Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

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

 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.

Let’s now have a look.

12600 N Torrey Pines Rd, La Jolla, CA 92037

Parking Fees

Places nearby-   Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Activities- Hiking, bird watching

Los Penasquitos Lagoon History

 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.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Train Tracks

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?

Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Credit-Wikimedia Commons

The embarkment severely restricted the normal historical lagoon drainage for the first time and also changed the tidal flow.

Highway 101 Bridge

Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Do you notice all the pilings on the original bridge?  (circa 1993)

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.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

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.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Gray Smoothhound
Credit- Nathan Rupert

Let’s now have a look at the mouth of the lagoon from on top of the bridge on Highway 101.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Looking toward North Torrey Pines State Beach

Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Notice all the sediment leaving the lagoon?

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

Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Credit -Wikimedia Commons

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).

Los Penasquitos Lagoon
North Parking Lot.
Los Penasquitos Lagoon
HWY 101  view.
Los-Penasquitos Lagoon
North Parking lot view.
Los Penasquitos Lagoon
There sure are a lot of birds here!

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

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

Los Penasquitos Lagoon Trails

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

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).

Los Penasqutios Lagoon
South Beach Entrance- South Parking Lot

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.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Beginning of the Marsh Trail. Do you notice the North Parking lot in the background?

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.

There are many plants and animals to look out for, so keep your eyes open!


My Special Place

Los Penasquitos Lagoon
Los Penasquitos Lagoon -Circa 1993

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.

Los Penasquitos Lagoon

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!

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach is located right between La Jolla to the south and Del Mar to the north.  I have been visiting this beach for over 30 years and never tire of the sights.

While living in San Diego, this was our number one beach to come and visit.

I discovered Torrey Pines State Beach when I was working as a Fisheries Technician. This beach is a prime spot for surf fishing. I can not think of a better place to have to work on!

I just love it here so much!

Torrey Pines State Beach

12600 North Torrey Pines Rd

(858) 755-2063

Hours- 7:15am-Sunset

#This post is a continuation of my previous post-Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. Please refer to the above link for more information concerning parking and rates.

Torrey Pines State Beach

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

Torrey PInes State Beach
Credit-Wikimedia Commons

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 exposed beach 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.

Torrey Pines State Beach
Flat Rock is on the left, sticking into the water.

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

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?

Torrey Pines State Beach

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!

Torrey Pines State Beach

Blacks Beach

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 State Beach

Torrey Pines Gliderport

Torrey Pines State Beach

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.

 2800 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr, La Jolla CA 92037

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!

torrey pines state beach
Blacks Beach is in the far distance where the waves are breaking. Gliderport is right above.

Torrey Pines State Beach

Let’s start to head back north now and have a closer look at Flat Rock.

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines Indian Bath Tub Rock

Torrey Pines State Beach

Flat Rock is also referred to as the  “Indian Bath Tub Rock” because there is a deep-seated pool in the center of it.

Torrey Pines State Beach
Flat Rock is over 45 million years old!

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.

Torrey Pines State beach

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

 

Torrey Pines State Beach

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.

Torrey-Pines-State-Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey-Pines-State-Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

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?

Torrey Pines State Beach

We are getting closer to the entrance.

Torrey Pines State Beach

There must have been some significant current action happening for all of this seaweed to be washed up on to the shore.

South Entrance

 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.

Torrey Pines State Beach
Beach Combing Treasures

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!

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

 A nice friendly warning.

Stay away from the base of the cliffs.

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

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.

Torrey Pines State Beach
Looking towards North Torrey Pines Beach

Torrey Pines State Beach

Here is another view of the Los Penasquitos Lagoons inlet taken from the South Parking Lot.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

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.

Torrey Pines State Beach

2206 Carmel Valley Rd-Del Mar

Phone: (858) 436-7189

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?

Torrey Pines State Beach
Do you notice the Torrey Pine groves in the background on the hill at Torrey Pines State Natural Park Reserve?

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

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

 

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!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

 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.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

First, let’s get through with all the basics.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve General Information

 

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

12600 North Torrey Pines Rd

(858) 755-2063

 Trail Map

Park Brochure

Park Hours

7:15am-Sunset

Visitor Center Hours

9am-6pm (summer)

10am-4pm (winter)

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Parking

Parking at the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve can get a little tricky due to the popularity of this state beach.

There are two parking lots, the North and South. Once entering the Park via the South entrance, there are several small parking lots also available up on the hill close to the trails.

