Family Destinations MilMomAdventures San Diego

Torrey Pines State Reserve

Getting outdoors and walking is one of the best ways to really experience where you live. Wherever the military sends you, there will be new hiking trails, parks, and reserves to explore. Southern California is full of opportunities to be outside and take in the unique landscape. One uniquely Californian landscape is Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

What Makes it Unique

The Torrey Pine is a pine tree native to coastal Southern California. It is the rarest pine species in the United States. It only grows in a few small coastal areas near San Diego and on islands off the nearby coast. The majority of wild Torrey Pine in the country grow on the 1,500 acres of land that comprise the reserve, flush to the coast. These trees are protected from being displaced by development thanks to generous historic benefactors from the San Diego community.

There are a few different hiking trails you can go one. They all have stunning views. The tress themselves are amazing to look at, but gazing down the bluffs into the ocean dotted with surfers is a quintessentially Californian vista.

The hikes are not particularly challenging which makes this a good location to bring kids. Those who are not sure-footed yet would be best keep close by or in a form of carrier as the park is made up of steep bluffs.

Know before you go

  • The park opens at 0715 am and closes at sunset.
  • There is no overnight camping at the park. It is a daytime use only reserve.
  • There are multiple designated parking areas. You can park at the base of the bluffs near the entrance, at the top. The majority of the parking is available at the base of the bluffs near the entrance. See the map at the bottom for reference.
  • Pets are not allowed in the reserve.
  • If you enter with a vehicle (most visitor do) parking can range from $3-20 depending on the day of the week and time of year. The lowest cost is during weekday mornings in the winter, and the most expensive being summer weekends and holidays. Keep in mind the higher cost times will also likely be the most crowded times.
Image courtesy of

How to Get There

The State Reserve is on the coast and close to the 5. It is in between Del Mar and La Jolla. If you have ever driven up or down the 5 near there you have likely seen the Del Mar fairgrounds – a large open flat area with views of the coast. The fairgrounds are where the county fair and other large events are help. The State Reserve is adjacent to the fairgrounds. The reserve encompasses the large bluffs that overlook the flat expanse of the fairgrounds.

After to exit the 5 you will drive into the park through the entry gate. Be prepared to pay a fee for parking. There is no military rate or discount for visiting.



If you have not been already we hope you consider going to experience the beautiful trails and the trees that you will not see anywhere else! If you have been share your favorite tips and spots!

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