Paraglide and go naked at Torrey Pines State Beach

A paraglider lands on the beach at Torrey Pines. Photo by Brandon Scherzberg
A paraglider lands on the beach at California’s Torrey Pines. Photo: Brandon Scherzberg
Don’t be surprised if you spot a full moon from your paragliding seat: Torrey Pines State Park is an ocean-side playground for thrill seekers of all sorts, including nudists. The 3-mile stretch of sand is the epitome of the rugged, bluff-sheltered coastline California is known for, and an adventurer’s pit-stop paradise.

What: A soft-sand state beach backdropped by steep cliffs where visitors can surf, swim, hike and paraglide.

Where: 12600 North Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla, CA 92037

What to do

Shell searching on Torrey Pines beach. Photo by Brandon Scherzberg
Shell searching on Torrey Pines beach. Photo: Brandon Scherzberg
Arrive later in the day, when the winds start to pick up, between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., and start your trip off by booking a paragliding lesson at the Torrey Pines Gliderport off of Torrey Pines Scenic Drive. The consistency of the wind and warm air makes this spot the ideal place to try the sport; $150 gets you a tandem paragliding experience, where you’ll fly with a staff member for about 20 minutes and try out some aerobatic moves.

Call ahead of time to make sure the Gliderport is offering flights that day. When you have two feet back on the ground, hike down the cliffs and relax on the beach, or bring swim fins to enjoy the small breaks while taking in views of the city and the mountains.

How to get there

The bluffs are unstable, so be careful where you walk at Torrey Pines. Photo by Brandon Scherzberg
The bluffs are unstable, so be careful where you walk at Torrey Pines. Photo: Brandon Scherzberg
From the I-5 freeway, exit at Carmel Valley Road west to Torrey Pines Road South/Pacific Coast Highway. There are four parking options: a large lot on the left side of Carmel Valley, roadside parking along the shoulder of the PCH and at two paid lots at Torrey Pines State Park at the south end of the beach (entrance is $10 per car). The Gliderport also offers parking for paragliders.

What to bring

The sky is full of paragliders at the Torrey Pines Glider Port. Photo by Brandon Scherzberg
The sky is full of paragliders at the Torrey Pines Gliderport. Photo: Brandon Scherzberg
A jacket, cash and a GoPro for paragliding, sturdy shoes for the steep steps down to the beach, a bathing suit or wetsuit, towels and soap if you want to use the shower facilities at the north end of the beach.

Do …

Cap off your day by taking in the sunset at Torrey Pines. Photo by Brandon Scherzberg
Cap off your day by taking in the sunset at Torrey Pines. Photo: Brandon Scherzberg
Spend some time at the top of the cliffs doing a little whale watching; it’s not uncommon to see bursts from blowholes or porpoise fins breaking the surface of the water.

Don’t …

Be alarmed if you see some naked swimmers. Black’s Beach, a small stretch of sand beneath the bluffs, is known as a nude beach. Even though nudity has been prohibited on the city’s portion of the beach since the ’70s, it’s common knowledge you can let it hang loose from just south of the Gliderport and approximately a mile north.

More photos of the Torrey Pines Gliderport

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