La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is nothing short of magical, from the sandy shores to the amazing sea life. Learn what you need to do and see to make the most of this beach location.
Why you'll love this beach
Why you'll love this beach
Enjoy the Seals or Snorkel the Coastline at World-famous La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove
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

Sunsetting Just North of the La Jolla CoveSea Lion Sunning Itself at the La Jolla Cove

Hands down, La Jolla Cove is one of the most beloved beaches in all of San Diego, and with good reason. This beach always has something interesting going on, from the San Diego – La Jolla Underwater Park just offshore to the sea lions that like to sun themselves on the bluffs. You can find it between Ellen Browning Scripps Park on the south end and La Jolla Sea Caves to the north.

Not every beach in San Diego is suitable for swimming, but at La Jolla Cove, the rocky points block big swells, allowing gentle waves that just beg you to jump in. Two buoys mark the quarter-mile and half-mile distances from shore to help orient the swimmers as they exercise or train. There are also lifeguards stationed on the beach every day to ensure a safe environment on both land and sea.

It’s earned a reputation as one of the best open water ocean beaches in the world, but La Jolla Cove isn’t just for experienced swimmers. This beach is also popular with snorkelers and scuba divers who love the easy entrance into the ocean and the incredibly interesting sea life underwater of San Diego – La Jolla Underwater Park, where you can see Orange Garibaldi, the state fish, barracuda, and giant sea bass, just a few of the fish that live among the kelp field.

Back on land, visitors venture into town to grab a bite to eat or get a better view of the ocean from the bluffs of the coastal walk. Time your visit just right, and you may be rewarded with a whale sighting or that magnificent sunset over the Pacific. For the locals, it’s just another day in the Jewel City of La Jolla.

Explore SeaWorld and SAVE

SeaWorld San Diego
Visit SeaWorld San Diego
Check out SeaWorld San Diego for exciting rides, marine animal interactions and shows! Admission is included as part of the All-Inclusive Go Pass. Save even more when you bundle with other top attractions like the Birch Aquarium at Scripps!
Buy Now
Local Tips
Where can you purchase a Go San Diego pass?

It's best to purchase your Go San Diego pass in advance to maximize your savings!

Combine Go Visit San Diego's exclusive 5% discount with the Go San Diego pass' already great deals and save big! No code needed - simply follow our link above to purchase your pass and begin savin

Things to Do

Kayaking
Kayaking
Running
Running
Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving
Snorkeling
Snorkeling
Sunbathing
Sunbathing
Swimming
Swimming

Why La Cove is the Best Beach in San Diego

Let’s say you’ve come to La Jolla Cove, but you aren’t much of a swimmer, snorkeler, or scuba diver. What do you do?

Get There Early

For starters, get to the beach early to get a spot on the sand. This isn’t the widest beach, so it fills up fast. If you don’t find room, you can always make your headquarters at the nearby Ellen Browning Scripps Park, which has plenty of grass for picnicking and frisbee throwing as well as those funky trees that inspired the drawings of a famous local resident, Dr. Seuss in his book The Lorax.

Explore the Tide Pools

During low tide, you can look for tide pools to explore, especially on the south end of the cove, near the tunnel that leads through the rock wall. If you decide to go through the tunnel, however, you do so at your own risk, especially if the tide is coming in.

Swimming & Snorkeling are the preferred activities at La Jolla Cove

With the many people swimming and snorkeling in the water, La Jolla Cove is not a surfing spot. You also cannot go fishing, use a boogie board, or paddle around in a kayak. If kayaking is your thing, you can go north a bit to tour the Seven Caves, one of the more popular activities in La Jolla.

Sea Lions & Seals are Another Draw

Another reason people like the cove area is to watch the sea lions and seals that can hang out on the rocks. Bear in mind that they are wild animals, and while they look playful and cuddly, they can bite if you get too close. It’s best to watch from a distance and not disturb them.

