Contributor Review – Amanda Mansoorbakht
Local Expert. Visited 2023
You’ve braved the hike down to Black’s Beach. What can you expect, next?
San Diego’s laidback vibes and warm weather make Black’s Beach one of the best beaches in the US. On a hot sunny weekend the northern end of the beach is normally packed with hundreds of people enjoying the warm weather. Weekdays are the go if you want a bit more breathing room.
Clothes are optional at Black’s, and you’ll see a blend of friendly nude and suited beach-goers. Black’s is partially named from the colour of the sand which can get really hot. The sand is soft and just falls off as you dry. Because Black’s is near one of the most popular surfer beaches in SoCal (Scripps Beach) expect to see surfers zipping up their wet suits in the morning fog. UC San Diego (UCSD) is also walking distance away— Black’s will be full of enthusiastic college students on any given day.
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Nudity is usually reserved for the 30+ year old crowd but every now and then the college students will go completely nude. Many UCSD sports teams, like the Cross Country teams, are known to do initiation rituals on Black’s — including a nude jog down to the water. The hilly trek down to the coast also invites many bikers, sprinters, or fitness enthusiasts looking to get a brutal workout. Beware of Southern California’s unofficial slogan that ‘May is gray and June is glum’ – there are exceptions to the rule but sometimes the spring or even winter days can be warmer than these months.
The night is when Black’s comes alive. Expect naked bonfires in early September— where hundreds of students and in-the-know locals gather for a festival of nude dancing under the stars, a sensuous ode to the body led by thumping drums.
The water is fresh and clear. The weather is great too and can be a comfortable mid 70s in December. Every four years, Black’s Beach experiences bioluminescence— firefly-like organisms that illuminate the dark sea during night. If you’re lucky enough to be at Black’s during this time, jump into the sea to watch your nude body illuminate with an otherworldly hue of neon blue.
If you’re looking for some fun in the sun, Black’s Beach in La Jolla is the quintessential California nude beach destination
Black’s Beach isn’t accessible by street— you’ll actually have to go on a mini hike to find it! This makes this beach desirable for those who like some exclusivity. There are several ways to access Black’s Beach. Regardless of the route you choose, get ready for a killer leg work out!
You can get to Black’s Beach through a gate at the intersection of Blackgold Road and La Jolla Farms Road. You can park anywhere on the street and there’s usually ample parking! Avoid red-painted no parking zones and driveways. The closest tram stop is a 2o minute walk away - UCSD Health La Jolla Station which is accessible from downtown San Diego. Be sure to pack a pair of lace up shoes or durable hiking sandals for the trek down to the water.
The most popular route is via the staircase trail next to the glider port building. Enjoy the panoramic views with colorful para gliders, drifting above sky and sea. If you decide on this path, be mindful of parking— the glider port lot is shared with surrounding science labs and students attending UC San Diego. At the trailhead, you can go left to where all the surfers hangout, or turn north to where most nude people have setup little camps. The whole beach is nude tolerant but the majority of people settle to the north.
Just south of the glider port building, is another rough trail that is maintained by beach lovers. Whatever route you choose it is around a 10-15min hike down for most people.
Nearby Attractions + Events
Cliffhanger Cafe is on the trail to beach and they sell tasty sandwiches. It is a 15min walk from the cafe the beach.
Everyday California have paddleboards where you can explore the amazing sea caves off the world-famous La Jolla Cove.
Whale-watching is EPIC in this part of the world and highly recommended.
Explore more attractions in nearby San Diego here.
Estanica La Jolla Hotel & Spa ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The closest accommodation to Black's Beach and reasonably priced for a lush 4 star resort hotel. You'll be able to walk to the beach from here.
Residence Inn LaJolla ⭐⭐⭐
Friendly staff, a beer deck and rooms with small kitchenettes. 25min walk to the trailhead but hotel in a great location and well off the highway.
California Dreams Hotel ⭐
This hostel gets amazing reviews for a 1 star budget option. There are private rooms and dorm rooms, the location in the buzzing surf suburb of Pacific Beach also can't be beat. It is a 20min drive to the trailhead from Black's Beach.
1 Review on “Black's Beach”
It was my first nude beach and I had a blast. Be warned: it is a tough hike up and down the cliff to get to the beach and there are no public restrooms on the beach itself as the porta potty’s are at the top of the cliff.