Best Beach to …

    … Hang

    The winding trek down to our secluded Black’s Beach — for
    tourist-free sand castles by day or full-moon drum circles by night — is

    more than worth it during the standard two years on campus.
    But after being devoured alive by sand fleas and drunkenly scaling the
    “shortcut” for the 200th time, one begins to desire a little less rugged
    adventure and a little more of the luxury that a beach trip would hope to

    La Jolla, our own plastic kiddie pool of yuppies and their
    vacation homes, conveniently boasts the best sand-spots in all of San Diego
    County, rivaled only by Del Mar’s just-north coastline. In a perfect world, we
    could roam Shores’ warm stretches and the Cove’s sweet little natural-wonder
    habitat without bother; the reality is, however, that on a rare scorcher during
    the school year, you won’t get a towel- or board-sized space in edgewise.
    Instead, head the extra five minutes down La Jolla Boulevard to a significantly
    less crowded Windansea, this beach town’s best-kept and most historically
    awesome secret.

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    With just the right ratio of clean, powdered-sugar sand (for
    the tan) and cool rocks (for the cave-happy kid in you), Windansea’s
    always-changing shore sees a younger and more laid-back crowd than its northern
    sisters, drawing the more motivated (read: lower alcohol content) of nearby
    Pacific Beachers and maintaining La Jolla’s beercan-free class. The surf is
    rough on beginners — and the territorial regulars are even tougher — but become
    one of the dedicated few and you’ll never go back to any other beach. Just
    stake out a deserted ledge, bask in the shade of the palm-leafed Surf Shack,
    feel the spray from an exhilaratingly close break and thank the Sun God that
    you’re not caught beneath a heap of fly-buzzing kelp and sunburnt family
    vacations — or that stray nudist looking for his comrades at the other end of

    Runner up: La Jolla Shores

    … Surf

    Perhaps more acclaimed in the San Diego community than
    UCSD’s top-notch biology programs or batch of Nobel-Prize-

    winning researchers is the world-renowned surf break that
    lies at its base. While some students study to become engineers, others are
    here primarily to become surfers. Their classroom? Black’s Beach.

    Black’s is a legend among surf spots for its close proximity
    to the Scripps Underwater Canyon — a 900-foot trench that sucks in storm swells
    from across the Pacific and pumps them into peeling waves. Positioned to absorb
    swells from several directions and holding shape even during the heaviest of
    winter storms, Black’s is hands-down the best beach break around, arguably, the
    best in the nation. The three main peaks host their share of contests
    throughout the year and pros can often be seen in the lineup, dropping into
    sets that can reach over 20 feet.

    The steep, breathtaking cliffs that seclude the beach are
    the spot’s saving grace, keeping crowds — and cops — on top of the hill. The
    beach is also famed for the nudist, naturist groups that coexist with surfers
    despite a 1976 citywide nudity ban. The clothing-optional status on the north
    side of the beach, the notorious full-moon festivals held once a month and epic
    surf all meld together to form the Black’s experience that we know and love.

    Runner up: Tourmaline

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