Black’s Beach is a two mile long, sandy strip situated at the base of majestic cliffs up to 300 feet high. It is formally known as Torrey Pines City Beach and Torrey Pines State Beach in that it is jointly owned by the City of San Diego and the State of California. There is a glider port atop the cliff overlooking the beach where hangliders, paragliders and remote controlled gliders can often be seen soaring.
Access to Black’s Beach is very difficult due to the high cliffs and lack of improved stairways. The safest access is from adjacent beaches to the north and south, but this access may be obstructed by high tides or surf. The cliffs of Black’s Beach are unstable and slides can occur without warning, so it is best to stay well away from them. Although not officially sanctioned, some patrons of Black’s Beach practice nudism.
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.
Most California beaches experience strong rip currents. The safety tips section 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.
This is an excellent beach for surfing. Always crowded with up to 100 surfers at any given time, particularly at the southern end. Some of the best surf in California and is known world wide!
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.
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.
This beach does not offer disabled accessibility due to natural impediments.
There are no receptacles for beach fires. Open fires are therefore prohibited.
Regulations — Standard San Diego beach regulations apply, with the following modifications:
Alcohol is prohibited on the State (north) section of the beach and is only permitted between 12:00 noon and 8:00 p.m. on the City (south) section.
Call San Diego Transit at (619) 233-3004 for buses that serve this beach.
Directions and Parking:
From the north, take Interstate 5 south to Carmel Valley Road. West on Carmel Valley Road to Pacific Coast Highway. South on Pacific Coast Highway to Torrey Pines State Beach. A paid-parking lot is available with 450 spaces, including eight disabled parking spaces. Walk south from this lot approximately one mile using caution regarding the unstable cliffs above and tidal conditions which may obstruct passage.
From the south, take Interstate 5 north to La Jolla Parkway the intersection of La Jolla Shores Drive and a left on Calle Frescota to the free public parking lot at La Jolla Shores. This lot includes 350 spaces, including eight disabled parking spaces. Walk north one mile, use caution regarding the unstable cliffs above and tidal conditions which may obstruct passage.
Note: Unimproved parking is also available at the Glider Port above Black’s Beach, but the only access to the beach is via unimproved natural paths which can be very hazardous. Take great care to avoid false trails. False trails may cause a person to become precariously stuck on side of the cliff or can result in serious injury or death if one falls.