Best Beach Activities for Families Visiting La Jolla

In the San Diego area, one of the best beaches to visit and bring your family to is La Jolla. There are a ton of activities that the area provides. No matter how old your kids might be, there is an adventure to be discovered at La Jolla. This article will discuss five beach activities that you can do at La Jolla with your family.

1. Beach Volleyball

For families who like a little bit of competition to go along with their fun, beach volleyball is an excellent activity to try. While bringing your own ball is a no-brainer, it’s also a good idea to bring your own net just in case. Packing a couple of Cobra volleyball nets means getting to play no matter what. Many of the beaches in and around La Jolla have designated areas for volleyball that include two permanent poles for stringing up a net, but sometimes the net isn’t there.

2. Building Sandcastles

There are actually quite a few sandcastle competitions in San Diego. Your family can start honing your skills early by building sandcastles at La Jolla. Even the humble castle should be considered a great achievement. It’s no easy thing making sand stand up on its own and hold its shape. Your family can experience a great team-building exercise as you hurry to and from the water to keep your sand moldable. It’s also a great way to encourage your child’s creativity.

3. Scuba Diving

One thing that La Jolla offers is scuba diving lessons. These you typically have to sign up for, so it’s a good idea to do your research ahead of time to find out when the best time to sign up is. Once you’re in the program, however, you and your family can suit up and learn how to use the oxygen tanks and other equipment. Once you’ve been trained, you’re able to do a bit of scuba diving in La Jolla and look at some of the sea life of the Pacific Ocean. Children will likely love seeing the colorful fish in their natural habitat, but note the minimum age is 10 years old.

4. Sea Lion Watching

La Jolla has a lot of sea lions and seals on the beach at certain parts of the day. While you should never encourage your children to touch them–no matter how furry they might look–you can enjoy watching their antics. Usually, they like to just sleep around. However, once they’re active, sea lions can be quite fun to watch. They play, fight, and try to outswim one another. Your children will love watching sea lions on the beach.

5. The Children’s Pool

One part of La Jolla is an area where the tide is quite low and becomes shallow. This is a perfect area for children to swim and enjoy and has since been called The Children’s Pool. This area is almost considered family-friendly except that it does have some potentially dangerous wildlife. Sea lions and seals have been known to make the area their hangout spot. If the area is clear, however, The Children’s Pool is an excellent place for families to swim and look at sea life with their smaller children.

La Jolla is an incredible beachfront community offering an abundance of activities for families. Whether you like to swim and be active or just relax and watch the local wildlife, this beach is for you.

Snorkeling in La Jolla: 5 Things to Know Before You Go

There’s a reason (okay, maybe several) that the La Jolla Ecological Reserve and Underwater Park is one of the top ten places in the world for snorkeling. Together, the Park and Reserve span 6,000 acres of ocean bottom and tidelands, from Scripps Park across La Jolla Shores all the way to Torrey Pines. From the seven sea caves to the variety of brightly-colored sea creatures, the Underwater Park and nearby La Jolla Cove have become destinations for snorkelers and scuba divers from around the world. Here are just a few reasons why snorkeling La Jolla Cove and the Underwater Park/Ecological Reserve should beat the top of your bucket list!

1. You never know what you might see.

La Jolla is home to an incredible variety of sea creatures and provides a rare opportunity to see marine life up close and personal. The warmer-than-usual water and protected cove attracts fish and mammals from all along the coast; snorkelers and divers have reported seeing Garibaldi, octopus, urchins, dolphins, sea turtles, leopard sharks, sea stars, shovel nose guitar fish, schools of fish big and small; and of course, playful seals and sea lions.

2. You can snorkel through some pretty magical sea caves.

Where else in San Diego can you actually swim through an entire sea cave? La Jolla Cove is home to seven caves, the biggest of which is Clam Cave (just offshore from Goldfish Point Cafe); when the tide allows, visitors can delight in snorkeling or kayaking through it to the other side. The other six are viewable from the water, and there is usually a plethora of marine life clustered near the caves at any time; which makes for some great snorkeling!

3. Leopard sharks: thousands of them!

Between the months of June and December, snorkelers can experience swimming among the largest annual gathering of leopard sharks along the coast of California. Each year, thousands of pregnant female sharks migrate to the beaches near La Jolla Cove, where the warmer, calm water helps their young develop faster. This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience that you can’t find anywhere else in California – it’s an absolute must-do if you enjoy snorkeling!

4. You can explore one of the region’s only underwater canyons.

Within the Ecological Reserve, the bottom takes a sudden and drastic 500-foot- plunge into the La Jolla Underwater Canyon (which reaches depths of up to 600 feet!). It’s exactly these unique features that make snorkeling in La Jolla such an incredible experience! Fun fact: a giant concrete map of the underwater park was completed in 2008 at La Jolla Shores; you can find it near the boardwalk between the restrooms and the children’s play area at the south end of Kellogg Park.

About La Jolla Underwater Park: it was created by the City of San Diego in 1970, and both the Ecological Reserve and the Marine Life Refuge lie within it. The Reserve is federally protected, and fishing or collecting of any kind is outlawed; because of this, marine life has flourished over the years – which makes for some fantastic snorkeling!

5. And there’s a secret underwater graveyard!

Two underwater canyons, two artificial reefs, and a kelp forest all span 6,000 acres underwater, making the Park and Reserve visually beautiful and geographically fascinating. There is one feature of the underwater canyon, however, that is especially unique: a secret underwater graveyard! Just beyond the coastline, about 100 yards out from the La Jolla Cove Bridge Club and 35 feet underwater, lies an eerie underwater memorial is unofficially known as “Tombstones.”

There are no bodies as the name implies, only several markers that are dedicated to fallen spear fishermen and members of the “Bottom Scratchers,” the first documented diving and spearfishing club in North America. Over time, markers have been placed for other fallen free divers and locals. The tradition began all the way back in the 1940s and has continued up to present day.

Snorkeling La Jolla Tour Information

So the next time you’re in La Jolla, we definitely recommend snorkeling around La Jolla Cove and the La Jolla Underwater Park/Ecological Reserve! You can venture out on your own if you feel comfortable doing so (rentals are available from shops at La Jolla Shores), or you can take a guided tour with experienced professionals. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try a combination kayak/snorkeling tour – it’s the best of both worlds!

Interested in more water activities while you’re here? Scuba diving and kayaking are also great ways to explore the underwater world of La Jolla!

It’s Grunion Run Season! 5 Things to Know Before You Go

They flop around, surf the waves, and make sweet love under the moonlight: the season of the grunion run has begun! On beaches all throughout Southern California, you’ll get the chance to experience these strange little creatures up close; and La Jolla has some of the best seats in the house. Just grab your flashlights, a few beach chairs and, if you don’t mind staying up late, get ready to watch them run!

So, What Is a Grunion Run?

Each spring, from April to May or June, thousands of these little silvery fish wash ashore to partake in a strange mating ritual under the moonlight. While on the beach, female grunion bury themselves half-way in the sand to lay eggs, while males wrap themselves around the females to fertilize their eggs. The females will lay anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 eggs. Then, as the next round of waves wash in, the fish simply float back to sea. Some may call them the original bodysurfers!

1. Grunions runs are unique to Southern California.

That’s right – because grunions are only found off the coast of Southern California, from San Diego to San Luis Obispo, and in Northern Baja, Mexico (just north of Punta Abreojos), we Californians are the sole witnesses of this incredible event every year.

2. They usually ‘run’ on wide, sandy beaches.

Ergo, La Jolla is the perfect grunion run destination! La Jolla Shores, to be exact. If you’re a newbie and you want the full experience, we recommend going with the expert naturalists at the Birch Aquarium during, or just after, a full moon. They host guided visits of grunion spawning areas at La Jolla Shores throughout April-June, which includes a full rundown on these mysterious creatures as well as a demonstration of hatchlings emerging from their eggs in a vial of seawater.

Birch Aquarium Grunion Run 2018 schedule:

Wednesday, May 2: 11:00pm – 1:00 am
Thursday, May 31: 10:30pm – 12:30am
Friday, June 1: 11:00pm – 1:00am

3. You can even catch the grunions – but only during specific periods.

If you’re in the market for some fresh seafood, you may want to check out a grunion run this year! While April and May are off-limits to fishing or catching the fish while they’re onshore (this is their prime mating period and are therefore protected), you are allowed to do so in March and June – and only with your hands. No nets, buckets or other gear is allowed, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Additionally, people over 16 need a fishing license to participate, and while there is no official bag limit, it is illegal to waste them. Digging holes in the sand as traps is also forbidden.

4. For the best runs, look for the fish after new or full moons.

These silvery little fish are most likely to surface after the highest tides during a full moon, and the largest numbers of grunions usually wash up about an hour after the ‘run’ begins. Try to avoid using flashlights, as the illumination can scare away the fish, and if you do, limit their use to times after the waves have receded. Do remember to tread carefully; you never know what you may be stepping on, and the vibrations of your feet will often scare the little guys away.

5. Though unlikely, be prepared for a no-show.

As with any creatures, there is an element of luck to our ability to witness them; and while grunion can hit the beach by the thousands, they can also decide not to show up at all. It’s disappointing, but not altogether unusual. And, at the very least, you’ll be enjoying a peaceful moonlit walk along the beach – what could possibly be more Southern Californian than that?

A few grunion run tips and things to remember:

  • Do not touch or or interfere with spawning during closed fishing season (April and May).
  • Walk quietly and don’t shine a flashlight directly on the water
  • Leave your furry friends at home
  • Wear waterproof shoes, or at least shoes you don’t mind getting wet. Same goes for clothing, as well.
  • What to bring: a flashlight, a beach chair, a bucket to put your grunion in, and a fishing license if you are planning to take them.

Above all, have fun – and happy grunion running!

Basic Tips for First-Time Beachgoers

First-time beachgoers are unsure what to expect when they visit the coast. The best way to ensure that you and your family can stay safe in the surf and sun is by following a few safety guidelines. That way, no matter which of the many beautiful beaches in La Jolla or the surrounding area you choose to visit, you’re sure to have a great time.

Learn How to Swim

If you plan on visiting a beach or someplace else close to a large body of water, the most important thing you can do is teach your children how to swim. Even children as young as six months old can learn how to swim. You can use your backyard swimming pool or join swimming classes. No matter what age your children are, make sure you to teach them the basics before you visit the beach.

Protect Your Tech on the Beach

If you intend on spending a day at the beach with your brand new iPhone Xs Max, then make sure to shop for iPhone Xs Max cases and screen protection prior to your arrival. The goal is to protect your tech from the sun, saltwater, and sand.

Keep all of your additional electronics like cameras in Ziploc bags when not in use, so they don’t get as soaked. Remember that tech can also overheat in the sun. Store all of your small devices like your smartphone and MP3 at room temperature, if possible. If this isn’t possible, then place your devices in a cooler that’s free from ice or liquids.

Swim Near a Lifeguard

Trust the lifeguards at the beach. They can protect you from potential rip tides or currents. If you’re unfamiliar with the water conditions, ensure the safety of you and your loved ones by swimming near a lifeguard station. Follow their directions and don’t ignore them when they whistle in your direction.

Never swim alone, for safety reasons. If you get in trouble in the water, call out and wave for help. Learn about the potential dangers of rip currents and riptides. Educate yourself on what you and your family can do when in trouble. And, never turn your back on the water. You’ll never know when a large wave is coming your way.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

Don’t forget to protect yourself from the sun as well. Use SPF 15 (or higher) before you head out to the beach. Reapply every hour or so, especially if you spend most of the day in the water. Speaking of water, use waterproof sunscreen so you don’t have to reapply as often.

Don’t Trash the Beach

Don’t bring glass bottles to the beach, since glass and bare feet make a bloody combination. Instead, bring plastic bottles and dispose of them properly. Watch out for trash and other signs of pollution. You can also help out by clearing any trash you see in your area.

Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and to wear sunscreen before your beach trip. You should also protect your tech if you plan to bring it with you. Keep you and your family safe at all times. With these simple tips in mind, you’ll have a successful beach day.

Complete Guide to Beaches in Del Mar

With stunning ocean views from historic coast Highway 101, wildlife reserves, sandy beaches, dramatic cliffs, oceanfront parks, and plenty of shopping and dining, the cozy community of Del Mar is among the most picturesque in all of San Diego County. The quaint yet upscale charm of this seaside village in San Diego’s North County is a perfect complement to Del Mar’s two miles of beautiful, sandy coastline. The area offers both family- and dog-friendly beaches where you can relax, have a picnic, and kick off your shoes. Here is your complete guide to the best beaches in Del Mar!

Del Mar City Beach

Del Mar City Beach North starts at 15th Street/Powerhouse Park and runs all the way to Dog Beach. This is definitely our pick for the best and most family-friendly beach in Del Mar. It is known for its good swimming, intermediate surf, and easy access at every block. Parking can be difficult on weekends, but you will usually have some luck if you go a block or two south to the residential areas.

Get an early start to enjoy this beautiful beach for the entire day; bring a picnic and then watch the sunset. Note that at high tide the beach can be narrow – if you walk south from Powerhouse Park you will be on South Beach tucked below steep colorful eroding bluffs.

