Located between the city of Del Mar to the north and the border of San Diego to the south, Los Penasquitos Lagoon is a 510-acre coastal salt marsh estuary.
Translated from Spanish, meaning “The Little Cliffs,” the Los Penasquitos Lagoon frames the northern part of the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and is designated as a Natural Preserve.
Los Penasquitos Lagoon is one of the last remaining salt marshes left in southern California. In other words, the lagoon supports a large variety of plants and animals, including seven threatened or endangered species.
Another interesting fact is that this lagoon also serves as a refuge for migratory birds that use the Pacific Flyway.
Since joining the State Park System, there have been quite a few changes to help increase the overall tidal flow here at the Los Penasquitos Lagoon.
Development within the lagoon in the 1880’s and the 1930’s have modified the lagoons hydrology process.
There are several reasons for how this eventually happened.
Sante Fe Railroad Track
First off, in 1925 the Sante Fe Railroad built a single-track roadbed causeway embarkment down the center of the lagoon for its Surfline.
Can you believe that this track is still in use today on a daily basis?
The embarkment severely restricted the normal historical lagoon drainage for the first time and also changed the tidal flow.
Highway 101 Bridge
In the 1930’s the Pacific Coast Highway, otherwise known as US Route 101 was expanded, the roadbed along the beach was heightened, and a bridge was built over the mouth of the lagoon.
The waterway under the bridge would continually get clogged with sand and debris due to the 72 wooden pilings. This debris, in turn, would impact the flow of water between the ocean and the lagoon.
In 2005, a new bridge was built for uninhibited water flow. Do you notice that there are only four cement pilings? Because of this, the lagoon being closed off by sand and debris has been reduced considerably.
Due to the very low tide, the tidal flow out to the beach is stronger than usual.
Isn’t this water flow a beautiful thing?
Fun fact- My husband and I would consistently come out here to Torrey Pines State Beach back in the early 1990’s when we were dating.
One of our favorite things to do was to go at night with flashlights. We would shine the light into the mouth of lagoon looking for Gray Smoothhound sharks and other fish. Their eyes would glow green with the reflection of light.
Let’s now have a look at the mouth of the lagoon from on top of the bridge on Highway 101.
Do you see the metal pole sticking out of the water towards the left? That is a monitor that keeps track of the tidal flow that comes in and out of the lagoon.
North Beach Entrance Parking Lot
In 1983 the Los Penasquitos Lagoon Foundation was established. The primary function of this foundation is to keep the mouth of the lagoon open, improve circulation of the lagoon as well as to restore habitat.
According to the Los Penasquitos Lagoon Foundation and the State Coastal Conservancy, the building of the fully paved North Parking Lot in 1968, considerably altered the lagoons hydrology (water circulation).
Continuing from the North Parking lot and following Carmel Valley Road, there is an unofficial path in which you may view the lagoon from behind a barrier. Let’s go!
Los Penasquitos Lagoon Trails
Although almost all of the lagoon is off limits to the public, there is one trail- The Marsh Trail that is open to exploring!
To reach this trail, you must start at the South Beach entrance off of North Torrey Pines Road (HWY 101).
You will find the trailhead not that far south on the east side of the road. The trail winds around the western side of the Reserve, finally ending up in the industrial area of Sorrento Valley.
This trail is not a loop, so you must turn around and come back, so keep that in mind. If you go to the very end, the roundtrip would be about 4 miles.
Well, thank you so much for joining me on a tour of the Los Penasquitos Lagoon. As you can see, it is not enormous, but it sure has character.
Check back later as I plan on taking a hike on the Marsh Trail in the near future!
As I have previously stated, this lagoon has always held a special place in our hearts. I feel incredibly fortunate to have seen so many improvements and witness the transformation this lagoon over the last 30 years.
The new bridge has a lot to do with this, so thanks to the new bridge! Thank you for allowing more water into the lagoon and improving the circulation.
And a special thanks goes to the Los Penasquitos Lagoon Foundation for all the hard work and dedication they all put into preserving as well as researching this environment.
Please leave any comments or questions that you may have down below. Until next time!
With wide sandy beaches alongside towering sandstone cliffs, coupled with bright blue shallow waters, Torrey Pines State Beach has always been one of my top three favorite beaches in San Diego.
Beginning in Del Mar just past the Los Penasquitos Lagoon and finally ending at Blacks Beach, there are 4.5 miles of coast to explore here, especially on a low tide.
Torrey Pines State Beach is the most popular State Beach in San Diego so needless to say, crowds here on the weekends are not uncommon.
This beach is perfect for sunbathing, swimming, surfing, boogie boarding, walking, fishing-the possibilities are endless here!
Supermoon and Low Tides
To back up a bit, I would also like to mention that on this is the day the Supermoon/Bluemoon/Lunar eclipse took place (1/31/18).
Therefore my primary motivation in coming here was to photograph the tide pools and exposedbeach that comes along with a Spring low tide. For more information about what precisely a Supermoon is and why it creates extreme tides, please go here for an explanation.
Torrey Pines State Beach-Down the Beach Trail
It was a warm day for January measuring in at a pleasant 75 degrees. We were pleasantly surprised by the cloudless skies!
Please do not get me wrong; I love the beach regardless of the weather. But there is something to be said when you can see for miles and miles out onto the ocean.
To put it another way, it is as if everything on the beach shimmers when the sun is bright. And do not forget you also get the best pictures, in my opinion, that is.
So now back to the adventure.
As stated above, my son and I were on a hike up above the beach at the Reserve. We just exited the “Beach Trail,” and this is what we experienced.
The stairway lets you down right onto Flat Rock Beach.
Wow, what an incredible reward after a long hike above at the Reserve. Now we are going to have a look around towards the south of the Flat Rock.
What is on the other side?
Do you see the passageway on the right of this photo? This path is an extremely narrow way to get around Flat Rock. And when I say small, I mean maybe just the width of your shoes, tight!
Going around the corner, we are now looking towards Blacks Beach, which is in the far distance where the surf is breaking.
Located directly below the world famous Torrey Pines Golf Course, Blacks Beach is San Diego’s notorious nude beach as well as a renowned surfing spot.
There is a path referred as the Ho Chi Minh Trail that connects to this beach, but the descent is very steep, so a word of caution is needed.
Please check back later as this trail is on my ‘to-do list.’ I have always wanted to experience the surf here, but have shied away due to it being a nude beach. Call me a prude, but I will eventually get there one day! With clothes on though.