Additionally, there are about 20 spots available on North Torrey Pines Rd that are free, but as you can imagine they fill up extremely fast.

Please refer to here for parking prices.

Torrey Pines State-Natural-Reserve
Parking is available off North Torrey Pines Road.
Torrey-Pines-State-Natural-Reserve
North Parking Lot.

 All recreational vehicles that are longer than the standard parking lot space must park in the North Parking lot.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
South 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.

Torrey pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

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.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve


Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

We are almost there!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Do you notice the grove of Torrey Pines on top of the hill?

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

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.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

The Torrey Pine-Pinus torreyana

Torrey-Pines-State-Natural-Reserve

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.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

 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.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

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 Piines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
These buckets collect the Bark Beetles.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Visitor Center

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

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!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
Wildflower Chart

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
A portrait of Ellen Browning Scripps.

 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.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Pinecone examples from different species.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Let’s take a look at the back of the Visitor Center.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey-Pines State Natural Reserve

Southern Reserve Trails

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

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.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Razor Point Trail

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

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!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

The Beach Trail

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

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!

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

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-La Jolla

Birch Aquarium

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.

la jolla shores beach

Birch Aquarium-La Jolla General Information

Birch Aquarium

2300 Expedition Way-La Jolla, 92037

Website- https://aquarium.ucsd.edu/

Phone- 858-534-3474

Hours- 9am-5pm daily

Free Parking for 3 hours-Handicap parking available in front of the Aquarium

  • Adults- 18.50
  • Children(3-17)- 14
  • Seniors- 15
  • Students- 15
  • College Students for assignment- 12
Birch Aquarium
The Star III, a two-seater submersible submarine from 1967 found in the parking lot

A Little History

Birch Aquarium
SIO Pier

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

La Jolla Shores Beach

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

Birch Aquarium
La Jolla Cove, Downtown La Jolla

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.

Birch Aquarium
The tropical waters of Mexico.
Birch Aquarium
Northeastern Pacific cold water tank with several sea stars.

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.


Seahorse Conservation

The Birch Aquarium has been researching twelve different Seahorse species for more than 20 years.

Birch Aquarium
Credit- Wikimedia Commons

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.


Coral Conservation

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.

Birch Aquarium

Raising coral is similar to propagating plants from cuttings. These fragments of coral can eventually grow into new colonies of young coral.

Birch-Aquarium

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?

Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium

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.

Birch Aquarium
The large fish in the foreground is the protected Giant Black Sea Bass.

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!

Birch Aquarium
Credit-Wikimedia Commons

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.


ElasmoBeach

Birch Aquarium
A Leopard Shark egg case.

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.

Birch Aquarium

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

Birch Aquarium

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.

Intertidal Guide

I have also included a Southern California Intertidal Guide, compliments of the Cabrillo National Monument so you will be, again-ahead of the game before you visit!

Birch Aquarium

Fun Fact- Tide pool Plaza has exceptional panoramic views and is an ideal spot for San Diego whale watching.

Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium

Birch Aquarium
California Spiny Lobster

Birch Aquarium

Fun Fact-Birch Aquarium offers naturalist-led tide pool expeditions at a couple of San Diego locations. If you are interested, here is some more information on the Tidepooling Adventure


The Birch Aquarium Gift Shop

No trip is complete without visiting the Birch Aquarium’s gift shop. Here is one of my most favorite places to visits because everything in the store has to do with the ocean.

There are many unique items, but what I appreciate most of all is the scientific literature available for sale. Call me a geek, but I have yet to find these books sold anywhere else.

Fun Fact-The Gift Shop is open to the public as no entrance fee is required. For more information please contact at 858-534-8753 or at aquariumgiftshop@ucsd.edu.


Birch Aquarium
Entrance of Birch Aquarium

The Splash! Cafe by the French Gourmet

Birch Aquarium

When we visit the aquarium, we will stop halfway through to go outside and eat lunch.

Located at the entrance of the Birch Aquarium and adjacent to the life-sized gray whale statues, sits The Spash! Cafe.

You may bring food in if you wish, as there is a beautiful sized seating area with umbrellas, but you will be missing out on some delicious food by the French Gourmet!

There are sandwiches and snacks made from scratch as well as many hot and cold beverages. It is also important to note that organic and gluten-free options are available as well.

It has been awhile, but I do remember that there was an incredible egg salad sandwich!

End of the Tour

Birch Aquarium

Did you enjoy a mini-tour of Birch Aquarium? For the most part, I hope I have motivated you a bit to come here and see it all for yourself.