Stay Nearby at La Valencia Hotel

La Valencia Hotel is located just up the hill from La Jolla Cove and it has a panoramic view of not only La Jolla Cove but the entire coast next to La Jolla Cove. Step back in time to Hollywood’s Golden Age when you stay at La Valencia Hotel. Known as the Pink Lady of La Jolla, old-world elegance blends with modern amenities for a charming, sophisticated style.

How to Get There & Parking

Free Parking
Free Parking
Lot Parking
Lot Parking
Street Parking
Street Parking

If you’ve been to La Jolla Cove already, you know what it’s like to get a parking space, but if it’s your first time, be prepared, not frustrated. Get there early because this is one location that stays busy all day long. It’s located right on Coast Boulevard near Girard Street, and it’s not far from downtown San Diego or I-5.

Getting to La Jolla Cove

To get there from the south exit the I-5 at La Jolla Parkway will turn into Torrey Pines Road. Then hang a right on Ivanhoe Ave and then a quick left on Silverado St. Girard Ave will come up within 4 blocks and hang a right. Follow Girard Ave, turn right on to Prospect St, then a quick left down the hill back onto Girard Ave which will turn into Coast Blvd. Just follow it to the end and you will be at La Jolla Cove.

You may prefer to take the bus, which drops off near the main access. Bus #30 route is from Downtown San Diego to La Jolla and back. There is a convenient stairway that leads down to the beach from the main road, or you can go bike riding or use the coastal walk for a different perspective of the cove.

Parking at La Jolla Cove

Once you arrive, you may want to look for parking on the street for a metered space. These are two-hour spaces, so keep that in mind when you park. A couple of parking garages are close as well, including an underground lot, if nothing is open. Free parking is extremely limited.

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.
Buy Now

Know Before You Go & Tips

No Alcohol
No Alcohol
No Camping
No Camping
No Glass Containers
No Glass Containers
No Motorized Vehicles
No Motorized Vehicles
No Smoking
No Smoking
Outdoor Showers
Outdoor Showers
Public Transportation
Public Transportation
Restrooms
Restrooms
Shade
Shade
Trash Cans Available
Trash Cans Available

Tips Once you are at La Jolla Cove

Get Orientated

Orient yourself when you arrive by stopping at the lifeguard station. The chalkboard can give you lots of good info, from tide patterns to water temperatures.

Bring a Wetsuit in the Winter

You may not need a wetsuit in the summer, but in the winter, it will come in handy. You can rent one from one of the local shops.

Seals, Sea Lions & Water Quality

With the seals and sea lions that hang out near the cove, water safety can be an issue. In addition to elevated bacteria levels, you may notice a rather distinct and unpleasant odor. It’s what you think it is.

Protected Area, Be Respectful of Nature

This is a protected area, so be mindful during your visit. Take only photos and leave only footprints. Seriously, you should not even gather seashells or rocks because that is prohibited.

Facilities Available

Restrooms and public showers are at the top of the cove access for your convenience. You've got dining options and wonderful hotels also nearby if you want to make your visit more than a day trip.

La Jolla Cove
is Known For:
Snorkeling
Snorkeling
Know This:
Lifeguards
Lifeguards
Outdoor Showers
Outdoor Showers
Restrooms Available
Restrooms Available
Trash Cans Available
Trash Cans Available
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

Stay Nearby

Inn by the Sea, at La Jolla
Family Friendly
2 Star Rating2 Star Rating
Inn by the Sea, at La Jolla
from $101 / night
View Hotel
Holiday Inn Express and Suites La Jolla
Family Friendly
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Holiday Inn Express and Suites La Jolla
from $158 / night
View Hotel
La Valencia Hotel
Luxury Hotel
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
La Valencia Hotel
from $325 / night
View Hotel
Sheraton La Jolla
Near UCSD
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Sheraton La Jolla
from $144 / night
View Hotel
Show more San Diego Hotels >>