Torrey Pines Gliderport
Situated just south of the golf course is Torrey Pines Gliderport that has been here since the late 1920’s.
At this establishment, you will find access to everything related to foot-launched aviation, including hang gliding, paragliding, and powered paragliding pilots.
Quoting from the Torrey Pines Gliderport website-“We seek to promote all forms of flight and to make Southern California a destination for flight enthusiasts from around the world.”
Another great thing to mention is that Cliffhanger Cafe is on site and is opened from 9 am to 4 pm.
Enjoy the offerings of this full-service deli/cafe while looking out onto the Pacific ocean and enjoying the views right there on the cliffs. What a great place as well to look for whales and dolphins.
Fun Fact- On February 24, 1930, Charles Lindbergh had his first maiden flight along the cliffs of Torrey Pines. He soared all the way from Mt Soledad to Del Mar and ultimately establishing the first gliding distance record!
Let’s start to head back north now and have a closer look at Flat Rock.
Torrey Pines Indian Bath Tub Rock
Flat Rock is also referred to as the “Indian Bath Tub Rock” because there is a deep-seated pool in the center of it.
There are also several theories on how Flat Rock became separated from the bluff, but my favorite is that back in the late 1800’s,
Del Mar hotels offered picnic/horse and carriage rides to Scripps Beach in La Jolla, so they demolished the rock to make way for the road.
Seems credible, but this route could only be accessible on an extreme low tide, just like today.
For more information on the history of Flat Rock, please visit here.
Looking back from where we exited the Beach Trail from the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
Do you notice Flat Rock is in the distance?
Torrey Pines State Beach Tidal Flats
Let us now take a walk up the beach and see what is usually underwater. I seriously had no idea that there were so many reefs this close to shore here at Torrey Pines State Beach.
But now it all makes sense why this beach is so famous for shore fishing.
You can quickly get a proper feel on just how high these sandstone bluffs are with someone sitting in front of them, can’t you?
We are getting closer to the entrance.
There must have been some significant current action happening for all of this seaweed to be washed up on to the shore.
We stopped in the South Parking Lot area restrooms and found this great display which depicts several examples of what is seen here on the beach.
On our way out I was happy to see these signs.
Especially after realizing that there are so many large rocks and reefs in the surf zone!
A nice friendly warning.
Stay away from the base of the cliffs.
We are making our way back to the North Parking lot and stop on the bridge to look down at the Los Penasquitos Lagoon inlet going out to sea.
Here is another view of the Los Penasquitos Lagoons inlet taken from the South Parking Lot.
Well, we have finished our adventure and boy are we hungry. So we take off to our favorite place to go to after visiting Torrey Pines State Beach.
Robertos-Very Mexican Food taco shop has been in this location since 1964 and a local favorite ever since. I highly recommend this establishment for its food, especially the fish burrito! Also, you can not beat the convenience of it being just across the street!
If you check out the link above, you can order online! How cool is that?
Thank you so much for joining us on our Supermoon/Lunar Eclipse day at one of my most favorite beaches in all of San Diego County. I hope that I have piqued your interest and that one day you too will experience Torrey Pines State Reserve for yourself. Remember, no beach day is a sad day!
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a 2000 acre park located in the community of La Jolla in San Diego California off of North Torrey Pines Rd.
Nothing here has ever been altered or diverted at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve making it one of the wildest coastal stretches left in California. I can not emphasize enough just how beautiful this Reserve is!
What is a Reserve?
Everything here and surrounding the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a protected area. That includes the Penasquitos River Valley east of the highway, which is one of the last salt marsh estuaries in San Diego and the Underwater Ecological Reserve offshore.
A Reserve is not a ‘park,’ but an assigned area of importance and commonly is one that contains threatened plants, animal habitats or unique geological formations.
There are over 300 birds and native plant species that are threatened or endangered within the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The Torrey Pine, which is the namesake of the Reserve is a very rare endangered pine tree- the rarest pine tree in the United States, but more on that later.
The Motto Here is “Preserve the Reserve”
Because endangered and threatened species live here, there are stringent rules. For instance, no food or drink is allowed into the Reserve. Also, there are no trash cans within the park, so you are to take all trash with you.
The sandstone cliffs can be perilous, and there are also rattlesnakes, so children are to be with an adult at all times. You are also to stay on all trails as going off can damage the habitat. I think I covered most of everything, but please double check this sign below.
First, let’s get through with all the basics.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve General Information
All recreational vehicles that are longer than the standard parking lot space must park in the North Parking lot.
Hiking Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
There are over 8 miles of trails to hike here at this Reserve, ranging from easy to moderate. All have something special and unique to see.
Due to varying elevations at this park, there are several habitats found here. For example, freshwater and saltwater ecosystems, coastal strand, sage scrub, salt marsh, chaparral and finally conifer woodland are all present here at the Reserve.
Let’s Go Hiking!
Today, my son and I started our hike parking at the North Parking lot which is adjacent to the Los Penasquitos Lagoon. When the tides are changing, there are some great photo opportunities to be found here.
Here is the Los Penasquitos Lagoon inlet as it is rushing out at the start of the low tide. You get an excellent perspective here while standing on the bridge.
We are almost there!
Do you notice the grove of Torrey Pines on top of the hill?
Here is the road that takes you up to the trails. Word of caution, this is a steep hill that goes on for 3/4 a mile.
The Torrey Pine-Pinus torreyana
As stated above, the Torrey Pine is the rarest pine tree in the nation if not the world. This tree is found only growing on a thin piece of coastline in North County San Diego. You also may see them on one of the Channel Islands-Santa Rosa off the coast of Santa Barbara to the north.
This species is native to the coastal sage and chaparral ecoregion in California. Let’s have a look at all of the trees that we see walking up into the park.
An Interesting Torrey Pine Tree Fact
It is interesting enough to have a pine tree growing on the coastal bluff, not to mention a semi-arid coast. If it wasn’t for the all-day low cloud cover seen in the spring and fall here in Southern California, these trees could not survive. These trees acquire just enough moisture to help with their survival. Click here for more information on Torrey Pine tree.
Guy Fleming Nature Trail
Once near the top of the hill, the Guy Flemming trail is the first trail that you will come upon. Out of all of the paths to choose from at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, this one is the easiest.
Just in under .7miles, this trail loops back and has many Torrey Pines as well as many gorgeous spots to soak in the magnificent view.
Parry Grove Trail
Here we have another relatively short .5 mile loop trail. Devastated by the drought and an infestation of the Bark Beetle, this grove has been slowly making its way back to recovery.
