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.

Picnic Area 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.

Main Lifeguard station La Jolla Shores Beach
Main lifeguard station.

Sandy Beach La Jolla Shores Beach

Sandy Beach La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

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

La Jolla Shores Sand Castles


Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier

Scripps 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.

Cement piling Scripps Pier

Gooseneck Barnacles Scripps Pier

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

Scripps Pier 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.

Scripps Pier 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.

underneath Scripps Pier

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.

Map of Marine Protected Areas La Jolla
Credit-CA Fish and Wildlife

Underneath Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier

 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.

Scripps Pier Pilings 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

Scripps Institute Oceanography Plaque

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores is not only one of the most popular beaches in San Diego but 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.

SIO Library 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

Scripps Beach Shoreline

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

Scrpps Bluffs La Jolla shores beach

Scripps Bluffs Scripps Beach

Let’s now have a look up top.

Scripps Coastal Reserve Entrance Sign

Scripps Coastal Reserve Panoramic

On a side note, to reach the Scripps Coastal Reserve you must drive from La Jolla Shores Beach, click on the link underlined above.

Scripps Coastal Reserve La Jolla Shores
Mesa Top

The beauty here is breathtaking!

Scripps Beach La Jolla Shores Beach

Scripps Beach Tidepool

Scripps Beach Tidepools

Scripps Beach Tidepools large rock

Scripps Beach Tidepools

Blacks beach Scripps Beach

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

Blacks Beach La Jolla Shores Beach


La Jolla Underwater Ecological Reserve

La Jolla Shores MPA Sign

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 southern view

Established in 1971, this Ecological Reserve consists of four distinct habitats: sandy flats, rocky reef, kelp bed and a submarine canyon.

Underwater topography Map of 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.

kayaking La Jolla Shores Beach

Because of the trench and two artificial reefs offshore, the waves dwindle out before making it to shore.  As a result of, this site ideal for kayaking, scuba diving, snorkeling, paddle boarding, swimming and underwater photography.

Kayaks La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach Kayaking Paddleboarding

Snorkeling La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores snorkelers

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 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 South

La Jolla Shores Beach

Following this beach south you will come upon is one of the best tide pools of all the beaches in San Diego.

South La Jolla Shores Beach Panoramic

South La Jolla Shores Beach Tidepools

I have since been at least a dozen times here with my kid’s, and we always seemed to see unique things.

Sea anemones South La Jolla Shores Beach
Sea anemones

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 Surfing Mural

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.

Kellogg Park La Jolla Shores Beach

Kellogg Park La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Hotel Panoramic
La Jolla Shores Hotel

Beach Tent 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 playground

Kellogg Park Swing set La Jolla Shores Beach

 

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

Trees La Jolla Shores Beach

Sunset La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

There you have it! Isn’t La Jolla Shore Beach spectacular? I mean this beach has everything. There is something for everyone to do.

Be it walking on the beach to the pier or maybe just lying in the sun, or maybe rent a kayak, or paddleboard, or play with the kids at the playground.

La Jolla Shores is the best family beach in all of San Diego!

So the next time you are in San Diego, why not come and check this place out? You will not be disappointed, that is for sure!

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

Until next time!


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La Jolla Shores Beach

I have always had a deep-seated passion for the Ocean Environment which ultimately led me to receive a degree in Marine Biology. Living in the San Diego area for over 30 years, I have extensively explored the 70 miles of San Diego’s coastline, and I am here to share! Please use my website to your advantage and have a look around at all the wonders that the beaches of San Diego can offer you!

6 Replies to “La Jolla Shores Beach”

  1. These are some beautiful shots that were taken. Gave me a flashback a little. I was in Santa Barbara from 1979 to 1981. I loved every moment. California has the best beach lines that I have ever seen.

  2. These beaches make me miss California vacations I used to take with my parents when I was younger. It was so much fun… the memories are nostalgic and warm, kind of like the set drenched sand between your toes!

    Great resource, I will be sure to visit some of these lesser known locations when I make it back! Keep up the inspiring content!

  3. Great article with really nice pictorial informations about all these beaches. Great and precise and exactly the way a reader expects a piece of advice and information about beaches to be…

    1. Thank you, Sarah! You do not know how much I appreciated that! It really a beautiful beach to visit. Thanks so much for commenting!

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