Don’t take the baby to this bucket list beach— San Diego’s Black’s Beach is gorgeous, hard to get to, and in places, (gasp!) nude. Surrounded by 300-foot cliffs north of La Jolla Shores, Black’s Beach attracts experienced surfers as well as naturists, who lounge under umbrellas and even play volleyball in the nude.
Of course, if you come here, you’ll want to slather on sunscreen for the day, starting with the long hike down to the beach. There are a few different routes, one being a steep, narrow cliff walk with stairs, the other being a long, steep paved road. You can read more about all the routes to Black’s Beach here.
We chose the paved Salk Canyon Road entrance, which is a gate flanked by 2-hour-max parking spots. Since 2 hours is the amount of time you’ll probably need just to hike up and down, we parked even further away from the gate to avoid the time limit.
The views are breathtaking, and the car-free silence is hard to find elsewhere in coastal San Diego. There are multi-million dollar mansions and people paragliding close to the sandstone cliffs from the Torrey Pines gliderport nearby.
You’ll see more and more nude people as you get to the “clothing optional” part of the beach. While sunbathing in the nude is not legally okay there (it’s up to a private citizen to complain), it’s not the kind of place unwitting people just stumble upon.
While the older men seem to be the least shy of the bunch, couples and single women get over their embarrassment pretty quickly too.
Black’s Beach is the only beach I know of in San Diego where you can swim in the ocean without a bathing suit. I saw people wading, bodysurfing and even surfing on what looked like a community surfboard in the nude. The locals who come there often insist on a clean beach, in terms of both trash and behavior, according to their website, Black’s Beach Bares.
While there were some families there with small children, I consider it too much work to carry a baby or or even take a stroller down the giant hill. (And then up, when you’ve had too much sun!) Older kids may be willing to walk, but might also ask some interesting questions.
Plan a kid-free day trip to Black’s Beach. Your freedom is waiting!