La Jolla Beaches

With over a dozen beaches, La Jolla is a hub of seaside activities. Its strong swimming culture is complemented by kayaking, scuba diving, tide pools & more.
La Jolla Beaches
Overview
Save on Gear
The Neighborhood
Known For
Kayaking
Seals
Snorkeling
Sunbathing
Surfing
Swimming
Tide Pools
Stay Nearby

Experience San Diego Beach Culture at Its Finest in La Jolla

La Jolla is an important location in San Diego surfing culture, being the site of the Surf Shack historical landmark, some of the most iconic surf beaches in all of Southern California such as Windansea Beach and Blacks Beach and generally just offering some great waves for a day in the ocean. Plenty of visitors year-round rent a surfboard and tackle the waves here, which range from average to exceptional waves.

Surfing isn’t all La Jolla is known for. No trip to these beaches is complete without checking out the local ocean wildlife, including the seals and sea lions that call this area home, smaller creatures that wash up in tide pools, and the incredible reef habitats you can see while scuba diving. You can also rent a kayak and check out the many sea caves, or enjoy a beautiful sunset at the end of the day.

Many of the beaches in the area are fairly rocky with rugged shores, which is part of the reason why surfing is such a big deal in La Jolla. However, you can still find a few sandy stretches of coastline with calm waters if sunbathing and swimming is more your thing.

Kayak Ride with Go Pass!

La Jolla - 90-Minute Kayak Rental
La Jolla 90-Minute Kayak Rental
When visiting La Jolla, use your Go Pass and hop on a tandem kayak ride! This 90-minute ride from La Jolla Beach takes you on an adventure to see all the area has to offer. Check out the famous seven caves and sea lions while enjoying the SoCal sun!
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Local Tips
What activities does the Go Pass include?

There’s a variety of activities included with the Go San Diego Pass such as: The San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, Hiking Tours, Whale Watching, Snorkel Rentals, Museum Tours, Speed Boat Adventures and more!

For the most popular attractions and water-sport rentals as well as the biggest discounts, consider the All-Inclusive Pass.

The La Jolla Neighborhood

La Jolla is often called “The Jewel of San Diego,” and for good reason. It offers a more upscale, posh experience compared to many of the more laid-back beaches in San Diego. The downtown area is urban, full of boutiques, fine dining restaurants, interesting and educational museums and some of the best shopping in San Diego.

If you’re coming from Downtown San Diego or the San Diego International Airport, La Jolla is about a 13-mile drive northwest, which takes about 20 minutes. You’re close enough to check out plenty of the best San Diego points of interest, such as the world-famous San Diego Zoo and Birch Aquarium at Scripps, many of which are eligible for the Go San Diego Pass. Save even more money on your trip with our extra discount.

Looking for somewhere to stay nearby? Check out The Shoal Hotel at La Jolla Beach, which is right by Windansea and offers free WiFi in the lobby and rooms. If you’re looking for something upscale, try Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa, a luxury and boutique hotel with a pool, a fitness center complete with guided classes, a spa retreat, and pet friendly rooms.

If you’re looking for the best luxury, best boutique or best pet friendly hotels in San Diego, you are in luck as we have dedicated articles on all three classifications of hotels as well as the ‘Best Family-friendly Hotels in San Diego’, if you’d like to travel with the entire family.

La Jolla is such a magical part of San Diego that it features all types of accommodations and truly something for everyone!

Scuba Dive, Surf, and More at the La Jolla Beaches

Beach Volleyball
Beach Volleyball
Kayaking
Kayaking
Paddle Boarding
Paddle Boarding
Running
Running
Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving
Snorkeling
Snorkeling
Sunbathing
Sunbathing
Surfing
Surfing
Swimming
Swimming
Tide Pooling
Tide Pooling

La Jolla is perhaps best known for its surfing and many surf schools, but that’s far from the only thing you can do there.

Other activities popular at the La Jolla beaches include jumping in the ocean for a swim, exploring the ocean floor and its ecology through scuba diving, snorkeling or tide pools, spotting seals, kayaking off the shore, and watching a beautiful sunset reflected on the ocean waves.

Kayaking

La Jolla Cave Looking to Ocean
La Jolla Caves Beach is a craggy stretch of beach only accessible by boat. There’s not much sand along the shore, but the real attraction is the sea caves. There are seven large sea caves, all of which you can see if you take a kayak out to the area.

Seals

Sea Lions on the Beach at the Childrens Pool
Despite the name, The Children’s Pool isn’t necessarily a family-friendly swimming beach, though there are lifeguards and restrooms. Instead, the area has become a popular choice among the local seal and sea lion populations as a nursery, and they can be spotted regularly on the shores from December to May.