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Visitor Center
Located at the very top of the hill and adjacent to the restrooms and parking lot sits the Visitor Center.
Formerly called the Torrey Pines Lodge, this pueblo styled structure used to be a restaurant. Back in the day, many people would stop here from Los Angeles while on their way to San Diego.
Today this is the place where you can find large amounts of interesting facts about the natural history of this Reserve along examples of different plant and animal species that you may encounter while hiking. I really encourage all to visit here!
Furthermore, the visitor center offers guided tours every weekend and holidays at 10 am and 2 pm. Each trip last for an hour and only ten people per group is allowed.
Fun Fact- Along with guided tours, the Visitor Center additionally offers a “Mindfulness in Nature” tour rain or shine on the first Sunday of every month at 8 am-9: 45 am. Beginning with a guided tour to one of the lookout points you will later be able to go off by yourself for deep introspection allowing yourself to deepen your connection with the land. No reservations are needed.
Let’s have a look!
Ellen Browning Scripps donated money to start this Reserve back in 1922. She was a very generous philanthropist that provided funding as well as her time for many famous institutions here in San Diego. Such as the Scripps Insititute of Oceanography, the San Diego Zoo, as well as the Children’s Pool in La Jolla., just to name a few.
Let’s take a look at the back of the Visitor Center.
Southern Reserve Trails
Just a bit of a way from the Visitor Center is a few more trails with two of them taking you down to the beach.
Razor Point Trail
The Razor Point Trail as described in the park brochure is 1.4 miles through ravines and badlands. At the end of the trail, there are spectacular ocean views. Have a look for yourself!
The Beach Trail
Are you looking for a good workout? The Beach Trail is indeed for you! Clocking in at 3/4 of a mile it is relatively steep but what a view! We also must not forget about the reward at the end!
Thank you so much for joining me on a tour of the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve! How did you enjoy the views? How about all the information?
Please check back later as I will be writing about the rest of our adventures down below at the Torrey Pines State Beach! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.
Birch Aquarium is located on the Scripps UC San Diego campus overlooking the Scripps Pier and the Pacific Ocean. Partnered with the Scripps Institute Oceanography (SIO), the Birch Aquarium is a fabulous place to come and experience and to learn about all the natural wonders of the ocean and its creatures.
More than 460.000 people visit this aquarium annually. There is so much to do and learn here.
Free Parking for 3 hours-Handicap parking available in front of the Aquarium
College Students for assignment- 12
A Little History
The founders of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO) felt it was essential to have an active aquarium opened to the public. They even included such a provision in their founding bylaws.
Their core belief was that the SIO had an obligation to the people to share all of its the scientific findings discovered by the institution.
Fun Fact-The first aquarium was initially situated down below, closer to the pier. The newest aquarium opened its doors up on the hill on Sept 16, 1992.
Birch Aquarium’s Mission
According to the official website, the mission of Birch Aquarium is always to provide ocean science education, to interpret Scripps Institute of Oceanography’s research as well as to advance ocean conservation.
Southern California Coastal Habitats
It is important to remember that many exhibits here are examples of different coastal habitats here in Southern California, such as rocky intertidal, sandy shore, and the kelp forest just to name a few.
For one thing, after going to Birch Aquarium, you will have a better understanding of what honestly is under the water or living around the tide pools the next time you on the coast San Diego.
You see, you can have fun and learn at the same time!
Other exhibits here also include the warmer water species that are found down in Mexico as well as, the colder water species of the northeastern Pacific.
Let’s now talk about a few of them.
My Favorite Birch Aquarium’s Exhibits
There are several unique exhibits to be seen here. For instance, I have always liked the sardine and mackerel tank at the entrance. Indeed, there is something to be said about how the fish keep swimming around in circles; it feels a bit hypnotic. I find it hard to look away.
I am also partial to the Giant Kelp Tank as I am familiar with all of these fish from back in the day when I was a Fisheries Technician. In fact, I came to this aquarium to sit and study this tank before I started the job. It was a way for me to review.
I have provided a list of other exhibits to look out for and will be adding just a little of exciting information so you will be ahead of the game when you visit. OK, let’s go.
The Birch Aquarium has been researching twelve different Seahorse species for more than 20 years.
Seahorses are fascinating fish!
For example, did you know that seahorses are monogamous and mate for life? How special is that? There is also one unique fact that I have always remembered since college…
Seahorses Are Like No Other on the Planet!
In particular, the seahorse is the only creature in the world where the male bears and looks after the young! It all begins with an eight-hour ‘dance’ where he swims around his mate changing colors and showing off all of his camouflage abilities. If the female likes his dance, she will then transfer her eggs to his pouch.
Having the males in charge of the young gives this species a significant advantage. For one thing, the female can start making eggs again right away, thus ensuring adequate reproduction. For more amazing facts on the seahorse, please go here.
Birch Aquarium has been raising coral in captivity for more than twenty years. The Coral Conservation program allows the aquarium to trade with other aquariums and zoo’s and therefore reducing the pressure off of the wild populations.
Raising coral is similar to propagating plants from cuttings. These fragments of coral can eventually grow into new colonies of young coral.
The Birch Aquarium has had both hard corals, and soft corals spawn in captivity. Breeding in the laboratory is a big deal!
Research is ongoing to better understand these spawning events and new ways of farming corals in the lab. Hopefully, this will protect wild colonies from exploitation in the future.
Seadragon Breeding Programs
While seahorses are a common sight off the coastal waters of North America, their cousins the Leafy Seadragon and Weedy Seadragon, are found only in southern Australia. Due to the pressure on the wild populations, the Birch Aquarium’s Seadragon Propagation Project began in 2012.
With a partnership with SIO, the aquarium has been studying seadragons in the wild as well as in their ‘state of the art’ breeding program. Here is an explanatory video about this fantastic creature.
Giant Kelp Tank
The Birch Aquarium has a 70,000 gallon, two-story Giant Kelp Forest tank. This exhibit represents one of the four protected habits of the Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve, located just south of La Jolla Shores Beach.
The Giant Kelp forest provides shelter for thousands of creatures. And did you know that Giant Kelp is found only on the west coast of North America?
Found in the relatively cold shallow water close to shore, the Giant Kelp can grow up to eighteen inches a day. It is also the most massive algae in the world, surprisingly reaching heights of over 100 feet.
