An ocean view hotel in San Diego

Ocean View Hotels in San Diego

When it comes to California beachfront, San Diego is considered one of the best places for beautiful views, sand, and surf, no matter what activity (or lack of activity) you are looking for. With so many great places to look at booking in the area, your choices for ocean view hotels in San Diego may be overwhelming.

However, we will help you narrow down that list with our top-rated picks. Plan your perfect vacation or staycation in San Diego and see why San Diego hotels on the beach are some of the best rated in the nation.

The Best Oceanfront Hotels in San Diego

Planning your stay next to the ocean is always a good idea for many reasons. The biggest is perhaps that the beach can be right outside the hotel’s doors, making it simple for you and anyone else to enjoy a fun filled day in the sand without the hassle of traveling to get there or get back when you are done. 

Go straight from the beach to your hotel room to change for dinner easily. Book an oceanview room for spectacular views of the sunset. Whatever your plans for your San Diego vacation, find your perfect hotel below.

Are there hotels on the beach in San Diego?

If you do a general count, there are over 60 hotels on the beach, bay, or marina in San Diego. Not all of these rooms will have oceanfront views, but they will all be located within minutes of the water, and many offer amenities that are just as enticing as the beach.

La Jolla

Pantai Inn

One of the many beautiful La Jolla hotels on the beach is the Pantai Inn. The Pantai is more of a community with cottages and villas available, many including fully equipped kitchens and even fireplaces for that ultimate homey beachfront comfort. The grounds around the inn are just as beautiful with firepits, water features, and lush gardens.

La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club

Racking up more than 80 years of experience as a beachfront resort, the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club boasts a private beach, oceanfront dining, and 12 championship tennis courts that have been utilized by the who’s who of tennis for decades. Make this vacation your own with a number of activities to choose from including tennis lessons, kayaking excursions, and yoga classes.

La Jolla Shores Hotel

Another of the beautiful ocean view hotels in San Diego, the La Jolla Shores Hotel is a great choice for a family vacation, wedding, event, or just a relaxing getaway. With acclaimed restaurants and newly renovated and updated rooms, this relaxed environment will have you feeling refreshed and ready for your next adventure. For the beachfront, San Diego hotels like the La Jolla Shores are definitely the best.

North County

L’Auberge Del Mar

An award-winning luxury hotel, L’Auberge Del Mar is known as the heart of Del Mar. With a full spa, multiple restaurants, and an ocean-view pool, this beautiful hotel covers it all. For gorgeous views from oceanfront suites in San Diego, L’Auberge Del Mar is the pick of the crop.

Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, a Hilton Resort and Spa

Ocean view hotels in San Diego hit a peak with the Cape Rey. This hotel and resort is one of the top-rated in San Diego by Travel & Escape magazine. The ocean-facing rooms in the resort are only 150 steps from the beach, and there is a beautiful pool that faces the ocean as well for the ultimate in views and relaxation.

Beach Terrace Inn

The friendly Beach Terrace Inn touts itself as a “quirky beachfront hotel.” The rooms of this unique hotel used to be apartments, meaning the rooms themselves are larger than your average hotel room. The Beach Terrace Inn also lays claim to being the only hotel in Carlsbad that is on the beach (and a private beach at that!), so it’s only as crowded as the Inn is busy.

Southern California Beach Club

For true beachfront, San Diego and the Southern California Beach Club are where it’s at. Every suite in this bright resort has a balcony or patio facing west, which means you’ll always have eyes on the ocean and the gorgeous sunsets. This casual resort is perfect for families or couples looking for a relaxed time in a beautiful setting.

  • Address: 121 South Pacific St., Oceanside, CA 
  • Phone: (760) 722-6666
  • Please call for Southern California Beach Club pricing & availability

Pacific Beach & Mission Beach

Pacific Terrace Hotel

Among the beautiful San Diego hotels with pools is the Pacific Terrace Hotel. While it may be a bit smaller and with fewer amenities, this is one of the best affordable San Diego beach hotels that still offers ocean view rooms and is directly on the beach. This hotel also often runs specials and packages that make a family vacation even more affordable.

Blue Sea Beach Hotel

Boasting a surf chic haven and bright and beachy rooms, the Blue Sea Beach Hotel is a best choice for San Diego hotels with pools and hotels with ocean view in San Diego at the same time. The only beachfront pool in Pacific Beach will give you endless beautiful ocean views while you are relaxing to the max. Another great choice for cheap ocean view hotels in San Diego, the Blue Sea offers package deals and discounts through their website.

Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages

This hotel that was originally built in the 1930’s features one-of-a-kind restored cottages actually located on a pier over the ocean. This extremely unique hotel has plenty of modern amenities in its restored cottages, including full kitchens and private parking. The views can’t get better than when you are on the ocean itself.

  • Address: 4500 Ocean Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109
  • Phone: (800) 748-5894
  • Please call for Crystal Pier Hotel & Cottages pricing & availability
The Beach Cottages

This cozy hotel right on the beach has been family-owned and operated since 1948, and offers both cottages and apartments as well as motel rooms. The cottages and apartments all have fully equipped kitchens, and there are furnished patio areas just steps away from the beach and the ocean.

  • Address: 4255 Ocean Blvd., San Diego, CA 92109
  • Phone: (858) 483-7440
  • Please call for The Beach Cottages pricing & availability

Mission Bay

Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa

The Catamaran Resort Hotel and Spa is a Polynesian-themed beachfront resort that offers casual elegance for the whole family. There is a huge list of activities available for both the young and young at heart. The resort offers oceanfront dining as well as a full spa, and you can tailor your stay to exactly how you want it with in-room amenities and local discounts. Rooms that face south offer views of Mission Bay; some of the rooms that face north offer a view of the ocean and coastline.

Paradise Point Resort & Spa (Bay view only)

Paradise Point Resort and Spa is located on gorgeous Mission Bay. With a location that is centrally located but still secluded, Paradise Point offers bungalow-style hotel rooms in a resort that is sure to please with the numerous amenities available. This is a resort that would be perfect for a relaxing staycation. Pamper yourself, attend an exciting event, eat wonderful foods, and be within minutes of the beach, all in one resort.

Bahia Resort Hotel (Bay view only)

If you’re looking for cheap ocean view hotels in San Diego, the Bahia Resort Hotel may be your best choice. This beautiful oceanfront resort was voted as a best-value American hotel on TripAdvisor. The full resort offers many amenities including beach and ocean activities, multiple on-site dining options, and gorgeous event spaces.

Coronado & Imperial Beach

Hotel del Coronado

The historic and iconic Hotel del Coronado has been in existence since 1888 and lacks nothing due to age. The beautiful wooden architecture and sweeping areas of this resort are both family friendly and extremely elegant at the same time. The home of many weddings, celebrity visits, and other events, the Hotel del Coronado is one of the best five star hotels in San Diego.

Beach Village at The Del

As one of the most exclusive types of ocean view hotels in San Diego, the Beach Village at The Del offers more than just a hotel room. This is a gated community with cottages and villas, allowing you to get a more private vacation experience. Many of the villas have secluded pools and direct access to the beach.

Loews Coronado Bay Resort

This beautiful hotel and resort is located on a private 15-acre peninsula surrounded by water, so no matter what you are doing or where you are staying on this resort you’re right next to the ocean. You can get your own private poolside cabana, or enjoy one of the many available activities, restaurants, or lounges on-site.

Pier South Resort, Autograph Collection

As far as ocean view hotels in San Diego go, the Pier South Resort is one of the best. Miles of endless beach will entice you to play in the sand and surf, while the exquisite dining and spa resort will have you feeling pampered and happy. Book a room with a private balcony or one of the many event spaces and see why this hotel is top notch.

Tower23 Hotel

The Tower23 Hotel is considered San Diego’s only luxury lifestyle hotel that is located directly on the beach. With distinctive architecture and style, this hotel features a full spa, restaurant, and balcony oceanfront rooms among many other amenities. If you are looking for oceanfront suites, San Diego has some of the best to offer in the Tower23 Hotel.

What You Should Know Before Booking an Ocean View Hotel in San Diego

When booking any vacation, unless you are just going for a relaxing time with no plans or interests, it is always good to plan ahead. Even if you do not plan on leaving your hotel or resort much while you are in San Diego, there may be things you want to do on the beach that will be more accessible at certain hotels. 

If you are looking for attractions, look for a hotel that is close to what you want to do. If you want to find the best prices, look for online discounts, tips, and tricks… and then call the hotel directly. It is also important to pay attention to what is going on in the San Diego area, as this can drive room rates up.

What is the best area to stay in San Diego?

While there is really no “best” area in San Diego, this answer depends on what you’re looking for. Do you want upscale luxury? Look in La Jolla or Coronado. Are you more focused on relaxing beachside? Try Pacific Beach or Mission Beach. Looking for fun attractions? Book your hotel closer to downtown.


When you book a stay at any of these beautiful beachfront hotels, San Diego is a beautiful choice for a vacation. No matter what you are planning, you will find the perfect space for yourself and your family with gorgeous views, fun activities, and endless places to relax. For the best ocean view hotels in San Diego, keep this list in mind, and above all — enjoy your stay!

About the author: When not hiding behind a laptop, Cara Becker can be found asleep or exploring the wide world of interesting things, like how to bake the perfect cheesecake and where to find the best waterfalls. If you’re interested in exploring a food you’ve never tried or learning a word you don’t know, please share your wisdom with her on her LinkedIn profile.

Note: The banner photo in this article is from @ljshoreshotel on Instagram.

Mormon Temple in La Jolla area of San Diego

The Mormon Temple in San Diego

Let’s start with a quick note about the amazing photo of the San Diego Mormon temple photo in the banner of this article. It’s from a super-talented photographer and friend of ours, Jeff Bommarito. You can–and should–see more of his work on

If you are a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you likely already know about the Mormon temple in San Diego. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is informally called LDS, or Mormon church. But there is nothing remotely informal about a Mormon temple. That is even more true about the Mormon temple local members get to enjoy.

You might look at an undertaking like this temple and pause to think about the business side of things. And obviously, churches don’t run without a certain machinery behind them; that’s why there are architects who build places of worship, that’s why there are church secretaries, and that’s why there is even a growing business in the sector of software for churches. But the longer you look at this magnificent temple, the less you think about how difficult it must have been to build. You start to think, “Wow, I can’t believe how beautiful this is.”

Architecture is as much an emotional art as is music. The difference with architecture is that we are also compelled to ponder the science and engineering of the construction. This is especially true with very large structures. Like standing in the shadow of a mountain, we are taken by the sheer size of the thing compared to us. It is fascinating to think about how a mountain was formed. But it is even more awe inspiring to stand in the shadow of a handmade structure conceived of and executed by humans like ourselves. When faced with such a monument, we can’t help but feel at least a little touched by the divine.

