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Vintage San Diego: Happy Campers

Torrey Pines State Beach in 1941
Photo courtesy of San Diego History Center

By Andrianna Yeatts

By the Numbers

2,000 – acres of oceanfront land encompassed in Torrey Pines State Beach and Natural Reserve

300 – number of endangered and protected species of native plants found in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

8 –  miles of trails in the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

1922 – the year the adobe building now used as the visitor center was constructed

$100 – 1885 bounty for anyone caught vandalizing a Torrey pine tree

1 – one of only 16 Natural Reserves among California’s 278 State Park units

Well-known to locals and visitors alike, the Torrey Pines State Beach stretch of Highway 101, between La Jolla and Del Mar, was once a popular seaside campsite. Before the activity was banned in the midcentury, Labor Day beachgoers packed fishing poles and beach towels in their Airstreams and Fords for a summer day on the coast.

Just south of the rustic cliffside beach is the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, previously a Native American piece of land. Home to the rare Pinus torreyana tree, the park serves as a scenic hiking, viewing, and paragliding destination. Each year, more than one million visitors take in the panoramic ocean views, observe wildlife, and descend the Beach Trail to end up on the sand.

Since its ordination in 1899, Torrey Pines has undergone numerous additions—from the golf course to the lodge and restaurant.

One thing is certain—Torrey Pines remains one of the most popular and picturesque beachside destinations in North County.


Vintage San Diego: Happy Campers

Photo courtesy of San Diego History Center

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