Parking can be a challenge, especially during the busy spring and summer months. Street parking in commercial (usually metered) and residential neighborhoods are your best bet. There are a few parking lots available in downtown Del Mar’s shopping district, but be watchful of signs for spots reserved for patrons of restaurants and shops. Metered parking is also available, so be sure to bring plenty of quarters!

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Popular activities at this Southern California beach include swimming, sunbathing, beach walking, picnicking, and surfing. The water is usually calm enough to swim here, and there is always a lifeguard on duty. Jogging and bicycling along the coast, south of 15th Street, are also quite common, as is volleyball. Sunbathing is best at the Del Mar City Beach around 17th Street.

Amenities here include a large grassy park, picnic tables, a kids’ playground and play area, a lifeguard tower, restrooms, and several benches.

Directions to Del Mar City Beach: From freeway I-5 exit Del Mar Heights Road or Via De La Valle and head west. Del Mar Heights leads to the south end of Del Mar at Pacific Coast Hwy and 4th Street; Via De La Valle meets Pacific Coast Hwy on the extreme north end of Del Mar at the Rivermouth. To find the main Del Mar City Beach area, follow the Coast Highway to the intersection of 15th Street and Coast Boulevard, midway between these two points. All of Del Mar’s beaches are named after its numbered streets, so finding any specific spot referred to here is as simple as locating the same street.

The dog policy here is somewhat strict compared to North Beach (Dog Beach). Dogs are not allowed at all from June 16th through Labor Day, but they are allowed leashed from the day after Labor Day through June 15th.

Powerhouse Park: Right above this sandy beach, you’ll find Powerhouse Park. This is a great place to start your day in Del Mar: you’ll find public restrooms, picnic areas with tables and benches overlooking the ocean, and a large children’s playground. You’ll also find a snack shop and several restaurants walking distance.

Del Mar North Beach (Dog Beach)

Del Mar North Beach, affectionately known to locals as Dog Beach because of its lax dog policies, runs from 29th Street north all the way to Solana Beach. Dogs can run freely all along this beach, except during the summer months (between June 16 through Labor Day), when they must be on-leash. Dog beach extends north for nearly ½ mile, and includes the area around the mouth of San Dieguito River.

The main part of this beach is on the north side of the San Dieguito River Lagoon entrance next to Camino del Mar. There is a short hiking trail that leads up to an overlook at James Scripps’ North Bluff Preserve, above North Beach, and is definitely worth exploring.

Parking is all free street parking along Camino Del Mar, behind the beach, as well as at 29th Street.

Popular activities at this beach include volleyball (there are usually several volleyball courts set up in the wide flat part of the beach), surfing (surfers can find breaks on sand bars near the river mouth and reefs north of it), dog walking, and fishing.

Amenities at this beach include volleyball courts, hiking trails, a beach overlook, lifeguard tower, and restrooms.

Directions to North Beach: Del Mar North Beach is located at 3200 Camino Del Mar. From freeway I-5, exit Via de la Valle and head west. Turn left onto Camino Del Mar, and the beach will be a little ways up on the right side. Look for parking anywhere on the street or a block north.

Del Mar South Beach

South Beach in Del Mar runs from the south of Powerhouse Park all the way to 6th Street at the north end of Torrey Pines State Beach. This beach is less popular than Del Mar City Beach, but is a common area for locals to walk along the beach at low tide. South Del Mar Beach can be narrow at high tide which can put a damper on sunbathing and other beach activities here.

Parking can be found near Powerhouse Park or Seagrove Park. There is also free parking on the street near the west end of 13th through 6th Streets, but you’ll have to cross the railroad tracks and then find a route down the steep cliffs to the beach. The safest route down the bluff to the beach is at 11th Street, but it’s easy to park at any of the numbered streets and walk along a dirt path next to the railroad tracks to get there.

Popular activities at this beach include sunbathing, beach walking, beachcombing, and surfing.

There are few amenities at this beach, but there is a trail and a small grassy park above the beach at Seagrove Park.

Seagrove Park is a beautifully landscaped park with benches and unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean, which is perfect for whale watching season from December through April. There are public restrooms here, and do note that they close just before dark.

Directions to Del Mar South Beach: South Beach is located at Stratford Ct & 11th Street in Del Mar. From Freeway I-5, exit Del Mar Heights and head west. Turn right onto Camino Del Mar. Look for residential street parking near 11th Street or 13th Street, and find access down to the beach via the trail at 11th Street.

Torrey Pines State Beach North

North Beach at Torrey Pines State Beach is on the north side of the lagoon entrance at Los Peñasquitos Marsh Natural Preserve. Like Torrey Pines South Beach across the marsh entrance channel, the North Beach has a large parking lot with easy access and nice facilities.

When the water is deep enough you can swim in the saltwater at the channel, but it’s often hardly a trickle; just deep enough for children to splash around in. When conditions are safe, you can play in the surf here too, but the waves can be high and are often better suited for surfing. There are lifeguards on staff in the summer months. Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is on the hill above the beach and has hiking trails to many great vista points. The downtown area of Del Mar is just a few minutes’ drive north.

Parking can be found in a large parking lot to the east of the freeway, or along Torrey Pines Rd. next to the beach (there are several designated parking spaces, but they fill up quickly).

Popular activities here include bird watching, hiking, fishing, swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and beach walking.

Amenities at this beach include a lifeguard tower, public restrooms, and public showers near the parking lot.

Directions to Torrey Pines State Beach North: From the I-5 freeway exit Carmel Valley Road and head west to Torrey Pines Road south (aka Pacific Coast Highway). Look for roadside parking along the southbound shoulder of PCH, or find the North Beach Parking Lot and pay a small fee. You can then walk across over to the beach.

Tip: While there is a lifeguard tower here, there is no permanent lifeguard supervision anywhere below the bluffs at Torrey Pines. Lifeguards will sometimes be present, but it is often a swim- at-your-own-risk zone and the area can be known for powerful surf and strong currents. Exercise caution when you are swimming here, especially with small children.

Looking for more beach options in San Diego? Visit our complete guide to the beaches at Encinitas, or browse our picks for the top La Jolla beaches!

The Best Beaches in Encinitas

Running parallel to historic Highway 101, the beaches in Encinitas are some of the best hidden gems in San Diego’s North County Coastal region. From soft white sand to picturesque rocky bluffs and legendary surf spots along the coast, the beaches in this quaint surf town in Southern California offer a little something for everyone. An eclectic mix of ‘60s-inspired beach culture combined with boutique shops, contemporary restaurants, and yoga studios, Encinitas is a vibrant beach town where the traditional SoCal surf scene still flourishes. Here is your guide to the best beaches in the city of Encinitas! Then when you’re hungry or ready for happy hour, check out our list of Encinitas bars that are worth checking out. 

Popular Activities at Encinitas Beaches

  • Surfing
  • Paddle boarding
  • Boogie boarding
  • Sunbathing
  • Beach volleyball
  • Body surfing
  • Swimming (in designated areas)

The Best Beaches in Encinitas

Moonlight Beach

Moonlight Beach is the gem of Encinitas’ beaches, and is one of the most popular among local families. With easy access, free parking, great facilities, lifeguards, volleyball courts and a sandy beach, Moonlight is almost always packed with people. Recent upgrades and the addition of a snack shop have definitely helped the beautiful beach stand out as the best family destination along this section of the coast, so feel free to bring the dog and kids.

Amenities include restrooms with showers, picnic areas, a playground, bonfire rings, and a lifeguard tower. During the summers, this particular beach gets packed; while parking is plentiful, you’ll have the best luck looking along Highway 101 rather than at the beach itself.

How to get there: Moonlight State Beach is at the west end of Encinitas Boulevard from I-5. After crossing Highway 101 Encinitas Blvd becomes B Street. There is a paid parking lot with an entrance on C Street, but first look for free street parking in the area. You might have to walk a ways to the beach on sunny days, but there is a drop-off area next to the sand on B Street.

D Street Beach

D Street ends at a nice viewpoint looking out over the ocean where surfers ride in on long rolling waves. A large wooden staircase leads down the bluff to the beach, which is wide and sandy. Parking is usually plentiful and relatively easy to find along neighboring surface streets and residential areas.

While there are no facilities or amenities at this beach, it’s close enough to Moonlight Beach to head up there for restrooms and food. Lifeguards are on duty here every day during the summer months.

How to get there: head one block south of Moonlight State Beach and find parking along Highway 101.

Swami’s Beach

Swami’s Surf Beach is a famous surfing mecca at the southern end of Encinitas and is considered by many to still be a premier surfing destination. The park at Swami’s Beach is a great vantage point for watching surfers, and has shaded areas to enjoy a picnic on the grass as well. When the tide isn’t too high, you can walk south for quite a distance down into San Elijo State Beach. A parking lot (with spaces for about 30 cars), picnic area, and restrooms are located there. More parking can be found along the highway shoulder. A ramp and stairs lead down to the beach.

Several cafes, including the famous Swami’s Cafe, and other restaurants are just a short walk north on Highway 101. There is a long stairway that descends the steep bluff from the parking lot to the beach. If the parking lot is full you will have to park along the highway outside of the park entrance. During low tides some tide pools can be found at the point north from the bottom of the stairs.

How to get there: Access the beach off South Coast Highway 101 at Swami’s Seaside Park (1298 S Coast Highway 101, Encinitas, CA).

Stone Steps Beach

Stone Steps Beach is a locals’ beach in Encinitas that is a little off-the-beaten-path. The city has signed it as “Stonesteps Beach Access,” but most people refer to it as Stone Steps. True to its name, you’ll find a large concrete and stone stairway with nearly 100 steps that descends the steep bluff to the narrow beach below.

This is a great beach for surfing or for walking along, but be aware that high tides will cover the entire beach in certain areas. Walk north and you’ll get to Beacon’s Beach and walk south and you’ll reach Moonlight Beach.

How to get there: head west on El Portal Street from Highway 101 then veer left onto S El Portal St to the end. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer.

Encinitas Beach

Encinitas Beach doesn’t have its own access, so it’s a great spot if you’re looking for a more secluded section of the coast. The tall walls that prevent erosion for the expensive homes up on the bluff also provide a space to sunbathe that is not visible from above. Encinitas Beach consists of a narrow strip of sand, and makes for a great beach walk when the tide allows.

At high tide Encinitas Beach can be impossible to access, so be sure to check the tides before heading here. Surfers, swimmers, and sunbathers like the area, away from the busier stretches of beach in Encinitas. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer, but there are no other facilities.

How to get there: you can reach Encinitas Beach by walking north from Stone Steps Beach. Park along surface streets.

Beacon’s Beach

Beacon’s Beach in Encinitas is technically “South Leucadia State Beach” because it’s the southern beach access of this state park, but the city-run beach has been called Beacon’s by the locals for decades. The beach here, just like Grandview Beach and nearby Stone Steps Beach to the south, is tucked below the bluff where homes and condos are densely packed.

A narrow trail with three switchbacks descends the bluff face. Beacon’s Beach has a small parking lot on Neptune Avenue between Jasper Street and West Leucadia Boulevard a couple blocks west of Highway 101 in the Encinitas neighborhood of Leucadia. However, the lot is often full and getting a parking spot near the beach access is usually a problem; you may have to park along a surface street and walk a ways.

Surfers and sunbathers are the main users, but if you just need to take off your shoes and walk on a beach this one is great! Just be aware that during high tides the beaches in this area are very narrow or all wet. Once again, lifeguards are on duty during the summer, but there are no other facilities here. It is a favorite destination for surfers and can often be crowded out on the water.

How to get there: the beach is located at 948 Neptune Avenue, where you’ll find the parking lot. Park here or on a nearby street and take the stairway down to the sandy beach.

Boneyard Beach

Boneyard Beach is located below a very steep cliff between Swami’s Beach and D Street Beach in Encinitas, CA. Boneyards is a dry sandy beach at medium and low tides, and is only accessible by walking from the neighboring beaches (easier and safer from the D Street stairway access). There are no facilities or amenities here.

At low tide the beach is wide so you can walk out a long ways to look back at the homes high on the bluff. Because of its seclusion below the bluff, Boneyard Beach is popular with surfers when the conditions are right.

How to get there: head to Swami’s or D Street Beach, and when you get to the bottom of the stairs head north or south respectively.

Cardiff State Beach (North)

North Beach at Cardiff State Beach is located at the entrance to San Elijo Lagoon in the Encinitas community of Cardiff-by-the-Sea. This is a day-use facility, but you’ll find San Elijo State Beach Campground across the lagoon if you want to camp overnight. The north end of Cardiff State Beach is also called “Restaurant Row” by locals because of the series of restaurants next to the beach on Highway 101. The North Beach parking lot is much smaller than the one at the south end of Cardiff SB, so plan to get here early. Amenities include lifeguards on duty, restrooms, showers, picnic tables, and barbecues. Swimming, surfing, sunbathing, and beach walking are popular activities here.

There are some parking spots along Highway 101 just south of the restaurants. Surfers congregate just offshore near the channel entrance in an area called Cardiff Reef. There are strong rip currents in some areas, especially at the lagoon channel, so be careful swimming here or check in with a lifeguard before you swim.