The Giant Kelp Tank Webcam
Check out this live webcam at the aquarium! Maybe you will see scuba divers cleaning the tank or feeding the fish.
For example, I love going to this webcam because most likely little children are there watching the tank in awe and wonder. Seeing them keep an eye on the Giant Kelp tank always brings me such joy!
Please keep in mind that the lights are only on during the hours that the aquarium is open 9-5pm (PST). Have a look for yourself!
Fun Fact- If you happen to come upon a bright orange fish, that is California’s state fish the Garibaldi. The young Garibaldi are red and have blue spots that go away when they mature.
First off, why Elasmobeach?
Well, shark and rays are cartilaginous fish meaning that their skeletons are cartilage, not bone. The definition of an Elasmobranch is any cartilaginous fish with 5-7 ventral gill slits.
The ElasmoBeach Experience
ElasmoBeach is an outdoor tank that intimately showcases the underwater sandy shore habitat similar to that of the San Diego-Scripps Coastal Marine Conservation Area.
For example, here you will find many leopard sharks and rays just like what you would see in down below the bluff at La Jolla Shores Beach.
Experience ElasmoBeach for yourself and honestly see what is under the water the next time you are at the beach in San Diego.
Fun Fact- Each summer, thousands of leopard sharks make their way to south La Jolla Shores Beach to hang out in the shallow warm waters waiting to give birth. Did you know that the Birch Aquarium also offers Naturalist lead snorkeling trips., swimming amongst these sharks?
Preuss Tide Pool Plaza
Tide Pool Plaza is located on the outdoor plaza overlooking the Pacific Ocean and La Jolla. What you see here is a man-made version of a rocky intertidal pool, where the water ebbs and flows just like the natural tides.
Some inhabitants you will see include hermit crabs, sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea anemones and the California Spiny lobster.
Also, I would like to point out that volunteers are located all around the plaza and will happily answer any questions you may have.
Living in Southern California, I have photographed many of the beaches of North County San Diego through the years but not even close to every one of them. It has been my mission this year to shoot every beach on the 70 miles of coast in San Diego. So let’s get going!
Beaches of North County San Diego
On Jan 11, 2018, my daughter and I took a quick ride to North County San Diego to photograph a few of the beaches. Before leaving, I mapped out the ten shores that we would be conquering. Our primary objective was to start at Wisconsin Street Beach in Oceanside and finally ending at Grandview Beach in Encinitas. All in all, we covered 11.4 miles of San Diego’s 70 miles of coastline.
If there is one thing that I have learned on the adventure, it is that all of these beaches listed below are best to visit on a mid to low tide day.
Beach- smallest in Oceanside, wet sand at high tide
Buccaneer Beach was one of my favorite finds today! This beach has a nice sized FREE parking lot and the Buccaneer Cafe. What a fabulous place to eat breakfast or lunch. It is not your typical snack shack. I mean check out this menu! We are going to have to come back here and eat!
Primarily in summer, only swimming, body surfing, and boogie boarding are allowed in front of the lifeguard stand. Surfing is still permitted here, but just outside of the posted checkered flags.
Let’s walk a bit and check out what is under this bridge.
Loma Alta Creek runs off onto this beach into the Pacific Ocean.
Amenities- lifeguard, no restrooms, no showers, parking in residential area
Beach-narrow stretches to St Malo Beach
Cassidy Beach is the most southern public beach in Oceanside and is also a favorite surfing beach.
The private, St Malo Beach a quarter mile south from here. Cassidy Beach is the access point that you must use if you are interested in checking out this area as there is no other public access south of this location.
Amenities- no restroom, parking lot in residential area, wooden staircase
Beach- narrow during high tide, excellent beginning surfing beach
Grandview Beach is a beautiful little secret spot in Encinitas, CA.
Thank you so much for joining us today!
Which beach are you most interested in visiting? I have a few!
First I would start the day by visiting the Buccaneer Cafe at Buccaneer Beach. Afterwards, I would continue to Terramar Beach’s tide pools on a low tide and finally, end the day sitting on top of the South Ponto Bluffs looking out onto the water for pods of dolphins or migrating Gray Whales. Well, that is my perfect day, how about yours?
Please feel free to leave any comments or questions!
Situated at the end of the Point Loma Peninsula, Cabrillo National Monument has some of the most popular and easily approachable tide pools in all of San Diego. After my latest trip this past New Years Day, on a spring tide, I whole-heartily agree!
Before we start let’s talk a bit about the history of this location and why it is so popular.
In 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo and his crew were the first Europeans ever to discover the West Coast of the United States.
Donated by Portugal in 1935, the Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo memorial statue looks down upon the entrance of San Diego Bay.
Fun Fact- Cabrillo set out from Navidad Mexico with three ships on June 27, 1542 to explore the unknown.
Consequently on Sept 28th, Cabrillo sailed into what is now called San Diego Bay.
Even more, he later landed at Santa Catalina Island on October 7th, San Pedro Bay on Oct 8th and finally Santa Monica Bay on the 9th.
First Supermoon of 2018 & Spring Tide
Cabrillo National Monument
On New Years Day 2018, I woke up with the intense desire to go to the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego. Why, do you ask? Well, did you realize that on New Year’s Day 2018 there was a Supermoon?
What is a Supermoon?
Astronomers call this a perigean full moon, meaning when a full moon is closest to earth (1). The moon appears up to 30% brighter and as much as 14% bigger. Three to four times a year the New or Full Moon coincides with the perigee of the moon.
So how does this affect the tide pools?
When the Moon is full, the Earth is between the moon and the sun. Thus the gravitational pull of both heavenly bodies combined causes exceptionally high tides and extremely low tides.
When the Moon is closest to Earth (2), is when the really high tides and really low tides occur. Mind you this has nothing to do with the season Spring. Instead, these are what you call spring tides- think of like a flow of water ‘springing forth’ or ‘springing back.’
Extremely low tides are an opportune time to go to the beach and look around at the tide pools. Let’s have a look!
Cabrillo National Monument Tide Pools During a Spring Tide
Cabrillo National Monument
It seems that we were not the only ones with the desire to go to the coast today. Once we arrived at the Point Loma Peninsula, there was a line of cars a mile long waiting to get in.
Parking on the side of the road is encouraged as signs were stating just that. The Cabrillo National Monument is very strict when it comes to visitors; no cars are permitted into the park if all parking lots are full.
Cabrillo Road, which is located just after entering the park, takes you down the tide pools. There are three separate parking lots to choose from that are situated right above the tide pools.