I only touched on a few of the exhibits, as there are much more to see and I encourage you to visit the Birch Aquarium website for more information.

I have always held this Aquarium in very high esteem, ever since my first visit back in 1985.

La Jolla Nearby Attractions

If you happen to have a little more time, there are a few places nearby that I would like to include.

Say, if you are in the mood for a stroll on the beach, La Jolla Shores Beach is just a five-minute drive down the hill.

Birch Aquarium

Or maybe a walk around Downtown La Jolla, that is only less than ten minutes away. If you would like more information, just click on the appropriate links.

Birch Aquarium
La Jolla Cove, Downtown La Jolla

Thanks again for joining me at the Birch Aquarium! Please leave any comments or questions below.

 

 

 

 

Touring 10 Beaches-North County San Diego

North County San Diego

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.


Wisconsin Street Beach

North County San Diego beaches

South Pacific Street and Wisconsin Ave

Amenities- Parking lot, restrooms, snack shop, public telephone

Beach- Least popular due to being so narrow, water up against rocks at high tide.

I was interested in checking this beach out after doing some research on the Oceanside Pier. It turns out that this was the original location of the pier in 1888.

Fun Fact- On a minus tide some of the pilings from the original pier can be seen sticking out of the water at this location

I had no idea that there was parking down below and that cars are allowed right next to the beach. There is a one-way southbound street- The Strand which runs parallel to the beach.

North county san diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

north county san diego

 

Oceanside Blvd Beach

North County San Diego Beaches

South Pacific Street and Oceanside Blvd.

Amenities-Ramp, lifeguard tower, showers, no restrooms

Beach- Narrow, most sand in the area but all wet sand at high tide

Oceanside Blvd Beach only allows swimming, body surfing and boogie boarding in front of the lifeguard tower. Surfing is permitted in the areas outside the posted checkered flags.

Fun Fact- There is a very large rock that sits in the surf line 300 yards south of the lifeguard stand and can be seen when the tide is low.

North county San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San DIego


Buccaneer Beach

North County San Diego Beaches

1500 South Pacific Street

Amenities-free parking lot, Buccaneer Cafe (8am-2pm),  walkway next to Loma Alta Creek, lifeguard tower

Buccaneer Park- Restrooms, showers, public phone, playground, picnic tables, gazebo, BBQ grills, basketball court

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!

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

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.North County San Diego

Let’s walk a bit and check out what is under this bridge.

North County San Diego

Loma Alta Creek runs off onto this beach into the Pacific Ocean.

North County San Diego

North County San Diego


Cassidy Beach-South Oceanside Beach

North County San Diego Beaches

South Pacific Street and Cassidy St

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.

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego


Buena Vista Lagoon Visitor Center

North County San Diego

North County San Diego Beaches

2202 South Coast Highway

The night before our beach adventure, I had been doing some research on the Buena Vista Lagoon Visitor Center,  which is the home of the Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center.

When we drove past the entrance, I immediately made a U-turn and proceeded to the parking lot.

 

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

Buena Vista Lagoon is a 200-acre freshwater lagoon located in both Oceanside and Carlsbad.


North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

Fun Fact- The Buena Vista Audobon Society holds regular bird walks around San Diego County.


Carlsbad City Beach

North County San Diego Beaches

Ocean St and Grand Ave

Amenities-no lifeguards, no restrooms, parking in residential neighborhood

Beach- sizeable sandy beach, short walk north to enter the Buena Vista Lagoon

Carlsbad City Beach is part of Carlsbad State Beach, No surfing is allowed at the beach between May and November.  There are several staircases found along Ocean Street to access this beach.

North County San Diego

North County-San-Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego


Robert Frazee State Beach

North County San Diego Beaches

3150 Ocean Street

Amenities- a ramp ( on Pine St), lifeguards, restrooms, showers, grass park, benches, volleyball courts

Beach- wide and sandy, one of the less crowded beaches

Robert Frazee State Beach is a great beach to run along or to walk on. There are many rocks on the beach so please consider that before setting out.

North County San DIego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego


Terramar Beach

North County San Diego Beaches

Carlsbad Blvd and Cerezo Drive

Amenities- no restrooms, no lifeguards

Beach- narrow, hidden, wet sand at high tide, excellent surfing spot

On a shallow tide, Terramar beach is an exceptional spot to check out the tide pools.

Fun Fact- Not so fun, but in 2009 and woman was attacked by a 5-6 foot juvenile Great White Shark. Miraculously, there was no blood and she only got bruises!