How to get there: the beach is located at 2500 S. Coast Highway 101; find parking along Hwy 101 and head over to the beach.

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Cardiff State Beach (Seaside Beach)

Seaside Beach is a sandy beach in Cardiff State Beach at the border between Solana Beach and the Cardiff-by-the-Sea area of Encinitas, CA. Cardiff State Beach is the long sandy strip along the west side of San Elijo Lagoon a large wetlands and ecological reserve. If you want to see the lagoon, they have a visitor center nearby on Manchester Avenue.

The parking lot at Seaside Beach is on Highway 101 just north of the city of Solana Beach. You’ll see surfers enjoying the waves that break over the reef known as Seaside Reef, Cardiff Reef, or Tabletops. Seaside Beach itself is narrow especially at high tide. When the tide allows you can walk south on the sand to the beach at Tide Beach Park below the high bluffs of Solana Beach. Rip currents exist, so be careful where you swim while at Cardiff State Beach.

There are many restaurant options just up the highway behind the North Beach of Cardiff State Beach. Amenities include restrooms and showers, and there are always lifeguards on duty. Surfing and swimming are popular activities here and it is dog friendly.

How to get there: Head north from Solana Beach and find Seaside Beach at 2504 S. Coast Highway 101. The parking lot is on the highway.

For more information on local and nearby La Jolla beaches, view our other beach guides!

Average Water Temperature in La Jolla

La Jolla, Southern California boasts some of the best year-round weather in the world. In La Jolla, the summers are short, warm, arid, and clear and the winters are cool and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 50 degrees F to 77 degrees, and is rarely below 46 degrees or above 90 degrees.

The key to all of this great weather is La Jolla’s mild Mediterranean climate; it keeps average temperatures even and generally provides warm weather throughout the year, creating the perfect environment for locals to swim and surf. The average high temperature stays between the mid-60s and high 70s, with occasional spikes during some months. August and September are usually the warmest, and December and January the coldest (and also when we see the most rain).

Morning fog and coastal clouds are typical, especially during May and June – the area has a healthy dose of “May Gray” and “June Gloom” nearly every year, although full-on storms are rare. Clouds almost always burn off by mid-afternoon, allowing plenty of time for outdoor outdoor activities and enjoying the sunshine!

The summer months are usually very dry and arid, with little to no rainfall.

water temperature in la jolla, ca

Water Temperature in La Jolla

The water temperature in La Jolla isn’t known for being mild – even during the summer! While the cool water temps help to provide some of the mildest air temperatures along the coast throughout the seasons, the water is, indeed, quite chilly most of the year. That’s why (out of necessity), water sport companies began the modern day wet suit designs that allow visitors, locals, and surfers to enjoy the waves anytime.

La Jolla Cove water temperatures peak in the range 66 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit in September, and are at their lowest in February – in the range of 55 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit.

Actual ocean temperatures close to shore at La Jolla Cove can vary by several degrees compared with these open water averages. This is especially true after heavy rain, close to river mouths, or after long periods of strong offshore winds. Offshore winds cause colder deep water to replace surface water that has been warmed by the sun. Air temperature, wind-chill and sunshine should also be considered before deciding on the kind of wetsuit needed to stay warm when surfing at La Jolla Cove.

water temperature in la jolla

Best Time To Visit La Jolla

Average temperatures of around 57 Fahrenheit in January rise to 77 degrees in August. The best time of year to visit La Jolla for general outdoor tourist activities is from early June to mid October, with a peak score in the third week of August. The semi-arid climate during these months is pleasant and warm, though the beach can be covered by a marine layer in the morning (particularly in early summer).  Surfing and swimming are popular, as well as other outdoor activities such as paddle boarding, windsurfing, snorkeling, and kayaking.

During this month, the water temperature reaches its warmest point of the year; it averages around 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually during these warmer summer months, swimmers and surfers can comfortably be in the water without a wetsuit.

See Also: 8 Photos That Prove La Jolla Has Great Weather Year-Round

La Jolla Shores Water Temperature

La Jolla Shores is a stunning crescent shaped, sandy beach that is backed by dramatic, picturesque cliffs. The beach is a popular spot for swimmers, families, scuba divers, and kayakers; and even at night, when the glow of bonfire pits can be seen for miles. The Scripps Institute of Oceanography Pier is a terrific photo op, and children can play in the sand or enjoy a wide variety of marine life on show at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps.

Interestingly, on August 2nd, 2018, researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego logged the warmest sea surface temperatures at Scripps Pier since records began in August 1916. The record high of 78.6 degrees Fahrenheit followed a string of days during which individual daily records of sea surface and seafloor temperatures had been set at the pier. It surpassed the previous record of 78.4 degrees set on July 30, 1931 during an unusually warm period that year. The warm water experienced during these summer months attracts marine life such as sea lions and leopard sharks who gather in breeding grounds off of the coast of the La Jolla shores.

Scripps researchers have taken ocean temperature and salinity readings at the pier since 1916. In 1925, they began taking seafloor water temperature measurements as well; one of the first research institutes to do so in the United States.

Fun Facts About La Jolla Water Temperature & Weather

  • The highest recorded temperature in La Jolla was a whopping 107 degrees in October of 1961.
  • It has actually snowed in La Jolla! The date was December 13, 1967, and it was the last time that snow stuck to the ground.
  • The coldest day in La Jolla (and in all of San Diego, in fact) has been recorded at just 25 degrees in January of 1913.

Though temperatures and water temperatures do vary, there is really never a bad time to visit La Jolla!

Ultimate Guide to the Best Beaches in La Jolla

The La Jolla coastline is nothing short of wondrous. Its miles of sandy shores along the Pacific Ocean are divided up into several of the best beaches in San Diego, 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 on the San Diego shoreline, we want to make sure you get to the right spot.

Best for Surfing:

Windansea Beach & Black’s Beach

Celebrate the Southern Californian passion of surfing at this La Jolla beach!

Windansea Beach is local favorite and isn’t recommended for beginners, but it’s known as one of the best surf spots in San Diego. 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 directly offshore funnels extra-powerful waves onto the beach, making this another spot for more experienced surfers.

beaches in la jolla

Best for Hiking:

Torrey Pines State Beach

In the northernmost part of La Jolla, Torrey Pines State Reserve sits tucked away behind Torrey Pines beach. It is a large reserve, filled with trails, beautiful Torrey Pine trees, plenty of wildlife, and an unparalleled ocean view. The staggering cliffs are home to six trails that vary in difficulty; do just one, or complete them all for a serious workout!

For those who want to truly feel the burn, hit the Guy Fleming Trail for its intense hill climb. If you’re looking for something a little less strenuous, try out the easier Razor Point Trail for a 1.3-mile adventure and the Beach Trail for a path that lands you directly on the sand (one of our favorites and definitely the most popular trail at Torrey Pines). Make a day of it and grab a picnic – check out our complete one-day itinerary for Torrey Pines here.

Directions to Torrey Pines Beach: Located just north of La Jolla along historic Highway 101. Since it’s owned by the state park system, there is a day use fee for using the parking lot. Fees are paid at the South Beach kiosk where there is a small parking lot as well as the parking lots at the top of the mesa in the park. You may also find free parking along Highway 101.

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,” and has guided San Diego swimmers and surfers alike down to its sandy beach for decades. This is a lovely trail that makes for some epic views of the shoreline on the way down – but it will definitely test your endurance! Always exercise caution here, especially after it rains; the mud and rocks can get quite slippery. This La Jolla Beach trail is recommended for more experienced hikers and isn’t ideal for younger children or those with disabilities.

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 seawall creates a calm grotto without waves or a big tide. You can even try scuba diving with older kids and teens. Those who prefer to stay dry can explore the ever-popular Sunny Jim Sea Cave. 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 La Jolla Cove seals.

Directions to Children’s Pool: 850 Coast Blvd, at the end of Jenner Street. You’ll see a long seawall and steps down to the beach.

Parking at Children’s Pool: Street parking is your best bet; most are timed for two hours, but you might get lucky with an untimed spot in one of the adjacent neighborhoods.

La Jolla Shores

Families with young children want to make sure they’re going to one of the beaches in San Diego 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 at the adjacent Kellogg Park, complete with a big grassy area and plenty of activities for the younger ones. Because this is such a wide, open beach, the waves never get very big which makes it an excellent choice for families.

It also makes it a fun spot to try surfing or stand-up paddle boarding–unlike more advanced areas like Windansea Beach, the surf is pretty predictable here. There is always a lifeguard on duty (from morning until sundown). If you’re in the mood for roasting some marshmallows, there are several fire pits here; plan a great day out with the family at a beach bonfire with our helpful guide. You can even stay on the shores–the La Jolla Shores Hotel and La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club offer luxurious accommodations and dining with an incredible ocean view. Staying at the Beach and Tennis Club even guarantees access to a private stretch of beach.

Directions to La Jolla Shores: 8200 Camino Del Oro, La Jolla. The easiest way is from Torrey Pines Road and a right onto La Jolla Shores Drive. There is a small parking lot at La Jolla Shores park, but there is also some street parking in nearby neighborhoods.

Best for Tide Pools:

Shell Beach

Exploring the coastal tide pools is one of the most popular activities in La Jolla, for people of all ages. Although there are several spots in San Diego to go tide pooling, Shell Beach boasts a colorful array of sea anemones and sea stars all within an easy-to-access area. It provides the opportunity to experience the beauty of aquatic life, without having to dive underwater or pay an aquarium fee!

How to get to Shell Beach: This beach is located at the intersection of Coast Blvd. and Ocean Lane; at the south end of Ellen Browning Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove. You’ll see a long set of stairs that takes you from the grass park down to the sand at Shell Beach.

Wipeout Beach

From here down to Hospital Point lie some of La Jolla’s best and most active tide pools. They are a bit more off the beaten path and tucked away, which means there are almost always fewer crowds – a bonus if you really want to experience some wildlife. Here, you’ll also 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 at this beautiful beach.

Always wear close-toed shoes that you don’t mind getting wet when adventuring to the tide pools. The surf is unpredictable, even at low tides.

How to get to Wipeout Beach: 745 Coast Blvd. It’s a sandy beach south of Children’s Pool, along Coast Boulevard.

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, it’s a great place to watch some great surfing or just relax. It also has a super interesting history – impress your friends with your San Diego beach knowledge!

There are a few different ways to get to Black’s Beach. While some routes are easier than others, each does involve a steep climb and/or stairs. You can walk along the beach from La Jolla Shores, which is only an option during very low tide; you can hike down from the Torrey Pines Glider Port parking area; or you can walk down Salk Canyon Road, from La Jolla Farms (right across the street from University of California-San Diego). Decide which route is best for you before you go, and make sure you know how to get there.

Once you do make it down to the beach, you won’t be disappointed! A long stretch of sand plus gentle waves that are easy to swim in makes this a truly lovely area to spend the day.

Directions to Black’s Beach: 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr. There are four different hikes down to the beach; for details go here.

 

How to Enjoy a Beach Bonfire in La Jolla

There’s nothing quite like a bonfire on the beach; especially a La Jolla bonfire! They are a great way to enjoy the beach any time of year. Unfortunately, they are not legal on all beaches in La Jolla, and the ones that do allow them still have some strict regulations. We’ve picked out which beaches in San Diego allow bonfires and broken down everything you need to know about enjoying a La Jolla bonfire!

Before You Go

Before you head to the beach, it’s a good idea to prepare!

  • Pick up some wood or charcoal to burn in the fire pit (burning anything else is prohibited)
  • Pre-bonfire picnics are popular, as well as (of course) s’mores!
  • Don’t forget gloves – they’ll come in handy when you’re handling wood or hot coals
  • Prepare to arrive very early to secure your fire pit
  • Read up on other safety guidelines outlined by the City of San Diego

Also, plan on how you’re going to dispose of the coals or burned material once you’re done. The remains of clean, untreated wood do not have to be removed from your fire pit, but coals in other containers should be deposited in receptacles specifically marked for hot coal disposal. Dumping coals in a regular trash can could result in a fire.

La Jolla Shores

There are 6 fire pits available at La Jolla Shores, and they are available on a first come, first served basis. They do fill up quickly, especially on holidays like the 4th of July and Memorial Day – some arrive as early as 6am to secure their spot! Weekdays are less crowded, but if you’re planning on a weekend bonfire, we do recommend getting there quite early to secure the pit. The ordinance for officially reserving a fire pit in San Diego requires that at least two adults are in the vicinity at all times, so keep this in mind as well.

Here are a few general guidelines courtesy of SanDiego.gov (these apply to all fire pits in San Diego):

  • Fires are not allowed between midnight and 5am
  • The burning of rubbish is prohibited.
  • Only wood, charcoal or paper products may be used as fuel
  • Fuel for the fire may not exceed a height of more than twelve inches above the upper edge of the fire pit
  • Open beach fires outside of the provided pits are prohibited at all times
  • All fires must be extinguished before leaving the beach. Coals must be removed or deposited in hot coal containers
  • Overnight camping is prohibited here

Once you’ve secured a pit, a great way to kill some time is to go swimming! La Jolla Shores is the perfect beach for swimming and surfing, and there are designated areas for both. The Shores is also a popular place for scuba diving and kayaking. There are always lifeguards present at the Shores between 9am and dusk. Don’t forget to call ahead to check surf conditions!

