Checking out the La Jolla Harbor Seals

2009 harbor seals la jolla san diego

One of my favorite places to bring family and friends from out of town is La Jolla, by far! Our absolute favorite place to visit in La Jolla is over at the Children’s Pool, otherwise known as Point Mencinger or Casa Beach. We love to see if the La Jolla harbor seals are hauled out on the rocks or the beach.

Did you know that Point Mencinger and the Children’s Pool is a Pacific harbor seal rookery? (A rookery is where the seals mate and raise young.)

Yes, it is!

And just north at Point La Jolla, there is a California sea lion rookery as well! The coastline of La Jolla is magical.

On August 17, my girls and I went on a little pinniped adventure.

Let’s now take a look at what we saw, and as a bonus for you and as well as for me, I have listed several La Jolla harbor seal facts.

The Pacific Harbor Seals of La Jolla

Point Mencinger la jolla san diego
Point Mencinger is North of Boomer Beach, 2021

First off, it blows me away that I never knew that the formal name of this area, in La Jolla, is known as Point Mencinger. 

Down below is a photo during a King Tide, so the tide was super low.

Continue reading “Checking out the La Jolla Harbor Seals”

Let’s Have a San Diego Beach Bonfire!

fiesta island sunset san diego mission bay

Welcome back to San Diego Beach Secrets! Do you like bonfires? There is something special about sitting around a fire with the ocean waves crashing on the shore, yes? As a rule, it is good to remember that open fires are prohibited on all San Diego County beaches.

You may only have a bonfire within a provided fire rings. In other words, where are all of the fire rings on the beaches of San Diego? Well, not all of the beaches of San Diego have fire rings, so this has motivated me to make a handy list, so next time you (and I) will have a better idea of where to go.

And once there, how many are there to choose from?

So the question is, which beach has the best bonfire potential? Each beach has its own preferred extinguish time, so take note of that.

All fire rings in San Diego County are on a first come- first serve basis.

I have also included a couple of businesses where you can rent a San Diego beach bonfire!

More information is down below.

Ok! Let’s have a San Diego beach bonfire!


Best San Diego Beaches for Bonfires-Where Are All of the Fire Rings?

San Onofre State Beach

old mans beach fire pits san onofre state beach

Oh, how I love, love San Onofre State Beach!

Continue reading “Let’s Have a San Diego Beach Bonfire!”

Checking out the California Sea Lions in La Jolla

CA sealions point la jolla featured image

There is something extraordinary about seeing wild animals in their natural habitats, especially marine mammals. Well, what if I told you that over at La Jolla, there are two designated pinniped rookeries near each other? Yes! A Pacific harbor seal rookery is located at Casa Beach/ Children’s Pool, and a California sea lion rookery is found at Point La Jolla and Boomer Beach. Have you ever seen California sea lions up close before?

Both rookeries are very close to each other and are found down parallel to Ellen Browning Scripps Park. Today, I will be only concentrating on what we saw over at the newly closed to the public- California sea lion rookery.

sea lions people la jolla san diego
July 6, 2017

Where Are The California Sea Lions in La Jolla?

La Jolla Cove

people sea lion la jolla cove august

La Jolla cove sits adjacent to Point La Jolla, so it is not uncommon to see a couple of California sea lions hanging out on the rocks in the cove.

On this day, it was quite unusual for this sea lion to swim onto a crowded beach and pose on a rock, but maybe not.

You would think that some sea lions are becoming less afraid of humans, seeing that human smells and sounds constantly surround them.

Continue reading “Checking out the California Sea Lions in La Jolla”

Help Save California Sportfishing!

H & M landing fleet save california sportfishing

I have an important announcement, and I need your help! You see, the California Air Resource Board (CARB) has proposed a new and virtually unattainable metric for all harbor craft boat engines. The new rules make it especially tasking to the small family-run sportfishing/whale watching boat owners. How bad is it? Well, so bad that if passed, most will go out of business! So I need your help! Would you please sign the form below, so we can help save California sportfishing?

save california sportfishing red button

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Best San Diego Family Beaches

Moonlight 7 1 family beach san diego featured image

Welcome to San Diego Beach Secrets! Today I would like to concentrate on the best San Diego family beaches. There are so many different types of beaches in San Diego’s 70 miles of coastline. The variety is endless,  and some of which you can only reach four times a year. But what does constitute a great family beach? My first pick would be calm waters, followed by soft sand, maybe a playground? But most definitely a restroom and showers. So, today I will be highlighting where, when, and how each beach is ideal for a spectacular family day at the beach.

Ready?

Let’s go!

—>Beaches of San Diego County<—

Best North County San Diego Beaches for Families

Oh, how I love North County San Diego Beaches! You see, these beaches (sans Oceanside) have huge and gorgeous sandstone bluffs to accent the already beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Down below, I have three wonderful family beaches to share with you!

Let’s go!

Oceanside Harbor Beach- Family Fun in Oceanside

oceanside pier sand ocean waves

button map buccaneer beach oceanside

Oceanside Harbor beach is great for families because there are so many amenities to choose from. What I think is the main draw is the extensive sandy beach.

Continue reading “Best San Diego Family Beaches”

Fiesta Island- A Closer Look

Fiesta Island entrance mission bay san diego

On June 15, 2021, one of my best friends and I took her two dogs to Fiesta Island over at Mission Bay Park. Though I have been visiting Fiesta Island for well over 30 years, today was the first time I entered the infamous leash-free dog park; and oh my goodness, this place is magical! Ironically, the next day, the California Coastal Commission formally decided that Fiesta Island Dog Park was to stay the same way that it has been for years-rustic and undeveloped. I had no idea this was up for a vote.

A bit more commentary on this subject later.

So as I said before, I have been coming here for years, but back in 2018, I did a photoshoot of the island. I was surprised at how special it is over here. Would you care to see what I saw?

Let’s also take a closer look at all of the things you can do and enjoy over at Fiesta Island. As a bonus, I will be including phone numbers and links to relevant websites about this area!

A Few Mission Bay and Fiesta Island Facts

mission bay map fiesta island san diego

button map fiesta island mission bay san diego

Phone Number– (619) 235-1169

Hours– 4:00 am to 10:00 pm

Click on the map below for a better idea.

—>Fiesta Island Map<—

#– Fiesta Island Dog Park is open 24 hours, seven days a week, but the island is closed to cars after 10:00 pm. You may enter, but you will have to park off the island and walk.

Continue reading “Fiesta Island- A Closer Look”

Carlsbad Sea Wall Trail-A Closer Look

Robert Frazee Beach Carlsbad San Diego

On the morning of April 29th, I woke up on a mission. A mission to take in some glorious sights as well as breathing in some crisp and clean ocean air. I wasn’t quite sure where I was going to start this adventure. I let my instincts guide me. While I am driving to the coast, several ideas pop in and out of my head. So today, I decided to take a closer look at the Carlsbad Sea Wall Trail, which is extremely popular in North Carlsbad.

—>Beaches of San Diego County<—

Below is an outline of the Beaches of Carlsbad. On this particular day, I visited all of the beaches except South Ponto.

Carlsbad State Beach

  • Robert Frazee State Beach
  • Tamarack State Beach
  • Warm Water Jetty Beach

South Carlsbad State Beach

  • Terramar State Beach
  • North Ponto State Beach
  • South Carlsbad State Beach
  • South Ponto

Exploring the Carlsbad State Beach

Robert Frazee state beach sign

button map Robert Frazee State Beach

Today, I thought I would start over at Robert Frazee Beach, where Carlsbad State Beach’s northern boundary begins. A small parking lot is located off Oak Ave and Ocean St, but I found a parking spot right off of Pine Street in the residential area.

Continue reading “Carlsbad Sea Wall Trail-A Closer Look”

Saltwater Fishing in San Diego

saltwater fishing san diego featured image

San Diego, otherwise known as “America’s Finest City,” boasts over 70 miles of coastline to explore! Are you a piscator? Or, in other words, do you like saltwater fishing? Do you prefer to fish from piers or jetties? From shore or out in the ocean? San Diego’s peak fishing season begins in April until November.  Would you like to learn more about saltwater fishing in San Diego?

–>The Beaches of San Diego County<–

What makes San Diego extraordinary is that the coastline is so varied. There are miles of sandstone bluffs in North County San Diego (San Onofre, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar). While down in South County San Diego, sandy beaches rule (Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, Coronado, Imperial Beach.) Whether you prefer to fish from the beach, jetty, pier, boat, or by a chartered vessel, San Diego has it all!

piscator definition mackerel fishing pole

A Piscator Page, You Say?

I thought it would be a good idea to have a distinct page on my website with all of the San Diego saltwater fishing information in one place. A piscator page!

So down below, I have compiled complete lists of all San Diego saltwater fishing piers, saltwater sportfishing (half-day/full-day) party and charter boats, boat launch ramps, lobster fishing spots, the 2021 grunion run schedule, a few fish lists, as well as several noted shore fishing locations.

As a bonus, I have also included all harbor and bay cruises offered out of Oceanside Harbor, Mission Bay, and San Diego Bay for those of you that have no desire to fish but still yearn to be on the water.

To experience San Diego to the fullest, you must get on the ocean, breathe in all the negative ions, and let the saltwater spray on your face. Believe me; you will thank me later. Also, don’t forget to pack a sweatshirt as it sure can get chilly out on the water.

Continue reading “Saltwater Fishing in San Diego”

2021 Grunion Run Schedule

grunion out water sandy beach sea foam

It is that time of year again! The Grunion are here! If you recall, last year, we in California could not see the grunion last March and April, as we were not allowed anywhere near the water. Well, this year is different, and I, for one, am heading down this month to check them out in person. Down below, I present to you the 2021 grunion run schedule for Southern California.

What is a Grunion, and How Do They Run?

marcro grunion fish head close up
credit-Nathan Rupert-(Flickr)

The grunion (Leuresthes tenuis) are small silvery fish between 5 to 7 inches long that live about 3 to 4 years. Each year, between March and September, the grunion comes onto Southern California’s beaches to spawn during the Full and New Moons.

The female grunion catches a wave onto the beach and digs a hole while waiting for the males to touch her. Once touched, she will release her eggs, and the males will then release their milt (sperm) on her body, which then flows down onto the eggs.

The whole process happens rather quickly, and up to eight males may fertilize each female. An interesting fact is that the female grunion may be out of the water for over five minutes! Once the male is done, he will catch a wave back out into the ocean.

Each grunion run lasts for four consecutive days when the tide is at its highest and longest. The eggs are buried in the sand for two weeks until the next high tide arrives. When the larvae become agitated by the waves, they hatch and are taken back into the ocean by the tide.

April and May are peak spawning months, so only observation is allowed.

Continue reading “2021 Grunion Run Schedule”

Plants at the Beach-San Onofre

San Onofre State Beach May Trails Beach

Boy, was I excited to finally go to the beach on May 24, 2020? Anyone else happy to get out of their houses, too? Well, I was so happy that I actually went to San Onofre State Beach twice in one week. You see, because of the lockdown in California, I could not witness the beginning of wildflower season. So my main objective on this first day back to the beach was to see as many plants as I could! The first time we headed to Trestles, and the following Friday, I explored the southern section, just under San Onofre Campground at Bluffs Beach (or Trails Beach). Below, I would love to share with you what I saw, in other words, all of the plants at the beach that I encountered.

Previous to this beach adventure, I had just finished a post on Southern California Native Plants. Within this post, I have documented all of the plants and wildflowers I encountered in the chaparral and Southern Oak Woodland behind my neighborhood during Quarantine 2020.  After hours and hours of research, I sure learned a tremendous amount!

Plant Names Given by San Diego Native Inhabitants 

I have recently been fascinated with Native American uses of the native plants in the area (Ethnobotany), so I thought I would continue with the same format I followed for my previous native plant post.

The Kumeyaay people were the first known original inhabitants of San Diego. Kumeyaay translates to ‘those who face the water from a cliff.” (Click on the link to hear the correct way to pronounce Kumeyaay)

Continue reading “Plants at the Beach-San Onofre”

Five More San Diego Hidden Gems

Ocean sunset san diego hidden gems

San Diego, otherwise known as  “America’s Finest City,” has one of the most beautiful coastlines, if I may dare say, in the world. According to the San Diego Tourism Authority, over 35 million people visited San Diego in 2018 and 36.5 million in 2019. I am afraid to see the numbers for 2020, but I digress. One of my favorite things to do on this website is introducing you all to the many, many San Diego hidden gems. I will be the first to admit that I am biased as I have been exploring the San Diego coastline for over thirty-five years. So today, I would like to share with you a few more, in fact, five more San Diego Hidden Gems, so you too can experience San Diego as a native.

When I say San Diego, I refer to the entire 70 miles of the San Diego County coast. From San Onofre State Beach all the way down to the US/Mexico border, the coast of San Diego has something for everyone!

Let us now take a look, shall we?

#Click on any photo in the gallery to view a larger image


Old Man’s Beach at San Onofre State Beach

Old Man Secret Spot Hidden gems San Diego

button map Old Mans San Onofre State Beach

I wasn’t sure if I would share this little gem because this has been my little secret for years, but here we go. Old Man’s Beach is found over at San Onofre State Beach and is honestly one of my favorite places to be. Local’s refer to this beach as  San O as well as San Onofre Surfing Beach.

Continue reading “Five More San Diego Hidden Gems”

Sea Caves at La Jolla Underwater Park

Cave window la jolla underwater park

Wow! Do I have some exciting information for you all! Many of you may have somewhat of an idea of my complete, somewhat obsessive love of King Tides. For all others, a King Tide is when you have the highest and lowest tides of the year (click on the link for more in-depth information.) Most attention is ordinarily given to the high tide, as people seem to enjoy seeing just how far the ocean will reach on land.

