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“Super Cool - Unique for a Texas Guy”

Torrey Pines Gliderport
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$90.00*
and up
Private San Diego Sightseeing Tour
Ranked #4 of 77 things to do in La Jolla
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
39 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Super Cool - Unique for a Texas Guy”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 13, 2011

Really stumbled upon this while on a run and was amazed. Wanted to come back the next day at lunch and try one of the sandwiches everyone was yapping about. Highly recommend, would be a great pic nic spot.

Visited April 2011
Helpful?
Thank lowsiento
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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La Jolla, California
Level Contributor
156 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
“Great views”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 7, 2011

I walk frequently to the Torrey Pines Gliderport and have yet to be disappointed with the views.

For first timers, if you are driving in, you will see the famous Salk Institute on the corner as you turn onto the road that leads to the glider port. Make some time to walk this campus, as the architecture by Louis Kahn is striking.

At the end of the road you will enter a sandy dirt parking lot. This is a free parking lot (for now), and you can park wherever you can find a spot. You are competing with commuting UCSD students. The parking lot is open from 9 - 5. Because of the sandy and bumpy terrain, I do not think it is wheelchair accessible. There are a couple of outhouses outside the small glider port building, but I'm not aware of any permanent bathroom facilities.

The first thing you want to do is walk to the glider port to watch the pilots take off or land. Sometimes the wind is not quite right, so you will have a chance to talk to the pilots while they are waiting for a more opportune moment. You can also take a tandem flight. Most of the gliders that I see there now are paragliders, whereby the pilots sit in a harness and maneuver a parachute-like wing with suspension lines. They leap off the cliffs and can remain in the air for hours if the conditions are right. Sometimes you can see newbies landing on the beach far below, and they have a long haul back up a steep trail.

While you are there, you can enjoy a nice little lunch at the tiny cafe. There is a rooftop balcony from which you can see the activities, as well as a couple of tables and chairs next to the lawn where the pilots take off.

This port is shared by paragliders and radio controlled airplanes. When pilots land, they use a whistle to notify others, especially the RC plane pilots, that they are about to get on the ground.

Other spectacular views can be had from the cliffs just south of the port. The unstable cliff warnings are there for a reason. Do not go beyond the fence. The cliff is 500 feet above sea level, and you can see the La Jolla Cove on the south end, and as far as Carlsbad toward the north. I often spot pods of dolphins and sometimes whales (check for spouts).

For those of you in good shape, take the hiking trail (just south of the port) down to the beach. It is not the safest trail as there has been quite a bit of erosion, but wear shoes with good traction and you should be able to do it. Near the bottom are some sandy steps that can be slippery. Surfers do it in bare feet, and I have seen some tourists in flip flops, but I recommend a bit sturdier shoes for the descent. And remember that you have to come back up on the same trail, which is a quite steep in places. Bring some water if you do this hike.

The beach below the glider port is our famous Black's Beach. Don't be surprised to see some nude people as this is a clothing-optional beach. The beach is a beautiful broad sand beach, and because of the difficulty in accessing it, it is usually fairly deserted. It is a great place to take pictures of the jagged sandstone cliffs.

This glider port is well worth a visit, whether a few minutes to enjoy the views or an hour to do the hike and beach walk.

Visited November 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank ElleLaJolla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Level Contributor
49 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Super cool”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 30, 2011

What a cool location. Glider guys and gals landing and taking off and the local surfers hit this spot

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
Thank Holly42201
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Delray Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
70 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“How could this be boring?”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 23, 2011

Agree with the reviewer on the bathroom situation-filthly. The location is beautiful, lunch was great at the cafe they have. I am not a brave person by any means but after spending hours watching others do it I decided to to with an instructor and do the tandem paraglide. Expensive at $150 and that does not include photos or any extras. Be prepared to have to do the running prior to launching off the cliff. However, it is a very light take off and not at all scary. I could not believe I was actually bored and I have not done anything like this ever. I was told "Bob" is good pilot and I wish I got him. Instead I got Jeramy who did not tell me anything about the sites, location etc. We were up there and I had to try and pull information from him so he made it pretty boring. Also, we just went back and forth pretty much in the same area and not very high (I saw others higher and traveling more ground). Also we were the only ones not to be able to land back on the cliff that day. We landed 250 feet down on the beach (a nude beach) and had a very difficult hike back up the cliff-so be prepared. I would have enjoyed this better with a different instructor and my experience was not worth the time or $$. It is a beautiful place to spend the day and we even went back the next evening to watch the sunset from this spot. So you do not have to paraglide to enjoy, you can take in the sights and sounds. My husband decided not to do it and save the $$ after my experience.

Visited October 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank YosemiteTraveler603
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prince Rupert
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Beatiful experience except for disgusting toilets”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 29, 2011

My family visited the Torrey Pines Gliderport and my daughter was brave enough to do a tandem parasailing ride. We all had a great time. I would give this place a 5 out of 5 rating except for one thing... the toilets.
There is no plumbing here so they use three port-a-potties. I have no problem with port-a-potties. I am used to camping, using pit toilets, and I have travelled in 3rd world countries with no plumbing where they use outhouses. However the toilets at the Torrey Pines Gliderport were the most disgusting I have ever seen.
Suffice to say that my family members did not need to sit down to use the toilets so we were spared the worst of it. My kids were so revolted that they refused to use these toilets. This was one of the most disgusting experiences of my life.
They charge quite a bit for the tandem glider rides, when you include the photos and video it is well over two hundred dollars. They should take some of this money and hire someone to clean their toilet facilities.

Visited September 2011
Helpful?
Thank trilinearmipmap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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