Tourmaline Beach

Officially known as Tourmaline Surfing Park, this spot is a longtime favorite of local surfers. Swimming is largely prohibited here, as it’s primarily for surfing; but it makes for some great sightseeing! Take a look at the park’s monument up close and you’ll see surfing legends called out by name, a testament to some of the greatest innovators in the sport of surfing.

A few things to know about this location:

  • Parking is free (there’s a big lot available)
  • During April through October, dogs on leashes are allowed on the beach before 9:00am and after 6:00pm.
  • Other amenities include: restrooms, showers, picnic tables, barbecues, and lifeguards for your safety and convenience needs.

As always, the fire pits are first-come, first-served, so arriving early is also advised.

Ocean Beach

This beach is perpetually crowded because of the popular Pier, but fortunately there are numerous fire pits here – your odds of getting one are pretty good provided you arrive early in the day.

  • Other amenities include volleyball courts, picnic tables, a lifeguard, showers and a fishing pier
  • Lifeguards are staffed year-round from 9am til dusk
  • Dogs are not allowed here, but they are allowed at the 24-hour Dog Beach just adjacent to this beach
  • Overnight camping is prohibited

Coronado Beach

If you’re looking for a more luxurious bonfire experience, this beach is for you! The fire pits at Coronado are spread out across the sand and easy to spot, which makes this an extremely popular location for families.

Coronado Beach starts at the Hotel Del Coronado and continues north. Access to the main Coronado Beach is from the area near the “Hotel Del” where there are free parking spaces all along Ocean Blvd. This wide family-friendly beach gets crowded, but it is wide enough that you can find a place to spread out comfortably. Keep an eye out for the elaborate sand castles for which this beach is known!

  • Get here early to park nearby and secure a good spot on the sand
  • Other amenities include picnic tables, BBQs, restrooms and the gorgeous Hotel del Coronado nearby
  • If you head south from the Del, you’ll find a beach below tall condo buildings called Coronado Shores Beach which has a free public parking lot.
  • Fun fact: The Hotel Del can one-up your bonfire experience! Make it gourmet by renting one of their fire pits and roasting s’mores on the beach or other yummy treats (hot dogs and a charcuterie board are on the menu).

Before You Leave

Fire hazards are a big risk in Southern California, especially during the summer months. The best way to reduce hazards from beach fires is proper disposal of the coals, and that begins with putting out the fire.

Begin the process 45 minutes to an hour before leaving to make sure you have plenty of time to put the fire out. Cover the fire with sand to douse the fire, then pour water over it to cool the coals. You can leave anything that isn’t burned inside the pit.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the La Jolla Children’s Pool

Children’s Pool Beach is one of the most well known (and loved!) beaches in La Jolla, California. Built in 1930, it was one of the many gifts that philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps gave to the community of La Jolla. Originally heralded as a “wonderful improvement” by the press and local residents alike, the concrete seawall and the beach it protects became the setting for controversy and debate just sixty years after it was finished. Here are a few things you may not know about this La Jolla beach!

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1. It was briefly transformed into a movie set in 1977.

A World War I battlefield set, to be exact! Not many people know that the Children’s Pool Beach was the location for a 15-minute beach battle scene in the movie The Stunt Man, starring Peter O’Toole, in November of 1977. The movie also filmed scenes in Coronado (at the Hotel del Coronado) and in East County near Flinn Springs. A large crane was brought in for the scene, as well as several other wartime props and even airplanes. Fun fact: In that scene, O’Toole is transported by a crane from the Children’s Pool to the veranda of the Del; only locals know how geographically impossible that scenario is!

2. The entire project took a total of ten years.

From the initial survey and design to the final changes completed by the contractor, the breakwater was truly no small feat. Years of extensive planning, a tedious permit and approval process, and construction filled with numerous delays and obstacles were the project’s biggest enemies. On May 31, 1931 a dedication ceremony occurred at the breakwater to celebrate what was then (and still is, by most standards) a massive accomplishment.

3. At its highest point, the seawall stands at a whopping sixteen feet.

As it extends towards the open ocean, the wall gets gradually higher; going from ten feet to sixteen. This gradual incline was very much intentional, and was constructed in order to preserve its aesthetic look and not detract from the natural scenery surrounding the pool.

4. The breakwater required a total of almost 3,200 barrels of concrete.

The 3,125.5 barrels of Riverside Concrete arrived by railroad cars, along with 31 tons of rail from Los Angeles by the Shannahan Brothers Company.

5. Efforts have begun to get the Children’s Pool placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The a potentially historic place’s connection to important persons; in this case, Ellen Browning Scripps, who was the benefactress for the project, and Engineer Hiram Newton Savage, because he really was never fully recognized for accomplishing one of La Jolla’s biggest architectural marvels. Savage, who died three years after the Pool was opened, is credited with planning what would be San Diego’s water development and supervised the construction or expansion of some of San Diego’s dams.

Interestingly, the seawall’s architect, William Templeton Johnson’s contribution and involvement will also be highlighted. Johnson designed the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park, La Valencia Hotel, San Diego National History Museum, and several other buildings throughout the area. He had a fascination with Mission Revival and Spanish Eclectic architecture; not surprising, given that his proposed design for the Children’s Pool was utilitarian, unobtrusive, and consistent with the organic principals found in the breakwater’s design.

The Children’s Pool is still very much loved by locals and tourists alike today; in fact, it’s probably one of the busiest beaches in all of San Diego! Though the local seals and sea lions have taken over in recent years, it’s still a beautiful place to watch the wildlife or go scuba diving. How many of these fun facts did you know about the Children’s Pool?

Kayaking in La Jolla: Everything You Need to Know

La Jolla Kayaking

If you love the ocean and revel in exploring it, kayaking in La Jolla will be a magical experience for you. This activity is incredibly popular and is definitely one of the top things to do in La Jolla when you’re visiting. The local tour companies are experts, and know exactly where to take you and how to get you there so you get the most out of your experience. There are all kinds of things to explore; from venturing inside Clam Cave to the chance to see some wildlife, there is nothing quite like kayaking in La Jolla!

Whether it’s your first time out on the water or your fiftieth, here are some ways to get the most out of your kayaking adventure.

The La Jolla Underwater Park

This vast area of sea goes all along the La Jolla Coast and includes the ocean bottom and canyons that extend from it. 90% of this is protected as an Underwater Park and Ecological Reserve, meaning there is no fishing or scavenging of any kind and all wildlife and plant life is being preserved. This is part of their mission to protect the local, aquatic wildlife. In total, the park encompass approximately 6,000 acres. It’s particularly interesting because of its wide variety of landscapes; deep submarine canyons, rocky reef shallows, kelp bed, sand flats are all visible to snorkelers and on clear days, kayakers!

At times, the water will be crystal clear and provide you incredible views below the water’s surface; this is your chance to see all kinds of fish (especially the state fish, Garibaldi), leopard sharks, shovelnose guitarfish, and more.

Learn more about which areas you want to explore by kayak below:

The Seven La Jolla Caves

The timeworn cliffs of this coast have, over their 75 million years, had caves carved into the sandstone. Weather permitting, coast into these caves for a breathtaking experience. These seven caves are, from east to west:

White Lady
Little Sister
Shopping Cart
Sea Surprize
Arch Cave
Clam’s Cave
Sunny Jim Cave

All of the caves can only be explored by kayak, except for Sunny Jim, which you can hike down into. There is a small tunnel leading down from the Cave Store that you can go through by foot. During the 1920s Prohibition, it is said that illegal smugglings happened through here! Clam Cave is the only cave you can actually kayak into, but you can pass by the other caves quite closely and really see their beauty up close.

 

The Ecological Reserve

Tours run by companies like La Jolla Kayak often leave from this area, which can be accessed from La Jolla Shores. You can see buoys near the shoreside of Scripps Park, at the northeast point of La Jolla Shores and more again out into the canyons. Try to make out the invisible path between each of the buoys, and you have the perimeter of the reserve.

What plants and creatures can you look forward to seeing? There are often leopard sharks, dolphins, whales and, of course, sea lions hanging out here. Spot them swimming amongst the kelp and the reefs of the ocean arena.

The Marine Life Refuge

Head north of the reserve, and you’ll find yourself in the Marine Life Refuge. This space was set up in 1929 by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography for research purposes. Though academic work is conducted here, you are also allowed to fish and play in its perimeters.

As with the Ecological Reserve, get ready to coast on the water and look down to sites of leopard sharks, garibaldi, sea lions and, depending on the day, dolphins!

Kayak Tours & Rentals

To learn the area and valuable kayaking techniques, there are certified guides ready to take you on your La Jolla kayaking adventure. We recommend booking as far in advance as possible, especially during the summer months. There are several companies that provide kayaking tours, and some are even combo tours (bike and kayak, snorkel and kayak, etc.). Some of our favorites are La Jolla Kayak, Everyday California, and Bike & Kayak Tours of La Jolla.

If you’ve already kayaked before, you may only the equipment and not a full tour. These companies, and local shops, also rent out kayaks and other equipment. For more information, check out our complete La Jolla Shores guide!

5 Epic La Jolla Activities for the Outdoor Adventurer

La Jolla Activities for the Outdoor Adventurer

La Jolla, San Diego is a pretty great place to explore – especially for outdoor enthusiasts! There are plenty of La Jolla activities for the outdoor adventurer, from scuba diving to hang gliding and even snorkeling through the many sea caves along the coast. If adventure is your thing (or adrenaline!), these are five things to do in La Jolla that you won’t want to miss!

Paraglide or Hang Glide

Nestled above Blacks Beach, this cliff-high spot is the go-to-place for those craving a flying adventure! This 300 foot-high spot has been launching fliers for over 100 years, making it the most historic aviation site for non-powered flight on Earth. It’s been deemed a historic place by the state of California because of the many famous flyers and records that have been set here. The Gliderport offers an array of tandem flights and lessons, including:

  • Tandem Paragliding & Hang Gliding with a certified instructor
  • Paragliding lessons
  • Advanced clinics
  • Powered Paraglider lessons

Be sure to give the Gliderport a call before you head over there. Wind and weather conditions vary greatly, and on certain days they don’t allow people to fly. Visit their website for more information. Tip: Afterwards, visit the Cliffhanger Café for an epic cliffside dining experience! The full-service deli-cafe is open daily, offering lunch and snacks from 9am-4pm.

Snorkel & Swim

La Jolla Cove is an incredible place to snorkel, because the beach is sheltered from the waves due to its north facing location (this is one of the most popular things to do in La Jolla). Once you get your snorkel gear on, you don’t have to swim far to see a multitude of aquatic life. While the most plentiful are Garibaldi and sea lions, people have been known to see leopard sharks, octopus, stingrays, sea stars, urchins and many other fish species. You can also choose to swim at La Jolla Shores Beach or Windansea Beach. Several tour companies offer snorkel rentals and guided snorkeling tours, including Everyday California, La Jolla Kayak, and Bike & Kayak Tours La Jolla.

Tip: We recommend swimming at La Jolla Shores Beach for children and amateur swimmers due to its sandy bottom and smaller waves. Windansea Beach has a big shore break and a rocky bottom and is probably best-suited for adults and more advanced swimmers. Afterwards, visit the tide pools for further adventures!

D+B takes on kayaking 💪

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Kayak the Seven La Jolla Caves

If you love the ocean and revel in exploring it, kayaking in La Jolla will be a magical experience for you. The reason? The La Jolla Underwater Park, which is a vast area of sea that goes all along the La Jolla Coast and includes the ocean bottom and canyons that extend from it. Not to mention the incredible sea caves, a few of which you can actually kayak into! In total, the park’s perimeters encompass nearly 6,000 acres! It’s particularly interesting because of its wide variety of landscapes – kelp forests, deep water canyons, rocky shallows, beaches, and sky-high cliffs.

There are several tour companies down at La Jolla Shores that will take you on a guided kayak tour, or a combo kayak and snorkel tour; including La Jolla KayakEveryday California, and more.

Scuba Dive

If you have your scuba certification, there is truly no more beautiful place in San Diego to scuba dive than La Jolla. From kelp forests at La Jolla Cove to the canyon wall at La Jolla Shores, the La Jolla Ecological Reserve has it all – beautiful, diverse marine life and the chance of seeing something amazing. There’s even an underwater graveyard to explore!

During the summer, you can swim with the leopard sharks, and throughout the year marine life such as sea lions, seals, green turtles, sevengill sharks, giant black sea bass, toupe sharks and even dolphin have been seen by divers. There are a few different companies that offer guided tours, such as La Jolla Dive and San Diego Expeditions. Most tours meet at Kellogg Park or on the beach at the Shore

Rent a Bike and Explore on Wheels

There are several different options for bike rentals and bike tours in La Jolla, and for good reason! Beautiful, clear weather year-round and terrific views make for some great biking excursions. Bike & Kayak Tours offers bike rentals starting at $8 an hour, and La Jolla Kayak offers two pretty awesome combo bike tours: the Soledad Slide Bike Tour and the half-day Bike & Kayak Tour (which essentially combines the original Kayak Tour with the Soledad Slide Tour). Head to our Tours on Wheels page for more info!

Tip: Nearby, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and the Salk Institute provide for some great informational activities after you finish with the outdoors. Call ahead for information, tickets, and tour dates. Both the Birch Aquarium and Salk are easily accessible from La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores.

La Jolla is a great place for families to spend the day outdoors; at just a 30-minute drive from downtown San Diego and other nearby attractions such as Balboa Park, northern areas like Del Mar (and the Del Mar Fairgrounds) and Solana Beach, and with so many attractions of its own (the sea lions, sea caves, beautiful beaches, and incredible restaurants), it’s definitely a must-do when in the City of San Diego.

Wildlife You Might See on Your Torrey Pines Hike

Torrey Pines State Reserve, nestled in between Del Mar and La Jolla, is well known for its beachside network of trails and walking paths. There are six different trailsto explore throughout the Reserve, and one (the aptly named Beach Trail) takes hikers directly down to the beach, where they finish off the hike with a nice stroll.

There is plenty to see within the Reserve itself, however; in the spring, colorful wildflowers dot the hills, and you’re likely to see at least one or two creatures during your hike as well as the rare Torrey Pine tree itself. Here is some of the most interesting wildlife you might spot on your next Torrey Pines hike!

Coyotes, Mule Deer, & Other Mammals

California Ground Squirrel and Cottontail Rabbits are the most common mammals that visitors see at the Reserve — both are relatively tolerant of humans and relatively active during the day. The larger black-tail jackrabbit can be seen in the more open areas near the lagoon and in the flatlands. Most of the other animals are nocturnal and will be seen in the early morning or late afternoon as they begin or end their nocturnal movements. Skunks, raccoons, opossums, weasels, pocket gophers, gray fox, and coyotes have also been spotted; so it’s always good to keep an eye out!

The mule deer is more secretive and is rarely seen by visitors. Do keep an eye out for gray fox and raccoon tracks, as these are the most common in the Reserve.

Plants & Blooming Cactus

If you’re a plant lover, Torrey Pines has you covered! The wide variety of native plants are some of the most unique and interesting things to observe at the Reserve. Because it’s such a protected area, the plant life has had the opportunity to grow wild; springtime makes for a beautiful landscape, especially with the abundant wildflowers and colorful cacti. Here are the types of plant communities you’ll see:

  • Torrey Pine Woodland: the Torrey Pine is the most restricted and rarest pine in North America and is probably the remnant of an ancient coastal forest.
  • Chaparral: California’s most extensive and characteristic plant community thrives here.
  • Coastal Sage Scrub: plants like  California Sagebrush, California Buckwheat, Black Sage, Deerweed Bush, Lemonadeberry,  Coastal Prickly Pear, and Bladderpod.
  • Coastal Strand: a different plant community, with plants like Sand Verbena, Beach Primrose, and Sea Rocket.
  • Salt Marsh: think low-lying grasses! This type of plant community is a great natural wildlife habitat.

Most notable as you walk through the Reserve are the different cacti (prickly pear is the most common), which occasionally sport beautiful blooms. Keep an eye out for these on your hike!

Birds

Of all the wildlife you might see on your Torrey Pines hike, you’re most likely to see a bird; fluttering in and out of the scrub brush and landing on tree branches overhead. Here are some of the more common species that people report seeing:

Red-tailed Hawk: Wingspread is about four feet, and it soars in a circular pattern; round white tail with a reddish tinge; light-colored breast, broadband of streaking across belly; nest is a platform of sticks in trees.

California Quail: Small, plump, grayish birds with short black plume growing forward from the crown.

Anna’s Hummingbird: Red crown, red throat; only hummingbird found in California in mid-winter.

Scrub Jay: No crest on the head; head, wings, and tail are blue; back is pale brownish; often flies down slopes in long shallow curves.

Wrentit: Long rounded, slightly cocked tail and streaked brownish breast, with a white eye; nest is a compact cup in a low bush.

 

Mourning Dove: Pointed tail bordered with large white spots; brown, slim-shaped body; nest is a flimsy twig platform in a tree, shrub, or on the ground.

Common Raven: Larger than a crow, the raven has a wedge-shaped tail and is not inclined to fly in flocks like crows. These birds are commonly seen soaring on the updrafts along the beach cliffs and in the canyons of Torrey Pines. They are acrobats and sometimes perform barrel rolls!

Osprey: The Osprey measures about two feet in length and has a wingspan of nearly six feet. It may log more than 160,000 migration miles during its 15-to-20-year lifetime. The name osprey may derive from the Latin for “bone-breaker”— ossifragus.

Red-Shouldered Hawk: This hawk has strong black and white bands on its tail, and rusty undersides. In flight, a translucent “window” can be seen at the base of the primary feathers on the wing.

Peregrine Falcon

This year, the Reserve has four fledgling peregrines on site! They are the result of a successful mating between two peregrine falcons that have been nesting in the cliffs for years.

Fun facts: the peregrine falcon is the fastest animal in the world – when in a dive, it can reach over 200 mph! Slow and clumsy birds in flight, namely ducks or pigeons, are their favorite prey. When hunting, the peregrine dives, creating a fist with its talon.

 

 

Blacks Beach: A Photographer’s Wonderland

Blacks Beach is one of the most picturesque (if not most difficult to get to) beach in La Jolla; with jagged cliffs, a long stretch of white sand, and colorful paragliders dotting the sky, there really isn’t any other place like it. Long known for its impressive surf break and most famous for allowing nudity, Blacks Beach has been a cultish local favorite for decades. The pathways down – there are several – are tricky, steep, and not for the faint of heart; the indelible Ho Chi Minh Trail is especially known for its treacherous and muddy terrain. On top of all that, it’s an awesome place to catch the sunset.

While the northern part of Blacks Beach is clothing optional, the southern part of it is utilized by surfers and swimmers; and makes for some great amateur photography!

The Views:

The Sunsets:

The Surfers

The Trails:

There’s nothing quite like the sand-colored cliffs at Blacks Beach.

The Paragliders:

Paragliders can almost always be seen flying high above the cliffs at Blacks Beach. They come directly south from the Torrey Pines Gliderport, and the color contrast really makes for some beautiful photos!

The Cliffs

The Mushroom House

Fun Fact: The elusive and famed “Mushroom House” is located on the southern portion of Blacks Beach! Built in 1968, it was originally called the Pavilion and could be accessed from the cliffs above via a nearly vertical tramway running almost 300 feet down the cliff. It was used as a guest house and was designed by architect Dal Nagle to withstand naturally occurring rock slides, earthquakes, and waves. It offers an 180-degree view from Torrey Pines State Park to La Jolla.

Although Blacks Beach is one of the most photogenic, there are plenty of other gorgeous La Jolla beaches! What’s your favorite La Jolla Beach in California? Share with us on Facebook!

 

 

Exploring La Jolla Tide Pools with Kids

“Look here, look here! Come and see this Mami!” The kids usually shout excited looking at the marine life they find at the La Jolla tide pools.

We recently visited the tide pools for the first time ever and now we are hooked! It’s so fun to go see sea creatures in their natural habitat.

Dike Rock Tide Pools

Our adventure included two La Jolla Tide Pools: Dike Rock and Hospitals Break. When you explore tide pools with kids you are probably going to discover more because kids are such experts to point out the best finds!

That said, I decided to take them to Dike Rock first which is north of Scripps Pier. I parked close to the entrance of Scripps Beach on La Jolla Shores Dr., just make sure to park where there isn’t time limit because you’ll spend a long time exploring and you don’t want to rush back! (It happened to us!!).

Once you get down to the beach you walk north until you see the rocks where the tide pools are located.

We started exploring immediately. The first creatures we saw were crabs, they were everywhere and in lots of different sizes. We even saw one that was eating! It was moving his claws one after the other to his mouth!

Another creature that you will probably see a lot are Sea Anemones, they are greenish inside and sometimes if they are curled you won’t notice them, they are brown and covered with shells on the outside.

Hospitals Break Tide Pools

The second and final stop in our tide pool exploration was Hospitals Break, it’s south of the Children’s Pool and it’s quite a big area for tide pools. The rock formations there are very unique, there are some rocks covered with what seems like a carpet of seagrass, it’s amazing.

The kids can’t stop talking about their experience at the tide pools, we are planning to come back with some friends. I recommend you to go with your kids, if you do, make sure to check out the tide charts before you go, look for a minus (-) number for the best experience!

What to bring:

  • Wearing swimming suit is best or clothes you don’t mind getting wet
  • Water shoes (not flip flops)
  • Don’t forget the Sunscreen
  • Camera

Where to go:

And here is a list of the most talked-about La Jolla Tide Pools you can visit, starting north and going south:

  • Dike Rock
  • South of La Jolla Shores Beach
  • La Jolla Cove
  • Shell Beach
  • Hospitals Break
  • Whispering Sands Beach
  • Marine Street Beach
  • Windandsea beach

Happy tide pooling in La Jolla!

things to do in la jolla

Top Things to Do in La Jolla

La Jolla offers countless activities to dabble in. Whether you enjoy long walks, adventurous outdoor activities, fantastic shopping, or fine dining, you will always find what you’re looking for here in La Jolla!

Dining

From the famous fine dining of George’s at the Cove to the Brockton Villa’s award-winning french toast, you will be delighted by the incredible variety and pristine quality of La Jolla restaurants. If you’re seeking a more casual spot for a laid-back beach day, don’t worry, there are plenty of spots for grabbing a bite.

Enjoy cooking yourself? There are great local stores and the terrific La Jolla Open Aire Market (every Sunday) for picking your own produce. Learn more about the La Jolla food scene on our Ultimate Guide to the Best Restaurants in La Jolla.

Indulge Your Sweet Tooth

La Jolla is known for its fine dining – and its confectionaries! There are several delicious spots to grab something sweet after dinner, from bakeries to gelaterias and ice cream shops.

  • Sugar & Scribe Bakery
  • Bobboi Natural Gelato
  • Haagen Dazs Ice Cream
  • Gelateria Frizzante

For more information on all of these, head to our dining guide!

La Jolla Beaches

The soft sand and blue waters of the Southern California seaside are highly acclaimed for a reason. Whichever beach spot you choose here, you’ll have made the right choice! From family-friendly activities to beautiful spots to lay out, each La Jolla beach definitely has its own personality.

  • La Jolla Shores
  • La Jolla Cove
  • Windansea Beach
  • Shell Beach
  • Children’s Pool
  • Wipeout Beach
  • Boomer Beach
  • Marine Street Beach
  • Torrey Pines Beach
  • Black’s Beach

Activities

From kayaking and snorkeling to land activities like golfing at the world renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course, you will find countless sun-soaking activities to take part in. Enjoy hiking? Get ready to the hit the trails because there are many great ones you’ll want to explore. For a more relaxing day with the family, the parks here act as the perfect spot for bringing a picnic and throwing a frisbee.

la jolla things to do

Outdoor

  • Hike into Sunny Jim Cave (lots of stairs, but an incredible view!)
  • Have a picnic at Ellen Browning Scripps Park
  • Take a walking tour of La Jolla’s murals
  • Visit UCSD (and check out the outdoor Stuart Collection)
  • Try stand-up paddle boarding or surfing
  • Take a Kayak Tour of the La Jolla Sea Caves
  • Go snorkeling around the Cove – and swim with the leopard sharks!
  • Watch the gliders at Torrey Pines Gliderport
  • Visit Mt. Soledad Veteran’s Memorial
  • Go whale watching
  • Take your own Architecture Tour of La Jolla (Geisel Library and the historic cottages in the Village are some of the best examples!)
  • Check out the local tide pools 
  • Watch a beautiful sunset from the shore
  • Hit the La Jolla Open Aire Market (every Sunday, 9am-1pm at 7335 Girard Ave)

Indoor

  • Spend the day at the Birch Aquarium
  • Enjoy one of La Jolla’s many museums
    • Museum of Contemporary Art
    • Map & Atlas Museum
    • Athenaeum Music & Arts Library
  • Check out one of the many art galleries
    • Thumbprint Gallery
    • Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery
    • National Geographic Gallery
  • See a play at world-renowned La Jolla Playhouse
  • Visit the Salk Institute (you’ll need to schedule one of their Guided Tours)
  • Visit the La Jolla Historical Society for a bit of local history

Cruise the Coast

The main attraction of La Jolla is, of course, the ocean. Enjoying the views from land is great, but why not get close and see it from the water itself?

La Jolla offers breathtaking sunset and dinner cruises that will have all those on land envious. Learn more about the cruises offered to you at our Dinner Cruises & Sunset Cruises Page. During whale watching season, they offer special Whale Watching Cruises – a spectacular event that you don’t want to miss out on.

Shopping

Whether you’re seeking the perfect ring from Cartier, a fun & fresh outfit from Francesca’s or a day of window shopping, La Jolla has the shopping escapade you have in mind. From the big brand shops in the UTC mall to local shops of Ivanhoe, shopping lovers are spoiled for choice.