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego


Carlsbad State Beach- North Ponto

North County San Diego Beaches

Carlsbad Blvd and Island Way

Amenities- Lifeguard, restroom, parking

Beach-Narrow compared to South Ponto Beach, steep incline to get down to the beach, famous surfing destination

A pay parking lot is located next to the southbound lanes on Carlsbad Blvd just north of the South Carlsbad Campground.

North Ponto Beach is another prime beach to visit (on low tide) if you like to get away from the crowds.

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego
Another outstanding place to sit and watch for dolphins and whales!


Carlsbad State Beach- South Ponto

North County San Diego Beaches

Coast Highway 101 and La Costa Ave

Amenities- lifeguards, restrooms, showers, paid parking lot, outside free parking

Beach- wide and sandy, dunes and ice plants

South Ponto beach is on a sand spit that shelters the Batisquitous Lagoon from the Pacific Ocean. I was pleasantly surprised at how big this undeveloped beach is.

Fun Fact- During the winter months, South Ponto beach is a notorious spot to find polished stones on the shore.

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

The paid parking lot has an eight dollar fee. There is the option of parking for free next to the southbound lanes of Carlsbad Blvd, but they do fill up fast.

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

 What stood out to me was the Bluff Overlook. What a spectacular place to sit and watch for any whales or dolphins to pass by the shore!

North County San DiegoBefore leaving, we wanted to observe the massive compass at the base of the bluff stairs.

North County San Diego

North-County-San-Diego
North- Gray Whales
North County San Diego
South-The Bluffs
North County San Diego
East- The Lagoon
North County San Diego
West- The Pacific Ocean

Grandview Beach-Encinitas

North County San Diego Beaches

1700 Neptune Ave, Encinitas

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.

North County San Diego

North County San Diego
Grandview Beach parking lot.

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

North County San Diego

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!

Cabrilllo National Monument-Tide Pools

Cabrillo National Monument

 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!


Cabrillo National Monument

A Bit of Cabrillo History

 Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument is at the southern end of the Point Loma Peninsula at 18000 Cabrillo Memorial Drive, San Diego.

Before we start let’s talk a bit about the history of this location and why it is so popular.

Cabrillo National Monument

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.

Cabrillo National Monument
Credit- Wikimedia Commons

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

 

Cabrillo National Monument
Credit-Pixabay

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.

Cabrilllo National Monument
Notice the extremes on the Tide Chart?

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
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.

Cabrillo National Monument

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 Monument San Diego

Cabrillo Monument San Diego

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.

Cabrillo Monument San DIego

Looking toward the right, you will be able to make out the first two parking lot options.


Cabrillo National Monument

 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.

Cabrillo National Monument

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.

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

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.

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

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 is the intertidal 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

Cabrillo National Monument

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.

Cabrillo National Monument

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.

Cabrillo national monument
Here is an example of both the middle and low intertidal zones.

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.

Subtidal Zone

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

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

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.”


Cabrillo National Monument

Here we find a few tide pools that were left over from the previous extra high tide. Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

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.

Cabrillo National Monument
California black sea hare with its egg mass on the right side of it.

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument
From left to right- high intertidal, mid intertidal, low intertidal and sublittoral zones.

Cabrillo National Monument

 

Low Intertidal Zone

The low intertidal zone is entirely covered with sea water except during a low spring tide,

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrilllo National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument
Exposed tidal shelf.

Cabrillo National Monument

Here we have two people checking out the wonders uncovered by the low spring tide.

Cabrillo National Monument

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.


Walking Back to the Car

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrilllo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

Fort Rosecrans National Military Cemetary

Cabrilllo National Monument

Located right before the Cabrillo National Monument is the Fort Rosecrans National Military Cemetery est 1882.

 Over 117,362 graves are overlooking both sides of the Point Loma Peninsula.

 

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument
Looking onto San Diego Bay with Downtown San Diego in the far background.

 

 

Thanks for making it this far! Please leave any comments or questions you may have!

 

 (1 )Moon: Supermoon. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://moon.nasa.gov/observe-the-moon/supermoon/?linkId=45255490

(2) Perigee Moon & Apogee Moon • R/space – Reddit. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/4fz3ze/perigee_mo

La Jolla Shores Beach

la jolla shores beach

 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

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.

la jolla shores beach

 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.

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

La-Jolla-Shores-Beach
This gentleman was showing others how to make a sand castle.

La-Jolla-Shores-Beach


Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

The Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier is one of the most massive marine research piers in the world.

