Hospital Beach

Hospitals La Jolla is a San Diego gem for surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving and photography. No trip is complete without visiting the tide pools here.
Why you'll love this beach
Why you'll love this beach
Bring Your Camera or Your Surfboard to Picturesque Hospital Beach in La Jolla
Hospital Beach
Overview
Explore & Save
Things to Do
Popular Activities
Get There & Parking
Featured Activity
Know Before You Go
Stay Nearby
Similar Beaches

Highlights

Things to Do
Tips
How to get there
Parking
Things to Do
Tips
How to get there
Parking

Overview

Surfer Riding Face of Big Wave at HospitalsSurfer Taking a Large Right Wave at Hospitals

With a secluded reef that simultaneously provides an irresistible draw and great waves for surfing, Hospital Beach in San Diego has a perfect mixture of beauty, danger and breathtaking views. Those who hear the siren’s song are in for incredible photographs and some of the most unique beach experiences in California. If you’re lucky, you can enjoy close-up views of seals, sea urchins and tons of tiny sea creatures.

Hospital Beach, known affectionately by San Diego surfers as Hospitals, is located close to the heart of La Jolla Village. An underwater reef just off the shore provides amazing waves at high tide, during the right swell, and characteristic tide pools at low tide. They’re unlike anything else in San Diego. If you get hungry after a morning of exploring the rocky shores, there are plenty of restaurants within a few blocks.

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Things to Do

Running
Running
Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving
Snorkeling
Snorkeling
Sunbathing
Sunbathing

Checking Out the Best of Hospitals Beach

Hospitals has plenty of activities for everyone, from searching for colorful rocks to splashing barefoot in the tide pools. One thing you can always expect are amazing vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Here are a few reasons this spot belongs on your San Diego travel itinerary:

Surfing

Hospitals offers nice peaks with good lefts throughout the year, though it’s definitely not for beginners. Even some experienced surfers hesitate before paddling out towards this legendary reef break. If surfing is your life, however, Hospitals is a must for your bucket list. Gorgeous 10-foot barrels can be irresistible, and high tide brings line after line of consistent waves on the right swell.

Tide Pools

Kids and adults have a blast exploring the magnificent tide pools at Hospitals. There’s no better place to see incredible crabs, sea anemones and other ocean life up close. If you want to capture stunning photos of these micro creatures, make sure to take along a waterproof camera. Just make sure you arrive at low tide!

Photography

This entire area is a fantastic destination for photographers. The contours of Hospital Beach’s rocky shorelines, tide pools and spraying waves make for attention-grabbing pics. The shadows and light of sunset create incredible contrast when timed with low tide, rewarding you with a backdrop of deep blues, intense oranges and vibrant greens.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling in La Jolla is popular because of the abundance of sea life and Hospitals is not exception. At high tide, you can swim around the reef and observe vibrant animals just below the surface. You may even have the opportunity to swim around harbor seals. Check the surf report to make sure the ocean is calm before you attempt to snorkel.

Diving

Stunning underwater arches, interesting ledges and brilliant sea life are just a few of the highlights that make Hospitals one of best-guarded dive spots in San Diego. Like the surfing at Hospitals, diving here is best left to experienced divers. It’s also not far from Hospitals to the massive La Jolla Submarine Canyon and its dark depths.

With a little patience and some luck, the time you spend at Hospitals can be the highlight of your entire trip. Spend all day surfing, diving or snorkeling, or enjoy an unforgettable morning stroll. Collect seashells and watch your kids smile in delight at the marine life.

How to Get There & Parking

Free Parking
Free Parking
Street Parking
Street Parking

Parking near Hospitals

Hospitals is located near the southern edge of Cuvier Park. Getting there is a breeze, but finding parking can be another matter. Fortunately, it’s not far from most spots in La Jolla Village to Hospitals, so parking on the street and walking a few blocks is a legitimate strategy. Another option is to use the parking at Cuvier Park and walk south.

Getting to Hospitals

The fastest way to reach Hospitals La Jolla from I-5 is to follow the same road you would take for La Jolla Cove. Follow I-5 to exit 26A for La Jolla Parkway, and then turn left on Torrey Pines Road going west. Take Torrey Pines Road to Prospect Street and turn right. Prospect Street will curve around La Jolla Village, eventually ending at an intersection with Coast Boulevard. Turn right on Coast Boulevard and you’ll see Hospital Beach on your left-hand side.

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Know Before You Go & Tips

No Alcohol
No Alcohol
No Camping
No Camping
No Dogs
No Dogs
No Glass Containers
No Glass Containers
No Motorized Vehicles
No Motorized Vehicles
No Smoking
No Smoking
No Trash Cans
No Trash Cans

Taking Your Trip to the Next Level

Hospital Beach is exciting and unique. Have fun, stay safe and don’t forget to take your camera. Here are a few additional tips for getting the most out of your visit:

Time Your Trip by the Tide

Always investigate the specific times for high and low tides during your visit. These can vary quite a bit by month and day of the week. Low tide brings the best views of the tide pools, while high tide is generally the safest time for surfing.

Stay Nearby at Scripps Inn

There is no better way to extend your time at Hospitals and in La Jolla than choosing a hotel to stay at nearby. For a boutique experience staying in beautiful La Jolla, you should check out Scripps Inn. This 14-room hotel is located right on the coastline next to Hospitals, The La Jolla Tide Pools and Wipeout Beach.

Additionally, La Jolla is conveniently located for accessing all the best attractions in San Diego.

Make Hospitals Part of a Walk

Hospitals does offer some sand to sink your toes into at low tide, but it’s primarily a rocky beach. If you want to experience the immaculate sands that San Diego is known for, but also check out the unique views at Hospitals or get some surfing in, La Jolla is the perfect place to do it. Walking from The La Jolla Tide Pools to La Jolla Cove takes under an hour, and you can relax at several beautiful beaches and parks along the way.

Walk Carefully

It’s easy to get carried away with the picturesque views at Hospitals and forget about where you’re walking. The type of rocks that show up at low tide are interesting and beautiful, but they also get pretty slippery. Wear a pair of water shoes or move carefully around wet rocks.

Stick to Tide Pools with Kids

If your kids really want to go swimming, it’s best to visit La Jolla’s beaches a little farther north. La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove all have smoother bottoms for swimming. Kids can have a lot of fun exploring the tide pools at Hospitals, but swimming isn’t a good idea because of the rocks, strong currents and lack of lifeguards.

Hospital Beach
is Known For:
Surfing
Surfing
Know This:
Tide Pools
Tide Pools
This Month's Forecast
63℉ / 73℉
Partly Cloudy in June
Jul
67℉ / 77℉
Sunny in July
Aug
69℉ / 79℉
Sunny in August
Sep
67℉ / 79℉
Sunny in September

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