  • Girard Avenue Shops
  • Shops on Ivanhoe St.
  • Westfield UTC
  • Design District on Herschel Ave.

Local Events

Annual happenings like the Christmas Parade and theater shows keep life, including the nightlife, here interesting. Check out our calendar & blog to see what is coming up! And learn more about La Jolla events at our Events Page. Here are some annual events that you can look forward to every year.

  • Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course (January)
  • La Jolla Concours d’Elegance: a world-renowned seaside car show (April)
  • Secret Garden Tour of La Jolla: explore some of La Jolla’s most beautiful gardens (May)
  • 4th of July Fireworks at La Jolla Cove (July)
  • La Jolla Rough Water Swim (September, unless cancelled)
  • La Jolla Art & Wine Festival (October)
  • La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival (December)

Comedy Shows

As we all know, laughter is the best medicine. Come get a dose of it at La Jolla’s top laugh-inducing spot, The Comedy Store, which has been around since 1977. This venues features all types of comedians, so you’re sure to find someone who will have you chuckling. Learn more about what this venue has to offer at our Comedy Store Page.

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Take a Walk (or a Hike!)

There are several beautiful areas to walk through and enjoy the scenery in La Jolla.

  • Coast Walk Trail
  • Torrey Pines Trails
  • Scripps Coastal Reserve – Biodiversity Trail
  • Mt. Soledad trails
  • Fay Avenue Bike Path

For more information on hiking, head to our scenic hikes page!

Stay the Night

La Jolla hotels range from five-star extravagant experiences to historic bungalows by the sea. There are plenty of options to choose from, no matter what your style is!

  • La Jolla Shores Hotel
  • La Jolla Cove Suites
  • La Valenica
  • Grande Colonial
  • The Lodge at Torrey Pines
  • Estancia La Jolla
  • Pantai Inn
  • Empress Hotel
  • Hotel La Jolla
  • Redwood Cottages
  • Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla
  • Scripps Inn

Head here for more information on all of these hotels in La Jolla.

Whether you’re staying for a day or for the week, there plenty of ways to stay busy and enjoy your time in La Jolla! What are some of your favorite things to do here? Let us know in the Facebook comments!

4 Best La Jolla Beaches for Working on Your Tan

Summer is just around the corner, and we know what that means – the kids are out of school, the sun is shining, and the outdoors are beckoning! Everyone is out and about enjoying the best of La Jolla beaches, great restaurants, and shopping. If you’re looking for a slightly less crowded beach experience, however, these four are where you’ll want to go. Some of them are especially great for outdoor, beach-side picnics!

La Jolla Shores

Expansive, family-friendly, and easy to access, La Jolla Shores is one of the best beaches to get your tan on in La Jolla. There is plenty of sand to spread your towel (and a picnic) out on, and there is a large grassy area that’s perfect for getting some of that sand off your feet before the drive home. This is a great spot to go surfing and bodyboarding, as well.

Besides a fantastic beach with plenty of room, La Jolla Shores also offers a playground area, showers, restrooms, bonfire pits, and a parking lot (though it generally fills up very quickly on weekends). The Scripps Pier is a short walk away (makes for a great sunset photo), and enjoying a bonfire at dusk is a great way to cap the perfect beach day.

Marine Street

Loved by surfers and longtime La Jolla locals, this tucked-away beach is located right off – you guessed it – Marine Street! Famous for its heavy break, it’s a super popular spot for body boarders, boogie boarders, and surfers; though it’s only recommended to go in if you are experienced.

Marine Street is a bit more isolated than other La Jolla beaches, but its soft white sand and secluded beauty makes for a lovely afternoon. There are no public amenities, but lifeguards are almost always on duty during the summer. The oversized chairs make for a great photo op!

Wipeout Beach

Definitely one of the lesser known La Jolla Beaches, Wipeout is a nice carved out little beach located just south of the Children’s Pool. It has just enough sand area to spread out on, and the picturesque cliffs provide a decent windbreak and a beautiful background. The waves and current can get pretty strong here – hence the name! – so practice caution when you’re walking to your sunbathing destination.

There are some tide pools and sea caves to explore here, but only do so during low tide and be very cautious. The rocks can get very slippery when wet.

 

Shell Beach

Shell Beach is a great area for sunbathing during low tide. Concrete steps lead you to a small alcove filled with tide pools. It lies just below Ellen Browning Scripps Park and features plenty of things to explore while you get some sun. If you feel like getting in the water, this is actually a good place to try a little snorkeling; but if you’d rather stay on shore to check out some marine life, look for the sea lions atop Seal Rock in the distance.

Fun tip: look for the green lookout hut above Shell Beach! It’s a great place for a picnic before you head down to get some sunshine.

4 Essential Snorkeling Spots in La Jolla

snorkeling spots in La Jolla
La Jolla Cove, with its white beaches, stunning sunsets, and craggy cliffs, is also gorgeous below the water level! Snorkeling lets you experience the ocean like you never have before and see La Jolla’s unique ecosystem with your own eyes. Here’s our recommendations for the best places to go snorkeling in La Jolla.

Before you go

If you’ve never snorkeled before, you’ll want a basic snorkeling education and a guide on your first trip. Most companies that do guided tours offer them between March and October, during the best water conditions and warmest months. To get an idea of what to expect if you’re a newbie, check out these things to knowbefore snorkeling in La Jolla. As always, respect the environment and don’t take any shells or jab any anemones—much of La Jolla is a nature reserve which makes harassing sealife illegal.

la jolla snorkeling

La Jolla Cove

One of the most popular snorkeling locations is La Jolla Cove, which stretches up to Torrey Pines State Park. This area is sheltered by high-rise cliffs that protect the Cove from large, harsh waves that could cause a more bumpy experience. Instead, this protected area provides space for a smooth, calm water adventure. Fish, sea slugs, rays, leopard sharks and larger animals like sea lions and dolphins are just some of the creatures inhabit the area. The underwater landscape at La Jolla Cove is amazingly beautiful, with tall kelp forests, canyons, and fine sand.

The Seven La Jolla Caves

A popular stop for kayakers, the seven La Jolla caves near La Jolla Cove are a really cool place to explore! You’ll get here in a 5 – 10 minute swim from The Cove. It’s best to go with someone who has visited them before, as they’ll be more familiar with the rocks and water conditions. Many of the caves have stories associated with them, like the White Lady Cave; where legend has it a bride-to-be was taken by a high tide. (Please practice caution). Learn more about all the stories behind the La Jolla caves here!

snorkeling in la jolla

La Jolla Shores

Snorkeling at La Jolla Shores is best on either end of the swimmer’s beach (either north of the pier or south near the Marine Room restaurant). There are sting rays in this area, so just be sure to shuffle your feet as you enter the water to let them know you’re there. At La Jolla Shores, you’ll see a lot of bottom-dwellers like the California spiny lobster or maybe a sheep crab, a large crab with a crusty shell surface that looks like wool. This is definitely one of the most essential snorkeling spots in La Jolla!

Boomer Beach

Boomer Beach is on Coast Boulevard, on the west side of Ellen Browning Scripps park. Since body-surfing and surfers are not allowed, this beach is noticeably less crowded than others during the summer, making it a great snorkeling option. This area gets much stronger waves, so be very careful and only snorkel here if you have experience.

Once you’re ready to set up a guided tour or rent snorkel gear, check out La Jolla Kayak or Everyday California! Where are your favorite snorkeling spots in La Jolla?

 

 

The Perfect Spots to Propose in La Jolla

La Jolla has seven continuous miles of coastline, so it comes as no surprise that many couples like to make use of the ocean views and picturesque cliffs when proposing to their significant other! We’ve rounded up a few select locations where you’ll be sure to find good views, though be sure to check the weatherreport for your big day (especially if you’re trying to catch a sunset).

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Park has a wide variety of places to propose at. There’s a gorgeous beach, as well as several vistas and stopping points through the hiking trails too. Get your pick of a proposal set against a cliff overlooking the sea, a beach, or some dramatic rocky tundra. Whatever you do, it will certainly be scenic. Bonus points if your first date was a hike at Torrey Pines!

 

Windansea Beach

If you want a quiet and scenic beach to propose on, Windansea is a good bet. Windansea beach is much less busy than La Jolla Shores so you’ll get fewer people wandering into the background or distracting you. The distance from the sand to the water is not as long as at other beaches so if you were hoping to hire a surreptitious photographer to catch the moment, they may have to work harder to find a place to hide. There’s the classic Windansea Surf Shack to take cute kissing pictures under. If you plan it right, you can probably Catch a killer sunset too.

Torrey Pines Gliderport

Gliderport has several scenic areas including cliffs, ocean overlooks, and good flat areas for a romantic picnic. There’s usually at least a mild breeze up here, so be aware of that if your proposal involves banners or signs or sprinkling rose petals. This should be obvious, but please choose to kneel in a safe place. Many areas of the cliffs are roped off for your safety, and nobody wants a proposal that ends with a trip to the ER.

Coast Walk

The Coast Walk is one of the overlooked parts of La Jolla, but it has incredible views and a rustic path perfect for popping the question. Points along the way get a nice amount of shade at a certain point in sunset, so you won’t have to squint while you’re kneeling. Plus, it’s right next to the Cove , which means you can look at seals to calm down after the emotional moment and then go get a nice dinner.

Sunset Cliffs

Sunset Cliffs seems to be a popular area to propose in, so even though it’s not part of La Jolla we thought we’d include it as a bonus. (You’re welcome.) There’s a set of trails here that make for a good “scenic walk” excuse, and give you a little more variety of views to propose in front of. If you plan on going out in the water like this couple, be careful of slippery rock and plan for the tides.

Once you’ve gotten a yes, check out some options for the next steps with Where to Take the Best Engagement Photos in La Jolla and The The Ultimate Guide To La Jolla Weddings.

 

 

History of The Windansea Surf Shack

The Windansea Surf Shack is one of the oldest and most prominent beach landmarks in San Diego. The palm-covered hut was first constructed back in 1946 by Woody Ekstrom, Fred Kenyon and Don Okey, though it’s been destroyed and rebuilt a few times over the years. Just fifty-two years after construction it was officially designated by the San Diego Historical Resources Board, but what is it that makes it so unique (besides being a great place to watch the sunset)? We took a look into the history of this little shack by the sea.

History of the Windansea Surf Shack

Woody Eckstrom, Kenyon, and Okey got the idea for the Windansea surf shack in 1946 when Don Okey’s wife asked him to build some shade on the beach for their kids. They went to Scripps Hospital and cut down some eucalyptus trees to build it, with the idea that it would also become a bit of a haven for local surfers. It took some time, but the thatched shack was eventually completed in the summer of 1946. According to sources, they celebrated with a big luau and Hawaiian dancers – celebrations that quickly became hugely popular social events for surfers up and down the coast, getting increasingly rowdier and larger with each year.

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Beautiful day for a stroll at Windansea 🌞

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The shack was destroyed in a winter storm in 1949, but Kenyon and Okey rebuilt it the next year with help from the other local surfers; the parties had become so unruly and rambunctious that they attracted the attention of local authorities and were subject to multiple police raids. Some sources chronicle the existence of “Mac Meda Destruction Company,” a ‘party-loving’ underground society of surfers and locals that was known for its rowdiness and propensity for destruction (hence the name). Very much a part of the Windansea scene, it is said that they held huge parties at the Shack in the 60s despite an ongoing police presence.

The Pump House Gang

The creation of the Mac Meda Destruction Company is said to have resulted from the sometimes outrageous behavior of its namesakes, Jack Macpherson and Bob “Meda” Rakestraw, whose nickname came from his habit of crying out “Mee-dah!” instead of swearing. The group was actually mentioned in The Pump House Gang, Tom Wolfe’s famous chronicle of the teenage surfers who hung out at Windansea Beach in La Jolla. Appropriately, the last big surf shack party was said to have been held in 1978 near the Pumphouse – the structure that sits on the rocks just above the beach and is the reason for Wolfe’s book’s title.

After that, the shack needed maintenance pretty much anytime there was a rainstorm and started looking a bit more tattered than it did in earlier days. Over time, it was forced to moved away from the oncoming waves near shore and ended up where it is today back towards the rocks; though each time it got destroyed by the tide, local surfers were on the scene repairing it.

Local Surf Legends

Around the same time – throughout the 50s and 60s – surfing’s popularity exploded in California (and around the world). This meant that beaches like Windansea were becoming increasingly busier, drawing crowds from up and down the coast and infiltrating local territory. Those who had grown up in the sport prior to 1957 were dismayed by the increasing hordes of new surfers unleashed by this cultural phenomenon, and the locals at Windansea reacted to the overcrowding with a protective crackdown on their territory.

Because Windansea Beach has been strictly ‘locals only territory’ for so long, there isn’t much in the way of public facilities (like restrooms, showers, or drinking fountains), and the parking lot offers only 16 spaces.

Restoration & Upkeep

The area did, however, recently undergo a pretty significant restoration, which included repaving of the parking lot, new guard rails, and some new steps and landscaping, which had some outcry from locals – their goal is to keep the area as much the same as it has been for the last 90 years.

