Although San Onofre Beach in northern San Diego County used to be clothing-optional, a crackdown on enforcement of local public nudity policies in 2009 resulted in the beach no longer allowing naked sunbathing, leaving a portion of Black's Beach as the only official place you can bare it all in this coastal region of southern California.
Known as America's most popular nude beach, Black's Beach is located just a few blocks away from the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, California, which is just north of San Diego. However, access to the nude portion of the beach is tricky as there are only two ways down the bluffs of the Torrey Pines to the sandy shoreline: one with steep stairs and another footpath carved into the hillside.
Fortunately, there are a few other state beaches just outside San Diego County that also provide the opportunity to sunbathe in the nude or you could always escape to a nudist resort instead. Either way, you don't have to miss out on sunbathing in the buff on your trip to San Diego this year.
Nude Sunbathing at Black's Beach
Not all of Black's Beach is clothing-optional, so make sure you're not the only one stripping down to your birthday suit if you're visiting Black's Beach for the first time; however, if you make it down the steep trail to the portion that is, you're certain to encounter folks of all ages, body types, and sizes enjoying the warm sun in the nude.
To access the beach, park in the Torrey Pines Gliderport parking area and walk down the marked path toward the ocean; once at the bluff's edge, you'll have a choice between a footpath to one side and a steep set of carved stairs to the other, both of which will take you down to the shore.
Black's Beach does not have any amenities, including bathrooms or electricity, so make sure you bring plenty of water and relieve your bladder before you head to this secluded beach. However, be sure to pack light as getting back up the hill is much more challenging than coming down, especially after a full day of sunbathing in the nude.
Other Places for Nudity in San Diego
If you don't want to go to Black's Beach or if the weather at the coast is foggy or cold, you can find other locations near San Diego to enjoy a clothing-optional lifestyle. Your best bet for other nude recreation in the San Diego area is to visit one of California's clothing optional resorts.
If you are in San Diego and want to go to a beach somewhere else for clothing-optional recreation, you'll have to travel a long distance as there are no nude beaches in Orange County, Los Angeles County, or Ventura County. The nearest nude beaches to San Diego are Santa Barbara County nude beaches, but they're a more than 200 miles from the city and many nude sunbathers there are subject to being hassled by local law enforcement officers.
If you're just looking to visit the beach and don't mind wearing a little clothing, you can also check out one of the many beaches along the shore in San Diego County. You can use this San Diego County beach map from Google to get directions to each one.
San Diego Nudity Laws
Blacks Beach is jointly owned by the City of San Diego and the State of California, which makes the law enforcement situation complicated. However, the bottom line is that people can use the state-owned portion of the beach for clothing-optional recreation but should not use the city-owned beach for such.
Unfortunately, the city-owned portion of Black's Beach is easier to access, with a gently-sloped, paved path leading all the way down to the sandy beach. For this part of Black's Beach and for nude recreation elsewhere in San Diego County, the local laws have this to say about public nudity:
San Diego City Nudity Law: Nudity on Public Lands
"No person over the age of ten years shall be nude and exposed to public view in or on any public right of way, public park, public beach or waters adjacent thereto, or other public land, or in or on any private property open to public view from any public right of way, public beach, public park, or other public land."—San Diego, California, Municipal Code 56.53:
San Diego County Nudity Law: Public Nudity in General
"It shall be unlawful for any person in the unincorporated area of the County to appear nude in a public place. This does not apply to theatrical performances,"—San Diego County Ordinance SEC. 32.1004.