Last but not least, there is a ten dollar fee to enter.
The Road to The Tide Pools
Cabrillo National Monument
Cabrillo Road takes you down to the Cabrillo National Monument Tide Pools. Looking straight ahead is the end of the Point Loma Peninsula.
Looking toward the right, you will be able to make out the first two parking lot options.
A Naturalist Station is set up with volunteers who will answer any questions you might have.
Here is a pamphlet that you can print out if you are interested, which has diagrams and information on what species you might come upon when investigating this shoreline.
This box of Gray whale goodies was out for all to inspect. Here you see a vertebrate as well as the Gray whales distinctive blonde colored baleen compared to the usual white baleen found in other baleen whales.
Gray whales pass the Point Loma peninsula during their winter migration from Alaska down to the warm lagoons of Baja California in Mexico to give birth.
Remember to be on the lookout; a whale just might be passing by off the coast!
Fun Fact- Something to consider when looking out for whales is to notice if any whale watching boats are around. If you see one that has stopped, chances are they are next to a whale.
Looking back toward where we started. Do you notice the whale observation booth on top of the hill to the right? It is a fantastic spot to sit and wait and to watch for the magnificent giants as they pass by the coast.
Rocky Intertidal Zone
The shoreline of the Cabrillo National Monument is a rocky intertidal zone.
The part of the shoreline that is connected and influenced by the ocean istheintertidal zone; in other words, the area between where the high and low tides occur along the shore.
Species here are in ‘pools’ (depressions in the rocks), as well as attached to the rocky substrate of the sandstone cliffs, boulder fields, and tidal shelves, which also surround the area.
Rocky intertidal areas are some of the most diverse and extreme environments on Earth.
Let’s now take a look at each zone.
There Are Four Intertidal Zones
Upper Intertidal Zone
Also known as the splash zone, this area is closest to the shore and above the spring high tide line. You will find this area on the sandstone cliffs’ edge where pools of water collect.
Here, small invertebrates such as Periwinkle snails, lined shore crabs, acorn barnacles, troglodyte chitons and various limpets inhabit.
MIddle Intertidal Zone
This section is covered entirely with water during the high tide. Thus the species that live here are exposed to the elements twice a day but only for a short while with the low tide.
Species that you will find here include the California mussels, aggregating anemones, limpets, chitons, California sea hares, snails, crabs, fishes, lobsters, and octopuses.
Low Intertidal Zone
This zone is only exposed to air during the lowest of low tides and is considered to be primarily marine.
Red algae, Dungeness crabs, sea stars, sea urchins and brown kelp live here.
The tides do not expose this area at all. Here you may find larger fish, sea stars and larger sea urchins.
In this video, I pan over the four different zones to give you an idea of the location.
Next, let us now go and check everything out!
Upper Intertidal Zone
Cabrillo National Monument
Do you notice the flat tidal shelf? Many organisms can live with only a minimal amount of water provided in the “Splash Zone.”
Here we find a few tide pools that were left over from the previous extra high tide.
Middle Intertidal Zone
Entirely covered and uncovered with sea water with every high and low tide, the mid intertidal zone is one of the most unstable environment there is.
Low Intertidal Zone
The low intertidal zone is entirely covered with sea water except during a low spring tide,
Here we have two people checking out the wonders uncovered by the low spring tide.
I hope you enjoyed your visit. We had a fascinating time for the simple reason that our trip coincidentally turned out to be huge thanks to the effects of the supermoon! It is now time to walk back to the car 1.5 miles away.
La Jolla Shores Beach has over 1 mile of sandy beach located between the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and La Jolla Shores Hotel at 8300 Camino Del Oro, in La Jolla, California.
This beach has some of the most gentle waves during the summer in all of San Diego, which in turn makes it an excellent beach for the family.
La Jolla Shores Beach
This beach, due to its calm waters is an ideal area for swimming or learning how to surf. There is also a boardwalk attached to the beach, which makes biking, skating, and jogging favorite activities here as well here.
Lifeguard stations are open here from 9 am to dusk, and a large parking lot with 350 spaces is available. Come early, or you will have to find parking in the residential areas.
Merely looking at both the pier and the library from the beach still to this day, motivates me.
This pier was first built in 1915 to collect sea water for the University’s marine laboratories on campus and also for the public aquarium.
A generous philanthropist, and well know La Jolla community member, Ellen Browning Scripps (1836-1932) donated the $36,000 needed for the project.
The waters adjacent to the pier became a San Diego Marine Life Refuge back in 1929, which in turn made it much easier for the University to do research.
In 1951, an underwater breathing apparatus training program for scientists began at this location, and it remains the oldest such program of its kind in the country.
Fun fact – Twice a year, in early May and early- mid-August, the sun perfectly aligns with the pier’s supports. I have yet to be there at the right time, but it is on my bucket list
Scripps Institute of Oceanography
La Jolla Shores Beach
La Jolla Shores is not only one of the most popular beaches in San Diego but just north of the pier is the home to one of MY most inspiring places on the planet!
Scripps Institute of Oceanography (SIO), the home of anything and everything about the Ocean. Here is a link to all of those who are interested in exploring all of SIO’s archives.
And of course, where else would you expect its library to be?
Right above the shoreline, of course.
After college, I volunteered with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and ended up writing a research paper. You see, one day a biologist on staff encountered dolphins while out on a boat in San Diego Bay.
I was given the task to find out what marine mammals were seen in and out of San Diego Bay as well as off the coast of San Diego. I was so excited to start my research at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography Library.
Researching in this library was incredible. It was as if my dreams were coming true!
I can still feel what it was like being in the reference area at the Scripps library. Oh, the satisfaction of walking out of there with over 100 pages of journal articles (which I still have)…ah, great memories.
Scripps Coastal Reserve
La Jolla Shores Beach
When walking past the pier and the SIO library, you enter the Scripps Coastal Reserve, which covers over 1000 acres in La Jolla, ranging across many different terrains.
These habitats include Mesa top, coastal canyon and bluffs, sandy beach, rocky intertidal, submerged coastal plain, and deep submarine canyon. Wow, talk about the diversity of environments!
The Reserve comprises of two distinct areas: the shoreline and marine protected area and the upland area referred as the “Knoll” or “Cliffs.”
The beauty here is just breathtaking!
If the tide is low, you can also reach Black’s Beach (San Diego’s notorious nude beach.)
Spanning over 6000 acres, the La Jolla Underwater Ecological Reserve begins at the midpoint of La Jolla Shores Beach and continues to the La Jolla Cove.
