Black’s Beach is a secluded section of beach beneath the bluffs of Torrey Pines on the Pacific Ocean in La Jolla, San Diego, California, United States. It is officially part of Torrey Pines State Beach. The northern portion of Black’s Beach is owned and managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation, while the southern portion of the beach, officially known as Torrey Pines City Beach, is jointly owned by the city of San Diego and the state park, but is managed by the city of San Diego. This distinction is important as Black’s Beach is most known as a nude beach, a practice that is no longer permitted in the southern portion managed by the city of San Diego.
Black’s Beach was named for the Black family who had a horse farm overlooking the beach. They sold the land, and then it was subdivided into La Jolla Farms lots. The Farms’ residents retained the Black family’s private road to the beach. Many mansions can be seen in the southern portion of the beach, including the Salk Mansion.
A submarine canyon funnels swells into Black’s Beach, making it appealing to surfers but dangerous for inexperienced swimmers. Usually, lifeguards are at the beach until 6:00 p.m., year round. Due to budget cuts, lifeguard patrols were limited but have increased because of funding by UCSD. Stingrays can be found along the coastline when the water gets above 50 degrees.
Black’s Beach is the one of the largest nude beaches in the United States and is popular with Southern Californian nudists and naturists. Originally including the current Torrey Pines State Beach, Black’s Beach was the first and only public nude beach in the country for several years in the mid-1970s. Because Black’s Beach was traditionally recognized as a clothing optional beach, nudity is tolerated for the portion of the beach that is managed by the state park. Until 1977, the city portion of Black’s Beach was posted as “swimsuit optional”; in that year, nudity was prohibited on that part of the beach.
The clothing-optional portion of Black’s Beach begins about 100 yards (91 m) south of the trail head leading to the Torrey Pines Gliderport, and runs north for approximately 1.1 miles (1.8 km) to the beached steel buoy south of Flatrock Point.
The southern portion of Black’s Beach is known to surfers as one of the most powerful surf breaks in Southern California. The waves gain their power due to the focusing effects of Scripps Canyon, an underwater canyon just offshore in the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park. Because of the sometimes large surf, fast breaking waves, and aggressive crowds, Black’s is a dangerous surfing location, advisable for advanced surfers only.
This was seen while hiking back up the cliff: