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”

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Before I start, obviously, going to the tide pools during a negative tide is a major activity, so that I will leave this for you!

–>Top Ten Best San Diego Tidepools<–

The Last Lowest Tides of the Year!

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!”

Surfin USA Lyrics-A Closer Look

Surfing USA lyrics Featured Image

The other day I was thinking about the Beach Boys and how they put several San Diego beaches on the map, so to speak. Did you know that five out of the fifteen beaches named are found in San Diego? I thought that it would be enjoyable to take a closer look at the lyrics of Surfin USA.

First of all, most of the website that provides the song lyrics misspell two top-rated surfing beaches, so I am here to be the official spell-checker for you.

  • Trestles-not Trestle
  • San Onofre- not San Ahofree
  • Swami’s- not Swamies

Ok, that was satisfying!

Also, for fun, I will be picking a prime photo for each San Diego location to help you can capture a feel of the beaches the Beach Boys were singing about

Continue reading “Surfin USA Lyrics-A Closer Look”

Hiking South of San Onofre Bluffs Campground

hiking south san onofre campground featured image

Today I would like to share with you all one of my most awe-inspiring places to go to in all of San Diego County. Every time I am here, I never want to leave. Wherever you look, there is something incredible to see. Even the sounds here are sweet! If you enjoy taking photos, San Onofre State Beach is THE place you must visit!   The views here are extraordinary! Situated on top of towering sandstone cliffs, San Onofre Bluffs Campground has some of the best coastal hiking trails to experience in North County San Diego.

There are seven 1/4 mile hiking trails that lead you down to the beach, as well as countless numbers of ravines, gullies, arroyos, and barrancas.   I think that you will love it here, especially if you appreciate a wild and undeveloped beach, which, by the way, is my favorite type of beach!

On this particular day, my daughter and I started over at Trail Six (see map below) and set up a tent to relax.

My goal on this day was to explore vast amounts of uncharted territory by exploring a few narrow sandstone gullies and a wider barranca south of Trail Six.

Would you care to see what I experienced?

Down below, I have provided you with a map of the campground so you can get a better idea of the terrain and how it is situated.

–>San Onofre State Beach Bluffs Campground Map and Information<–

*Of particular note- in case you notice the pink hue in some of the photos, well, this is because all of the fires that were (some still are) burning while I was here.

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Touring Ocean Beach Park-Lompoc, CA

Ocean Beach Park Lompoc featured image

Did I ever mention that my husband is originally from Lompoc? It is an inside joke between us- a small-town boy meeting a city girl. So, where is Lompoc, which is pronounced LOM-poke? Located 268 miles northwest of San Diego, Lompoc is often referred to as the flower seed capital of the world.  The town was established in 1888 and is located in Santa Barbara County on the Central Coast of California. It is a small agricultural town that the Vandenberg Airforce Base surrounds. I informed my husband that if we were going to visit,  my one desire is to go to the ocean. So we ended up going to Ocean Beach Park in Lompoc, CA, and I am here to share.

Why Lompoc?

Lompoc Map central southern california

A little back story-We just celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary this past July 4, so we decided to go to Las Vegas to commemorate the joyous occasion.

It was nice to revisit where we were married (Treasure Island) and reminisce. On a side note, it was not pleasant to go to Las Vegas during Quarantine 2020, but that is not what this post is about, so I digress.

After we were done with the ridiculous heat of Nevada (100 degrees plus), we headed northwest for six hours to see family in  Lompoc. As a rule, it is almost always chilly and overcast there. And to say that I was looking forward to not being so hot is an understatement!

Noting that we were only in town for less than a day, I thought it would be an outstanding idea to have all of the family meet us over at and Ocean Beach Park for a pizza picnic.

It was perfect timing without even knowing just how lucky we were. If this had been any other time before 2020, we would not have been able to enter Ocean Beach Park at all.

More on this later.

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Wardholme Tree You Took My Breath Away!

Wardholme torrey pine featured image me looking up

Just last month, my husband and I could visit his family up north to  Santa Barbara County. I was super excited because we would be able to stop by Carpinteria and check out the largest Torrey Pine tree in the world! The tree even has a formal name- the Wardholme Torrey Pine.

It may seem a bit dramatic, but when we were approaching the tree, I gasped! You can not deny the presence of this giant.

Let’s take a look close and personal, shall we?

Important Information
  • Scientific Name
    • Inland Population- Pinus torreyana
    • Santa Rosa Island- Pinus torreyana var. insularis
  • Habitat
    • coastal sage scrub
    • chaparral
  • Endangered
  • One of the rarest pine trees in the world as it only grows naturally in two places in Southern California.
    • A small strip of the coastline in Del Mar and La Jolla
    • Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara County
  • Very slow-growing and can live up to 100 years
  • Distinguished by the needles on the branches being in bunches of five
  • Six-inch (15 cm) pinecones

Map- 5100 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013

Continue reading “Wardholme Tree You Took My Breath Away!”