What to Know About the San Diego Mormon Temple?

The La Jolla Mormon temple by day
The La Jolla Mormon temple by day. Photo by

The outside of a temple has one main function: It is to create awe in the hearts of those outside the faith. The inside of the temple is for those who are literally insiders. Temple exteriors serve as a passive evangelistic tool of sorts. It gives the outsider a hint of the divine experienced more fully within. If it feels this good to be in the presence of a temple, imagine how much better it must feel inside the La Jolla Mormon Temple. The most important thing you need to know about the temple is that it does its primary job extremely well. You can’t see it, even from a distance, without wanting to get more of what it has to offer.

La Jolla Temple Facts

In size, the San Diego Temple is the 24th largest. Its 72,000 square footage is rather impressive compared to the over 200 temples it dwarfs. You can see the twin towers from a distance even before you glimpse the scope of the 7.2 acres of land. As you get closer you will notice those two majestic towers are not alone. They are each accompanied by four smaller spires like fingers on a hand reaching up toward the heavens. If you are a Mormon, you already expect to see the statue of the angel Moroni at the tallest point.

The Temple was announced in April of 1984. Temples generally get one open house viewing for the general public before being consecrated. Open house for the San Diego Temple was almost exactly 9 years later. For those noticing a numerological coincidence, the open house was enjoyed by 720,000 people inside the 72,000 sq ft building on a 7.2 acre property. One wonders if there might be more than coincidence at work regarding these auspicious appearances of the number 72, a religiously significant number.

Q: What Religion is the La Jolla Temple in San Diego?

LDS is a relatively modern offshoot of the traditional Christian faith. Historically, it is one of the smaller movements within the larger umbrella of the American Restoration Movement within Christianity. From that movement, we got denominations like the Church of Christ, the charismatic Pentecostal movement, and the LDS. All are extremely different and offer very little interoperability. But they all sprang from the desire to return to the original church founded by Jesus and get as close as possible to that original intent. That is the one thing all Restoration Movement churches have in common. The San Diego California temple represents a part of that proud tradition.

Q: Where is the La Jolla Temple located?

If you want to book a trip to visit the temple (it’s across the 5 freeway from a Best Buy), here are the particulars:

7474 Charmant Drive San Diego, California 92122–5000 United States

Telephone: 1 858–622–0991

Before finalizing your plans, there are a few more things you will need to know:

Q: Can anyone go inside the La Jolla Mormon Temple?

If you are not a Mormon, you cannot visit the San Diego California temple interior or any other temple interior unless you are a member in good standing or happen to find one in the process of an open house. There are occasions when a temple has to be re-consecrated, perhaps due to construction or storm. Before consecration, there will usually be a new period of open house available to the public.

To enter a temple during a period of consecration, a Mormon must be a member in good standing and have a temple recommend from state-level officials of the LDS church. If you are a Mormon, you likely already know the rules for preparing to enter the holy temple.

All others are welcome to visit the spectacular grounds and appreciate all other aspects of the temple. You can also visit the visitors’ center honoring the San Diego Mormon Battalion about 10 miles from the temple proper.

Q:  What is nearby the La Jolla Mormon Temple?

Visiting the Mormon Temple in San Diego is like being transported to another world. The best day in the Magic Kingdom has nothing on a San Diego California temple wedding. That feeling doesn’t end when you leave the temple. There is a certain aspect of otherworldliness permeating throughout La Jolla and greater San Diego. When you step into that world, you are still going to need to know where to stay, where to eat, and what to do.

Just know that when you enter San Diego, you are entering the unofficial coffee shop capital of the world. Your favorite cup of coffee will come from that little shop you visited while there. You can also bring your dog to the party. You will find hotels more welcoming of your dog than your own home if such a thing is even possible. Canines rank San Diego K10 out of 10 bones on the puppy love scale.


One of the best reasons to visit one of the historic and awe-inspiring sites in San Diego is that you have plenty to do before and after the main event. The San Diego Temple is the cherry on top of an already decadent treat. Whatever your religion, you will be right at home in the city. LDS is the third largest faith group by number of members and number of congregations.

You don’t have to be Mormon or even religious to appreciate the San Diego temple. Make it one of your first stops. You won’t be disappointed.

About the author: David Johnson is a professional writer whose relationship with La Jolla started with a family vacation at a young age. A former professional musician, he enjoys creating music in his free time.


Useful Information for First-Time Visitors to La Jolla

With its excellent food, exotic sights, and lovely beachfront properties, La Jolla is a beautiful place to visit. There is so much to do in La Jolla that not it would take more than one day to experience it all. And if it’s your first time? It might be a tad overwhelming.


Before the adventures start, La Jolla has you covered when it comes to different forms of transportation. If you drive a hybrid or an electric vehicle, the La Jolla Parking Center has you covered. EV drivers can easily find a DC fast charger in La Jolla, so make sure to power up before driving for long distances.

For those staying on a multi-day adventure, check out any one of the hotels, known for their comfortable beds and great breakfasts. For all other amenities, there is always some sort of convenience store within driving distance, so you’ll never be without all the things you’ll need.

An Aquatic Utopia

After indulging in a hearty breakfast at one of La Jolla’s many restaurants, be sure to head out to La Jolla Cove. The young children are sure to love this place as they check out the sea lions and seals catching some rays. There are also some underwater caves worth checking out, and maybe you’ll find some aquatic critters there, too!

For more aquatic landscapes, there are the Birch Aquariums. These dark, wall-to-wall aquariums are teeming with all kinds of exotic sea life. With many different habitats on display, the scientists are more than willing to speak about them and how the oceans affect the entire world’s climate.

For the Kids

For the young kids are the kiddie pools. These areas are separate from the main beach, and the water never gets very deep. Over the past few years, seals and sea lions have taken over the place for sunbathing, but don’t let that stop you! Walk along the sea wall, and you can view the seals and their pups in their natural habitat. Not only that, but it is an excellent spot for photographers to set up shop.

The Hidden Arts

There’s more to La Jolla than just seaside walks and romantic dinners. For the art lovers out there, there are also art studios everywhere. For those who are feeling a bit more adventurous, become a detective, and search out the hidden art murals all over the place. Or, if you’re not feeling quite as adventurous, you can set up a guided tour. The guide is sure to point out anything interesting, enriching your experience.

Ride My Bike Where I Like

Well, sort of. Hop on a bike to check out the San Diego area from on high. It’s easy and just about anyone can take part. The bikes are electric! Be sure to stop and observe a large seal colony on the sandy shores. Continue on until you reach the top of Mt. Soledad, and you’ll feel like you’re at the top of the world with nothing but a deep blue ocean stretching into the horizon.

Jolly La Jolla

There are so many things to do in La Jolla, California, most of which are not mentioned here. For anyone looking to get away from work-life for a while, La Jolla’s beaches, hotels, and restaurants are there to keep you comfortable and having fun.


Seymour in La Jolla

A dog friendly walking tour of Bird Rock and the La Jolla Village

Hi there!  I’m Seymour, an extremely handsome (if I do say so myself) twelve-and-a-half-year-old golden retriever.  And, just to pat myself on the back a bit more- I am a pet therapy dog who has served humans in hospitals, schools, and libraries my entire life. Cool, right?

My mom and dad moved us all to La Jolla two years ago, and I am just delighted.  I thought that Burlingame and Healdsburg businesses were kind to me – and then I met La Jolla.  Wowzer – I kind of sort of thought that restaurant patios and retail stores would be nice to me, but here – even the banks and UPS stores toss me a bone (or two). There are so many great places for dog owners to bring a dog in La Jolla.

I love to go to the best dog parks in La Jolla or sometimes even one of La Jolla’s dog friendly beaches. Today is a on the town – a dog friendly walking tour. Who wants to come with me on my daily walking tour of Bird Rock and the La Jolla Village?

Ready, set – let’s go!

I wear a bandana every day – it gets me a few compliments I must say.  First stop – Starbucks on La Jolla Boulevard.  Eric and Vesso are always happy to see me and fill that cup up with whipped cream (yum!) Puppychino LICKETY-split. 

Dog in Starbucks in La Jolla

Seymour the dog visiting the local La Jolla Starbucks.

And, it’s on the house! Thank you Mr. Starbuck.  I’m so sought after! Either Lydia or Ali at the corner stand sandwich shop spot me and more fun begins. I run in and get yogurt samples and plenty o’ chew snacks.

Next stop – All About Animals. Linesse always has treats in a cool little can on the shelf.  Bonus- Mia the cute young collie hears me coming and puts her perfect paws up on the half door.  She totally has a crush on me- it’s so obvious – she follows me around the store and comes into the back with me when I get my nails done. 

Now approaching Progress! Not only do I get a little something, but I also get to hang with my pal Charlie – he’s eternally sweet and happy.

Dog with owner of Progress in La Jolla

Visiting Bruce the owner of Progress.

Down the street we go and I always give a long peek into Beaumont’s- we’ve had many lunches and dinners on the patio.  I’m usually crashed and lying my 74-pound body right down the servers aisle, but not one server ever even mentioned moving me. 

And what a balancing act for them – four ginormous plates of food and drinks and then the step over.  I’m impressed!  And I must confess – on the way out of the restaurant I snap up The Best fries in town that I’d been eying.  I’m quick, too.  Fries are my deal. 

Oh happy day, now approaching Mimi and Red.  I’m such a pop star in that place.  Pretty girls rapidly surround me and give me extra snacks when my mom browses the racks. And if she goes into the dressing room – score – I’m spoiled rotten.  I lay on my back and Charlie gives me a tummy rub and extra snacks and I’m a happy puppy. 

Dog getting treats in Mimi and Red in Birdrock

A dog treat at Mimi and Red.

Ok, next! We all go to see David at Be Seen Optics.  After a few snacks I quickly lie down on the comfy carpet and hope that my parents make this a long visit.  I’m a major fan of this groovy store.  Lots of dogs come in here, but I just know that David loves me the best. 

Dog welcomed at Be Seen Optics in Birdrock

Sitting with David at Be Seen Optics.

Wheat and Water restaurant lets me onto their awesome patio.  We have good salads there and I rack up some super chicken chunks.  He he- I bore holes into my mom’s eyes, totally working her, and I get everything – I mean everything.  Like at least a third of her dinner – always. 

But Lupi’s is my absolute fave! Have you tried their breadsticks?? The owner literally greets me as I come in with two – or three breadsticks.  Delish.  Home baked. He would give me handfuls if my parents didn’t continuously tell them the vet wants me thin.  Trust me, I’m just fine.

