Let’s Take A La Jolla Coast Walk!

La Jolla Shores Beach La Jolla Coast Walk
A view looking out to La Jolla Shore beach

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 Shores Beach
Looking North at Scripps Pier
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.

Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier
Here we have a view of Scripps pier from Scripps Aquarium.

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.

Scripps Pier La Jolla Coast Walk
Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier
La Jolla Shores Beach La Jolla Coast Walk
La Jolla Shores-do you see the pier in the background?
South La Jolla Shores Beach
You are looking toward south La Jolla Shores with Downtown La Jolla in the background.

La Jolla, California
La Jolla Map la jolla coast walk

La Jolla Coast Walk

Special thanks to Eugene V Ramos for allowing me to share this fantastic aerial view video of La Jolla.


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

Let’s Go!

Wipeout Beach

Wipeout Beach La Jolla
Southern La Jolla
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.

Wipeout Beach bluff La Jolla
Notice how the squirrel and pigeons get along
Wipeout Beach La Jolla coast walk
The southern part of La Jolla

Wipeout Beach La Jolla coast walk

Wipeout Beach La Jolla

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.

Wipeout Beach La Jolla

Wipeout Beach La Jolla Coast Walk

Wipeout Beach La Jolla Coast Walk
Rock formations are located behind the Children’s Pool.

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.

Harbor Seals Childrens Pool Beach
Harbor Seals
Childrens Pool Beach La Jolla Coast Walk
On the other side of the Children’s Pools seawall.

Childrens Pool Beach La Jolla

Childrens Pool La Jolla Coast Walk
The Children’s Pool when there was a negative tide (Nov 21, 2018)
Harbor Seals La Jolla Coast Walk
Harbor Seals

Childrens Pool Beach La Jolla

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Boomer Beach

Boomer Beach La Jolla Coast Walk

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!

Boomer Beach La Jolla
Sea lions like it here at Boomer Beach
Boomer Beach La Jolla
Boomer Beach with Torrey Pines State Beach in the far background.

Boomer Beach La Jolla Coast Walk

California sea lions Seal Rock La Jolla
California sea lions on Seal Rock

 Point La Jolla

Point La Jolla La Jolla Coast Walk

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<—

Point La Jolla

Brown Pelicans Point La Jolla
Roosting California brown pelicans

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!

Point La Jolla Sea Lions La Jolla Coast Walk
Do you notice how low the tide is?

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.

Sea lions fighting point la jolla
Fighting sea lions

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La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove La Jolla Coast Walk

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!

La Jolla Cove La Jolla Coast Walk
La Jolla Cove is very popular for swimming and snorkeling.
La Jolla Cove La Jolla Coast Walk
Right above The Cove and looking out onto Horseshoe Bay.

La Jolla Cove La Jolla Coast Walk

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!

Cave La Jolla Cove La Jolla Coast Walk

As we continue north, we are getting close to Goldfish Point, where the famous Sunny Jim cave is located.

La Jolla Bluffs La Jolla Cove
Just past La Jolla Cove. I love the succulents hanging down

The Sunny Jim Cave

Pelican La Jolla Coast Walk
North of La Jolla Cove
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!

landing pelican goldfish point La Jolla Coast Walk
Looking south from Goldfish Point-Brandt’s cormorants and California brown pelicans

The Cave Store, situated in the northernmost area of Downtown La Jolla, has been located at this spot since 1902.

La Jolla Sunny Jim Cave
Goldfish Point
The Sunny Jim Cave La Jolla Coast Walk
The Sunny Jim Cave
Old Cave Store Photo La Jolla Coast Walk
Photo credit- taken at the Cave Store
La Jolla Coast Bluffs
The view right behind the Cave Store looking onto La Jolla Bay
La Jolla Coast Bluffs
A wedding on Goldfish Point

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The Cave Store

Sunny Jim Cave La Jolla Coast Walk
Sunny Jim Cave
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.

Inside Sunny Jim Cave La Jolla

Inside Sunny Jim Cave La Jolla

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.

Inside Sunny Jim Cave La Jolla coast walk
Notice the red iron oxide on the rocks inside the cave.
Sunny Jim Cave Staircase
Stairs are going up.

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.

Cave Store Art Whale La Jolla
A few of the Cave Store products

Downtown La Jolla

Afterward, we head across the street to check out all the Art galleries and shops in Downtown La Jolla.

La Jolla Art La Jolla Coast Walk

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?

La Jolla Art La Jolla coast walk

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.

La Jolla Alley

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!









14 Replies to “Let’s Take A La Jolla Coast Walk!”

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    1. 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!

  4. It’s a very good place for family.
    Do you have any information about hotels?
    Which hotel is the best in La Jolla?
    Thank you.

  5. 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!

    1. 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 🙂

  6. 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.

    1. 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 🙂

  7. 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.

    1. 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 😉

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