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

Merely looking at both the pier and the library from the beach still to this day, motivates me.

La jolla shores beach

 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.

la jolla shores beach

A generous philanthropist, and well know La Jolla community member, Ellen Browning Scripps (1836-1932) donated the $36,000 needed for the project.

la jolla shores beach

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.

La Jolla Shores Beach
Credit-CA Fish and Wildlife

La Jolla Shores Beach

 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.

La-Jolla-Shores-Beach

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 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.

La Jolla Shores Beach

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

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!

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

The Reserve comprises of two distinct areas: the shoreline and marine protected area and the upland area referred as the  “Knoll” or “Cliffs.”

La Jolla shores beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

The beauty here is just breathtaking!

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

La jolla Shores Beach

If the tide is low, you can also reach Black’s Beach (San Diego’s notorious nude beach.)


La Jolla Underwater Ecological Reserve

La Jolla Shores Beach

 

Venturing south, from the parking lot, and walking a bit the La Jolla Underwater Ecological Reserve begins.

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.

La-Jolla-Shores-Beach

Established in !971, this Ecological Reserve consists of four distinct habitats: sandy flats, rocky reef, kelp bed and a submarine canyon.

La Jolla Shores Beach
La Jolla Submarine Canyon Map- courtesy of The US Department of Interior.

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.

La Jolla Shores Beach

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.

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

La-Jolla-Shores-Beach

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

La Jolla Shores Beach

Southern La Jolla Shores Beach in the background.

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 Beach

La-Jolla-Shores-Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Hotel, situated north of the parking lot offers luxurious beach tents for their patrons to rent.

La Jolla Shores Beach

Where else can you sit on a Gray Whale at a playground? Why at La Jolla Shores Beach you can!

La Jolla Shores Beach

 

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed your tour of La Jolla Shores Beach!  Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below!

 

San Diego Whale Watching Tours

 

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                                                        

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.


Oceanside Harbor

San Diego Whale Watching Tours

San Diego whale watching tours

 

Oceanside Harbor is 36 miles north of Downtown San Diego, in the lovely city of Oceanside, California.

Ocean Adventures

256 Harbor Dr. S 92054

(760)-277-3737

Captain Joe

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

2-hour tour-Call for times

  • Adults-39
  • Seniors-34
  • Active Military with ID-34
  • Children-29

Helgren’s Oceanside Sportfishing Trips

San Diego whale watching tours

1395 1/2 North Harbor Dr. Oceanside 92054

(760) 722-2133

Narrated by experienced whale watching Captains. Each passenger will receive an official Whale Watch Sea Life Certificate as a parting souvenir.

2-hour tour

Mon-Fri 10:30,1;30

Sat-Sun 9am, 11;30, 2;00

Sat and Sun 9 am trip- all tickets at 20 dollars!

  • Adults-30
  • Seniors/Juniors-25
  • Child-20

Oceanside Boat and Sailing Charter Services

san diego whale watching tour
Oceanside Harbor

Pacific Marine Charters

1950 N Harbor Dr. 92054

(951) 522-6104

Captain Bill DeLuna

Sailing tours for up to 6 people on the luxury sailboat yacht La Bella Vita.

2,4,6 hour charters

rates 95/hr with a 2-hour minimum

 

Manfred Marine Unlimited

1540 N Harbor Dr.  Slip 113, Oceanside 92054

(760) 500-0849

Sailboat charter with Captain Bob on the 36ft Islander Sloop. All the reviews rave about Captain Bob, who claims an 80% success rate for seeing dolphins and whales.

Call for more information.

 

Sailing Blue Water Charters

1950 N Harbor Dr, Oceanside, CA 92054

(619) 994-2438

Captain David ‘Skully’ Mora

35.5 ft Hunter Motor sailing yacht with a 12 ft beam allowing for ease of movement as well as a dodger that protects the seating area from the wind. Outside speakers and XM Radio.

Daily sailing available for up to 6 people.

100/hr

2-hr minimum

 

Sunset Sails

1950 N. Harbor Dr, Oceanside CA 92054

(760) 207-5572

Captain Steve Ford who is a certified sailing instructor on the shy of 36 ft The Bueno.

Also, offers Santa Catalina Tours!

up to 6 people

  • 3-hour Day Sail- 320

 

Pacific Coast Sail Charters

1900 N Harbor Dr., Oceanside 92054

(760) 212-2963

Captain Les George who has over 30 years of experience. 39 ft ocean going sailing yacht Obsession with a luxury cushioned sailing yacht.

