La Jolla is a popular seaside coastal community located 20 minutes from Downtown San Diego. La Jolla is one of the first places I take visitors from out of town. And once here, we venture off on a La Jolla coast walk.
Walking the Coast of La Jolla
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 all kinds of things to do in La Jolla: hiking, beachcombing, biking, swimming, diving, snorkeling, and kayaking; the possibilities are endless!
And do not get me started on all the fantastic photo opportunities available!
La Jolla Shores Beach
La Jolla Coast Walk
Before heading to downtown La Jolla, I first wanted to stop at La Jolla Shores, just 5 minutes north of our final destination. I wanted to come here so my Aunt could experience a sandy beach.
Since my early college days, we have been coming to La Jolla Shores Beach, and when I say us, I mean my husband and me.
We have been fortunate to have grown up together (we met at 19), and this beach is extraordinary.
The Ellen Browning Memorial Scripps Pier, found north on La Jolla Shore Beach, is one of the most massive research piers in the world! If you look up on top of the hill, close on the right, sits the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Birch Aquarium (1992).
The Aquarium’s history began in 1903 and was close to the pier’s beginning.
La Jolla, California
La Jolla Coast Walk
Special thanks to Eugene V Ramos for allowing me to share this fantastic aerial view video of La Jolla.
One thing about La Jolla is it is tough to find parking! I almost always park at the city’s southernmost Point to ensure I find a spot.
Parking here also guarantees that we can cover the entire area and go in a complete circle; therefore, we cannot miss anything. I can not seem to get enough of this place!
La Jolla Coast Walk
Wipeout Beach earned its name due to its exposure to strong ocean currents and rocky shorelines south of the Children’s Pool.
This beach is a very famous site to dive when conditions are right, as abundant marine life is swimming and attached to the many underwater shelves and arches. Of course, it is also a great place to find shells and explore tide pools on a low tide.
Here we are getting closer to the Children’s Pool. When the tide is right, this is the spot where most people go down unto the sand to look for seashells or to enjoy the water.
La Jolla 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 called 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 visiting from out of town.
The Children’s Pool Beach is primarily the home to the harbor seal (Phoca vitulina). At the same time, the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus) is found 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 boisterous and move around using their front flippers like appendages.
LA Jolla Coast Walk
Continuing past 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 La Jolla Cove.
Only the most experienced swimmer should enter the water here.
Here is where you can see, hear, and smell the California sea lions!
Point La Jolla
La Jolla Coast Walk
Point La Jolla is located north of Boomer Beach and west of La Jolla Cove. The Point is an excellent spot to observe the California sea lions reasonably close.
You should always stay at least 100 feet back and remain quiet. Check out the link below for more information on observing marine mammals in the wild.
—>California Seal and Sea Lion Viewing Guidelines<—
Here are a few pictures that I would like to add! My girls and I came back here on a negative tide to see how the La Jolla shoreline would look, and we were not disappointed!
While we were here, we observed the sea lions. As you can see, quite a few were lying around on the rocks. It seemed like we came to this spot in the middle of a commotion.
While approaching, we all heard the ‘infamous’ sea lion bark. The dominant male sea lion aggressively defended his harem from a few juvenile males.
La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Coast Walk
We approach one of the most popular and used areas in La Jolla, the La Jolla Cove.
An ecological reserve in a protected cove teeming with marine life 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!
As we make our way north, you can see the entirety of La Jolla Cove. Do you happen to notice the rock formation just right of the staircase? Well, here we have a mini-cave that I was able to go down and inspect.
Let’s have a look!
As we continue north, we are getting close to Goldfish Point, where the famous Sunny Jim cave is located.
The Sunny Jim Cave
La Jolla Coast Walk
Goldfish Point, home of the Sunny Jim Cave, is a narrow cape that is a favorite spot for shorebirds. I highly recommend this area as a top birdwatching spot!
The Cave Store, situated in the northernmost area of Downtown La Jolla, has been located at this spot since 1902.
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 familiar to a cartoon mascot 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 a pick and shovel; this man-made tunnel became the first cave accessible by land on the entire California coastline. There is a small fee to descend the 145 steps, but it is well worth it.
OK, let us go down now.
As you go down, you feel 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.