Established in !971, this Ecological Reserve consists of four distinct habitats: sandy flats, rocky reef, kelp bed and a submarine canyon.
The ocean bottom here slopes smoothly and then suddenly drops 500 feet (150m) and reaches depths of 600 feet (180m) in the park.
Because of current water upwellings in the submarine canyon, a great deal of plankton rises to the surface; for this reason, whales are seen very close to shore at La Jolla Shores Beach.
In fact, this is where I saw over 10 Blue Whales when I was on a Recreational Sportfishing boat offshore over 20 years ago.
Because of the trench and two artificial reefs offshore, the waves dwindle out before making it to shore, which as a result makes this site ideal for kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding, swimming and underwater photography.
This spot is also notorious in the Summer because that is when pregnant Leopard Sharks hang out in the warm shallow water waiting while their pups are growing.
Here is your chance to snorkel with sharks! There is no danger, as these creatures are very tame.
Scripps Aquarium offers a naturalist-guided snorkeling expeditions with the sharks up and close. If you are interested in more info, go here.
La Jolla Shores Beach South
La Jolla Shores Beach
Following this beach south you will come upon is one of the best tide pools of all the beaches in San Diego.
I have since been at least a dozen times here with my kid’s, and we always seemed to see unique things. If I remember correctly, we saw a little octopus once. But the sea anemones, oh they are everywhere, and you might even see a few crabs and fish around too!
Family Friendly Beach
La Jolla Shores beach
As I mentioned before, this beach with its calm waters and sandy beaches are ideal for families. But it gets even better; there is a marvelous playground as well as a grassy park with picnic tables.
La Jolla Shores Hotel, situated north of the parking lot offers luxurious beach tents for their patrons to rent.
Where else can you sit on a Gray Whale at a playground? Why at La Jolla Shores Beach you can!
Well, I hope you enjoyed your tour of La Jolla Shores Beach! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below!
In this article, I would like to present to you a comprehensive list of all possible San Diego watching tours available in San Diego County.
San Diego is by far one of the best places in the country to go on a whale watching tour. There are several species of whale to encounter here especially during the Gray whales’ migration season (Nov-April). The Blue whale (May-Nov) is another species that is commonly seen passing by the coastline of San Diego.
Along with whales, there are also four possible species of dolphins frequently seen on a San Diego whale watching tour that includes the Pacific Bottlenose dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, Common dolphin, and the Pacific white-sided dolphin. For more info on other possible marine mammal species that seen off the San Diego coast, I have made a list that may be found here.
Whale Watching in San Diego
San Diego Whale Watching Tours
San Diego whale watching tours are available year round, notably with the peak of the season being during the Gray whale migration (Nov 28 through April).
In San Diego, there are three harbors to choose from that offer whale watching tours, such as Oceanside Harbor, Mission Bay, and San Diego Bay.
Let us now take a look at all the possible San Diego whale watching tours available, starting first with the most northerly location-Oceanside Harbor.
San Diego Whale Watching Tours
Oceanside Harbor is 36 miles north of Downtown San Diego, in the lovely city of Oceanside, California.
Oceanside Adventures is a luxury whale and dolphin tour narrated by an expert certified naturalist aboard a new 50ft Catamaran built by Cooper Marine in Florida. This vessel is one level and seats up to 49 people with covered and uncovered seating options.
Meeting location 315 Harbor Drive S 92054
Private charters are available as well. Charter Office- (760) 277-3073
Vessel- The Privateer– double-decker 87ft, 34 up top and 115 on lower level
The Privateer has a unique history. It began its career as the very first East Coast whale watching vessel in Provincetown MA in 1973 and then spent 28 years in Gloucester MA. Deciding on a warmer climate, in May 2011 The Privateer made its venture down the Atlantic Coast and through the Panama Canal, reaching San Diego in 4 weeks.
Narrated by a certified marine biologist.
Large platform and covered seating accommodate 149 passengers comfortably. There are a snack bar and souvenirs. Kids receive activity pad with crayon.
Whale guarantee- If you do not see any whales or dolphins you will get a free trip to come back. If you see dolphins but no whales you will get a half-price trip back.
10-1pm and 1:30-4:30
Military, Seniors, Kids (2-17)-44
Military Monday- Half-off active military and their families-24
Mission Statement-“Our mission at Gone Sailing Charters is to set the sails and guide our yacht charters into coastal adventures, creating an open water sailing experience in San Diego that brings to life the romance of the wind and sea.”
Gone Sailing Charter’s is the only Yacht Chartering Service in Mission Bay that goes out of the Bay into the open ocean and coastal waters.
Departing from San Diego Bay, each trip travels through the waters surrounding Cabrillo State Marine Conservation Area (located north once leaving the bay) as well as just south of the La Jolla State Marine Reserve.
The concentration of the trip will be on the rich diversity of wildlife in both areas.
H&M Landing has been conducting whale watching tours for over 50 years
The H&M Fleet of whale watching vessels are all Coast Guard Certified and made for the open sea. Spacious and comfortable offering indoor and outdoor seating including full-service galleys.
Beginning the cruise within the San Diego Bay, passing by the USS Midway, Coronado Bridge Embarcadero, and the Point Loma Lighthouse. San Diego Charters is always on the lookout for marine wildlife, such as sea lions, shore birds, dolphins, and whales.
Marine Wildlife Safari Tour- start your adventure with a craft beer or a glass of wine while you sightsee, sailing in and out of San Diego Bay for 2 hours. Then venturing out to the coast to little-known sites for spotting marine wildlife on the Ocean Wildlife Safari.
Package includes beer and wine, beverages, Hors D’oeuvres, and gourmet deli box lunch
Lucky Sol Sailing is a veteran-owned sailing club located on Harbor Island near downtown San Diego offering Sailing Tours, Lessons, and Fractional Membership. Their goal is being able to provide the very best experience possible.
399 private charter for up to 6 people
Well I sincerely hope that you found what you were looking for on this list of San Diego whale watching tours. Please check back soon, as I plan on going on a trip myself very soon!
Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below! Thank you for stopping by.
La Jolla is a popular seaside coastal community located 20 minutes from Downtown San Diego. There is so much to do and see here. It is somewhat iconic in San Diego.
One of the very first places I take visitors from out of town is La Jolla. And once here, we venture off on a La Jolla coast walk.
Let’s Take a La Jolla Coast Walk!
There are so many things to experience in La Jolla, but it is an absolute must to walk the coast of La Jolla.
