Black’s beach – San Diego’s best kept secret

Sitting along a beautiful part of the rocky La Jolla coastline, Black’s beach is an impressive cliffside nude beach with arguably some of San Diego’s best waves. Read on to discover Black’s beach San Diego.

Being below the Torrey Pines bluffs and just north of La Jolla Shores, Black’s beach is a beloved surf spot for locals and students from nearby UCSD. Yet it remains as a secluded spot due to its difficult access and defining characteristic as a nude beach in San Diego.

Blacks beach cliffs, San Diego

Black’s beach cliffs, San Diego

Black’s beach history

The beach is named after the Black family, who once owned a horse farm and several stables on the cliffs overlooking the beach. They moved to La Jolla in the late 1940s and bought roughly 248 acres on Torrey Pines cliffs alongside a canyon that lead to the beach. Black’s beach was the first and only public nude beach in the USA for several years in the mid-70s. Today nudity is unlawful in California, but it has persisted at Black’s for decades.

Black's beach San Diego

Black’s beach San Diego

What to do at Black’s beach

Black’s beach offers the chance to soak in one of San Diego’s hidden gems. The nudists tend to hang out north of the Gliderport Trail, while surfers head south to the main peaks. However swimming here isn’t generally recommended mainly because of riptides, stingrays and sometimes sharks. You might also encounter a beach volleyball game being played in the buff. If lucky enough, you may even see sea lion pups who have come out of the water to warm themselves on the sand.

Surfing at Black’s beach

Black’s Beach is pretty famous among surfers for big winter swells, and it is considered one of the strongest surf breaks in Southern California. The waves gain their power due to the focusing effects of Scripps Canyon, a one-mile-long undersea gorge, which funnels the waves toward the shore. Surfing at Black’s Beach San Diego is recommended for experienced surfers only.

Surfer at Blacks Beach, San Diego

Surfer at Blacks Beach, San Diego

How to get to Black’s beach

Black’s beach can be difficult to access due to its location. However, there are multiple routes to get to the idyllic beach, but most of them involve a bit of rock scrambling and a steep climb:

From Torrey Pines Drive

Park at the Torrey Pines Gliderport and find the trail just to the left. The trail is easy to find right beside a house where there is a sign and two fences. You may see a ‘no beach access sign,’ but it does indeed get you down to the beach. After making your way through the fence and down the trail, there will be a fork that connects to Ho Chi Minh trail down towards the beach.

From La Jolla farms

A gated private road, jointly-owned and maintained by the residents and the university, leads to the beach off of La Jolla Farms Road. Stately mansions and state-of-the-art medical research labs now line the bluffs where stables and pastures once lay.

From La Jolla Shores Pier

This is probably the easiest route, but you can only go this way when the tide is low. A 3-mile walk north from La Jolla Shores beach, past Scripps Pier, will get you to Black’s Beach. The middle section of the trail is separated by a huge rock that juts out far enough to be impassable when it’s high tide. You’ll pass the infamous Mushroom House on your way, a great photo op.

Mushroom house, Black's beach, La Jolla, San Diego

Mushroom house, Black’s beach, La Jolla, San Diego

Black’s beach San Diego is a good alternative to the overcrowded Mission and Pacific beaches. There are always few people, even in the high season. A day at Black’s can be a really nice get-away!

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