I absolutely love going to the beach during the lowest of the tides, so I can examine what is usually covered by the ocean and have rare access to beaches that are usually not accessible.  And let me tell you, today is one of those days.

Yes! My girls and I were able to explore two caves at the La Jolla Underwater Park!

Now I must say this right up front that getting to these caves is no easy feat. You have to have tremendous balance as there is at least a quarter-mile of rocks to walk over until you reach the semi-sandy beach over at Caves Beach.

Would you like to see what we saw?

Let’s go!

Continue reading “Sea Caves at La Jolla Underwater Park”

Where to go? San Diego King Tides 2020

new break beach low tide king tides 2020

Boy, what a year! Ironically, did you happen to know that the very last time my husband and I were at the beach before this nightmare of a year was on a King Tide? Yes, we experienced the extreme low tide on January 12 over at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, and it was sublime. If I had known that I wouldn’t be back at the coast until May 26, I would have taken more videos! Anyway, I digress. Let’s make the best of what is left of this unprecedented year, shall we?  Below are my top recommendations on the best San Diego beaches to visit and experience the highest and lowest tides left of the year, otherwise known as the last King Tides of 2020.

(Updated dates for 2021 and 2022 down below!)

–>Top Ten Best San Diego Tidepools<–

The Last Lowest Tides of the Year!

November 2018 point mencinger la jolla low tide
Point Mencinger, La Jolla

So how low and high are we talking about? There are two high and two low tides per 24 hours on the West Coast of the United States.

What is the tide?

Tides are long-period waves that cross the planet, pulled back and forth from gravitational pulls due to the earth’s interaction, moon, sun, and other heavenly bodies.

Continue reading “Where to go? San Diego King Tides 2020”

Checking Out the Cristianitos Fault

Cristianitos Fault san onofre state beach

Hey! Have you ever seen an earthquake fault line? No? Well, today is your lucky day! Referred to as the Cristianitos fault, you can walk right up to it over at San Onofre State Beach.   Now I need to state this fact upfront so there will be no confusion whatsoever. I am not a geologist; therefore, please be patient with me. If I make an incorrect claim, do not hesitate to correct me down in the comments at the end of the post. I love to learn new things and will not be offended at all.  Several references have helped me out tremendously, though, and I have left them down below for you as well. I encourage you to check them out!

Ok, let’s take a trip over to San Onofre State Beach (my favorite beach in San Diego) and investigate the Cristianitos fault line. As a bonus, I will also be pointing out a few other unique geological features seen over here at this fabulous State Beach.

One more thing. Did you know that the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) is located less than 800 yards away from this earthquake fault line?

Wait, what?! A nuclear generating station? Next to a fault line?

SONGS is no longer active and has been decommissioning for several years now. But obviously, the question is, why build a nuclear power plant right next to an earthquake fault line? (Click on the above link for more detailed decommissioning information.)

#Click on any photo for a larger version

The Cristianitos Fault Line-Shake, Rattle, & Roll?

Trail one san onofre state beach
Trail One at San Onofre Bluffs Beach Campground

button map san onofre bluffs campground

Continue reading “Checking Out the Cristianitos Fault”

California Spiny Lobster Season is Here!

California spiny lobster featured image

The California spiny lobster season is upon us! Historically the season opens the Saturday at 6 am before the first Wednesday in October, and this year, that fell on October 3rd and closes on March 17. Though I have never fished for lobster before, I know where they hang out in San Diego.

Down below, I have provided information on the California spiny lobster fishing regulations, a map on where not to look for lobsters (Marine Protected Areas), how to fish for lobsters; as well as, a few San Diego recreational lobster boat charters that are available only during this time of year. Also included is a brief overlook of the California spiny lobster life-cycle and a few interesting facts which will help you get a better idea about this elusive and revered West Coast invertebrate!

Let’s now take a look!

(Update for 2021- Recreational lobster fishing season opens at 6 am on October 2 and closes at 12 am on March 16th. Lobster cards are due back by April 30…more information down below)

West Coast vs. East Coast Lobsters

There are 40 different lobsters worldwide, with the California spiny lobster (Panulirus interruptus) being one of the biggest.  Affectionately referred to as ‘bugs,’ the California spiny lobster ranges from south of Point Conception to Magdalena Bay on the west coast of Baja California, Mexico.

California Spiny Lobster Scientific Name Blog Chart
California Spiny Lobster Scientific Classification

Continue reading “California Spiny Lobster Season is Here!”