Black's Beach

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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.[citation needed] [1] 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. There is no trash collection here.[2]

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.[3] Many mansions can be seen in the southern portion of the beach, including the Salk Mansion. There is a funicular that goes all the way down from a mansion on the cliff to the beach into a structure known by locals as the mushroom house.[4]

Beach house on south end of Black's Beach, north of Scripps Pier with funicular to La Jolla Farms mansion atop cliff

A submarine canyon funnels swells into Black's Beach, making it appealing to surfers but dangerous for inexperienced swimmers.[5] Usually, lifeguards are at the beach until 6pm, from spring break until October.[6] Due to budget cuts, lifeguard patrols were limited but have increased because of funding by UCSD.[7] Dolphins can be spotted swimming along the coast.[8] Stingrays can be found along the coast line when the water gets above 50 degrees.

Location[edit]

Black's Beach is about three miles north of the popular La Jolla Shores beach in La Jolla, San Diego, California, below the bluffs of Torrey Pines, which extend up to 300 feet (91 m) above the sandy beach. On the bluffs above Black’s Beach are the Torrey Pines Gliderport, Torrey Pines Municipal Golf Course, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and Torrey Pines State Reserve. To the north of Black’s Beach lies the rest of Torrey Pines State Beach, which altogether stretches 4.5 miles (7.2 km) from Del Mar, California, past the Los Peñasquitos Lagoon toward Scripps Beach in the south. The beach is near the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of California, San Diego.

Nude beach[edit]

State Park police car or Lifeguard navigating Flatrock Point at low tide, Torrey Pines State Beach, La Jolla, CA

Black's Beach in San Diego is the largest nude beach in the United States[9] 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.[10] 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.[11]

Nudity has been prohibited on the city portion of Black's Beach since 1977. Prior to 1977 the city posted it as a "swimsuit optional" area.[12]

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.[13]

Surfing[edit]

The southern portion of Black's Beach is known to surfers as one of the most powerful surf breaks in Southern California.[citation needed][14] 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.[citation needed] [15] Because of the sometimes large surf, fast breaking waves, and aggressive crowds, Black's is a dangerous surfing location, advisable for advanced surfers only.[citation needed]

Access[edit]

Black’s Beach can be difficult to access due to its location beneath the Torrey Pines bluffs. Landslides can occur, with tragic results. Beachgoers are warned to avoid setting up beach sites too close to the cliffs. [16] There are four access routes to Black’s Beach.[17][18]

Torrey Pines Gliderport Trail – the most popular route to Black’s Beach is via the trail from the Gliderport, located between the Torrey Pines Gliderport and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. This steep rugged trail down the 300-foot (91 m) cliffs is usually well maintained by local nudists of the beach, but the city of San Diego posted a “Do Not Use” sign there, as the Torrey Pines cliffs are unstable. Visitors are advised to stay on the designated trails since many people have gotten stuck or even fallen to their deaths on the cliffs.[19][20][21] There is free parking in the dirt lot surrounding the glider port as well as porta-potties.

Salk Canyon Road from UCSD – Students from the University of California, San Diego have access to this steep, 12-mile (0.80 km) long gated paved road at the southern end of Black’s Beach, which is popular with surfers. The clothing optional portion of the beach begins 12 mile (0.80 km) north of this access point. The nearby streets are primarily residential with limited public parking, most of which have 2 hr parking limits. Signs identify 2 hr parking Monday through Friday, 8am to 6 pm.[22]

Torrey Pines State Beach – A 2-mile (3.2 km) walk south from the parking lot at the base of Torrey Pines State Reserve, along the steep cliffs, and past Flatrock will get you to Black’s Beach. Paid parking is available here. There is also free parking along Pacific Coast 101.[23]

La Jolla Shores – If the tide is low, a 3-mile (4.8 km) walk north from La Jolla Shores beach, past Scripps Pier and the rocky tidepools of Scripps Beach will get you to Black’s Beach. The route is blocked at high tides. During low tide a walk from Torrey Pines State beach will get you to Black's Beach.

See also[edit]

To the North:
Torrey Pines State Beach
California beaches To the South
La Jolla Shores

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.sandiego.gov/lifeguards/beaches/blacks.shtml
  2. ^ http://www.city-data.com/articles/Blacks-Beach-La-Jolla-California.html
  3. ^ La Jolla, A Celebration of Its Past. Patricia Daly-lipe and Barbara Dawson
  4. ^ "Blacks Beach CA - Secluded Blacks Beach in La Jolla California". San-diego-beaches-and-adventures.com. 2011-06-26. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  5. ^ POSTED: 5:56 pm PDT May 7, 2010 (2010-05-07). "2 Swimmers Rescued At Black's Beach - San Diego News Story - KGTV San Diego". 10news.com. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  6. ^ http://www.sandiego.com/beaches/blacks-beach
  7. ^ http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/Beefing-Up-Lifeguards-at-Blacks-Beach--117551568.html
  8. ^ http://www.bubbleinfo.com/2011/05/11/dolphins-at-blacks-beach/
  9. ^ http://www.blacksbeach.com/
  10. ^ http://www.city-data.com/articles/Blacks-Beach-La-Jolla-California.html
  11. ^ California State Park Rangers Association. "The Cahill Memo and Its Effect on Enforcing CCR 4322 "Nudity" in California State Parks". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  12. ^ "NBC Evening News, Sept 21, 1977". Tvnews.vanderbilt.edu. 1977-09-21. Retrieved 2011-07-03. 
  13. ^ Black's Beach Bares. "Boundaries of Black's Beach". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  14. ^ http://www.lajollabeaches.org/blacks-beach/
  15. ^ http://www.wannasurf.com/spot/North_America/USA/California/San_Diego_County/blacks_beach/
  16. ^ http://www.surfermag.com/features/man-dies-blacks-cliffslide-torrey-pines-8-21-08/
  17. ^ Black's Beach Bares. "Access to Black's Beach". Retrieved 2007-09-15. 
  18. ^ abeach4u. "Directions to Black's Beach". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  19. ^ "Nude Woman Rescued on Cliffs at Blacks Beach". cbs8.com. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  20. ^ Biebesheimer, Kyle. "UCSD Freshman Dies in Fall at Blacks Beach". 12 February 2001. ucsdguardian.org. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  21. ^ "Woman's body found on cliff near Black's Beach". 14 February 2010. cbs8.com. Retrieved 30 June 2011. 
  22. ^ http://www.sandiegosurfers.com/Blacks_Beach_Famly_Directions.htm,
  23. ^ http://www.visitusa.com/california/beaches/san-diego/torreypines-statebeach.htm

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°53′21″N 117°15′11″W / 32.88916°N 117.25316°W / 32.88916; -117.25316