All right, all right, all right! News alert, snack alert – I’m coming into the Village now.  Birdrock is awesome – the Village is awesome on steroids.  First stop – Sugar and Scribe.  Donna spoils me so much it’s ridiculous, but I’ll take it. 

Over to Silverado to Brick and Bell.  Those scones, those scones, those scones!  Well, you get the picture. 

A big shout out to Meanley’s Hardware for inviting us fur babies into the shop and rewarding us with a yummy snack.

A quick stop by the Public House because Mel is a Big fan of mine- major hugs.  And now – Warwick’s!  Ahem – I recently made it into their newsletter and my parents were high fiving for days. 

Straight into Lucky’s (I’m so lucky -did I just say that?  Ugh, I’m corny).  Nice snacks inside. 

Ooh la la because – I am stepping into oh so glam Benefit.  Extra-large snacks in that store.

Now I’m crossing the street to What I Think Is My Favorite Place Ever- the valet stand at the La Valencia. Those men are just the best!  I do all my tricks for them and they just pepper me with snacks.  They even have my “business card” in their car keys lock box.  Such a love fest there.  Those guys should have a calendar – it would sell big time. 

La Valencia Valet

The La Valencia Valet loves dogs!

Now who would think this? Haagen Dazs is dog friendly!  They give me a spoonful of vanilla! Right?! 

Haagen Dazs Ice cream shop is dog friendly

Haagen Dazs ice cream is very dog friendly.

Now prepping for a nice slice of roast beef that my parents buy for me at Girard Gourmet.  Those peeps are super nice. 

Girard Gourmet is dog friendly

Girard Gourmet gives free samples to dogs.

Hey – there’s a new dog store in town – Decker’s (on Ivanhoe).  Newbies and nicebies.  Attention all doggies – tell your people that there are fab snacks on the counter! 

Dogs at Decker's La Jolla

The new dog store – Decker’s (on Ivanhoe).

I’ve been saving my total whole dog experience vibe for last – I’m so zen.  Muttropolis pet store has super fun parties and my pal Harley and I spent a fab time inside the kissing booth at the last Valentine’s Day party.

The Lot takes GOOD care of me. For starters – they gave me a hamburger with a candle for my birthday this year.

Friday is Yayday for me and my snacking buddy, Harley (an 11-year-old gentle golden retriever).  We call it Friday Night Lights in La Jolla. Our parents take us out on the town because “we deserve it”, they say. 

We have dinner at the La Valencia, La Dolce Vita, Bernini’s, Piazza 1909, and Bistro Pazzo. These are just some of the best dog friendly restaurants in La Jolla. We intend to dine in every single place that will allow us to present our kind and beautiful furry selves. 

I’m so tired and full now. Good night. Tomorrow it all starts up again.

Virginia may be for lovers, but La Jolla is for DOG LOVERS.

I’m Seymour and I love La Jolla!

P.S. Don’t forget to visit our post about dog- (and other pet) friendly hotels in San Diego!

Relax Like A Local

Check out some of our best local stories on ways to kick back and enjoy La Jolla for all its perks.


How to Explore Scripps Pier by Moonlight This Summer

Imagine – walking above the Pacific Ocean on a warm summer night, using only the moon’s glow as your guide while you explore one of La Jolla’s most fascinating landmarks. You can do just that during one of the Birch Aquarium’s Full Moon Scripps Pier Walks, which are held all summer long!

A working research pier still used by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the beautiful Scripps Pier is usually closed to the public. Every summer, however, visitors are invited to explore all 1,090 feet of this La Jolla treasure by moonlight. Attendees have full access to the pier and the chance to ask guides (naturalists from the aquarium and staff members from the Institute) all about the pier and how it’s used. A warm night lit by a full moon is the perfect time to explore one of La Jolla’s most prominent landmarks!

scripps pier full moon walks

How it Works

Your Pier Walk evening kicks off with a video about the history of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. As you head out on your walk from the Auditorium, you’ll learn about the 100-year history of data collection at Scripps. Once you arrive at the pier, you’re welcome to soak up the striking scenery by the moonlight, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, there are hands-on activity tables – where the staff may or may not ask if you’d like to dissect a squid or help dig through clumps of mussels.

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate La Jolla Summer Bucket List!

Otherwise, the Birch Aquarium naturalists will be around to give you the 411 on subjects like shark teeth, the latest in plankton studies, and for the serious nature lovers, the unique donut-shaped brain of a squid.

An added bonus, especially for those with a penchant for photography: the event is timed perfectly so that you walk out of the Sumner Auditorium, down the campus hill, and right into the sunset ducking down beyond the pier. This is a rare – not to mention gorgeous – photo opportunity in La Jolla, so come camera ready!

Pier Walks 101

The pier walks are held twice a month from June through October. Tickets are $35 for adults ($30 if you’re a Birch Aquarium member), and can be purchased ahead of time on the Birch Aquarium website. The walks are from 7:00pm – 8:30pm.

Children must be at least 9 years old to participate, and attendees under 13 must be accompanied by a paid adult.

This year’s Pier Walk schedule:


  • Sunday, June 16th

Dates TBA!

The original Scripps Pier was built in La Jolla between 1915 and 1916 as a 1,000 foot long facility for acquiring clean seawater for campus labs and Birch Aquarium. Ellen Browning Scripps provided all of the funds necessary for its construction. Extensive repairs were made to the pier in the 20s and 40s, though major concerns about its structural soundness led to the pier’s complete rebuilding later on.

The Bottom Line

Today, the pier is a remarkable and beautiful structure that is rarely available to be explored. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seen-it-all local, a Full Moon Pier Walk is the rare VIP event that’s both exclusive and completely unique; you’ll be hard-pressed to find another working research pier to explore under the moon’s glow!

For a similarly unique adventure, head down the 145 steps at The Cave Store to explore Sunny Jim Cave. For the slightly less adventurous, walk over to La Jolla Cove to watch the sunbathing seals, grab a bite to eat, and take in the stunning views.

For more information on the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla or other things to explore while you’re there, head to the aquarium’s website.

Exploring Balboa Park: Museums, Gardens, & Dining

Why Visit Balboa Park?

Aside from the beaches, Balboa Park is one of the most popular places to hang out in San Diego–seemingly for locals and visitors alike. You’ll find them lounging on blankets in the grass, strolling around to see the free sights, visiting the museums, drinking craft beer in the museum’s sculpture garden at Panama 66, and taking plenty of Instagram photos.

This historic San Diego park is a must see, no doubt about it. Built in 1986 and majorly re-vamped in 1915, Balboa Park holds over 100 years of Southern California life and culture. It’s home to seventeen award-winning museums, more than fifteen green promoting gardens, the famous San Diego Zoo and (if you can believe it) much more! This article will give you the basic layout of what you’ll find, events to look out for and information to help you plan the ultimate trip.

9 New International Cottages Added Summer 2021

San Diego County has always held international diversity and information in high regard. This dedication is proudly evident throughout the twenty-four international cottages built in Balboa Park in 1934. 

Now, the summer of 2021 has seen the addition of 9 new international cottages. In addition to the 24 previous globally informational cottages, there now stands cultural representation of 9 additional countries:

  • Chamorros
  • Colombia
  • India
  • Mexico
  • Palestine
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Turkey

The House of Public Relations first created the cottages for the California Pacific International Exposition. Since that time, a representative of each nation has always been available to answer questions, lead events, and offer a multicultural experience amidst the beauty of Balboa Park.

With great excitement, the House of Public Relations can continue the mission to  “encourage multicultural goodwill and understanding” with the addition of the nine cottages.

When you visit the cottages, you will find an “Open House” event taking place each weekend, facilitating self-guided walk-throughs from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Moreover, the cottages host the Ethnic Food Fair and the International Christmas Festival throughout the holiday season. This year, the addition of the new cottages will make these and other celebrations even more memorable.  

So, stop by Balboa Park, where you can experience a different global culture at every doorstep!


Whether you’re a lover of science or art, trains or sports…there’s a museum for everyone, even the typical non-museum goers. Some of the most applauded favorites include:

San Diego Natural History Museum
San Diego Museum of Art
San Diego Air & Space Museum
San Diego Museum of Man
Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Mingei International Museum
Museum of Photographic Arts
Timken Museum of Art
San Diego Automotive Museum
San Diego History Center

How to Save Money at the Museums

If you’re not a resident or you’re interested in going on a day other than a Tuesday, you can :

• Pay for admission at each museum individually (prices vary)

• Purchase a Go San Diego Card for discounted admission to more than 40 San Diego attractions – including Balboa Park!

• Purchase an Annual Balboa Park Explorer Pass: This pass gives you entry into all 17 museums for an entire year. And this isn’t Disneyland; there are no blackout days.

**It’s important to note that with any of these options, special exhibits aren’t included, such as the Natural History Museum’s King Tut or Museum of Man’s Torture Exhibit.**

Free Museum Tuesdays

As for prices and packages, there are multiple options. If you’re a resident, did you know you can go for free? On each Tuesday of each month, Balboa Park hosts “Residents Free Days,” where different museums offer free admission to San Diego residents (you’ll need ID confirming your residency) each week.  Find out which museums are free on which Tuesdays here.

Balboa Park Gardens

If you enjoy botany or simply looking at beautiful flowers, there’s plenty to see here. Walk through the Botanical Building to transport yourself across the world. Not only is the inside captivating, but the outer design is very striking and in many classic Balboa Park photographs.

Just outside its main doors are plants known for housing caterpillars. They blend in well, but look carefully amongst the green leaves and you’ll find them; you may be surprised at just how darling a yellow caterpillar can be! One of the best parts about this spot though? It’s free.

As far as larger gardens go, the other two main ones are the Rose Garden across the road from the Natural History Museum and the Japanese Friendship Garden. The Friendship Garden is lovely, especially the coy fish it features in its shaded pond. It’s good to note that it’s the only garden that charges a fee.

The other smaller gardens you’ll find sprinkled amongst the park; we recommend walking and exploring to let yourself surprisingly stumble upon them. Go far enough? You’ll find trails around the park’s edges, the most intricate and steep going along Florida Street to Morley Field.

All of the gardens at Balboa Park:

  • Old Cactus Garden
  • Alcazar Garden
  • Botanical Building & Lily Pond
  • Native Plant Garden
  • Casa del Rey Moro Garden
  • Desert Garden
  • Children’s Peace Garden
  • Florida Canyon Native Plant Preserve
  • Memorial Rose Garden
  • Japanese Friendship Garden
  • Marston House Garden

San Diego Zoo

The world famous San Diego Zoo is famous for many reasons, some of the top being the pandas and Australian koalas, of course. There’s so many wonderful things here that we gave it its own page. Learn more about this zoo and what it has to offer at our San Diego Zoo page.

