Your Destination Guide to San Diego

Destination Guide San Diego - Your Destination Guide to San Diego, CA

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Black's Beach

Black's Beach
Black's Beach

© John W. Hammond

Black's Beach, also called Torrey Pines, is a unique beach located at the base of red-hued, 300-foot high sandstone cliffs, south of Del Mar and north of La Jolla. Unique in that the soft swoosh of hang gliders and paragliders regularly soar above the shimmering sand from the glider port atop the cliff, and that this two-mile strip is situated adjacent a 1,700-acre sanctuary for Pinus torreyana, the rarest native pine tree in the United States.

Well-loved by locals as an excellent surf spot, waves range from three to eight feet on the north side, which has a designated surfing area, while the south side hosts swimming, body boarding, etc. Watch for the red/yellow flag on the north side marking the boundary between the two uses. Part of the southern side is also known as a nude beach, although not officially sanctioned.

At the north end of the beach, the cliffs end in Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, a salt marsh, and one of the many natural estuaries that flow inland between Del Mar and Oceanside.

Access to the beach is through two routes: by trail from the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve above the beach, or by road, heading down directly to the beach, which has bathrooms, showers, lifeguards and a safe spot for kids to play by the lagoon. If you take the high road through the reserve, you'll enjoy a coastal wilderness of pine forests, sandstone canyons and hiking trails.

Beach Information

  • Lifeguard Protection:
  • There is no permanent lifeguard station at this beach. Lifeguards are usually on duty mid-day from Spring break through the end of October. Due to the remoteness of this beach, lifeguard assistance may take twenty minutes or more to arrive when lifeguards are not on duty at the beach. There is an emergency call box at the south end of the beach at the bottom of the road.
  • Rip Currents:
  • Most California beaches experience strong rip currents. The safety tips section on the government's website provides an explanation of rip currents and some methods of freeing yourself if caught in a rip current. The best advice is to swim near a lifeguard.
  • Regulated Water Activity Zones:
  • Water activity is essentially unregulated. Surfers and swimmers may mix, but all are required to employ due care in avoiding injury to each other.
  • Surfing:
  • This is an excellent beach for surfing, particularly at the south end.
  • Scuba:
  • Scuba diving is not recommended due to access problems and surf conditions.
  • Restrooms and Showers:
  • There are no restrooms on Black's Beach. Portable restrooms can be found at the top of the cliffs next to the Glider Port. Restrooms can also be found at La Jolla Shores, to the south, and at Torrey Pines State Beach, to the north.
  • Walkways:
  • There are no improved walkways at this beach. There are several natural paths, but they can be very hazardous and false trails abound. Use caution and observe warning signs.
  • Disabled Accessibility:
  • This beach does not offer disabled accessibility due to natural impediments.
  • Beach Fires:
  • There are no receptacles for beach fires. Open fires are therefore prohibited.
  • Regulations:
  • Standard San Diego beach regulations apply. Please check the government website for a full regulation list.
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