Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach is located between La Jolla and Del Mar.  I have been visiting this beach for over 30 years and have never been tired of the sights.

While living in San Diego, this was our number one beach to come and visit.

I discovered Torrey Pines State Beach while working as a Fisheries Technician. This beach is a prime spot for surf fishing, and I can not think of a better place to have to work!

I love it here so much!

Torrey Pines State Beach Sign South Parking Lot

12600 North Torrey Pines Rd

(858) 755-2063

Hours- 7:15am-Sunset

#This post continues my previous post-Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Please refer to the above link for more information concerning parking and rates.

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach Panoramic bluffs

With wide sandy beaches alongside towering sandstone cliffs and bright blue shallow waters, Torrey Pines State Beach has always been one of my top three favorite beaches in San Diego.

Beginning in  Del Mar just past the Los Penasquitos Lagoon and ending at Blacks Beach, there are 4.5 miles of coast to explore here, especially on a low tide.

Torrey Pines State Beach Map

Torrey Pines State Beach is the most popular State Beach in San Diego, so needless to say, crowds here on the weekends are not uncommon.

This beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, boogie boarding, walking, and fishing- oh, the endless possibilities!

Supermoon and Low Tides

Full Moon
Credit-Wikimedia Commons

To back up, I would also like to mention that this is the day the Supermoon/Bluemoon/Lunar eclipse took place (1/31/18).

Therefore my primary motivation for coming here was to photograph the tide pools and exposed beaches with a low spring tide.  For more information about what a Supermoon is and why it creates extreme tides, please click on the link below for an explanation.

—>Cabrillo Monument National Monument Tide Pools<—

Torrey Pines State Beach-Down the Beach Trail

It was a warm day for January, measuring in at a pleasant 75 degrees. We were happily surprised by the cloudless skies!

Please do not get me wrong; I love the beach regardless of the weather. But something can be said when you can see for miles and miles out onto the ocean.

It is as if everything on the beach shimmers when the sun is bright, to put it another way. And do not forget you also get the best pictures, in my opinion, that is.

So now, back to the adventure.

As stated above, my son and I were on a hike up above the beach at the Reserve. We just exited the “Beach Trail,” and this is what we experienced.

Ocean View Beach Trail Torrey Pines State Beach
Flat Rock is sticking out on the left.

End Beach Trail Torrey Pines State Beach

Beach Trail Staircase Torrey Pines State Beach

The stairway lets you down right onto Flat Rock Beach.

Wow, what an incredible reward after a long hike above the Reserve. Now we will have a look around towards the south of Flat Rock.

What is on the other side?

Indian Bathtub torrey pines state beach

Do you see the passageway on the right of this photo? This path is an extremely narrow way to get around Flat Rock. And when I say small, I mean maybe just the width of your shoes, tight!

#Update-There was a bluff collapse over here, so there is no way around unless the tide is low enough. Please keep this in mind, and stay far away from the bluff in this area!

Black’s Beach at Torrey Pines State Beach

Going around the corner, we are now looking at the beginning of Black’s Beach, which goes on and ends where the surf is breaking in the far distance.

North Blacks Beach next to Flat Rock Beach

Located directly below the world-famous Torrey Pines Golf Course,  Black’s Beach is one of San Diego’s renowned surfing spots and a nude beach.

Blacks Beach Panoramic sandy beach

There are several paths to reach this beach. One such path, the Ho Chi Minh Trail, connects to this beach, but the descent is very steep, so a word of caution is needed.

Ho Chi Minh Trail Torrey Pines State Beach
Ho Chi Minh Trail down to Black’s Beach

Two other trails lead to this site, but I will go over those in a different post-one that concentrates on Black’s Beach.

–>Black’s Beach-The Naked Truth<—

Please check back later as this trail is on my ‘to-do list.’  I have always wanted to experience the surf here but have shied away because it is a nude beach. Call me a prude, but I will eventually get there one day! With clothes on, though.

Torrey Pines Gliderport

Situated south of the golf course is Torrey Pines Gliderport which has been here since the late 1920s.

Torrey Pines Gliderport Welcome Sign Rules

You will find access to everything related to foot-launched aviation at this establishment, including hang gliding, paragliding, and powered paragliding pilots.

Black's beach North sandy beach bluffs hang gliders
Beach directly below the Torrey Pines Gliderport.

The Torrey Pines Gliderport website says, “We seek to promote all forms of flight and to make Southern California a destination for flight enthusiasts from around the world.”

Cliffhanger Cafe view ice plant trails ocean
View from the Cliffhanger Cafe.

Another great thing to mention is that Cliffhanger Cafe is on-site and is open from 9 am to 4 pm.

Cliffhanger Cafe Torrey Pines Gliderport

Enjoy the offerings of this full-service deli/cafe while looking out onto the Pacific ocean and enjoying the views of the cliffs. What a great place to look for whales and dolphins!

 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037

Fun Fact- On February 24, 1930, Charles Lindbergh had his first maiden flight along the cliffs of Torrey Pines. He soared all the way from Mt Soledad to Del Mar and ultimately establishing the first gliding distance record!

North Blacks Beach Torrey Pines State Beach

Sandstone Bluff torrey pines state beach

Let’s start to head back north now and have a closer look at Flat Rock.

Flat Rock Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines Indian Bath Tub Rock

Flat Rock is also referred to as the  “Indian Bath Tub Rock” because its center has a deep-seated pool.

Flat Rock Torrey Pines State Beach

There are also several theories on how Flat Rock became separated from the bluff, but my favorite is that back in the late 1800s,

Del Mar hotels offered picnic/horse and carriage rides to Scripps Beach in La Jolla, so they demolished the Rock to make way for the road.