The Old Globe Theatre

You were transported to Asia in the Japanese Friendship Garden. You experienced Australia taking in the zoo’s koalas. Now, let’s take you over to Europe by putting you in the recreation of England’s Old Globe Theatre. We think Shakespeare would be proud the Old Globe created right here in San Diego, still performing his plays to this day.

You’ll find more than just Shakespeare, though. Famous Broadway and locally written plays are performed here, as well. Watching a play here is a brilliant way to experience theatre the way it was back in Shakespeare’s time, a great way to transcend time.

Restaurants in Balboa Park

If you’re looking for food and libations, you’re in luck. There are two restaurants, a grab-and-go counter, multiple coffee shops, and a tea shop in the park, not counting the food and beverage concessions inside the San Diego Zoo.

The two restaurants in the park are Panama 66 and The Prado; both serve food and alcohol.

Panama 66 is affiliated with the San Diego Museum of Art, and its owners/operators are the same people who opened Blind Lady Ale House in Normal Heights and the now-shuttered Tiger! Tiger! Tavern in North Park — two brewpubs well-known to craft beer and food aficionados in San Diego. In fact, Panama 66 serves local craft beer in “honest pours” on a short-draw, all-stainless-steel draft system that is clean as a whistle, which means beer lovers can enjoy local brews as close to the way the brewers intended them to be enjoyed as possible. The restaurant also serves cocktails, wine, and food.

Panama 66 is known for for its role in the local jazz scene, as well. The restaurant hosts live jazz events throughout the year – primarily during the summer months.

The other big restaurant in Balboa Park is The Prado, part of the Cohn Restaurant Group. The Prado features both indoor and outdoor seating. They’re proud of their margaritas and if you want to order a bone-in ribeye in the park, this is the place to do it. This restaurant serves “California Cuisine,” and the inside seating showcases some of the architecture of the building they’re in.

Both Panama 66 and The Prado are available for wedding and events.

For coffee, you’re never far from a concession stand in the park. For tea, stop by the Tea Pavillion at the entrance of the Japanese Friendship Garden; you’ll find ready-to-go noodle and rice bowls and sushi, along with a wide assortment of teas.

And if you want to pick up picnic-ready food, stop by the Grab & Go Counter in front of Panama 66.


There’s a constantly updated calendar for Balboa Park. Between all the museums, the theatre and zoo, there’s always something going on. We want to highlight two particular noteworthy events, one that’s weekly and one yearly.

International Cottages Sunday:

Every Sunday from noon to 4 pm, head to the international cottages located on the lovely stretch between the Organ Pavillion and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. Each of the cottages represents a different country and is filled with cultural decor, educational information and folks (usually from and) very knowledgeable about the country.

On these Sunday afternoons, they have samples of treats from that nation. For example, head to House of England for tea and samples of tea cakes, House of Spain for Spanish cookies and House of Iran for a savory treat so magical….you just have to eat it to believe it.

There’s also a lawn program included. Every Sunday, one of the nations’ cottages puts on an afternoon of cultural performances and entertainment. It rotates throughout the year, so you’ll enjoy Filipino dancing one week and witness Ukrainian performances the next!

December Nights:

Each year at Christmas time, usually the first weekend of the month, Balboa Park features December Nights. To say this event wows is an understatement. Attendance is at over 350,000 folks a year, and that’s just across 2 days.

These high numbers are drawn by the museums offering free admissions (certain ones at certain times), endless food booths (not free), cultural cuisine hosted by the International Cottages (also not free), no-cost performances in the Organ Pavillion, stages hosting performances around the entire park and so much more.

We find that it’s good to go in with some knowledge, but, when it comes down to it…you’re going to discover things you had never heard about simply arriving in-person. Show up and let the event sweep you off your feet.

In Conclusion

Balboa Park truly does have something for everyone. As with anywhere, the earlier you come for parking the better and the weekdays are less busy than weekends. However, because it is such a vast space and there are so many lots as well as street parking along the sides, even if there’s some hunting, you’ll be able to find a spot! Learn more about San Diego and it’s nearby downtown at our Downtown San Diego & Gaslamp Page.

Everything You Need to Know About Snorkeling with La Jolla Leopard Sharks

Every year, thousands of leopard sharks head to the shores off the coast of La Jolla Shores to mate and then hatch their young. The warmer waters here provide an ideal temperature to incubate, and the sharks will typically stay for up to six months to complete the process.

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The La Jolla leopard sharks are beautiful – and harmless – and snorkeling alongside them makes for an incredible afternoon out with the family. These little guys are hard to miss, and are distinctively marked with dark brown spots on a silvery, gray background that resemble a leopard print.

Here’s the rundown on how to see the La Jolla leopard sharks; from where to go, when to go, and how to do it!

What time of the year can I see the La Jolla Leopard Sharks?

The leopard sharks are typically in their largest numbers from early June through the end of September or October, when thousands migrate to La Jolla Shores for their mating season. During the rest of the year about 100-200 local leopard sharks can still be seen, and some companies hold snorkeling tours through December or even year-round.

The leopard sharks congregate in the warmer shallow waters near La Jolla to look for food and find a mate; though they are a bit wary of humans, they typically keep to themselves and will gladly share the water with (respectful) swimmers and snorkelers.

When is the best time to visit?

End of August and September are usually the best times to see La Jolla Leopard Sharks, as this is towards the end of the mating season and there are higher numbers of sharks. The ideal time to go is during the day, when there are calm waters and when it’s sunny (as they will be easier to spot).

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Where is the best place to see the leopard sharks?

The La Jolla leopard sharks congregate at La Jolla Shores,  where the water is warmer and shallower. It’s easier for them to search for food in the sand and kelp forests, which are protected by the La Jolla Underwater Park Preserve. Their diet consists mostly of smaller shellfish; including clams, crabs, shrimp, squid, and fish eggs.

During peak season, you can simply swim out into the water at La Jolla Shores and see the leopard sharks – they will often be that close to shore. Wade out up to your knees or hips, and you’ll see them swimming around your feet (which is quite an experience!).

There’s no reason to be scared of these little guys, as they are completely harmless to humans and won’t bite or bother you. Be respectful of them and you can expect them to do the same for you!

How can I snorkel with the La Jolla Leopard Sharks?

There are four different ways we recommend if you’d like to snorkel with the La Jolla leopard sharks.

  1. Swim with a partner on your own at La Jolla Shores and simply watch them through the water, which is usually pretty clear.
  2. Snorkel with a partner on your own and get a better look at the sharks through a snorkel mask; either with your own gear or a snorkel rental. If you don’t have your own gear, many companies will rent you gear for the entire day at one price: Everyday California and La Jolla Kayak are just a couple.
  3. Take a guided snorkeling tour from any number of companies located in La Jolla Shores:
  4. Take the guided snorkeling tours offered by the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. The tours are typically held from July through September, and these are a great option if you want to learn more about the sharks, as there is a trained naturalist guiding each tour. Intermediate swimming ability is required and previous snorkeling experience is recommended (ages 10+).

5 Fun Facts About Leopard Sharks

  1. Leopard sharks are only about four to five feet long.
  2. They’re found all over the coast of California, but they particularly like the warm water in La Jolla.
  3. During breeding season, females can produce anywhere from seven to 36 offspring, which measure 20 centimeters at birth.
  4. The maximum lifespan of this species is estimated at 30 years! They’ve lived up to 20 years in captivity, and are a popular attraction in many aquariums.
  5. There is only one leopard shark attack ever recorded: in 1955, there was an unprovoked attack on a diver in Trinidad Bay, California. Fortunately, the diver was not injured and swam away unscathed.

5 Safety Tips and Guidelines for Swimming with Leopard Sharks

  1. Use common sense – keep an eye on the tide, watch out for rip currents, and always be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Always listen to the lifeguards.
  3. Treat the animals with respect; don’t try and touch them or interfere with they are doing.
  4. Stay calm. Approaching the sharks quietly and calmly is your best bet to seeing them up close. If they perceive you as a predator, they may try and defend themselves.
  5. Wear appropriate gear; if you want to see them up close, have your fins and snorkeling gear ready.
la jolla things to do

Why Snorkeling in La Jolla Should Be at the Top of Your Bucket List

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!

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.

7 Things You May Not Know about the La Jolla Caves

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!

7 Reasons to Tour the the Salk Institute in La Jolla

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla California is a world-famous research institute that opened its doors in 1963 under the watchful eye of Jonas Salk, who is credited with developing the first safe and effective polio vaccine. He envisioned it as a collaborative environment where researchers could explore the basic principles of life and contemplate the wider implications of their discoveries.

Visit the Salk Institute

To design the facility, Salk joined forces with famous architect Louis Kahn and directed him to “create a facility worthy of a visit by Picasso.”

But can you visit Salk Institute?

Absolutely, and there are many reasons to do so! The Salk Institute remains one of the world’s leading architectural marvels; its spacious, unobstructed laboratory rooms and sharp lines continue to stun architects and tourists alike. World-famous for both architecture and biology, here are seven reasons you need to a book a Salk Institute tour.

Reasons to Tour the Salk Institute for Biological Studies

1. It’s one of the top biology research facilities in the world.

Nestled in the hills and rocky bluffs of La Jolla California, the Salk Institute has been making impactful discoveries since its completion in 1963. The institute’s major areas of study are aging and regenerative medicine, cancer biology, immune system biology, metabolism and diabetes, neuroscience and neurological disorders, molecular biology, and plant biology. Its cancer center is one of the best in the world.

Salk research provides new understanding and potential treatments for a range of diseases, from AIDS, Parkinson’s Disease, and Alzheimer’s Disease to cancer and cardiovascular disorders. Discoveries by plant biologists are paving the way to improving the quality and quantity of the world’s food supply and to addressing critical environmental problems, including global warming.

2. It has been deemed one of the boldest architectural feats of all time.

Pioneering architect Louis Kahn truly created an architectural marvel. His masterpiece consists of two mirror-image structures — each six stories tall — that flank a grand travertine courtyard. Three floors house laboratories and the three levels above them provide access to utilities. Towers jutting into the courtyard provide study space for senior faculty members. Towers at the east end contain heating, ventilating and other support systems. At the west end are six floors of offices overlooking the Pacific Ocean. In total, the Institute is comprised of 29 different structures.

In July 2017, Salk Institute announced with the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI) that conservation efforts were complete for one of the key architectural elements at the Salk Institute — its gorgeous teak window walls. Now, the teak wood window walls will be protected and maintained for the next 50 years.


