La Jolla Shores Beach

 La Jolla Shores Beach has over 1 mile of sandy Beach. It is 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 San Diego, making it an excellent beach for the family.

North View La Jolla Shores sand shore pier background

button map La Jolla Shores Beach

Discovering La Jolla Shores Beach

Due to its calm waters, this Beach is ideal for swimming or learning how to surf.   Additionally, a boardwalk is attached to the Beach, which makes biking, skating, and jogging popular activities here.

Kellogg Park La Jolla Shores Beach

There is a large parking lot with 350 spaces available at this location, but I suggest you come early, or you will have to find parking in the residential areas.

Main Lifeguard station La Jolla Shores Beach
Main lifeguard station.

Lifeguard stations are open here from 9 am to dusk.

Let us now look at what La Jolla Shores Beach offers you!

La Jolla Shores Beach View child running people by water

As I have mentioned, the calm waters here are ideal for families with small children.

Four girls on the beach la jolla shores beach

It is an excellent time to walk on the shore during a low tide here. I especially like looking for shells on this beach.

Building Sand Castles la jolla shores beach

On this day, we ran into a gentleman explaining how to make the proper sandcastles. I am serious when I say that you never know what you might see here at La Jolla Shores Beach! Every visit is different.

Now that we have a general overview of La Jolla Shores Beach, let us get into some deep explanations on why I love this Beach so much, shall we?

Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier

La Jolla Shores Beach surfer sandy
Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier
La Jolla Shores Beach

The Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier is found just north of La Jolla Shores Beach and is one of the world’s most massive marine research piers.

Scripps Pier Piling la jolla shores beach

Gooseneck Barnacles la jolla shores beach
Gooseneck Barnacles

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 seawater for the University’s marine laboratories and a public aquarium.

Scripps Pier above bluff view

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

Under Scripps Pier La Jolla Shores Beach

The waters adjacent to the pier became a San Diego Marine Life Refuge back in 1929, making it much easier for the University to do research.

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

SIO Pier 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.

SIO Pier underneath pilings wet sandy shore

Fun fact: Twice a year, in early May and 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 of Oceanography plaque
It is located at the base of the pier.
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) is the home of anything and everything about the Ocean.

And of course, where else would you expect its library to be?

Right above the shoreline, of course.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library la jolla shores
Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library

After college, I volunteered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and wrote a research paper. One day, a biologist on staff encountered dolphins while on a boat in San Diego Bay.

As a volunteer, I was tasked with finding all information on marine mammals seen in and around San Diego Bay. I was 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 in the Scripps Library’s reference area. 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

Scripps Beach After Pier La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach

When walking north past the pier and the SIO library, you enter the Scripps Coastal Reserve, which covers over 1000 acres in La Jolla across many different terrains.

These habitats include Mesa top, coastal canyon and bluffs, sandy Beach, rocky intertidal, submerged coastal plain, and a deep submarine canyon.

Wow, talk about the diversity of environments!

La Jolla Shores Beach

Scripps Bluffs la jolla shores beach

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

Scripps Bluffs Scripps coastal reserve

Scripps Bluffs la jolla shores 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 above link for more information.

Scripps Coastal Reserve La Jolla Shores

The beauty here is breathtaking!

Scripps Coastal Reserve la jolla shores beach

Scripps beach bluffs rocks sandy shore

Dike Rock two people standing on wet sandy beach

Dike Rock La Jolla Shores Beach
Scripps Coastal Reserve Man la jolla shores beach
Black’s Beach is in the far distance.

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

—>Black’s Beach-The Naked Truth<—

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.

(Click on the link below for a more in-depth look into the boundaries and history of the underwater park)

—>Sea Caves at La Jolla Underwater Park<—

La Jolla Shores Beach panoramic sandy shore

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

Underwater topography Map of La Jolla Shores Beach
La Jolla Submarine Canyon Map- courtesy of The U.S. Department of Interior.

The ocean bottom here slopes smoothly and 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.

This is where I saw over 10 Blue Whales on a Recreational Sportfishing boat offshore over 20 years ago.

Kayaking la jolla entering water small wave

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

La Jolla Kayaking la jolla shores beach

La Jolla Shores Beach Kayaking Paddleboarding

This spot is also notorious in the summer because pregnant leopard sharks hang out in the warm shallow water, waiting while their pups grow.

Here is your chance to snorkel with sharks! There is no danger, as these creatures are very tame.

Scripps Birch Aquarium offers naturalist-guided snorkeling expeditions with the sharks up and close.

If you are interested in more info, here is the official website for the Birch Aquarium at the University of California San Diego– Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

South La Jolla Shores Beach 

South La Jolla Shores large sandy beach people

Following this Beach south, you will come upon one of the best tide pools on all the beaches in San Diego.

South La Jolla Shores Beach Panoramic

South La Jolla Shores Beach Tidepools

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

Sea anemones La Jolla Shores Beach
Sea anemones

If I remember correctly, we saw a little octopus once. But the sea anemones are everywhere, and you might even see a few crabs and fish around too.

And if the tide is really low, you can even explore a couple of sea caves!

—>Top Ten Best San Diego Tide Pools<—

La Jolla Shores-Family Friendly Beach

Water Fun La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores beach

As I mentioned, this Beach is ideal for families with its calm waters and sandy beaches. But it gets even better; there is a fantastic playground and a grassy park with picnic tables.

Kellogg Park La Jolla Shores Beach

Kellogg Park La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Hotel Panoramic
La Jolla Shores Hotel

La Jolla Shores Beach sand view

Beach Tent La Jolla Shores Beach

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

La Jolla Shores Beach playground

Kellogg Park Swing set La Jolla Shores Beach

Kellogg Park J J whale la jolla shores beach
Can you see J.J. the whale?

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

It was 21 years ago when JJ, a motherless newborn, was found sick and dehydrated near shore in Los Angeles, and she was sent to San Diego SeaWorld to be nursed back to health.

Trees La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shore Palm Tree Sunset

End of the Tour

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

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

—>Showcasing the Best Beaches of La Jolla<—

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!


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.

    1. Santa Barbara is beautiful! My husband is originally from Lompoc which is just north of there. I have to agree, California has some of the best beaches around! Thank you for visiting!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

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