It seems credible, but this route could only be accessible at an extremely low tide, just like today.

For more information on the history of Flat Rock, please visit here.

Flat Rock Beach 3 Torrey Pines State Beach

We were looking back from where we exited the Beach Trail from the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

Do you notice Flat Rock is in the distance?

A Walk on Torrey Pines State Beach Tidal Flats

Torrey Pines Reef close up on beach

Let us now walk up the beach and see what is usually underwater.  I had no idea there were so many reefs this close to shore here at Torrey Pines State Beach.

But now it all makes sense why this beach is so famous for shore fishing.

Torrey Pines Reef exposed low tide

Flat Rock Beach Torrey Pines State Beach

Rock Shallow Water Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines Tidepools close up

Torrey Pines Shallow Reef near Flat Rock Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach Tidepools close up

Torrey Pines Tidepools north view lowtide day

Torrey Pines Tidepools 2 close up onshore


Torrey Pines Sandstone Bluffs beach view

Torrey-Pines-Sandstone Bluffs woman sitting in front of bluffs

You can quickly get a proper feel on just how high these sandstone bluffs are with someone sitting in front of them, can’t you?

We are getting closer to the entrance.

There must have been some significant current action for this seaweed to be washed onto the shore.

Seaweed Pile Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines South Entrance

 We stopped in the South Parking Lot area restrooms and found this great display that depicts several examples of what is seen here on the beach.

Beachcombers Showcase Display Torrey Pines State Beach

On our way out, I was happy to see these signs.

Especially after realizing that there are so many large rocks and reefs in the surf zone!

Rip Tide Information Sign Torrey Pines State Beach

South Parking Lot Entrance Torrey Pines State Beach

North View Torrey Pines State Beach

 A lovely friendly warning.

Stay away from the base of the cliffs!

Coastal Bluff Information Torrey Pines State Beach

Lifeguard Tower north torrey pines state beach

We are returning to the North Parking lot and stopping on the bridge to look down at the Los Penasquitos Lagoon inlet going out to sea.

Los Penasquitos lagoon inlet on beach

Here is another view of the Los Penasquitos Lagoons inlet taken from the South Parking Lot.

Under Highway Bridge Torrey Pines State Beach

Well, we have finished our adventure and are extremely hungry!  Know I would like to share with you all one of our favorite places to go after visiting Torrey Pines State Beach.North Parking Lot view lagoon Torrey Pines State Beach

End of Tour-Let’s Eat!

Robertos Mexican Restaurant outside reserve

2206 Carmel Valley Rd-Del Mar

Phone: (858) 436-7189


Robertos-Very Mexican Food taco shop has been in this location since 1964 and has been a local favorite ever since. I highly recommend this establishment for its food, especially the fish burrito!  Also, you can not beat the convenience of being just across the street!

If you check out the link above, you can order online! How cool is that?

Robertos Mexican Restaurant reserve in background
Do you notice the Torrey Pine Groves in the far background?

Thank you so much for joining us on our Supermoon/Lunar Eclipse day at one of my favorite beaches in San Diego County.

I hope that I have piqued your interest and that one day you, too, will experience Torrey Pines State Reserve for yourself. Remember, no beach day is a sad day!

Until next time!


17 Replies to “Torrey Pines State Beach”

    1. I am so happy that you enjoyed it. There is something to be said about a piece of land that has never been developed before, especially in Southern California. I am so happy that everything around Torrey Pines State Beach is protected. Thank you so much for visiting my site, and I do wish that you will be able to experience this place in person.

  1. I have never been to San Diego, but your review made me think that now it is the must to visit place for us. I love beach and ocean. Torrey Pines State Beach is definitely a beach that I would like to be, especially after you posted a photo of surfing 🙂 Thank you for the very visual description of that beautiful beach!

  2. Hey, that was a very informative post. I like the way you explain things about San Deigo beach. Never thought it could be such a beautiful beach to visit. I may consider going there with my family next year. Really wanna explore it.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow, you got me with the pictures. It is a beautiful beach, and I already saw a lot of beaches in my life. I use to fly to Spain every year. The beaches out there are so pretty, but this one has something special. That you so much for sharing this information!

  4. Nice article! I live in a beach community on the east coast which gets a lot of tourists every summer. Are these beaches also busy? Your photos are very inspiring. You also have the advantage of being in a warm climate all year where we go through cold winters. I’ll have to check it out if I can get back to California.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment Kevin! Yes, we are fortunate here on the West Coast. This beach is one of the most crowded State beaches in California, but all the beaches get busy in the summer. I like to try and go during the week when the crowds are not as bad. I hope you will be able to check them out in person one day. Thanks again!

  5. These beaches are amazing!! I am new to San Deigo but doing research for a conference I will be attending in June! Thank you for the itinerary ideas. I am going to make sure I check out your recommendations.

    1. Hi Kathleen! Thanks for much for visiting! I am sure you will love San Diego, and I know you will not be disappointed 🙂 Thanks again!

  6. whats the shortest route to flat rock, north or south parking lot? and is the #3 lifeguard tower near the north or south parking lot? thanks.

    1. Hi Melvin! The shortest way to Flat Rock would be to start at the south parking lot and take the beach route for about 1.5 miles. You could also start up top at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and take the Beach Trail which takes you right down to Flat Rock Lifeguard tower #3 is located close to the North parking lot. Just remember to check the tide chart before walking. I do not want you to get stuck! Thank you for visiting the site.

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