3. Research here has already impacted YOU directly.

The Salk Institute was started by Dr. Jonas Salk, the man who developed the first successful polio vaccine. The disease used to be a serious fear as many people, especially children, died of it. Thanks to the work of Dr. Salk, polio is now preventable.

Jonas Salk’s mission was to dare to make dreams into reality, and he’s best known for dedicating an extended portion of his career to developing a polio vaccine. Other career achievements include but are not limited to serving on the board of directors of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, receiving the Albert Lasker Award, and of course, founding the Salk Institute.

4. Walking the establishment, you’re passing by some of the world’s top minds.

As the scientists and researches come in and out of offices, you never know what groundbreaking projects they’re working on. Research here has provided new understanding and potential treatments for a range of other neurological diseases, from AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s Disease to cancer and cardiovascular disorders. Discoveries by plant biologists and scientists are paving the way to improving the quality and quantity of the world’s food supply and to addressing critical environmental problems, including global warming. Its Center of Excellence in Stem Cells Genomics was created through a $40 million award by California’s stem cells research agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. It continues to deliver groundbreaking research in the field.

Salk said of his institute, “The Salk Institute is a curious place, not easily understood, and the reason for it is that this is a place in the process of creation. It is being created and is engaged in studies of creation. We cannot be certain what will happen here, but we can be certain it will contribute to the welfare and understanding of man.”


5. You may meet a Nobel Prize Candidate or Nobel Laureate.

One of those very people passing could’ve won or be currently up for a Nobel Prize. To date, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies has produced six Nobel Laureates (including Elizabeth Blackburn and Francis Crick), one National Medal of Science winner, and countless others. View the full list of awards and accolades here.

Salk scientists, such as Robert Holley, are well known the world over for their work in the field of medicine. In fact, Holley shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1968.

6. It’s a beautiful spot for lunch.

On the ocean-facing side of the venue sits a small eatery called the CulinArt café; it’s open for lunch Monday-Friday. It’s the perfect place to grab a sandwich and enjoy views of the architecture, San Diego, and Pacific Ocean.

7. The view is unbeatable

The Gliderport is just north of the Salk Institute, so, if the wind’s are right, there’s a good chance you’ll seem some hang gliders or paragliders cruising the sky over the Pacific Ocean and San Diego. During the winter, you may be lucky enough to spot some whales or even dolphins as they make their migration south.

Ready to book your tour? Guided architectural tours are offered at noon Monday through Friday. It’s important to reserve your spot ahead of time; you can do so at the Salk Institute’s Architecture Tour home page.

If you’re interested in more than a tour, the Institute also offers free “Meet-A-Scientist” talks at 11:30am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. All visitors are welcome, and they’re a great way to gain a more in-depth understanding about the latest scientific discoveries at the Institute with a Salk researcher.

What is the Salk Institute Known for?

The Salk Institute in La Jolla is known for many things in addition to the fact that it was founded by the world renowned Jonas Salk. This includes the architecture of the building, its many areas of research, and its partnership with UCSD and local San Diego biotech companies. It’s also known as one of the best things to do in La Jolla, as you could easily spend an entire day taking in the outside and touring the interior.

More About the Salk Institute Research Areas

The Salk Institute has many areas of research, including but not limited to aging, cancer, genetics, infectious disease, and neuroscience. Its use of chemical process calculations, in particular, has generated attention from researchers around the world.

What Style of Architecture is the Salk Institute?

The Salk Institute in San Diego is an architectural landmark that attracts thousands upon thousands of visitors every year. World-renowned architect Louis I. Kahn designed the research facility in the modernist style of architecture which can be seen in the use of concrete, teak, lead, glass and steel.

Although the Salk Institute was built in 1960, it remains an architectural wonder. And for that reason, you’ll still hear people refer to it as the Louis Kahn Salk Institute. In the world of La Jolla architecture, it’s the cream of the crop.

Is Salk Institute Part of UCSD?

The Salk Institute is not a degree-granting institution of higher education (it’s an independent nonprofit organization), but it does manage a graduate program in correspondence with UCSD. Furthermore, all Salk Research Institute professors have adjunct appointments at UC San Diego.

Salk Institute Tours

If you’re interested in a Salk Institute tour, contact the organization via phone or online to learn more about your options. Hours change regularly, so it’s best to verify your plans in advance. Note: you can take a virtual tour of the Salk Institute at any time.


There’s no right or wrong time to visit the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. You can take a closer look on your own, or sign up for one of the many Salk Institute tours or events.

If you’re interested in visiting, the Salk Institute address is:

10010 N Torrey Pines Rd
La Jolla, CA 92037

From the Salk Institute interior to the exterior architecture, you can spend an entire day here in amazement!


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! I mean, there is only so much time you can spend on the internet checking to see if anyone new liked your latest social media post or looking to see if there’s any unclaimed money with your name on it. 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.

Discover La Jolla on Foot With These Walking Tours

la jolla attractions

From kayaking and snorkeling to seal-watching and dining at world-class restaurants, there is definitely no shortage of things to do in La Jolla. Unfortunately, it can be hard to see everything in one or even two days; which is when guided and self-guided La Jolla walking tours come in handy!

Walking tours are a great way to get to know La Jolla – you can really experience everything up-close-and-personal and the best part is that most are free! Here are some of our favorite walking tours in La Jolla, California.

La Jolla Self-Guided Tours

Explore the Village

This hour-long tour of La Jolla focuses on cultural landmarks and offers a great perspective on the wide variety of architectural styles in the Village. You’ll get the chance to see everything from beach cottages to newer European architectural styles that characterized the 1920s; as well as a few more modern buildings.

There are 17 stops on this self-guided tour, and it’s the perfect option for first-time La Jolla visitors and anyone who just wants an overview of downtown La Jolla. You’ll stop by the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, La Jolla Rec Center, two of the Village’s most famous hotels, and more! Check out the map before you go.

la jolla architecture walking tour

Midcentury Modern Architecture

The 1950s and 1960s brought about an innovation in La Jolla’s architecture, and a group of modernist architects emerged to spearhead new, influential, and enduring ideas in building design throughout the Village. This self-guided tourhighlights residential, commercial, and academic buildings designed in the modern style and reflecting influences ranging from the Bauhaus to Frank Lloyd Wright. There are even a few “Case Study” homes built by famed architects Killingsworth, Brady, & Smith, which are remarkable testaments to the industry’s golden age of Midcentury Modern.

Historic Beach Cottages

The La Jolla Historical Society has a great map for this historic beach cottage self-guided tour. You can go at your own pace, and see all of them or just a few – either way, this is a great tour for history buffs! In its earliest days, La Jolla was a village made up of small cottages that lined the streets and were tucked away into the canyons along the cliffs. Craftsman-style beach cottages, with basic design and simple wood construction, were the major architecture style of the late-19th century and early-20th century and La Jolla was no exception.

The beach cottage tour has 28 stops, and should about an hour or two depending on how long you spend at each location. The tour includes more well-known gems such as Brockton Villa and the Redwood Hollow Cottages, as well as lesser-known historic spots like the Little Blue House and the Florence Palmer Cottages. Print out the full map and plan your trip before you go!


La Jolla Guided Tours:

Walking Food Tour

BITE San Diego guides you through some of La Jolla’s tastiest cuisine on this 4.5-hour guided walking tour, covering a 1.5-mile route with 5+ restaurant stops. From Hawaiian-inspired treats (sweet & savory) to apple pancakes, fish tacos with a sea view, Kobe beef sliders, organic superfoods & smoothies, AND the largest tasting selection of CA made olive oil and balsamic vinegar. The tour kicks off at La Jolla Cove (head here for directions to the Cove) and stops at BEAMING Cafe, Public House La Jolla, and We Olive & Wine Bar; to name a few! Tours happen every Saturday and Sunday at 12:30pm; tickets are $47.

La Jolla Cove + Downtown

This one-stop-shop tour covers all your bases! The 90-minute walk will take you from the coast to residential neighborhoods and everything in between, including major shopping districts and dining spots. The tour kicks off next to La Jolla Cove then meanders its way over to Prospect and Girard; later, you’ll get to explore Sunny Jim Cave and venture to a few lesser-known spots in the Village

[image courtesy of Birch Aquarium]

Scripps Pier Full Moon Walks

A warm night lit by a full moon is the perfect time to explore one of La Jolla’s most incredible landmarks. The Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, normally closed to the public, is still used for research purposes and important marine life observation. The Birch Aquarium offers free public tours of the Pier on certain evenings, where you’ll get to discover its 100-year history of pier-based data on an exclusive moonlit tour. Collect plankton, learn about bioluminescent organisms, and explore current research while engaging in hands-on activities. Tours only happen a few times a month; they also offer daytime tours. Check the full schedule for fall on the Aquarium’s website.

Salk Institute

The one-hour Architecture Tours at the Salk Institute happen Monday-Friday at noon and are led by trained and knowledgeable docents. Learn about the history of the Institute and what makes its architecture so unique, as well as more about the man behind its design, Louis Kahn; one of the great master builders of the twentieth century. According to some, Salk asked Kahn to design a research facility “to which he could invite Picasso,” which resulted in the stunning edifice it is today. Tours are $15 and you must pre-register online beforehand.


Itinerary for a Day at Birch Aquarium: Things to Do Already Planned

San Diego is a mecca for aquatic wildlife and oceanic ecosystems; it’s one reason you must visit the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. This La Jolla aquarium has much to offer kids and adults, making it one of the top things to do in La Jolla for families.

Situated on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the Birch Aquarium is home to more than 3,000 fish and 60 habitats, providing a unique opportunity to become immersed in an underwater world of sharks, seahorses, living coral reefs and more! Contained within the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, the aquarium offers an immersive experience of the ocean sciences, conservation and research.

Here’s a planned itinerary for a day at the Birch Aquarium, so you can focus on enjoying the day – not worrying about the details of planning.

Buy Birch Aquarium Tickets Online

To make planning a trip to Birch Aquarium easy, we recommend buying aquarium tickets in advance online. It saves you time and even money vs. buying them upon arrival.

Head to this page on the Birch Aquarium website for special deals and discounts.

Check the Event Calendar

Before you go, make sure to check the calendar of events at Birch Aquarium. Each day, there are things to do at different times such as the Kelp Tank Dive Show. Check out the daily schedule for an updated list of everything happening each week.

Fuel Up with Breakfast in La Jolla

Eat before your trip to Birch Aquarium, so you and your posse can focus on the great exhibits – rather than stopping too often to snack.

We recommend local spots that open early, good no matter what time you & your family are hungry, and serve great food.

