion of the Torrey Pines State Reserve in the community of La Jolla in San Diego. It is an extremely isolated beach and, therefore, difficult to reach.
There are four different ways to get to Black’s Beach.
Of particular note, I would like to mention that I have written extensively on several of these options, so I have linked each specific post for you if you would like more information.
Several Ways to Get to Black’s Beach
First, you may park at Torrey Pines State Beach and walk about 2 miles south.
The second option is to start at La Jolla Shores Beach and walk about 3 miles north.
The third option would be to park at UCSD and walk down Salk Canyon Rd, a .5-mile gated and paved road that lets you out at the southern section of Black’ Beach. Unless you are a student, I do not suggest parking on campus.
And finally, the way that we took down today is called the Torrey Pines Gliderport Trail. This trail is not for the faint of heart as the descent is steep, but the path is kept up pretty well. A group of nudists maintains the course throughout the year.
Torrey Pines Gliderport Trail
Torrey Pines Gliderport is between the Salk Institute and the world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course.
Established in the 1920s, the Torrey Pines Gliderport has been the go-to place for foot-launched aviation, such as paragliding and hang-gliding.
Today we will be taking the trail located just south of here.
Walking Down Gliderport Trail To Black’s Beach
Ok, are you ready to go and see this unique beach?
Here we are making our way down at the beginning of the trail. As you can see, there is much erosion. It is critical to be aware of your surroundings at all times. The descent is steep, so if you have bad knees, this trail is not for you.
We are almost there!
Here, look at what we saw when we first exited the trail.
The Naked Truth
When we exited the trail and looked to our right, we were immediately taken aback by the ‘unclothed’ sunbathers. Yes, we saw naked people, and not necessarily saw, maybe glanced at would be a better word. We turned left and started to walk South.
And the naked truth was that we were uncomfortable. To each their own, I always say, we kept our heads down and our eyes straight ahead.
Ho Chi Minh Trail
Just south of the Gliderport Trail, we now come upon the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which many will use as a way to get down to Black’s Beach.
It is a hazardous way to get here, so I will not say much more, except do not go down this trail. I am unsure if this was a drill or if someone was being rescued, but a helicopter flew around while we were here. Please do not try this route!
Look how small my girls look next to these cliffs!
Let’s go and check out the southern section of Black’s Beach! Remember, you have to wear clothes over here.
South Black’s Beach-Torrey Pines City Beach
On the southern side of Black’s Beach, a phenomenal surf break is located right offshore.
The excellent surf is primarily due to the funneling of the swells going through the La Jolla Submarine Canyon, especially on a WNW swell.
The water is notoriously rough, so only the most advanced surfers should surf here.
Also, swimming is not recommended here, as the rip currents are powerful.
I was surprised by how much sand is on this beach, and I can not think of any other beach which sits in front of cliffs having this much sand and beach anywhere else in San Diego County.
Looking toward the South, you can see Scripps Beach and La Jolla Shores Beach in the far background.
Heading Back to North Black’s Beach
While heading back, my girls were panicking a bit, so I told them to stay on the south side while I proceeded to go north to take a few more photos. I kept my eyes straight ahead and tried to remain calm.
Suddenly, I saw an unclothed young gentleman walking toward me on the shoreline. I stopped, turned toward the water, and started taking pictures of the waves and a shorebird.
I took a picture of the bare naked man walking by on my right. I will not lie; I stayed here for quite some time until the coast was clear.
Once the coast was clear, I headed north a bit and came upon more people without bathing suits. I found it fascinating that many people walked the beach clothed on Black’s Beach, enjoying the shoreline unclothed.
Looking over toward the cliffs, can you see the paragliders soaring in the air?
There is a lifeguard posted up here to keep a watch on the water.
Can you spot him at the very top?
End of Our Adventure
So, thank you so much for joining me on my first visit to Black Beach; I must end by apologizing to any nudists or naturalists I may have offended by the overuse of the word naked throughout our adventure. But, I am not afraid to say that it was quite a shock to me! I think I will be able to handle it much better next time. One day, I think I will come here and lay out…on the south side, of course.
So what did you think? Would you like to visit a nude beach? Have you ever seen a nude beach before? I will never forget this day and am pleased that I finally came to Black’s Beach, even though it took me 25 years to do it!
Until next time!
I have always had a deep-seated passion for the Ocean Environment which ultimately led me to receive a degree in Marine Biology. Living in the San Diego area for over 30 years, I have extensively explored the 70 miles of San Diego’s coastline, and I am here to share! Please use my website to your advantage and have a look around at all the wonders that the beaches of San Diego can offer you!
18 Replies to “Black’s Beach The Naked Truth”
Hi Colleen! Thanks for sharing! I never thought that there`s a nude beach near San Diego.. I went there two years ago, love the weather (I am from northern part of America)! I really appreciate you showing pictures so i can kinda picture what you are writing about!