The Captain shuts down the engine once entering the ocean and then use the sails. He is willing to head out to sea or sail the coast.

Stereo sound system.

Call for prices and times.

 

Mission Bay Whale Watching Tours

San Diego Whale Watching Tours

 

Mission Bay is located 7 miles from Downtown San Diego.

San Diego Whale Watch

1717 Quivira Rd, San Diego 92109 docked at the New Seaforth Landing

(619) 839-0128

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

3-hour tour

  • Adults-48
  • Military, Seniors, Kids (2-17)-44
  • Military Monday- Half-off active military and their families-24
  • Tuesday and Thursday-29
  • Wacky Wednesday- Kid’s are half off

 

Outer Limits Charter

1717 Quivira Rd, San Diego CA 92109

(619) 757-7940

Outer Limits is a state-of-the-art Sportfishing vessel available for private specialized whale charter.

  • 900

 

Offshore Blue Adventures Whale and Dolphin Tours

1500 Quivira Way #2, San Diego CA 92109

(310) 974-2176

Captain Cici Slayer with over 20 years experience in sailing and power boating.

Experience San Diego whale watching up close and personal on a 21ft Zodiac RIB (rigid inflatable boat). Each passenger will have a life jacket.

Maximum of 6 passengers.

3-hour tour

  • Adult- 80
  • Children under 10-50
  • Private Charter 175/hr+10%tax

 

Gone Sailing

1441 Quivira Rd “A” Dock, San Diego-92109

(619) 855-5936

Captain Don Marchi

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.

10 am. 2 pm

3-hour tours

  • 45 /person

 

Xplore Offshore

(858) 361-9494

Often meet up in Mission Bay, but the Captain will meet you anywhere, operates daily.

Captain Russel Moore of the custom-built Navy Seal style RIB (rigid inflatable boat) vessel and is a licensed 100-Ton Master.

Specializes in personally designed custom and intimate San Diego whale watching tours Winter whale watching tours 1-3 miles offshore. High-speed vessel.

Winter Whale Watching Tour- Whale watching season only. 2-3 hour tours 1-3 miles offshore to see Gray whales. 300-400 dollars. Winter tours 6-8 people max

Summer Whale Safari- 3-4 hours, swim with dolphins and hang out with blue whales. Due to a longer duration, the summer tour is slightly higher than the winter tours. Summer 8-10 people.

Bottom line is you create the adventure and pay according to how long you stay out in the water.

 

San Diego Bay Whale Watching Tours

san-diego-whale-watching-tours

 

Adventure RIB Rides

1380 Harbor Island Drive San Diego 92101

(619) 808-2822

The vessel departs from the Sheraton Hotel and Marina.

US Navy Seal RIB’s (rigid inflatable boat).

Captains are all US Coast Guard licensed and Marine naturalist/experts.

Offer both public and private tours.

Each tour customized for the customer’s preferences.

Maximum 6 people.

Daily tours 3-hour tours

9am-12pm

1pm-4pm

  • Adults-85
  • Children (5-12)-70
  • Private Tours for up to 6 people- 525 (call for details for up to 12 people)
  • Children 4 and up allowed but under four must have a private charter.
  • 13 and under must wear a life vest.

 

H&M Landing

2803 Emerson St., San Diego, CA 92106

(619) 222-1144

Primary vessel used is 85 ft

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.

Vessel departs daily 3-hour tours.

Mon-Fri-10am

San-Sun and Holidays-10am and 1:30 pm

  • Adults-weekday-30 to 50
  • There are military and senior discounts
  • no children under 2
  • group rates for 30 or more

 

Flagship-With Birch Aquarium

990 North Harbor Dr, San Diego CA 92106

(800) 442-7847

Flagship has been conducting tours for over 17 years.

The Marietta is a comfortable two-story whaling yacht featuring 360-degree views with the main level and an upper sundeck, multiple restrooms and a snack bar which includes alcoholic beverages.

Experience a winter San Diego whale watching tour with a whale expert from the Birch Aquarium!

Oct 14-Nov 26 Weekends only

Nov 27- late April daily twice 3.5 hours tours.

9:30am-1:15pm

1:30pm-5pm

Whale watch guarantee-Come back for free if you do not see a whale.

  • Adults-48 (weekend), 44(weekday)
  • Children- 25 (weekend), 21(weekday)
  • Senior/Military-42 (weekend) 37 (weekday)
  • Children 3 and under free
  • Special group rates for 20 or more
  • 15% discount for Birch Aquarium members

 

San Diego Charters

955 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego 92101

(619) 846-8762

35′ and 36′ vessels

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.