The Surf Shack has been a part of La Jolla history for more than 70 years; at this point, it’s become so embedded in the surf culture here that it’s now a symbol of not only the beach itself, but of a longstanding, deeply rooted local surfing tradition. There’s no doubt that both surfing and the little shack are, and always will be, a huge part of the La Jolla scene — especially since its designation as a Historical Landmark in 1998. Hopefully the little seaside shack will continue to stand the test of time (with a little help from the locals!).

[sources: Windansea Shack Saved;Windansea Shack, Historical Landmark]

5 Reasons to Check out the La Jolla Tide Pools This Year

La Jolla has tons of opportunities to get out and explore nature, but one you may not have tried is visiting any of the La Jolla tide pools! Whether you hit up Shell Beach at the end of Scripps Park or head to Dike Rock north of Scripps Pier, you won’t regret the trip for these 5 reasons.

1. Natural beauty

This pretty much says it all. Tide pools are gorgeous, from shimmering colors of rocks and algae to striped and spotted fish, crabs, and other aquatic creatures. Make sure to go at low tide for the best view. Note: please do not touch anything, as you can hurt delicate organisms or disrupt the pH level and kill algae they require to live.

2. Not your everyday beach activity

If you’re bored with regular beach activities or the weather’s a bit too cold for a swimsuit, the many tide pools near The Cove are a great alternative. They’re also not too much of a time or energy commitment, so they make for a great lunch break or after-work refresher! No need to go in above your knees, especially since you’ll want to avoid stepping on any wildlife. You may want to keep an eye out for surprise waves, however.

3. Incredible biodiversity

Tide pools are home to very adaptable species, as the shifting cycles of tides means that they must survive both under and above water, in sun and wind, as well as in strong and mild currents! Seaweed, lichen, crabs, mussels, anemone, abalone and many more species of plants and animals live there. See the tide pools now because oceanic conditions are always changing, especially with the atypical weather we’ve had the last few years. What’s here now may not be here in two years!

4. Learn something new

While you definitely don’t need to be well-read to enjoy the tide pools, it can be fun to know what you’re looking at! Facts are more interesting and memorable when you have something really cool to attach it to. Did you know the starburst sea anemone stings other anemones to fight over territory? We found this helpful guide from Scripps that points out things to look for and what they are. Skip to the fifth page for a good illustration of where to find what.

5. Meditative and restorative

La Jolla tide pools with their intricate visual details and gently flowing water are great to use for mindfulness. Looking at a complex thing for a while is a good way to step out of the hassles of everyday life and revive your spirits. For a double dose of focus and peace, try closing your eyes and listening to ocean noises.

A few tips before you go: Make sure to wear shoes that will protect your feet from sharp rocks and prevent you from slipping! Nobody wants to fall in and get wet, and you might damage the tide pools if you do. Bring a camera, as tide pools make for great photo opportunities (though you might want to consider waterproofing options). Early morning in the summer and late afternoon in the fall and winter will probably get you the best tide pool visibility.

Photo credits to Roger Wagner and Kenneth Hagemeyer from flickr.com

8 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting the La Jolla Cove Seals

A trip to see the La Jolla Cove seals and sea lions in La Jolla, San Diego is a fantastic way to get out and about and see nature! Whether you’re shooting for a family beach trip or peaceful lunch break, you’ll get the most out of the experience if you know a few things going in. Here’s what you need to know before visiting the La Jolla Cove Seals. To learn more about La Jolla Cove visit our handy guide.

1. Plan your trip

Firstly, try to find out what parts of the beach are open. While La Jolla Cove is open year-round, the Children’s Pool (Casa Beach)is closed from December 15 to May 15 to protect the newly-born seal pups. You can still watch from a distance along the sea wall and might even see a birth! If you don’t see any seals directly on the sandy beach at the Cove, direct your gaze towards the rock straight ahead; affectionately known by locals as “Seal Rock,” this is another favorite seal hangout. We typically see them on the rock closer to sundown, after they have gone out in search of food. Another option is to take a kayak tour, which goes right by many of the seals’ hangout spots.

When it’s open, the Children’s Pool is another great place to watch Pacific Ocean wildlife. Its waters are protected as an underwater park and Ecological Reserve, which means restrictions are put in place to protect all marine mammals and marine life. It’s a ten-minute walk south from the Cove, and makes for a great second stop to continue your seal-watching. The sea wall (built in 1931 thanks to Ellen Browning Scripps) protects the small swimming cove and provides a calm area for swimming and snorkeling – and for seal sunbathing!

After you’ve checked out the seals, many people opt to have an outdoors picnic at Ellen Browning Scripps Park, or dine at one of the many restaurants that line the coast. If you’re more in the mood for staying outdoors, there are plenty of options including snorkeling, kayak tours, scuba diving, surfing, or stand up paddle boarding available at La Jolla Shores. The nearby sea caves provide plenty of opportunity for exploration, as well (including tide pools).

2. Respect, respect, respect

Both locals and tourists have a tendency to take the Cove for granted and forget its natural residents when going swimming or visiting the beach. Don’t leave trash on the La Jolla Cove or Children’s Pool beach or try to feed the seals and sea lions, as both of these activities can harm the animals. If you’re swimming in an area where seals are, keep an eye out so you’re not surprised if one shows up, and stay some distance away.

3. Keep your distance

Whether in the water or on the shore, don’t get too close or take photos with the animals, wave selfie sticks in their faces, or yell at them. Sea lions and seals deserve their space. Additionally, the group at the Cove is better socialized than most groups of seals and sea lions, but they will still bite if they feel threatened. If you have small children, keep an eye on them to prevent them from interacting with the seals.

The term “flushing” was actually coined to describe the act of scaring a seal or sea lion back into the water. Doing so will cost a hefty $500 fine and can seriously jeopardize both the health and safety of the animal.

4. Expect a smell from (very important!) poop

La Jolla Cove may naturally be a little stinky from seal and sea lion poop, but visitors adjust to the smell very quickly. However unappealing it might be to human noses, poop actually serves a vital role in the ocean ecosystem! When seals poop, the nutrients and nitrogen from their deep ocean diet are made available to feed planktons and algae that other animals eat. Without seals, these plants would not get enough nutrients and would die, along with many other species (including leopard sharks; keep an eye out for these cool creatures during the summer).

5. Seals or sea lions?

La Jolla Cove has both seal and sea lions — but how do you tell the difference between them? Firstly, you’re way more likely to see seals at the Children’s Pool, whereas the sea lions live next door near the cliffs at the Cove. Seals are much more quiet than the vocal sea lions and only move on land by wiggling on their bellies, whereas sea lions are able to “walk” using their flippers.

6. Don’t say goodbye

The presence of the La Jolla Cove seals and sea lions is being threatened by local litigation that sees the seal odor as hurting nearby commercial interests. If you enjoy getting to witness nature outside of a zoo, consider donating to the Seal Conservatory at sealconservatory.org or contributing your voice to this ongoing political issue.

7. Parking at La Jolla Cove

Park early in the day, or park a little further away from the Cove on Girard or Prospect and walk. La Jolla Boulevard fills up very quickly. There should be handicap parking and reliable sidewalks along La Jolla Boulevard. Depending on your disability going all the way down to the Children’s Beach, etc. may not be possible because of sandy walkways.

There is street parking (usually with a 2-hour time limit until 6pm on weekdays) along Prospect and Coast Blvd. If it’s too busy to find something on the street, there are a few parking garages in the Village that charge an hourly rate. Check out our guide to free parking in La Jolla for more information.

Explore More of La Jolla Cove

8. Just in case

While the beach promises fun in the sun, once in a blue moon a problem may arise. If you see a sick or injured seal or sea lion, call the Sea World Mammal Rescue at (800) 541-7325. This group is much more capable of helping than Animal Control. Likewise, if you see an animal being abused, call the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Enforcement hotline at (800) 853-1964.

Some other tips

  • Wear close-toed shoes if you plan on walking out on the beach or any rocky areas. It can get slippery very quickly out there, especially coming down the stairs to get to La Jolla Cove.
  • Wearing pants that you don’t mind getting wet is also a good idea.
  • Don’t forget your camera! The seals and sea lions make for a great (and very cute) photo op.

Visiting the La Jolla Cove seals and sea lions is one of the best things to do in La Jolla, and a big part of what makes our coastal community so special. Have you been to see them yet?

Explore La Jolla Cove on Wheels

la-jolla-cove-0020La Jolla Cove is a beautiful spot to look at the seals, take some photographs, and check out the waves – but all that walking around can get tiring! Luckily, there are a few options for exploring La Jolla Cove on wheels so you can take the edge off a long day on your feet. From biking to trying out a Segway and even taking out a golf cart, here are the easiest ways to kick back, relax, and enjoy La Jolla Cove!

 

 

Rent a Golf Cart

La Jolla Golf Carts provides four, six, and eight-seat vehicles for all of you and your families’ golf cart needs! This is a great way to see the Cove in style. Take one out for a spin for an hour or the entire day; you can even schedule a guided tour of the Village and the beautiful La Jolla coastline if you want something a bit more structured.

Prices start at $59/hour for a 4-seater and $79/hour for a 6-seater. They are located at 888 Prospect Street in La Jolla.

Rent (Or Take a Tour on) a Bike

There is a myriad of bike rental options in La Jolla. And for good reason – with practically perfect weather year-round, what better way to take in the gorgeous coastline than on a pair of wheels?! Bike & Kayak Tours offers all types of bikes at hourly and day rates, starting at just $8 an hour. If you’re really feeling adventurous, they offer mountain and trail bikes for the off-roaders!

La Jolla Kayak offers two pretty awesome combo bike tours: the Soledad Slide Bike Tour and the half-day Bike & Kayak Tour (which essentially combines the original Kayak Tour with the Soledad Slide Tour).

The Soledad Slide Tour starts atop Mt. Soledad with 360-degree panoramas of the beautiful San Diego coastline, then winds its way down past all the hidden treasures and hot spots in La Jolla, including La Jolla Cove. Riders are transported to the top of Mt. Soledad, and the tour is mostly downhill and suitable for riders of all skill level. If you prefer to explore La Jolla at your own pace, we can supply you with everything you’ll need including a bike, helmet and maps!

Take a Tour on a Segway

Roll through La Jolla on a two-wheeler! Segway of Pacific Beach offers a Mt. Soledad Tour, complete with a tutorial session. The tour starts with a ride along the Pacific Ocean boardwalk before heading inland along sidewalks to Kate Sessions Park. From there, you’ll head up to the war memorial atop Mt. Soledad.

“Another Side of San Diego” also offers an informative La Jolla tour. This one lasts about two hours and takes you along views of the Children’s Pool, Sunny Jim Cave, and La Jolla Cove. The “We Love Tourists” tour will tell you a little about La Jolla’s architectural history, information on the a variety of California sea creatures, and even tidbits about the legacy of Dr. Seuss.

8 Things You Didn’t Know About La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is one of the most well-known attractions in La Jolla. Complete with crystal-clear blue water, pleasant swimming temperatures, and an abundance of marine life to observe, it’s become a favorite spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. Nowadays, the spot is infamous for its seals and sea lion population – and the odor that accompanies them! – as a protected habitat. However, like most of La Jolla, there are a few unique things about La Jolla Cove that make it completely unlike anywhere else in San Diego.

1. Water visibility can sometimes exceed up to 30 feet.

A fact that arguably makes it one of the most ideal spots to snorkel and scuba dive in all of Southern California. On most days, you can see clearly right to the bottom of the seafloor – so even without snorkeling gear, you’ll probably get to see a Garibaldi or two!

If you do want the full experience, you can easily rent snorkeling or scuba diving gear at nearby La Jolla Shores. There are also guided tours available, if you don’t want to go it alone! Kayaking tours and rentals are also a terrific option, especially if you want to check out the nearby La Jolla Caves and the sea creatures that lie below. Read more about La Jolla Cove snorkeling and swimming at La Jolla Cove here.

2. La Jolla Cove has a history of shark attacks.

The story goes that the body of Robert Pamperin, 33, was never recovered – all that was left of him was his swim fin. Pamperin was diving for abalone with his friend Gerald Lehrer in 1959 when, according to the Shark Research Committee, Lehrer heard Pamperin cry “Help me!” — so he turned around to find his diving companion “upright and unnaturally high out of the water, with his mask missing.” The entire lower half of his body was in the mouth of the shark. To this day, it remains one of the scariest La Jolla shark attacks in recorded history.

Luckily, the only sharks we see at the Cove nowadays are the harmless leopard sharks. In fact, you can even swim and snorkel with the La Jolla leopard sharks thanks to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps!

3. It lies within the Underwater Park Ecological Reserve.

This means the entire area is protected by law. Fishing and removal of objects from this area is prohibited, and beach-goers are not allowed to use surfboards, boogie boards, and inflatable rafts and tubes. Pretty much the only thing you can do at La Jolla Cove is swim. Because of these restrictions, garibaldi and other marine life run aplenty; visitors have reported seeing octopus, stingrays, swell sharks, sea slugs, sea stars, urchins, and large schools of fish. Keep an eye out and you’ll never know what you might see!