Caroline’s Seaside Cafe – This La Jolla cafe overlooks the Pacific Ocean, providing a great view and a variety of breakfast options including, but not limited to: pancakes, eggs (such as vegetable and Mediterranean egg scramble), greek yogurt parfaits and more.

The Daily Bagel – A local San Diego bagel shop known for great fare and a welcoming family atmosphere.

Bella Vista Social Club & Caffe – This oceanside cafe in La Jolla has a breathtaking view and a large parking lot. Nestled near the world famous Salk Institute, it has both indoor and outdoor seating. Breakfast includes options like decadent bagels, omelettes served with rosemary potatoes, acai bowls, black truffle quiche and more.

How to Get to Birch Aquarium (Details for Driving, Parking & Public Transport)

Address: 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037

Hours of Operation: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Directions: You can drive yourself to the aquarium or – if you are visiting without an automobile or don’t want to worry about finding parking – here are options for public transport to Birch Aquarium.

  • MTS Bus Route 30 – Stops at La Jolla Shores Drive & Discovery Way. From there, walk 100 feet east to Expedition Way. Walk downhill .3 miles to the entrance
  • North County Transit District Bus Route 101 – Stops at Expedition Way. Walk down Expedition Way to the aquarium (15 minutes)

Parking: Free parking is available for three hours in the designated aquarium lot. After three hours, parking is $8 per every 24 hours. Handicapped parking is located in the traffic circle at the front of the aquarium.

What to Expect & Explore at Birch Aquarium

Whether you’re exploring one of the interactive exhibits, checking out the tide pools or participating in one of the numerous aquarium events, there are many things to do at Birch Aquarium.

Here are some of the top attractions at this La Jolla aquarium.

  • Elasmo Beach: Discover sharks and rays that are native to La Jolla’s waters in a 13,000-gallon tank.
  • Living Tide Pools:Take the opportunity to get close-up views of sea stars, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, lobsters and more.
  • Virtual Experience of Mexican Seas: A virtual and visual photographic experience of four biodiversity hot spots found in Mexican waters.
  • There’s Something about Seahorses: An up-close encounter with more than a dozen seahorse species.
  • Boundless Energy: Experience first-hand how we can use renewable energy from wind, sun and sea.
  • Giant Kelp Tank:  Arguably one of the most popular attractions at the Aquarium, this 70,000 gallon, two-story tank is an awesome display of an underwater forest ecosystem. You’ll see tons of leopard sharks, Moray eels, an endangered Giant Black Sea Bass, and more. Be sure to check out one of the Kelp Tank Dive Shows, too; divers actually feed the tank creatures and will answer any questions.
  • Animal Feedings:Ever wondered what it would be like to dine with fish, sharks and lobsters? Consider this your official invitation to dinner! Each day, aquarists feed the different animals within their live displays, giving you a front row seat to the action. For a schedule of feedings, visit this handy itinerary.
  • Infinity Cube **NEW**:  The Infinity Cube is now open! It’s a huge, immersive installation that explores bioluminescence in the marine environment. It surrounds guests in projected and reflected larger-than-life images of bioluminescence accompanied by soundscape. Definitely worth a stop!

Where to Have Lunch at Birch Aquarium

Pack a Picnic Lunch – After your day at Birch Aquarium or, as a break, bring a picnic lunch. Pack a cooler beforehand so whenever you and your family are hungry, it’s right at hand.


Enjoy Lunch at Birch Aquarium’s Splash! Cafe – This La Jolla aquarium has a gourmet cafe with food by The French Gourmet, where you’ll enjoy sandwiches, salads and side dishes here.

Get an Amazing Oceanview Picture

Birch Aquarium is nestled above La Jolla Shores, providing an incredible view year-round. Make sure to head outside near the tide pool area to get picture of you and the family in front of the Pacific.

Hit the Beach After

After learning about the ocean and the ecosystems it holds, why not go explore it for yourself? It’s easy. Simply hop down to the beach below.

We recommend heading down to La Jolla Shores Beach – only 4 minutes away by car or 10 – 15 minutes using public transport to La Jolla Shores. This beach has equipment rentals, playgrounds and bathrooms – making it perfect for a kids day in La Jolla. It’s also great for a sunset walk on the beach.

Dinner at La Jolla Shores

The La Jolla Shores area offers a variety of great cuisine. Grab dinner at La Jolla restaurant spots such as:

The Shores Restaurant : Nestled on the 1st floor of the La Jolla Shores Hotel, this restaurant is a hidden gem in La Jolla. After a busy day of touring Birch Aquarium and visiting the beach, this elegant, beachside restaurant is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a glass of wine. Make reservations at The Shores Restaurant here.

(If you can make in time for happy hour, you should. Learn about the amazing Shores Restaurant happy hour here.

Go Urban Exploring with the Murals of La Jolla

One of La Jolla’s best features is its role as a patron of the arts! Besides MCASD La Jolla and numerous art galleries, La Jolla also features its own series of outdoor murals maintained by the Athenaeum. Here’s our guide to planning your own Murals of La Jolla tour!

Currently, La Jolla hosts 16 mural locations maintained by private donations to the Athenaeum. You can view former murals in the online archive at the Murals of La Jolla Website, as 8 of the 16 have been updated with new murals since the start of the series in 2010. Each art piece stays up a minimum of two years. 2016 saw several additions, with 3 new murals and 2 new locations.

Planning Your Tour

If you want to take it easy, guided tours covering a majority of the murals are given by Athenaeum staff on the last Wednesday of each month at 4:30 pm. However, it’s usually more convenient to draw up your own tour. You can even customize it for accessibility, walking distance, and snack stops.

Firstly, you’ll need to know where the murals are, which you can easily find with this printable map. If you only have a short bit of time or are looking for the most wheelchair-friendly route, we recommend going from Prospect St, to Herschel Ave, to Girard Ave for the most murals (and best sidewalks) in the shortest distance.

Special Murals of La Jolla

Oldest mural – Favorite Color by Roy McMakin at 7596 Eads Ave (2010)
Newest mural – Landing by Heather Gwen Martin at 7724 Girard Ave (2016)
Cutest Mural – Opening by William Wegman at 1162 Prospect St (2014)
Most Instagrammable mural – One Pointed Attention by Kelsey Brookes at 7835 Ivanhoe Ave (2014) (cover image)
Most out of the way mural – Walking in the Cityprojects by Julian Opie at 5535 La Jolla Blvd (2013) (side image)
* This one is a real trek but is just a few steps away from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, which is arguably the best coffee in La Jolla. If you’re up for it, it’s a nice one to catch.

About the Murals

The Murals of La Jolla project began in 2010. Over the past few years, large-scale artworks have appeared in a variety of locations throughout the village of La Jolla; many are tucked away in more discreet locations, which makes them even more fun to find.

The project was founded by the La Jolla Community Foundation and continues to demonstrate that commissioning artists to create works for public spaces brings energy and vitality to a community. Here’s the list of artists whose murals are on display right now:

  • Kota Ezawa
  • Steven Hull
  • Heather Gwen Martin
  • Lorenzo Hurtado Segovia
  • Byron Kim/Victoria Fu
  • Terry Allen
  • Marcos Ramirez ERRE
  • Mel Bochner
  • Jean Lowe
  • William Wegman
  • Kelsey Brookes
  • Fred Tomaselli
  • Mark Bradford
  • Julian Opie
  • Roy McMakin
  • John Baldessari

Overall, 24 murals have been commissioned since 2010, and the Foundation plans on continuing to commission local and international artists.

Favorite Restaurants Along the Way

If you want to eat on the go, you can get tacos from Puesto or burgers from Burger Lounge and look at both the Hamilton and Blochner murals across the street in the parking lot.

If you’re in the mood for a treat, grab some Haagen Daz and eat it while gazing up at Wegman’s Opening.

If you’re looking for a sit-down meal, Brain/Cloud can be seen from the outdoor patio of George’s, and Sexy Cash can be seen from the patio of La Jolla Brewing Company.

Happy touring, and let us know in the comments which your favorites were!

One Pointed Attention and Walking in the City images from

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!

The Guide to Traveling Solo in La Jolla Itinerary

Thomas Jefferson once said, “I think one travels more usefully when they travel alone, because they reflect more.” If you want to take Jefferson’s perspective and get introspective, La Jolla, California is a hub of activities and opportunities.

Here’s the ultimate guide to to traveling solo in La Jolla.

1. Really savor your breakfast.

If you’re like most of us, breakfast is a quick, get it done, “don’t want to be late!” activity. And if we’re with friends or family for our morning meal, we’re focused on talking with our companion(s), not the flavors of our food.

Traveling solo is an opportunity to appreciate breakfast. Order something you wouldn’t normally. Eat slowly and truly enjoy it.

One of our top recommendations is Harry’s Coffee Shop, a La Jolla restaurant staple since 1960.

2. Go to at least one La Jolla beach.

Experience and science say the beach is the perfect place to clear one’s mind and contemplate. According to The Huffington Post, marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols Nichols says our brains experience soft fascination when by the ocean. The Pacific actually induces the brain into a state of calm focus and brings on gentle awareness.

With this in mind and no immediate companion to create conversation with, simply focus on you and the sea. Walk the sand and gaze at the lulling waves; experience the meditative thoughts in your own mind.

Check out which beach to go to at our beaches directory.

3. Take the La Jolla Salk Institute Tour.

The Salk Institute is not only one of the top research biology facilities in the entire world, it’s been deemed one of the boldest architectural structures on the planet. Breathtaking and awe-inspiring, it’s an incredible cliffside venue with rich history and scientific knowledge.

You can take free tours there on weekday afternoons; just make sure to sign up ahead of time. Find full information on the Salk Institute for Biological Studies Architecture Tour at the Salk Institute website.

4. Enjoy lunch with a Pacific ocean view.

As with breakfast, lunch is often a rushed affair, especially during busy work week when 20 minutes is just enough time to eat a sandwich grabbed from the local deli.

Head to one of La Jolla’s restaurants. Look over the menu and ask the waiter’s opinion; instead of thinking about how much time you have left in your day, enjoy the surrounding atmosphere and (depending on your precise location) people or ocean watch.

If you’re feeling price conscious, here are 3 Hidden Gem Lunch Spots in La Jolla (On a Budget!)

5. Take your time at a La Jolla museum; see exactly what you want to see.

Going alone to a La Jolla museum, you can spend how much time you find ideal exploring each piece and aspect. Here are top recommendations for La Jolla museums:

  1. Museum of Contemporary Art
  2. Athenaeum Music & Arts Library (Free)
  3. Nearby Balboa Park (There are over 17 museums to choose from)

6. Experience Mt. Soledad at Sunset.

Mt. Soledad is a landmark San Diego & La Jolla monument, created to honor United States service men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country. At the top of Mt. Soledad, visit the memorial and then take in the 360 degree view of the city and surrounding landscape.