Snorkeling

Aerial Shot of La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove is a word-famous beach with sandy shores and calm waters thanks to the surrounding bluffs. This makes it perfect for swimming, but you can also snorkel or take photos of the seals and sea lions out on the rocks. There are lifeguards, restrooms, and outdoor showers available.
Green Sea Turtle La Jolla
La Jolla Underwater Park is a boat-accessible area of the ocean designated for underwater exploration. It offers once-in-a-lifetime sights for scuba divers, including a breathtaking reef, underwater caverns, a kelp forest, and plenty of fish and other sea creatures. You might even spot an Orange Garibaldi, California’s state fish.

Sunbathing

People Enjoying the Beach at Marine Street Beach
If you’re looking for picturesque views, Marine Street Beach is an excellent choice. During the day, you can sunbathe and enjoy some challenging surfing if you’re an experienced surfer. As the sun goes down, watch the beaches breathtaking descent over the Pacific Ocean and be sure to snap some pictures.

Surfing

Checking Out the Tide Pools at Big Rock Reef
Big Rock Reef isn’t especially wide or sandy, but what it lacks in sunbathing opportunities it makes up for in perfect surfing conditions. The waves here are heavy and fast at mid-tide, which makes for an exciting experience for any surfer. You can also check out the beach’s tide pools.
Beautiful Sunset at Bird Rock
Bird Rock Beach’s namesake is a large rock formation offshore, though the rest of the beach is fairly rocky as well. Surfing is best for shortboarding at high tide. You can catch a glimpse of what’s lurking underwater in the tide pools, which form when the tide goes out.
Glider and Surfers at Blacks Beach
Blacks Beach is known for having some of the best surfing in all of San Diego, with powerful waves perfectly suited to more skilled surfers. It’s important to note that the southern part of this beach is clothing-optional, so don’t be surprised if you see someone getting a full tan!
Beautiful Unridden Wave at Hospitals Break
The somewhat secluded reef and rocky beach at Hospitals makes for amazing waves as big as 10 feet tall! This definitely isn’t the beach for beginners, but surfers looking to challenge themselves should feel right at home. When the tide goes in, check out the tide pools along the shore.
Beautiful Sunset at Scripps La Jolla
Most surfing at Scripps beach takes place south of the pier. It tends to draw smaller crowds than more well-known La Jolla beaches. It features lifeguards and has some solid waves for avid surfers. Other popular activities at the southern end of this beach include swimming, scuba diving, and kayaking.
Lifeguard Keeping Watch at Windansea
Windansea is an iconic surfing beach with fairly strong currents. It hosts surfing contests throughout the year, and local legends frequent the waves. The beach has lifeguards and a boardwalk. It’s also the home of the Surf Shack, a historical landmark from the early days of San Diego’s surfing culture.

Swimming

La Jolla Shores Boardwalk and Main Lifeguard Tower
If you’re looking for an ideal swimming spot in La Jolla, La Jolla Shores is a popular choice. The beach is sandier and the waves are calm enough for a relaxing swim. You can also enjoy the nearby boardwalk, and the beach has amenities including fire pits, restrooms and lifeguards.

Tide Pools

People Walking Along the Beach at Wipeout Beach
Casa Beach & Wipeout are less crowded than many other La Jolla beaches. Rough waters and riptides make them inhospitable to swimmers, but Wipeout has some outstanding tide pools filled with all kinds of sea creatures. These beaches have restrooms, lifeguards, and a boardwalk with plenty of games.
Kids Looking at the Tide Pools at the La Jolla Tide Pools
The La Jolla Tide Pools are a great family-friendly San Diego attraction. Here, adults and kids alike can learn more about the sea creatures that populate California’s shores through examining the tide pools along the craggy beach. When you’re done, you can take a stroll down the beach too!

Featured Activity

San Diego Harbor Cruise on San Diego Bay at Sunset
San Diego Harbor Cruise
Enjoy this ‘San Diego Top Pick Award’ winner as you set sail on a three level luxury ship providing 360-degree views of San Diego’s scenic beauty. Relax for a 1-2 hour narrated tour, learn about the city from the bay.
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La Jolla Beaches
are Known For:
Kayaking
Kayaking
Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving
Seals
Seals
Sunsets
Sunsets
Surfing
Surfing
Swimming
Swimming
Tide Pools
Tide Pools
This Month's Forecast
69℉ / 79℉
Sunny in August
Sep
67℉ / 79℉
Sunny in September
Oct
63℉ / 78℉
Sunny in October
Nov
56℉ / 73℉
Sunny in November

Stay Nearby

The Shoal Hotel La Jolla Beach
Near Windansea
2 Star Rating2 Star Rating
The Shoal Hotel La Jolla Beach
from $127 / night
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Scripps Inn
Beachfront
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Scripps Inn
from $289 / night
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Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
Boutique Hotel
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
from $235 / night
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Sheraton La Jolla
Near UCSD
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Sheraton La Jolla
from $144 / night
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