4 hours tours with including snacks and beverages

Six people maximum

  • 525

 

Hornblower Cruises and Events

970 North Harbor Drive (at USS Midway) San Diego, CA 92101

(619) 686-8700

One of the most enormous and most comfortable whales watching boats in San Diego has stabilizers which significantly reduces the yacht’s motion.

Narrated by an experienced Captain as well as trained naturalists called “Whalers” from the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Includes pointing out many interesting and historical San Diego sites including, Navy Submarine Base, NOSC and the Point Loma Light House and Cabrillo National Monument.

Snack bar with hot food and a full bar as well as climate control indoor seating.

3.5-hour tour

9:30am-1:00pm

1:30pm-5pm-daily

  • All TIckets-42

San Diego Bay Sailing Whale Watching Charters

San Diego Whale Watching Tours

 

San Diego Sailing Tours

Cabrillo Isle Marina 1450 Harbor Island Dr, San Diego CA 92101

(619) 786-0173

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

Six people maximum

4 hours

Departure times: 7 am, 11 am

  • 149 per person

 

Mai Tai-San Diego Yacht Charter

1450 Harbor Island Dr. Ste 203

(858) 583-3447

Private whale watching tours with multiple boats to choose from depending on the number of people.

  • Six passenger boats- 250/hr
  • 12 passenger boats-400-500/hr
  • 13-27 passenger boats- 600/hr
  • 40 passenger boats- 650/hr
  • 50 passenger boat-please call for information

 

Lucky Sol Sailing

1880 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego CA 92101

(619) 431-1415

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.

4-hour tours

  • 89 /person
  • 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Take A La Jolla Coast Walk!

la jolla coast walk
la-jolla-coast-walk
A view looking out to La Jolla Shore beach
la-jolla-coast-walk
La Jolla Shores looking South

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
Looking North at Scripps Pier
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.

la jolla coast walk
A view of Scripps pier from Scripps Aquarium.

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 coast walk

la jolla coast walk
La Jolla Shores
la jolla coast walk
Looking toward south La Jolla Shores with Downtown La Jolla in the background.

La Jolla, California

La Jolla Coast Walk

la jolla coastal walk

I would like to thank Eugene V Ramos for allowing me to share this fantastic aerial view video of La Jolla.

la jolla coast walk
Our favorite spot to start our walk in 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!


Wipeout Beach

La Jolla Coast Walk
La jolla coast walk
Southern La Jolla
La Jolla Beaches San Diego
Notice how the squirrel and pigeons get along
La Jolla coast walk
Southern part of La Jolla

la jolla coast walk

la-jolla-coast-walk

la jolla coast walk

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.

la jolla coast walk

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
Harbor Seals
la jolla coast walk
On the other side if the Children’s Pools seawall.

la jolla coast walk

la jolla coast walk
Harbor Seals

la-jolla-coast-walk


Boomer Beach

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!

la jolla coast walk
Boomer Beach
la jolla coast walk
Sea lions like it here at Boomer Beach
Boomer Beach with La Jolla Shores Beach in the background.

la jolla coast walk

la jolla coast walk
California sea lions on Seal Rock

 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.

la jolla coastal walk

la jolla coastal walk

la jolla coast walk
Brown Pelicans

 

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!

la jolla coast walk
Southern starting point of The Cove
la-jolla-coast-walk
The La Jolla Cove is very popular for swimming and snorkeling.
la jolla coast walk
Right above The Cove and looking out onto Horseshoe Bay.
la jolla coast walk
The La Jolla Cove
la jolla coast walk
Just past La Jolla Cove. I love the succulents hanging down

The Sunny Jim Cave

La Jolla Coast Walk
la jolla coast walk
Just north of La Jolla Cove

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.

la jolla coast walk
The Sunny Jim Cave
la-jolla-coast-walk
The Sunny Jim Cave
la jolla coast walk
The view right behind the Cave Store.

la jolla coast walk

la jolla coast walk
Sunny Jim Cave

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.

la jolla coastal walk

la jolla coast walk

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.

la jolla coast walk
Notice the red iron oxide on the rocks inside the cave.
la jolla coast walk
Stairs are going up.

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.

la jolla coast walk

la jolla coast walk

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.

la jolla coast walk

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beaches of Encinitas-A Photo Tour

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

The Beauty of the Beaches of Encinitas

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

beaches of encinitas
Moonlight Beach

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.

beaches of encinitas

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

beaches of encinitas

 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.