Want to make it into a hike? Check out the best way to make it a mini workout and other La Jolla hikes at 5 Best Hikes & Trails in La Jolla.

7. Attend a show.

There are multiple La Jolla shows and venues to choose from. Going solo, you can choose exactly which one most appeals to you.

We recommend checking out the Comedy Store (if you’re in the mood for laughs) or the La Jolla Playhouse (a famous theater that has sent countless shows to Broadway.)

Traveling solo is a wonderful opportunity to carve out your much needed “me time”. We hope this La Jolla guide helps accomplish just that.



5 Ways to Be a Tourist in Your Hometown La Jolla

Live in beautiful Southern California and lack vacation time? La Jolla, California is a top tourist destination for a reason. Even if you’ve lived here for years, there’s still La Jolla exploring to do.

Here are the top 5 ways to be a tourist in the Jewel.

1. Book yourself a spa day.

Why do you have to be in a far off land to pamper yourself? We say take the relaxation time you’ve earned. At the La Jolla Estancia Resort & Spa, you’ll feel feel miles away work and errands. Here are just a few spa services & amenities Estancia offers:

  • Massage therapies
  • Body treatments
  • Manicures & Pedicures
  • Waxing services
  • Eucalyptus steam room
  • Saltwater whirlpool
  • Rain shower

Check out the full list of services and how to book your own treatment at the La Jolla Estancia Resort & Spa website.

2. Take a tour.

From food and wine tours to kayak tours, La Jolla has many aspects to explore. For example, if you’re too busy to stroll the city on an average day, we highly recommend taking the walking tour of the murals of La Jolla.
Learn how to do so at our Art Lovers’ Itinerary blog.

3. Pick a restaurant you’ve never dined at.

You probably have your favorite local spots for cuisine. Change things up and go to a new La Jolla restaurant, one of the bistros or cafes you walk by and think, “I should try that some time”. To truly make it a holiday status event? Make reservations ahead of time and pick out an extra special outfit.

Need ideas for restaurants? Get insight on a variety of La Jolla restaurants and food here.

4. Visit one of the local museums.

The La Jolla museums change up exhibits often, so even if you’ve been before, you’ll come back to something new.

5. Learn something new.

As you would when on a vacation far away, take a class or sign up for something totally different than your normal routine – perhaps a painting & wine course with My Art Shed or a cooking class at Sur La Table.

When you’re a tourist in a foreign city, you’re constantly learning new things, so here are 8 Things You Don’t Know About La Jolla.

Madison Gallery: Now Featuring Miya Ando’s Latest Work

The Madison Gallery is known for impressing visitors with its diverse and careful selection of work; they’ve done it again with Miya Ando’s latest artwork.

Miya has created a large-scale installation that will be on view until November 22, 2015. Titled “Emptiness the Sky”, Shou Sugi Ban, the name is ideal for the charred wood and metal painting piece.

Miya spent much time as a child in Okayama, Japan, where the charred wood was used in construction for her home, the surrounding houses and the Buddhist temple. She experienced a similar type of wood when she lived in Santa Cruz, California, where she played in a treehouse that had been struck by lightning. It looked much like the Shou Sugi Ban.

You can see the fusion of inspiration from these two childhood scenes. The installation is structured like a traditional Japanese tea room she would’ve gone to as a child in Japan, 84 x 84 x 84 inches. On another continent altogether, you’ll see the influence of her redwood treehouse, charred by lightning, here, as well.

It has been said that Shou Sugi Ban charred wood has low flammability, preventing fires that would happen with other woods. Enter Miya Ando’s installation to feel this coolness and to feel a sense of calm transformation.

Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium

The Pacific Ocean lining La Jolla is not only beautiful; it’s filled with wondrous aquatic life. Perhaps you’d love to see it but aren’t enthusiastic about scuba diving to do so. Well, don’t worry, you don’t have to. You can get up close with these beautiful sea creatures above water, high up on a cliff, as a matter of fact, here in La Jolla at the Birch Aquarium.

This aquarium, part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD (University of California, San Diego), is a beloved place dedicated to education, research and ocean conservation. It’s especially great for families because its exhibits are more geared towards children. You definitely feel this family-friendly vibe walking amongst the exhibits.


This aquarium is somewhat small compared to more massive spots like Monterey Bay, but don’t be fooled by its land coverage. Though compact, this place has over 60 habitats. Birch Aquarium features favorites like There’s Something About Seahorses, Hall of Fishes and, of course, Living Tide Pools.

The pot belly seahorses and exotic jellyfish are some of the most sought out creatures here, so definitely make sure not to miss them. If you’re interested in larger animals? Look out for the new Loggerhead Sea Turtle!

Getting Interactive

Looking at the animals alone is pretty incredible, but we recommend you take things up a notch by looking at the calendar for the day you plan to attend. It’ll let you know when to look out for events such as their kelp tank dive show, tide pool feeding and Elasmo Beach feeding.

Top Tips

Purchasing tickets online ahead of time saves you money at the door and can save you some money. If you search online, you can often find discounts that are worth checking out.

Parking in the lot is free for up to three hours. This is usually an adequate amount of time to explore this intimate aquarium, but, if you find yourself needing more, just make sure to be aware of that time allowance.

The inner aquariums are great, but don’t forget to head out the open air section. The exhibits here, like the tide pools, are just as great as the ocean view behind them!

Be prepared to encounter a lot of young ones. This facility sees over 40,000 school children every year. So if it’s a weekday, don’t be surprised to see large yellow school buses!

Just below this facilities is La Jolla Shores, a beach great for picnics, surfing and other activities. Coming to this beach is way to spend time before or after the aquarium. Learn more about this beach at our La Jolla Shores Page.

A Travelers Guide to the San Diego Zoo: Safari Park

San Diego Zoo: Safari Park

Encounter animals from around the world, running and reveling in life, at the San Diego Zoo: Safari Park! This park started with a vision by Dr. Charles Schroeder in 1968 and, since then, has become the amazing wildlife paradise it is today.


Note that the Safari Park is not to be confused with the San Diego Zoo that’s located near the heart of downtown SD! The Safari Park is a far larger lot of land far away from the bustle of downtown. It’s home to a very different set of unique animals and is located near Escondido, which is to the northeast of La Jolla.

The Safari Park environment is a contrast to the usual zoo enclosures. Here, animals roam on large tracts of land, 1,800 acres of land to be exact. Because of its size, make sure you take at least one whole day to explore! Open every day of the year, including holidays, you can visit your favorite animals any time, no matter the season.

What Type of Animals & Plants to Expect

There’s a wide variety of creatures here to meet. Some of the top favorites include the African rhinos, camels, cheetahs, coati, lemurs, lions, millipedes, hissing cockroaches, bald eagle, Przewalski’s horses, red river hogs, dik diks, elephants, gorillas and zebras. The experience of seeing these animals is extremely authentic because the animals are put together to encourage interaction. See giraffes mingle with ostriches and deer run with antelope!

If seeing all these majestic creatures wasn’t already enough, also look forward to the globally-encompassing gardens you’ll be exploring. Visit unique plant life exhibits like the beautiful Bonsai Pavillion and Old World Succulent Garden.

Add On Safaris

It’s important to know that your initial ticket may seem quite inexpensive. This is because what you’re paying for is just admission to get in, the animal shows and a basic tram tour. This ride is of an open square mile at the center of the park, giving you the most general tour of park.

To get more in-depth knowledge and close ups of other animals and exhibits, you’ll want to check out the add-on safaris, which do cost extra. Some of these tours are:

• Cart Safari (goes through African Plains or Asian Savannah)
• Cheetah Safari (meet these spotted speedsters up close)
• Jungle Ropes Safari (climb a ropes-filled obstacle course)
• Flightline Safari (zip line through some of the most popular exhibits)
• Roar & Snore Safari (camping out in the park itself)

Additional Experiences

As mentioned before, you have animal encounters and shows included in the price of ticket admission. The purpose of these experiences? To have park trainers and keepers introduce you to animals up close and provide you a truly in-depth look at what makes them unique! Some of these animal encounters include:

• Tiger Keeper Talk (Everyday at 11:45 am)
• Bird Training Talk (Everyday at 10:30 am)
• Petting Kraal the goat (Everyday from 10 am – 4:45 pm)
• Lemur Walk (Everyday from 9 am to close)
• Elephant Keeper Talk (Everyday at 1:30 pm)
• Frequent Flyers Bird Show (Everyday at noon and 2:30 pm)

How to Prepare (Attire, Food and More)

You’ve picked your date. You’ve mulled over which tours to add on. Now for the nitty gritty details…what to wear and what to pack!

Since you’ll be walking a long ways, supportive walking shoes are critical. Your feet will be giving you a big thank you by the day’s end!

Food-wise, you’re more than welcome to bring your own grub into the park. For those with families where buying food for 4 gets expensive fast, packing a picnic lunch is a great option. And hey, if you’re not in the mood to haul a cooler…there’s plenty of great food throughout the park. And don’t worry too much about dietary needs at these restaurants; most of the options like Thorntree Terrace, Samburu Terrace and Mombasa Cooker all have vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Good to Know

You can often find great deals on San Diego Zoo tickets or Safari Park tickets and packages through discount sites like LivingSocial and Groupon. Better yet, you’ve visited our zoo discounts page! When looking to book your trip;, look on these sites first to make sure you’re getting the best savings possible!

In Conclusion

A day at the Safari Park is one well-spent, especially for families with kids. Everyone will come out feeling enriched, and, after your day of hiking, dinner will have never tasted so good!

Top 5 Activities in La Jolla for Adventurers

Kayak La Jolla Cove:

Whether you are a beginner or an expert, anyone can kayak La Jolla Cove and explore the beauty that encapsulates the sea caves and waters below. Sign up for a guided tour with Everyday California and not only will you get to glide through and near the spectacular sea caves, you can safely encounter wildlife from above, such as sea lions, Garibaldi and even leopard sharks. Paddling to and from the caves will definitely get your heart rate up and strengthen your arms at the same time!


Rent a Bike:

The bike paths are endless in La Jolla. You can hop on the Soledad Slide Bike Tour and view the impressive views that stretch from Orange County to Mexico. From Mt. Soledad, you ride down the mountain (drooling at some of the most luxurious real estate in San Diego) to the breathtaking coastline where you can get up-close-and-personal with the large, shore break waves crashing at WindanSea Beach and the sea lions at the Children’s Pool.


Or go at your own pace and create your own route. One of the most popular routes is the La Jolla City Loop. Start off of Prospect Street and follow the bike path signs; you can bike through Bird Rock and all the way south to the Pacific Beach boardwalk.

