Torrey Pines State Beach stretches 4.5 miles from Del Mar in the north past Los Peñasquitos Marsh Natural Preserve and down to Torrey Pines Mesa in the south. Most visitors access the beach from the South Beach and Reserve entrance, which also serves as the entrance to Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Arguably, the most visually interesting stretch of the beach is below the cliffs of the reserve. Layers of sediment including shells and fossils create a striped pattern in the red cliffs.
Shore birds, both resident and migratory waterfowl, can be found along the beach. Take the stairs from the beach to the reserve, where the bluffs offer numerous viewpoints for spotting dolphins, seals, sea lions, porpoises year-round and gray whales in early spring during their annual migration.
Note that due to the sensitive ecology, no dogs are allowed in the reserve, not even in a vehicle.