San Diego, California is a pretty incredible place to explore, and the little seaside community…
La Jolla Cove is a small beach nestled between sandstone cliffs, within the community of La Jolla, CA; which sits just north of Pacific Beach and a few miles south of Del Mar in San Diego, California. Because of its extraordinary beauty, La Jolla Cove is one of the most photographed beaches in all Southern California – and one of the most visited!
In the summer, La Jolla Cove is ideal for swimmers, snorkelers, and scuba divers; the abundance of marine life coupled with crystal clear waters makes for a one-of-a-kind experience. If you’re looking to visit La Jolla in the future, here is everything you need to know about how to get to La Jolla Cove!
How to Get There
If you’re already in the area, getting to La Jolla Cove won’t take long!
From the UTC or UC San Diego area, turn left onto Torrey Pines Road and take it down the hill, and then up again, until you reach Prospect Street. Take a right onto Prospect, then a slight right onto Cave Street. Follow that until it becomes Coast Blvd. La Jolla Cove will be on your right.
Another option coming from the UCSD area is to take a right onto La Jolla Shores Drive and follow it until you hit Torrey Pines Rd. Make a right onto Torrey Pines, then another right on Prospect Street. Follow it until it becomes Coast Blvd. La Jolla Cove will be on your right.
La Jolla Cove Address: 1100 Coast Blvd. (at Girard Ave), La Jolla, CA 92037.
Arriving from the North
From Los Angeles or beyond: Take I-5 South. Exit La Jolla Village Drive and turn right. Make a left onto Torrey Pines Road, and then another slight left to stay on it. Turn right onto Prospect Street, then stay right to take Cave Street. Continue onto Coast Blvd., where you will see street parking. La Jolla Cove will be on your right, easily accessible via stairs.
Arriving from the South
From Chula Vista: Coming from Chula Vista or south of La Jolla, take I-5 North. Take the exit for La Jolla Parkway. Continue onto Torrey Pines Road. Take a right onto Prospect Street, and a slight right onto Cave Street. From there, continue onto Coast Blvd. and find street parking. La Jolla Cove will be on your right.
Arriving from the East
From Julian or nearby areas: Take the 79 South to the I-8 West. Take exit 17 for State 67/Magnolia Ave toward Downtown; merge onto CA-67 North. Exit Prospect Avenue and follow signs for CA-52 West. Use the left 2 lanes to take the La Jolla Parkway exit. Continue onto La Jolla Pkwy, which becomes Torrey Pines Road. Turn right onto Prospect Street, then a slight right onto Cave Street. Follow that until it becomes Coast Blvd.; La Jolla Cove will be on your right.
- Snorkeling: rent your own gear, or take a guided tour.
- Swimming: take a dip in the cool waters (unless there are restrictions due to high levels of bacteria).
- Watch the seals: La Jolla Cove is one of the most well known spots to check out seals and sea lions; they love bathing on the sandy beach and the rocks just off the coast.
- Scuba diving: you must be certified to dive on your own, but this is a beautiful spot for scuba diving.
- Kayaking: there are many tour companies that will take you on a great guided tour of the caves and La Jolla Cove. Some of them pair a snorkeling session, too!
- Check out the sea cave: walk down the stairs, and to the left you’ll see a square-shaped sea cave that (during low tide) you can walk a few feet into! Makes for a great photo op.
- Golf cart/Segway/bike rentals: see La Jolla Cove on wheels!
La Jolla Cove has plenty of amenities for families, including:
- Restrooms: Public restrooms are located at the top of the cliff at La Jolla Cove.
- Showers: You’ll find showers next to the restrooms, which makes it easy to rinse off the sand and salt after a fun day exploring.
- Lifeguard tower: There is a lifeguard on duty from 9am until sunset every day, which means this spot is incredibly safe for children or families wanting to swim. In fact, it’s one of just nine beaches that has a permanent lifeguard station patrolled by San Diego Lifeguards.
- Public transportation: The bus stops in La Jolla every day, and you can walk from the bus stop to La Jolla Cove easily. On Monday through Friday bus #30makes a complete trip from downtown San Diego to La Jolla and back, taking about 45 minutes to get from downtown to its La Jolla stop at Herschel and Silverado.
- Restrictions: Fishing and removing objects from the cove at La Jolla is strictly prohibited as it is part of the La Jolla Underwater Park.
Usually, street parking at La Jolla Cove is your best bet. Look along Coast Blvd. for 2-hour spots. If not, and you’ve been circling a while, there are a couple of parking structures; most convenient is the one located underground inside the Coast Walk building structure (directly across from the Cave Store). While you’re there, head over to Sunny Jim Cave and check it out!
What You’ll See
As it’s part of the La Jolla Underwater Park, La Jolla Cove’s underwater reefs and marine life are federally protected as a marine refuge area, with specific restrictions on fishing, boating, etc. The cove is usually packed with snorkelers and swimmers looking to take advantage of this beautiful area without the distraction of boats, etc. If you look closely, you’ll see the beautiful state fish (the orange Garibaldi), along with seals, sea lions, and other types of fish.
There’s also a small sandy beach here, which is beautifully secluded and a great spot to take in some sun. Keep an eye out for the local seals, who have in recent months made this their hangout during the day. If you’re looking to stay off the sand, head up the stairs to Ellen Browning Scripps Park. It’s a lovely place for a picnic, throwing around the ball, or just taking in the sights with family and friends.
Where to Stay
There are a couple of different options if you want to stay directly near La Jolla Cove, San Diego.
- La Jolla Cove Suites Hotel: Located right at 1155 Coast Blvd., this is as close as you can get to the Cove without actually being on it! This is a full-service hotel with terrific ocean-view suites, a heated pool, and a revamped rooftop bar.
- La Valencia Hotel: Known by locals as “The Pink Lady,” this historic beauty is a real La Jolla gem. Located at 1132 Prospect Street, this spot is just a stone’s throw from the water and a 4-minute walk to La Jolla Cove, complete with all the luxurious amenities you could ask for. Amenities include a bistro with a terrace and original 1940s hand-painted murals, a tapas bar with live music, an ocean-view pool and hot tub, and a fitness center.
- Pantai Inn: Located just a bit further down the road, Pantai Inn is at 1003 Coast Blvd. and still boasts incredible ocean-view rooms. It sits just above Ellen Browning Scripps Park, and has a Balinese theme that truly makes you feel like you’re in a different world! Guests have their options of single suites or 1-3 room villas, which include full kitchens and dining areas. It’s also a popular spot for weddings.