Once you enter, you will notice different colors on the rocks. These colors indicate what type of mineral deposits.
For example, red is iron oxide, purple is iodine from kelp matter, black is grayed, and yellow is vegetable.
Upon returning up to the top, we love to browse around The Cave Store. I can not stand shopping, but I love this shop! There are many unique products here.
Downtown La Jolla
Afterward, we head across the street to check out all the Art galleries and shops in Downtown La Jolla.
My two girls love to go into all of the various art galleries. With both of them being budding artists, how am I to resist?
Once you have filled with all the galleries, shops, and restaurants, you may quickly head back to the coast by finding an alleyway.
Take your pick from three alleyways spread out along Prospect Steet that will connect you to the coast from Downtown.
I hope you enjoyed our La Jolla coast walk tour!
How did you like the views? Have I tempted you on a trip down here?
I sure hope so. Please leave any comments or questions you might have down below.
My only wish is that one day, you, too, can come and experience a La Jolla coast walk firsthand!
Please check back later, as I will continue our adventure on the original La Jolla coastal trail- The La Jolla Coast Walk Trail, which was established in 1900!
Until next time!
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!
14 Replies to “Let’s Take A La Jolla Coast Walk!”
This is very interesting! I love seeing the caves! Seems so mystical! I felt like I was there. I will definitely be putting La Jolla on my list of things to do while in Southern California this summer.
La Jolla really is Mystical! I hope you will be able to experience it for yourself. Thanks for visiting the site!
I lived in San Diego briefly as a kid, and what I remember most about that was our trips to La Jolla beach, and how gorgeous it was. AND how tough it was to find parking! Thanks for this in-depth tour, it will help me when I go back to visit.
I am so glad that you liked it! I hope you are able to visit soon!
Wow, this is amazing. I want to get into travelling later on and have just started my own YouTube channel to vlog/document my experiences. I like that pier! Where we live we don’t have anything even close to what this beach offers. Is food and accommodation expensive in La Jolla?
Thanks for this helpful article.
Hi Brandon! That sounds like an awesome idea! La Jolla really is a great place to do such a vlog, especially at low tide so you can have easy access to all the tide pools below. Good luck on your new adventure. Concerning food and lodging, there are many options available, with most being on the more expensive side. When we go, we usually find an establishment during Happy Hour to get the deals on appetizers and such. I found this site to give an example of hotel rates… http://bit.ly/2lntl9g Thanks again for visiting!
It’s a very good place for family.
Do you have any information about hotels?
Which hotel is the best in La Jolla?
La Jolla really is a great place for families! As far as hotels, I did find some reasonable rates on this site… http://bit.ly/2lntl9g. Thank you for the suggestions. I am actually going to make a separate page with lodging and tour options. Thank you for visiting my site!
My wife and I love long walks and hiking, and these are some great suggestions. It’s so great that you included videos of the locations and many photos, everything looks very appealing. As someone, who does not know the area (yet), I find this post very useful and informative. Keep up the good work!
I appreciated your comment Ziga! I was wondering if I was overdoing it. It is really a gorgeous place! Thank you for visiting my site and I hope you can experience the wonder for yourself one day 🙂
You are so lucky to live just 5 minutes away from such a beautiful place. Amazing view of the aquatic creatures and the child pool is so adorable. This place makes me want to travel there. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.
Oh, how I wish I only lived 5 minutes from here! Actually, I live about an hour away. It is such a beautiful place and my girl’s number one spot to go to. I am so happy that you enjoyed the post! Thank you 🙂
Are all these photos that you take? I am just amazed at all the beautiful photos you seam to post all the time. I catch myself coming in and just looking at the photos.
Even if you do not take them the way you pick them is so artistic in my opinion. My dream has always been to have a big boat one day. I love the water so much.
I really enjoy taking your tours and I just started! Wow it is so Cool. With my anxiety this is just what I needed tonight.
I think that you made my day Jake! This is the exact reason that I started this site. I want people to enjoy not just the information, but the glorious beauty of the San Diego Coast. Yes, I have taken all of the pictures. Thank you so much for your kind comment! Please feel free to come back whenever you want. Oh, I would LOVE to have a boat too. I was thinking of more like a RIB though 😉