There are so many things to do in La Jolla: such as hiking, biking, swimming, diving, snorkeling, kayaking, really the possibilities are endless here! And do not get me started on All the fantastic photo opportunities available as well!
La Jolla Shores
La Jolla Coast Walk
Before heading to downtown La Jolla, I first wanted to stop off at La Jolla Shores, which is just 5 minutes north of our final destination so my Aunt could experience a sandy beach.
We have been coming here since my early college days; and when I say us, I mean my husband and I. The both of us have been fortunate enough to have grown up together (we met at 19), and this beach is very special to us.
The Ellen Browning Memorial Scripps Pier to the North is one of the most massive research piers in the world. If you look up on top of the hill closest to the right, sits the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Birch Aquarium (1992).
The Aquarium’s history began in 1903 situated close to the beginning of the pier.
La Jolla, California
La Jolla Coast Walk
I would like to thank Eugene V Ramos for allowing me to share this fantastic aerial view video of La Jolla.
One thing about La Jolla, it is tough to find parking! To ensure that I will find a spot, I almost always park at the southernmost point of the city.
Parking here also guarantees that we can cover the entire area and go in a complete circle; therefore, not missing a thing. I just can not seem to get enough of this place! Let’s Go!
La Jolla Coast Walk
Wipeout Beach, which earned its name due to its exposure to strong ocean currents and rocky shoreline, is located just south of the Children’s Pool.
This beach is a very famous site to dive when conditions are right, as there is abundant marine life swimming and attached to the many underwater shelves and arches. It is also a great place to find shells and explore tide pools on a low tide of course.
The Children’s Pool Beach
La Jolla coast walk
Moving on, we come to one of the most popular places in La Jolla- the Children’s Pool Beach, also referred to as Cava Beach, I can not tell you how many times I have been here, at least 30.
Children’s Pool Beach was a favorite spot for my husband and me to come when we were dating; not to mention, the countless times I have brought people here that were visiting from out of town.
The Children’s Pool Beach is primarily the home to the Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina), while the California Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus), is found just north of here at Boomer Beach and Seal Rock.
The way to tell the two apart is that the seals are quiet and undulate their bodies (wiggle around); while on the other hand, sea lions are very noisy and move around using their front flippers like appendages.
LA Jolla Coast Walk
Continuing, just pass the Children’s Pool we come upon Boomer Beach. Being completely exposed to the force of the ocean makes Boomer Beach one of the most dangerous areas compared to the seclusion found at the Children’s Pool or the Cove.
Only the most experienced swimmer should enter the water here.
Here is where you can see, hear as well as smell the California sea lions!
Point La Jolla
Point La Jolla is located just north of Boomer Beach and is an excellent spot to observe the California sea lions reasonably close. You should always stay at least 100 feet back and remain quiet. For more information on observing marine mammals in the wild, check this out.
The La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Coast Walk
An ecological reserve in a protected cove teeming with marine life is what makes La Jolla Cove one of the most popular diving and snorkeling destinations in San Diego.
You will not quickly forget diving in La Jolla Cove, that is a guarantee!
The Sunny Jim Cave
La Jolla Coast Walk
The Cave Store, situated in the northernmost spot of our lovely walk. This area has some of the most incredible views in all of Southern California.
The Cave Store
LA Jolla Coast Walk
Now we enter The Cave Store, home of the Sunny Jim Cave. Interestingly, Frank Baum, writer of the Wizard of Oz gave this exclusive cave its name.
He believed that the cave opening looked very familiar to a mascot cartoon character for the British Forces Wheat cereal products in the 1920s.
Fun Fact-Starting in 1902 and completed in 1903 by two Chinese laborers using only pick and shovel, this man-made tunnel became the first cave accessible by land on the entire California coastline. There is a small fee to descend the 145 steps, but it is well worth it.
OK, let us go down now.
As you go down, you instantly feel like you are underground by the chill in the air and the musky smells. The walls of the caves seem to be weeping, so I do not recommend touching anything.
Almost immediately once entering you will notice different colors in the rocks. These colors indicate what type of mineral deposits. For example, red is iron oxide, while purple is iodine from kelp matter and black, grays and yellow is vegetable matter.
Upon returning up to the top, we love to browse around The Cave Store. This establishment has some unique products, as well as a bunch of info on the history of the area
Afterwards, we head across the street to check out all the Art galleries and shops found in Downtown La Jolla.
Take your pick from 3 alleyways spread out that connect the coast to Downtown. Here is the way to find your way back, once done with your grand adventures in downtown La Jolla.
I hope you enjoyed your journey through La Jolla, California! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions you might have. My only wish is that one day you too can come and experience a La Jolla coast.
I love the beaches of Encinitas. Is that possible? You know, to love a beach? Well, I say yes, and this is why.
The beaches of Encinitas cannot be defined by any single word, but by many. Spectacular, astounding, magnificent, eye-catching, and breathtaking immediately come to mind as far as recalling past trips to this area.
These beaches are not only beautiful to the eye but serene and comforting to the soul to boot. There is so much to take in and to be a part of when encountering the beaches of Encinitas for the first time, that you may have sensory overload.
The sheer magnitude of the towering cliffs, coupled with the soft sand beaches and the lulling of the offshore waves, it just might be too much for some people. My suggestion is to take a deep breath and draw the beauty and energy within and hold it for awhile.
The Beaches of Encinitas
Hands down the beaches of Encinitas are some of the most beautiful beaches in all of Southern California,
Surrounded by Batiquitos Lagoon to the north and San Elijo Lagoon to the south, the beaches of Encinitas cover 6 miles of rugged coastal terrain. All beach entries are by bluff except for Moonlight State Beach and Cardiff State Beach where both have street level access.
The beaches of Encinitas (Spanish for “little oaks”) are approximately 25 miles north of Downtown San Diego in the North County area of San Diego County, California.
When imagining the stereotypical beach town, Encinitas might come to mind. There is easygoing, laid back and mellow vibe here in Encinitas and the people are friendly and warm to each other here. Go figure!
The surf culture rules here and is evident just by the sheer amount of surfboards seen everywhere. Surfer.com named Encinitas as the #7 Best Surf town in America in 2017.
The Beaches of Encinitas Through the Years
For over 20 years my family and I have been walking up and down this part of the San Diego coast endless times. Whenever we have a chance to go to the beach, we would always end up at Moonlight State Beach.
This beach is centrally located so sometimes we would venture south and occasionally north. and do I have pictures to prove it!