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.

1700 Neptune Ave, Encinitas CA 92024

Beaches of Encinitas

Beaches of Encinitas
There are about 20 spaces in the parking lot.

beaches of Encinitas

beaches of Encinitas

Beaches of Encinitas

Beaches of Encinitas

Beacon’s Beach

beaches of encinitas

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.

948 Neptune Ave, Encinitas CA 92024

(760) 633-2740

beaches-of encinitas
The Beacon’s Beach Trail

beaches-of-encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
North of here is where the Coast Guard Beacon used to be.

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
Beacon’s Beach

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

Stonesteps Beach

beaches of encinitas

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.

350 South El Portal, Encinitas CA 92024

beaches of encinitas
Stonestep Beach Stairwell.

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
A California Sea Lion visited Stonesteps Beach one day.
beaches of encinitas
Do you notice the yellow tag on its right flipper?

Moonlight State Beach

beaches of encinitas

 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

beaches of encinitas
Cottonwood Creek
beaches of encinitas
Cottonwood Creek runoff- As a rule, do not play in this water, it can make you sick.
beaches of encinitas
The creek water was making its way onto the 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.
beaches of encinitas
Temple Solel conducting services on the 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.

400 B St. Encinitas CA

(760) 633-2740

beaches of encinitasbeaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
The parking lot up on a hill for Moonlight State Beach.
beaches of encinitas
Here is the ramp that goes up to the parking lot.
beaches of encinitas
Another ramp going up to the street and a further drop-off point.

beaches of encinitas

 

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
Surf Circle in the distance.

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

D Street Beach

beaches of encinitas

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.

beaches of encinitas
D Street Beach stairway.
beaches of encinitas
A view of D Street Beach from Moonlight State Beach.

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encintas

beaches of encinitas
Overcast day at D Street Beach.

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches-of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
Pelicans flying over D Street Beach

450 D Street, Encinitas 92024

Boneyard Beach

beaches-of-encinitas

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.

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches in encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
An angler fishing in the surf.

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

beaches of encinitas

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.

1298 S. Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas CA 92024

beaches of encinitas
View of Swami’s State Beach from the end of Boneyard Beach.

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
Tide pools at Swami’s State Beach.
beaches of encinitas
California mussels.
beaches of encinitas
Super low tide at Swami’s State Beach.

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
A local college was down here taking measurements of the tide pools at Swami’s Beach.

beaches of encinitas

beaches-of-encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
Swami’s State Beach staircase. Let’s take a walk up to the top.

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
Entrance to the stairway.

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches in encinitas
I love how old all of this vegetation is, especially the palm trees.
beaches of encinitas
Rock art at Swami’s State Beach.

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
We saw a pod of over 20 dolphins before we left for the day!

San Elijo State Beach

beaches of encinitas

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.

2050 S. Coast Hwy 101, Cardiff CA 92007

(760) 753-5091

 beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
All the staircases lead to the San Elijo State Beach Campground.
beaches of encinitas
Let’s go up and see the view.
beaches of encinitas
View from the San Elijo State Beach Campground.

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beach of encinitas
Surfing at San Elijo (Pipes).

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

Cardiff State Beach

beaches pf encinitas

Cardiff State Beach is at the southernmost section of Encinitas in the coastal community of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, south of the San Elijo State Beach and where the San Elijo Lagoon enters into the ocean.

The San Elijo Lagoon is one of the most extensive remaining coastal wetlands in San Diego County, covering over 1000 acres and hosting over 1000 plant and animal species.

This beach is a gently sloping sandy beach that is very popular when it comes to surfing, swimming, diving, and beachcombing.

Cardiff State Beach offers a whole list of amenities as well two restaurants on site.  This beach is particularly perfect for kids as there is so much to see and explore.

Notably, dogs are allowed here provided that they are on leashes. No other beach in Encinitas allows dogs, even on leashes.

There is a parking lot available for 15 dollars, but the lot closes at 10 pm.

2504 S. Coast Hwy 101, Cardiff By The Sea, CA 92007

(760) 753-5091

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas

beaches of encinitas
Looking toward the Cardiff State Beach from San Elijo State Beach.
beaches of encinitas
Here is where the San Elijo Lagoon meets the Pacific Ocean.
beaches of encinitas
San Elijo Lagoon inlet.
beaches of encinitas
Cardiff State Beach- looking toward Solana Beach in Del Mar.

 

beaches of encinitas

The End of the Tour

 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!