The Best Beaches in La Jolla

The La Jolla coastline is nothing short of wondrous. It’s miles of sandy shores are divided up into several beaches, each with its own personality and benefits.

After countless hours of beach exploration and research, we’ve put together the ultimate list of “The Best of La Jolla Beaches”. No matter what activity you want to conduct along the shoreline, we want to make sure you get to the right spot.

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Best for Surfing:

Windansea Beach & Black’s Beach

Celebrate the Southern Californian passion of surfing at one of the top spots!

Windansea is local favorite and isn’t recommended for beginners, but it’s known as a great surf spot. The secret is not just knowing where to go, but when! The variety of reef formations around the Windansea and Bird Rock areas, just south of downtown La Jolla, create conditions that are difficult to predict. The waves vary with the tides and best left to be surfed by advanced surfers who know them well. Look for the famed Windansea Surf Shack here; it’s a local staple and gets rebuilt every summer with palm fronds from nearby trees.

Black’s Beach has been a prime surf spot since the ’60s, when it was discovered by four famous pro-surfers. The submarine canyon just offshore funnels extra-powerful waves onto the beach, making this another spot for more experienced surfers.

If you’re a beginner surfer but still want to get out there, try La Jolla Shores Beach.

Best for Hiking:

Torrey Pines State Beach

In the north most part of La Jolla, Torrey Pines State Reserve lines the back of the Torrey Pines beach. The staggering cliffs are home to six trails that vary in difficulty. For those who want to truly feel the burn, hit the Guy Fleming Trail filled with serious hill climb. Looking for something less strenuous? Try out the slightly less difficult Razor Point Trail for a 1.3 mile adventure and the Beach Trail for a path that lands you directly on the sand. Check out our one-day itinerary for Torrey Pines here.

Black’s Beach

If you’re looking for a more difficult, strenuous hike, try Ho Chi Minh Trail down to Black’s Beach. It’s a well known “surfer’s trail,” but it makes for some epic views of the shoreline on the way down.

Best for Families:

Children’s Pool

True to its name, Children’s Pool is a great place for children who are new to swimming. The sea wall creates a calm grotto without waves or a big tide. An added bonus is always the adorable seals and sea lions, but please respect their habitat and stay a safe distance away from the sea life. Here are some helpful tips when visiting the Cove seals.

La Jolla Shores

Families with young children want to make sure they’re going to a beach with calm surf, lifeguards, room to picnic and, of course, bathroom and shower amenities. These can all be found at La Jolla Shores! As an added bonus, there’s a big playground here with plenty of activities for the younger ones.

Best for Tide Pools:

Shell Beach

See sea anemones and spot sea stars in the rocking tide pools of Shell Beach. People of all ages love to revel in these tide pools. It’s where you get to experience the beauty of aquatic life, without having to dive underwater or pay an aquarium fee!

Wipeout Beach

From here down to Hospital Point lie some of La Jolla’s best and most active tide pools. Here, you’ll spot those round, curved little pools that are so popular to photograph and put on Instagram! Go here for some tips on tide pooling and info about what you might see.

Best When in the Mood for Something to Write Home About:

Black’s Beach

Feel like you’re in Europe without leaving the country by coming to Black’s, America’s first legal nude beach. Whether you bare it all or not yourself, it’s a great place to come for a calm beach day. It also has a super interesting history! Impress your friends with your La Jolla beach knowledge.


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