4. Lifeguards are present every day of the year.

From 9am until the sun sets, you’ll see lifeguards at La Jolla Cove. This is one of just a handful of beaches in San Diego that has lifeguards on duty regularly, which makes it a very safe place to take the kids.

5. It’s home to one of the oldest open ocean swims in the world.

Some locals may have guessed this one – the La Jolla Rough Water Swim, an event that dates back to 1916 when San Diego hosted the World’s Fair Pan American Exhibition. That year, the World’s Fair Committee challenged each community to showcase their city by hosting a special event; and what better way to show off the beautiful beaches of La Jolla than to host a Pacific Ocean swim?

Seven men participated that year, swimming 1.7 miles in the chilly waters and finishing off at La Jolla Cove. The race truly became an annual event in 1923, and has been held every year since then but five (the most recent being 2016, which would have been the swim’s centennial). Unfortunately, poor ocean water quality and extremely high bacteria levels are currently plaguing the La Jolla Cove and the event has been postponed until conditions improve.

6. The water is always a few degrees cooler.

Typically, the water off the La Jolla Cove is colder than anywhere else along the San Diego shore. This is mostly because it faces out into much deeper, colder, water.

The Cove directly faces the La Jolla Underwater Park that is a favorite for local scuba divers. It, like the Cove, is protected by all sorts of regulations, especially fishing. There is plenty of sea life to be spotted here, the most obvious which is of course the La Jolla Cove seals and sea lions. They have definitely made this area one of their favorites; you can spot “Seal Rock’ from the sidewalk above the Cove!

By Walter Smalling, HABS photographer via Wikimedia Commons
Image by Walter Smalling, HABS photographer via Wikimedia Commons

7. Two of La Jolla’s original beach cottages remain here.

In the 1890s the San Diego, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla Railway was built, which connected La Jolla to the rest of San Diego. La Jolla became known as a resort area, and to attract visitors, developers built a bath house, dance pavilion, and a temporary tent city every summer.

Visitors were housed in small cottages and bungalows above the Cove on a barren hillside, the very first to be built in La Jolla. Two of the cottages that were built in 1894 still exist: the “Red Roost” and the “Red Rest,” also known as the “Neptune and Cove Tea Room.” These La Jolla cottages have been vacant since the 1980s and are in a sad state of disrepair today; due to their historical significance, there has been much debate about if and how to restore them.

8. You can even rent golf carts here!

La Jolla Golf Carts has several for rent directly above La Jolla Cove, most of which can seat up to four people. This is a perfect option for people who want to get off their feet for a little while and still explore everything beautiful La Jolla California has to offer – from downtownto the Shores.

If bikes or Segways are more your thing, La Jolla has you covered! There are plenty of affordable rental options in the Village as well as at La Jolla Shores.

Do you know any fun facts about La Jolla Cove or La Jolla California in general? Share them with us on Facebook!

Dolphin Sightings in La Jolla

Dolphin Pods off the San Diego Coast

The beaches of Southern California are full of awe-inducing aquatic wildlife. From smaller creatures like Garibaldi fish you’d see at Birch Aquarium to much larger ones…like dolphins!

Burnz Eye View captured this beautiful pod of dolphins near La Jolla, off the San Diego Coast using their high-tech quadcopter. We thank them for filming this and sharing it with the virtual world.

Want to Meet Dolphins Yourself?

Dolphins are incredible creatures, and many folks would probably like a closer look. Head out on the water and find yourselves eye-to-eye with them by going kayaking or snorkeling. If you’re new to these activities, you may be unsure if you’re heading to the right spots. La Jolla is home to multiple guides who are very experienced in leading people through kayaking and other tours. Tours truly are a great way to see the sea with ease and confidence. (Plus, they provide all the equipment, which is great for all of us who don’t regularly purchase scuba diving gear!)

See them up close…On Dry Land

If you prefer to stay on dry land, no problem. You can see these beautiful creatures up close at nearby the Sea World Aquatic Park. Simply head into the main entrance, turn left and walk until you hear their squeaking laughter! At Dolphin Encounter, they don’t simply look pretty either. They are trained to swim up close to guests and let you pet their playful heads.

Not Enough?

If you’re love the coast and are interested in other ocean activities, check out our Ocean Page to learn more. Keep calm and swim on!

 

 

Why You Should Kayak La Jolla with Everyday California

Kayaking La Jolla is a magical experience that rivals any tropical island adventure. With so much to see and learn, going with a guided tour is an ideal way to experience La Jolla by kayak. I was excited to take one with Everyday California and find what the tour entails.

Everyday California is a locally based company that enables people to kayak, snorkel and explore La Jolla. They offer tours, rent equipment and sell seriously chic beach-vibing apparel.

Nestled by La Jolla Shores beach, here’s the experience I had kayaking one summer morning.

Check in & Equipment

  • After check in, I was equipped with a life jacket and helmet. (The helmet isn’t just for fashion; it’s to keep your noggin safe in the La Jolla caves.)
  • Everyday California provides access to wet suits, so if you know you might be chilly, you can jump into one in a changing room. I did sport a wetsuit but, honestly, it was so warm, I would’ve been fine without it.
  • As for the kayaks and paddles, that’s all provided, too.

Belongings & Valuables

Whenever I go on water-based tours, I worry about my valuables. Where will I put them? Can they be stored on the kayak? Or in lockers?

Breathe easy because Everyday California has it taken care of. I was happy to find they provide a lock for a nice, roomy locker. They keep the key in case anything happens to it on the kayak (like falling overboard) so you don’t have to worry about a thing.

If you want to take photographs on the journey, Everyday California sells waterproof pouches and cases at the check in counter. I purchased one for myself and it took photos no problem, the ones you see throughout this blog in fact.

Double or Single Kayak

Some of the kayaks are based in double kayaks rather than single. This is not necessarily bad or good in anyway, but it’s something to be aware of, especially if you’re in an odd numbered group.

If you don’t have a partner, no worries. I didn’t and was paired up with someone who made for a great kayaking buddy.

Launching your Kayak into the Ocean

Honestly, I was a bit nervous about battling the waves in order to get my kayak on the water. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that after one or two crashing waves and the help of the instructor, we were coasting smoothly on the water.

Get Sea Sick? Recommendation

Though most of the group was fine, one woman did get a touch of seasickness. If you’re prone to nausea, make sure to pop a Dramamine before you hit the water.

Back to Shore: Everyday California Apparel & Nearby Food

After returning to shore and checking the equipment back in, I recommend browsing the Everyday California store to see if there are any hats, shirts or goods that tickle your fancy. (The hat I walked away with has already gotten a few compliments!)

Leaving the venue, hunger from the 90 minutes of kayaking hit. I was torn between the number of nearby eateries. With a variety of Mexican, Italian, classic deli food and more, you can do what I did – grab some food and then (if you didn’t have enough of the ocean already) head back to the beach.

A Full Day at La Jolla Shores

If you want to make a full day out of kayaking here with Everyday California, check out our blog, La Jolla Shores: Makes a Day Out of it!

P.S. If you couldn’t tell from the previous photos, I had a blast – especially with my iPhone’s new waterproof case!

6 Proven Ways the Beach Keeps you Healthier & Younger

Do you care about your health? I’m sure you do. So, to maximize yours, we have the perfect medicine: a trip to the beach. Besides providing a mental break from the day-to-day, the ocean offers physical benefits.

Here are the top 7 ways, backed by science, the beach promotes a healthy mind and body.

1. Sunshine offers Vitamin D & Decreases Depression.

Sunshine ups serotonin levels (aka happy hormones), boosts immunity and is necessary for healthy bones.

windansea-beach_temp_img_4

2. The Sand Gives You a Foot Massage.

Fun fact: Your feet have 3,000 to 6,500 nerve endings. That’s a lot of sensation that can be tapped into. Walking by the ocean, feeling the sand between your toes, does a few great things:
1. It offers a natural foot massage.
2. The sand organically exfoliates your feet, shedding off excess skin and gently smoothing.

3. Seawater fights aging.

Find your skin losing its tightness? It is believed that saltwater can actually counter the decrease in your skin’s elasticity over time. If you’re not convinced, head to the nearest beach town and take a look around at the local residents!

4. Promotes exercise.

At the beach, you get exercise without even noticing. Walking on the sand (a very sneaky workout). Playing in the surf. Building a sand castle. Tossing a frisbee. All of these activities burn calories…without having to the gym.

5. Boosts immunity.

You don’t only get immune boosting from sunshine; sea water contains iodine, which helps your body fight infections and improves thyroid function. Play in the water to get some for yourself.

6. Promotes true relaxation.

The beach is known for being relaxing. But why exactly is that? There are a few main likely reasons:

1. At the beach, you’re able to put away your phone and other electronics. With wifi far in the distance, you don’t have to think about checking email or watching Youtube. You finally get to unplug.
2. The sound of lapping ocean waves has been proven to be relaxing. As the waves break onto the shore, our minds reach a more and more almost meditative state.

As you plan your beach day, here are some top beaches.

If you’re looking for something to read while relaxing on the sand, check out 8 Must Read Beach Books.

The Top 4 Beach Wedding Venues in La Jolla

Are you considering getting married in La Jolla? If so, we’re guessing “beach” is near the top of your possible venue list. We don’t blame you. A beach wedding is the dream ending of classic romance movies for a reason.

Here are the best 4 beach venues (and organizations) to give you the ultimate oceanside La Jolla wedding.

1. La Jolla Shores Hotel: La Jolla Shores

There are almost no private beaches in California; however, here in La Jolla, you can have a beach wedding on one of these few private beaches.

The La Jolla Shores Hotel provides the opportunity to get married right on the sand of a private beach. You can have your perfect beach wedding set up through La Jolla Shores Hotel. Learn more about booking this premier beach event space and all the potential add ons at the La Jolla Shores Hotel wedding website.

2. Windansea Beach

For a more intimate, secluded wedding experience, we recommend a Windansea Beach wedding. This quiet spot is perfect for tying the knot with close family and friends. Located at the end of Nautilus, it is right by Bird Rock and the downtown La Jolla Village.

3. La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club: La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club wedding is guaranteed to be beautiful, smooth and seamless. This club is highly experienced in putting on weddings, especially beach weddings. They are happy to work with you, your fiancee and bridal team to put on a beach wedding ceremony know one will ever forget.

4. Ellen Browning Scripps Park

La Jolla’s Ellen Browning Scripps Park offers the perks of both a green park and the beach. Get married on soft grass while enjoying a view of the ocean. Learn more about the venue and other location options at La Jolla Cove Scripps Inn’s website.

Picking your venue is one of the very first to dos. Tick off this and see everything else that needs to be taken care of with this top-notch list: Your Wedding Planning Checklist.

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Reasons to Get Married by the Beach

From hotels and golf courses to country clubs and chapels, there are many wedding venue options, aren’t there? While all of those are good, you should also consider the beach. If you haven’t before, here are 5 reasons a coastal wedding will be an incredibly one.

1. The ocean is the ultimate backdrop.

You can spend countless hours and dollars slaving away on wedding decorations, or, if you already have enough going on, let the ocean be the backdrop for you.

2. You can honeymoon…right where you are!

You can drive to the airport, get through security, feel stifled on a long plane ride…then reach your honeymoon destination. Or, you can simply stroll back to your honeymoon suite after the wedding at a beachside resort and let your dream honeymoon begin.

3. Activity planning is made easy.

On the beach, there’s ample opportunity for activities surrounding your wedding.

4. Family will be more than happy to travel.

If there are two things people don’t mind hopping on a plane for, it’s:
1. A wedding.
2. The beach!

5. Creating a calm, positive atmosphere.

Scientific studies, continue to show that our brains have a positive reaction to water. The ocean, with its limitless supply of water, flat horizon and soothing sounds, are the epitome of this. Everyone will feel soothed by the waves and calm as the knot is tied.

Need to see examples of beaches to see the effect for yourself? Head to our beaches directory and take in the endless sea. One of these could be the very place you have your own La Jolla beach wedding.

5 Easy Ways to Tan Not Burn

Southern California is known for its surf, Mexican food and residents who are gloriously tan; dream of being one of them? So many of us have laid out only to find ourselves tomato red. Here’s an easy guide on how to avoid sunburns and gain a golden glow instead.

1. Be Patient

Laying out for a whole day straight is a fast way to get lobster skin rather than a glowing tan. You have to train day-by-day to run a full marathon, right?

2. Take it in turns

Flip over every 10 to 15 minutes; this will give each side a break from the rays and a chance to soak up the sunshine it just received.

3. Prime Time

The best way to tan is gradually. We recommend laying out for about an hour a day, just enough to built up the tan safely without BBQ-ing yourself. Too much sun is very dangerous and increases your risks of getting skin cancer, so make sure not to overdo it.

5. Drink agua

Did you know that your skin tans faster if it’s hydrated? Just one more reason to drink lots of water! Make sure to have a bottle with you and drink plenty of water before and throughout your tanning session.

Headed to the beach and want to be equipped with good snacks? Learn about the amazing, easy-to-make recipes we did at our blog featuring the 5 very best beach snacks.