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Torrey Pines State Parks on the Beach - Guide to Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach in San Diego, California

Arial view of Beach Front and Parking in Torrey Pines State Beach in San Diego, California (in San Diego County)

State beaches are areas with frontage on the ocean, or bays designed to provide swimming, boating, fishing, and other beach-oriented recreational activities. This wide, sandy beach stretches 4 1/2 miles from Del Mar past Los Peñasquitos Lagoon to the base of sandstone cliffs at Torrey Pines Mesa. Swimming, surfing and fishing are popular. Red-hued bluffs and wet sand make strolling on the beach popular at low tide. A picnic area and parking lot are near the entrance on North Torrey Pines Road.

The beach area supports a number of avafaunal species in addition to marine biota. Soledad Valley, which includes the notable coastal marsh, Los Peñasquitos Lagoon, is cut by a coastal stream which discharges to the Pacific Ocean at Torrey Pines State Beach. The endangered subspecies of Torrey Pine, Pinus torreyana torreyana, is found only on the small coastal strips north and south of Torrey Pines State Beach. There is also the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course, which hosted the US Open in 2008 and annually hosts the Farmers Insurance Open (formally known as the Buick Invitational).

Torrey Pines State Beach in San Diego, California

Wide View of Torrey Pines State Beach in Santa Diego, California

The beach can also be reached by trail from the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

Torrey Pines prohibits dogs anywhere within the reserve and beach boundaries (even within a vehicle).

Surf in Torrey Pines State Beach

Waves ranging from the low 3-footers to the high 6-8 footers can be found on the north side of Torrey Pines State Beach. The Northern side of the beach has a Surfer/Surfing side while the Southern side hosts swimming, body boarding, etc. There is a red/yellow flag on the north part of the beach showing the boundary between the surfing side and body boarding side. A good rule of thumb is to occasionally check where the flag is as it moves from time to time during the day.
The beach is usually not very crowded in the early hours of the day where mostly only surfers and body boarders are present. During that time, the boundary of the surfing and body boarding areas aren't as strictly enforced, as long as common courtesy applies to both sides. The side most popular is the swimmers' area.

Hiking in Torrey Pines Beach Trail

Life Guard Station in Torrey Pines State Beach in San Diego, California

Life Guard Station in Trail Torrey Pines State Beach in Santa Diego, California

Below is the Torrey Pines Beach Trail map.

Hiking Trail Map of Torrey Pines Beach Trail in San Diego, California

Map of Torrey Pines Beach Trail in Torrey Pines State Beach in Del Mar, California

Distance: From Scripps Pier to Torrey Pines State Beach is 10 miles round trip.

This beach hike begins at Scripps Pier, passes along Torrey Pines City Beach, known locally as Black's Beach, once swimsuit-optional, now enforced suits-only. After walking below some spectacular cliffs and along Torrey Pines State Beach, you'll arrive at Torrey Pines State Reserve, home to the rare and revered Pinus torreyana. Plan your hike for low tide.

Occupying a spectacular perch above Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the wide blue Pacific, the Birch Aquarium offers a great introduction to the wonders of the deep and insights into the many global research projects conducted by the institution. Check it out before or after your hike.

The aquarium features a Hall of Fishes with dozens of tanks. My favorite is the Hall of Oceanography, with well-crafted displays of the history of oceanographic sciences. Kids love the demonstration tidepool and touch-tanks.

Directions to trailhead: Exit Interstate 5 on La Jolla Village Drive, traveling west past UC San Diego to North Torrey Pines Road. Turn right, then make a left on La Jolla Shores Drive, follow it to the Aquarium turnoff on your right. Metered street parking is sparse, available on weekends only. Additional parking is available in the Aquarium parking lot up the hill with the purchase of a day permit.

The hike: As you look south from Scripps Pier, you'll see long and ?at La Jolla Shores Beach, a wide expanse of white sand where the water deepens gradually. This is a family beach, popular during the summer with swimmers.

Walking north, the going it rocky at first; the surf really kicks up around Scripps Pier. Soon the beach widens, growing more sandy, and the spectacular curry-colored cliffs grow higher and higher.

A glider port once stood atop the bluffs. Manned fixed-wing gliders were pulled into the air, and they rode the currents created by onshore breezes rising up as they meet the cliffs. Nowadays, hang-gliders leap off the cliffs and, unless the wind shifts, come to a soft landing on the beach below.

The 300-foot cliffs tower over Black's Beach, named for William Black, Sr., the oil millionaire who owned and developed most of the land on the cliffs. During the 1970s, Black's Beach enjoyed meeting notoriety as the first and only public beach in the country on which nudity was legal. Called "a noble experiment" by sun worshipers and "a terrible fasco" by the more inhibited, the clothing- optional zone was defeated at the polls.

After passing a few more handsome bluffs, you'll spot a distinct outcropping called Flat Rock. Here you may join a bluff trail that leads to Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Nearby State Beaches to Torrey Pines State Beach

To the North: Del Mar City Beach California State Beaches

To the South: Black's Beach

Location of Torrey Pines State Beach

The Torrey Pines State Beach is located at 37°41'48"N 122°29'57"W. The Torrey Pines State Beach address is N Torrey Pines Rd, San Diego, CA 92121. The Beach is located one mile south of Del Mar on North Torrey Pines Road. Torrey Pines State Beach can be contacted at 858-755-2063.

Here is a driving map to Torrey Pines State Beach.

View Larger Map

Here is a detailed list of other state beaches of California besides Torrey Pines State Beach.

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