We will now start our tour of the beaches of Encinitas beginning at the most northern beach, Grandview Beach.
I would like to give special thanks and credit to IrishLegacy14 for allowing me to use this incredible video showcasing the beauty and exquisiteness of the northern beaches and offshore waters of Encinitas.
Grandview Beach located at the most northern end of the city of Encinitas, in the community of Leucadia. You will find the entryway for this beach squeezed in the corner of a residential area along with small parking lot. Once parked, there is a very long and steep staircase that will take you down to the sand.
At the base of the stairs, there is a lifeguard tower as well as a shower. This beach is preferred for surf schools to teach beginners at because of the consistent beach break.
This beach is narrow, so it is very dependent on the tide. There are no restrooms here, but Carlsbad’s South Ponto beach is less than a mile walk north if you need to go.
Beacon’s Beach is 1 mile south of Grandview Beach located on Neptune Ave between Jasper St and West Leucadia Boulevard. This beach is one of the leading neighborhood beaches in the area that has an iconic narrow switchback dirt path that turns three times against the bluff before reaching the bottom.
Fun Fact- This beach once had a Coast Guard beacon tower, located north of the dirt path that would help guide warships during WWII.
Beacon’s beach is known as a local hangout for surfing as well as its picturesque views. This beach has no restrooms.
Stonesteps Beach is located just north of Moonlight Beach and is a local favorite spot because hardly anyone knows about it.
At the top of the stairs, there is a small parking lot. A steep staircase takes you down to a narrow stretch of beach with many stones. Again this beach is tide dependent, and it is not unheard-of getting stuck when the high tide comes in.
The cliffs are unpredictable in this area, so if you are interested in sunbathing here, do not lie too close.
There are no restrooms here, but Moonlight State Beach is just a short stroll away.
About all the beaches of Encinitas, Moonlight State Beach is the most popular. First of all, this beach is in the center of town, and likewise, it is one of the few beaches in North County San Diego that has level car access and a drop off point (on B St.) to the beach. And one more thing, there is a significant free parking lot!
Did I mention that parking is free? Well regardless if parking is free or not, during the primetime hours (12-4), you will have a hard time finding a place to park, so patience is a must!
Some other great features offered at this beach include ample restrooms, a food stand, a beach rental stand, three volleyball courts, a grassy park, a children’s playground, picnic tables, and fire pits. This beach has everything, including the crowds but it is not that bad.
The waves can get rough at times, but there are three lifeguard towers always watching the action.
Urban Runoff and Moonlight State Beach
Cottonwood Creek empties into the ocean at Moonlight Beach, so this should be kept in mind if you are to visit this beach after it rains. As a rule of thumb, the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health advises not to go into the ocean or bay waters for up to 72 hours after it rains due to potential health hazards from the urban runoff.
Moonlight State Beach Special Events
Free summer concerts every Sunday.
Encinitas Beach Kids- a non-competitive beach program for kids ages 6-8 with the emphasis on learning beach safety and awareness, first aid, marine life awareness, introduction to body surfing and just having fun on the beach.
The local Temple Solel holds some of its services down on the beach.
Volleyball tournaments and held here year round.
Surf Camps for adults and children offered on this beach.
Fun Fact- In the 1900s, there was a bathhouse, playground, a boardwalk, and a dance hall situated here at this beach. Moonlight Beach got its name around this same time, because people would come out here at midnight when the moon was bright and have picnics.
D Street Beach is another favorite surfing spot for locals, so much so, that many on the website Yelp, have left reviews begging (in so many words) others keep quiet about its location. With this in mind, let us have a look at D Street Beach.
This beach is located at the end of D Street just one block south of Moonlight Beach. This southern portal has a large wooden staircase with an observation area that connects you down to the beach. At the bottom, there is one lifeguard tower and shower and a short walk to a restroom at Moonlight.
Boneyard Beach is another favorite surfing spot which includes all of the beach south of D Street Beach and north of Swami’s Beach.
This a dry sandy beach during low to mid tide but is not accessible during high tide. The bluffs are very steep here, and therefore the homes on the cliffs above cannot see the beach below. Because of this, this beach attracts the ‘clothing-optional’ kinda crowd.
If you are interested in seeing this beach, you may start just north at Moonlight or D Street Beach of just south at Swami’s Beach.
Swami’s State Beach
Located right next to the Self-Realization Fellowship Center Temple and north of the San Elijo State Beach Campground, you will find the entrance to Swami’s Beach-Swami’s Seaside Park. To be sure, this is another beach of Encinitas that the locals want to keep secret. Shhhhh.
This park has about 25 parking spaces, a large grass lawn, picnic tables and a restroom. A large wooden staircase will take you down to this isolated beach oasis.
Three miles offshore, from Moonlight State Beach down to Cardiff State Beach, you will find the Swami’s State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA). Designated in 2012 this site purpose is to protect marine life by limiting the removal of marine wildlife from within its borders.
Fishing onshore with hook and line is permitted, but no scoop nets are allowed. You may also spearfish here but only for pelagic recreational finfish (Pacific bonito and white sea bass), sorry no halibut. For more fishing information go here.
Swami’s beach is world-famous when it comes to surfing. At any time of the day, you will find other surfers up top checking out the action. There is a reef and kelp forest offshore, so diving and snorkeling are also popular. If you would like more detailed information on this beach, please go here.
The San Elijo State Beach entrance is on the southbound lanes of the 101 near the intersection of Chesterfield Drive.
The San Elijo State Beach Campground is on top of the bluffs with the campsites overlooking the beach below. There are several stairways and ramps nearby connecting from the campgrounds down to the beach.
Many reefs are right onshore here, so tide-pooling is popular as well as diving offshore in the kelp forests. This beach can be dangerous to swim in due to rip currents so be cautious.
Restrooms and showers are available at the campground.
First off I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for joining me on this tour of the beaches of Encinitas!
Generally speaking, I am also curious to know which one of these beaches caught your attention the most. Plainly you can see the beauty right? To put it differently, which of these shores would you like to visit if you had the chance?
May I suggest you come here on a shallow tide day and that way you will be able to walk the entire 6 miles of Encinitas coast. Starting from Cardiff-By-The-Sea all the way north of Grandview Beach to Carlsbad! But remember those 6 miles will soon turn into 12 before you know it.
Please leave any comments or questions you might have. Also, I would love to see any favorite beach pictures that you might have and would like to share. Here is to another day and another beach!