Hike Torrey Pines State Reserve:

The breathtaking Torrey Pines State Reserve is located between La Jolla and Del Mar. There are several different trails you can take along the way, so feel free to venture down different trails if you are up for a longer hike. Regardless, don’t forget to stop and take in the panoramic ocean views throughout your time at Torrey Pines.


Once you reach the top you can head back down the way you came or take the paved road down the mountain. Either way, you will feel the burn and bask in beautiful views. Click here for directions.

Hours: 7:15 a.m. to sunset

Parking: Free parking along Highway 101 can be crowded and hard to come by; and the state beach parking can cost up to $15 per day.

Local Tip: We recommend parking along Carmel Valley Road in the free parallel spaces and walking under the Coaster Bridge to access the beach and hike areas.

Snorkel and Swim:

La Jolla Cove is the best place to snorkel because the beach is sheltered from the waves due to its north facing location. 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 or WindanSea Beach.

Local Tip: We recommend swimming at La Jolla Shores for children and amateur swimmers due to its sandy bottom and smaller waves. WindanSea has a big shore break and a rocky bottom and is probably best-suited for adults and more advanced swimmers. Both beaches are fun for different swimming levels.

3 Must See Spots for Art Lovers in La Jolla

The Madison Gallery

Find modern works. Discover contemporary paintings. Get inspired at a global level. Yorna Lork, the owner of the Madison Gallery, finds truly distinct, noteworthy artists from across the globe to feature in this gallery, so everytime you go, look forward to seeing something unique.


The staff are knowledgeable, but like to let you take your own time looking at the artwork; they provide you plenty of space to ponder quietly.The gallery, inspired by Manhattan’s very own, has high ceilings and space that immerses you with a calm, zen vibe. As you walk towards the back, you’ll see a full glass wall that looks out to the nearby Pacific Ocean. In addition, it’s great to know this gallery has philanthropic emphasis, supporting the Healing Art Fund and hosting art-based charity events.

As new exhibits come, the gallery hosts opening events to showcase the work. We’ll make sure you stay on top of what the latest and upcoming events are through our blog.

The Loft at UC San Diego

If you’re in a younger demographic desiring a local spot for all things arts and music, this hidden gem has a lot to offer. The Loft is a contemporarily decorated lounge that’s both a cafe for featuring art and a stage for hosting intimate music shows. The music artists feature everyone from big names and international stars to up-and-coming locals. If that isn’t enough, be on look out for special events like stand-up comedy, trivia nights and movie showings.

The Loft is known for its high-quality, well-priced alcoholic beverages. We recommend the Sangria; it’s incredibly done and the perfect drink for cheersing with fellow art lovers.

Peter Lik Fine Art

Peter Lik, the top award-winning photographer of all-time, is known for pieces that highlight the world’s elements of earth, wind and fire. When this La Jolla location was opened, it was to the eagerness of many awaiting fans. His work is so good that he just sold the most expensive photographic work in history; the final price? Six and half million dollars to one enthusiastic private collector.


He’s set roots down in this region and his understanding of the community shows. Simply walk into the gallery and prepare to be awed. You’ll be greeted by the friendly and helpful staff, who can tell you why the art looks like it’s backlit (even though it isn’t!) and where each photograph was taken. Photos you’d swear were shot in far off lands were taken in places like Idaho and North Dakota. After strolling the front, make sure to head to the back. The dim lighting of the back rooms creates a majestic, romantic atmosphere you don’t want to miss.

To get the full experience of this gallery, come on the first Friday of the month. Wine and cheese are served as your browse the photographs. When you fall in love and find yourself able to purchase a piece here…it is not usually your last!

Looking for More Art Entertainment?

Each of these spots has a lot to offer; our descriptions only scratch the surface on what La Jolla’s art scene holds. Learn more about the top art areas and local museums at our Arts & Culture Page.

Scuba Diving in La Jolla

Scuba Diving

Perhaps you’ve gone snorkeling and are ready for something more extreme. Take it to the next level with scuba diving! In La Jolla, you can take scuba classes, get certified, go on scuba tours or, for those want to go guide-free, simply rent scuba diving equipment.


Classes & Locations

As for classes, you can find a selection of private, small group and big group classes. Times and dates are flexible. If you want to get certified quickly, certain companies are able to offer courses that finish in as little as 4 days.

Newer divers are advised to hit the easiest shore dive at La Jolla Shores. This spot is protected by cliffs and has shallow waters that are ideal for those just starting out. Be on the look out for the wide variety of sea life, ranging from fish and rays to sea stars and leopard sharks! However, you’ll want to note that because it’s the easiest, La Jolla Shores also tends to be the most popular and draw the biggest crowds.

For those looking for an experience particularly unique to La Jolla, dive into a kelp forest at La Jolla Cove. Amongst the kelp you’ll spot aquatic wildlife like Garibaldi fish, rays and even grand sea lions and dolphins! Find yourself shivering? The water in La Jolla Cove tends to be colder than the average La Jolla beach, so you may want to rent a wetsuit.

For the Truly Adventurous

The most adventurous of the adventurers can also up their ante through night diving. Local companies like SD Expeditions offer a nocturnal experience that lets you go diving at night. But don’t worry, you won’t be swimming in total darkness. You’ll be led by a light that’s attached to your own body.

To Learn More

To learn more about companies offering classes, tours and more, we invite you to look to our website’s profiles. Find out more specific details about each place to find the experience best for you!

Interested in other Aquatic Activities?
You’ll want to check out our Ocean Page to learn more.

**Thumbnail Image Accredited to Biscarotte. Some right reserved by Biscarotte
Only adjustment made: Sizing to 333 x 313

Downtown Sunset Cruises and Tours near La Jolla

Sunset Cruises

As Carlos Santana once said, “There’s never one sunrise the same or one sunset the same.” Experience of the Pacific Ocean’s unique sunsets by coasting the water on a sunset cruise. There aren’t cruises that leave directly from La Jolla, but you don’t have to go far to enjoy one. We’ve outlined top places for you to go and what they have to offer.


Seven Seas Adventures (San Diego & Surrounding Area)

Seven Seas sends out sunset cruises around San Diego Harbor near the San Diego Downtown. Their 3 hour long sunset cruise gets rave reviews for a reason, such as the helpful staff and wonderful captains. If you’re planning a special event, the captains have been known to truly try and work in detail requests!

San Diego Comfort Cruise (Shelter Island & Point Loma Area)

For a fantastic, less-downtown filled experience, head out from this Shelter Island and Point Loma based site, which is slightly closer to La Jolla than downtown San Diego. The owners, Ed and Cheryl, are abound with San Diego knowledge and incredibly fun, genuine people. They are known for creating a great celebration cruise, especially for birthdays! Just be aware that they can provide drinks if requested, but not food. To ensure you have the tastes you desire, we recommend bringing both food and drink.

Hornblower Cruises & Events (Downtown San Diego)

This is the go-to name for cruises in San Diego. It has some seriously large yachts that are used for regular sunset cruises, as well as large planned parties and bashes such as New Year’s Eve Celebrations. (These often include dinner buffets and DJs too!) As a much larger scale company, running cruises in other cities like Newport beach, San Francisco and New York City, they do have a more corporate, big business feel. For those who don’t mind a more “touristy” vibe and want the truly big boat experience, this is a great choice.

San Diego Sailing Tours (Downtown San Diego)

Cruise the ocean while overlooking the skyline of San Diego’s downtown and Gaslamp Quarter. Known for captains that go above and beyond, the small team here is incredibly friendly and welcoming.

Pacific Sunset Cruises (Mission Bay)

Stay nearby and experience a fantastic sunset cruise at Mission Bay, just south of La Jolla,. This cruise is shorter than some of the other options at 90 minutes, which is ideal for those who’d prefer not to be out on the water for a full 3 hours. When looking at this option, just make sure to be conscious of the season. Due to its popularity taking over parking, Pacific Sunset Cruises had to cancel sunset cruises during summer. They are still available every weekend from the start of Daylight Savings Time to Memorial Day Weekend and begin again Labor Day until Daylight Savings Time.

Bay Dreamin’ (San Diego & Surrounding Area)

Praised for their attention to detail, Bay Dreamin’ is a great company to check out for a private, down-to-earth experience. Rather than a grand yacht, you’ll be on a smaller, more local-vibing boat. You can bring 2 to 6 people for a truly intimate, get-to-know the area adventure.

Most of these cruises are focused on the water and skyline of the cruising experience. People bring a lot of their own food and drinks. If you vision yourself having dinner served to you whilst sailing the sea, you’ll want to check out our Dinner Cruise Page.


Tours in La Jolla


There’s only one potential problem with La Jolla; there can be too much to see! With so much to explore, it may be hard to know where to start. This is where La Jolla’s trusty tours can step in and help. From exploring the area’s best wine to discovering the ultimate seaside view, we are here to connect you with the very best tours for the very best value.

“We want to make sure you experience what you desire in La Jolla.”


Food & Wine:

La Jolla loves its food and relishes its wine; you want to know why. A great way to explore this city’s wine scene? La Jolla Wine Tours. By bus or by foot, you can traverse this town in search of your perfect wine.

This company also pairs with San Diego Beer & Wine Tours so, if you desire, your tour can go outside the city and include IPAs and hops, as well as wine. To learn more about the food here in general, cruise over to our Food Page.


Classic Sightseeing Tours:

Especially if you’re new to the area, you probably want to take in the sights and learn what makes La Jolla unique. Companies & tours such as Tour Guide Tim are great resources to introduce you to this town.

Explore by Segway:

Looking for a tour more unique than going by foot? We Love Tourists offers a new way to check out the city, by segway. These 2 wheel rolling devices may have been made famous by mall cop comedies, but, after trying one for yourself, you’ll only be laughing at how shockingly fun and wonderful they are.

Outdoors & Active:

Kayak. Hike. Bike. Scuba dive. La Jolla is a place where outdoor exploration & fitness is synonymous with adventure. Hike Bike Kayak San Diego is one just one company that offers tours for the person who wants to get off the paved path. They offer enticing options like the La Jolla Cave Kayak Tour and the La Jolla Plunge Bike Tour, which will have you craving more of La Jolla…after you rest from the intensely active hours that is!


As all of us have heard, there are a lot of fish in the sea. We suggest, then, heading to the ocean to catch some! Southern California Fly-Fishing Expeditions offers tours that let you experience La Jolla fishing to the fullest.

We want to make sure you experience what you desire in La Jolla. By checking out the rest of our website, you can find the latest opportunities, companies and upcoming events to help you explore to your heart’s content!