And by the way, i don`t mind going to a nude beach:)
Hi Hanna! I am so happy to hear that you appreciate the pictures. Blacks Beach really is a one-of-a-kind place to visit, that is for sure!
I didn’t even know there were nude beaches in the U.S.! It’s interesting though. Really I’ve only heard about them in Europe. I don’t have a problem if people want to do that there though, if it’s allowed, be my guest! I personally wouldn’t undress myself, but that doesn’t mean others can’t. Besides the nudity, I’m sure this is a great beach to visit. You have some really nice pictures of this place. I would be disappointed though in regards to not swimming. Rip currents are definitely something not to mess with though (my brother almost drowned once because of them). If I’m ever in that area, I’ll definitely have to check Blacks Beach out. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for stopping by Jeremy! The day we visited the waves and currents were not that bad, but as a precaution, I still didn’t see anyone in the water except on the shoreline. You are so correct- rip currents must be respected! As for the nude beach, to each their own! I do not think I could ever do it myself 😉
What a lovely beach to have right on your doorstep,the scenery looks incredible,thanks for sharing.
Hi Fintan! Thank you for commenting! Black’s Beach is one of a kind for sure!
I like the write up on the naked beach, i have never been on a nude beach but is always something i have thought of doing, but i don’t know if i am brave enough. Maybe one day.
Great post keep up the good work.
Thank you for stopping by Chris! I am glad that you enjoyed my adventure. I can not believe that it took me so long to get there!
Omgosh, the pictures on your site are beautiful! They pull me in and “I wanna be there!” I absolutely love the candor in your writing when talking about the ‘bare naked’ man that was walking by!
I have always been curious about going to a nude beach. Especially since moving here to FL. But I was always worried about feeling uncomfortable. Because I’m okay with my clothes on 🙂 However, reading your article, knowing there were still people there clothed makes me actually re-think y decision. It’s always been on my bucket list!
Thank you for the motivation 🙂 And keep moving forward. I love your site.
Hi Sabrina! Yes, I was surprised on how many clothed people were freely walking around. I just did want to be rude and be seen looking at anyone. There are many other things to concentrate on here, such as the wildlife, waters, huge sandy beach and towering cliffs as well as paragliders in the sky. Thank you for checking out my site! 🙂
thank you so much for sharing “the naked truth” with us (that pun made my day). It was a fun read for me.
See: I am from Europe (Germany, to be precise) and over here nudity seems to be a much more “normal” thing than it is in the US. Especially in the eastern parts of Germany there used to be a big “culture” of nude beaches and the like.
Personally, I do not feel comfortable there and being on a naked beach does not give me any kind of “pleasure”. But it’s interesting to read that you and your kids felt so uncomfortable that you tried to avoid basically any contact with the people enjoying the beach naked 🙂 Made me smile; and got me thinking: I always feel like Americans and (Western) Europeans share a lot in terms of culture these days, and then you read about this and realize that there are still many differences in culture that manifest in situations like these. Really interesting!
Thank you so much for sharing this interesting story!
All the best to you and your family. Enjoy the beaches, naked or not 🙂
Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Chris! Yes, I have had no prior experience with nudity, so it is a shock for me. I am a prude, I will admit it 😉 I have no problem if others enjoy it, but it is not for me.
Hi Colleen! Good post! I love all the pictures. It really takes me there. If I am ever in the San Diego area, I’ll have to go there.
I lived in Austin, TX. for a decade and Black’s Beach reminds me so much of Hippie Hollow. That’s the nudist beach off of the Colorado River. But it is also pretty much legal to be topless in Austin city proper as well. One of my favorite swimming spots, Barton Springs, you’ll see topless girls all over the place.
I was a little taken back the first time though too!
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting Tina! I am happy to hear that I am not the only one who was a bit uncomfortable at first. Topless girls I can handle, it is the nude men that I have a hard time with 😉
Black Beach? I always loved San Diego but this beach looks awesome! I would definitely want to go but I’m not a nude sunbather. I’ve never been to one but this is a beach I have to see when I go out to see my nephew. He lives by the beach in San Diego. I have to ask him if he knows about this place. Thanks!!
Thanks for stopping by Rob! Black’s Beach needs to be seen in person! I hope you can go check it out when you come down to visit your nephew.
Why is such a “big” thing going to swim naked?
Over here in Europe, especially Germany, it is normal, also going naked to a mixed sauna.
Even kids run around naked and see naked adults at the nudist areas at the lakes and rivers.
I’ll go to San Diego, and I will spend a day or two there.
Best regards from Germany
Hi Alex! Thank you for taking the time to comment.
Here in the United States, we are not exposed to nudity as much, compared to Europe. I have nothing against it, and I am also so glad I was able to finally check Black’s Beach out for the first time. Have a wonderful time visiting San Diego!