Things to Be Aware Of
Almost all the beaches in the La Jolla area are characterized by rocky shorelines and foreboding cliffs and are otherwise unsuitable for both sunbathing and swimming. Big Rock fits this bill pretty nicely.
If you do plan to sunbathe, you can always just walk directly north to Windansea, which offers a decent amount of space on which you can spread out your towel and take in the scenery. Again, however, Windansea is not swimming-friendly; unless you’re an excellent swimmer or avid surfer, you’re probably not going to get much more than your feet wet at any of these beaches.
Big Rock Reef has limited access, which means parking is minimal and there are no facilities. The beach does not have lifeguards, it does not have restrooms and there is no snack shack. If you envision long, sunny days spent frolicking in the waves, eating burgers and soaking in the sun, Big Rock is not your beach. You may want to try La Jolla Shores.
That said, if you do spend the day surfing or watching people surf, you can always head up to Palomar Avenue for a bite to eat, something to drink and to use the restrooms.
Respect the Nature
Big Rock, like many of the surrounding beaches, is under heavy protection. Do not remove the rocks or any other sea life from the area. If you come across a seal, don’t harass it. Other rules include: No glass bottles, no alcohol, no public disturbances, no camping and no littering.
Be Careful of the Reef
WORD OF CAUTION: Beyond the shoreline of Big Rock, underwater reefs and rocks abound. If you go beyond your knees, you may also discover for yourself the powerful rip currents, shallow reef breaks and sharp drop-offs.
If surfing at low tide, know that the spot does become a little ledgy, and because of the nearby reef, you risk dropping out and getting sucked toward the reef. If you hit it, it will hurt.