La Jolla Tide Pools

The La Jolla Tide Pools can make even a young child feel like an oceanographer. Learn what sea life you can discover at this rocky beach every low tide.
Why you'll love this beach
Why you'll love this beach
Bring the Family to Uncover all The La Jolla Tide Pools have to Offer
La Jolla Tide Pools
Overview
Go Pass & 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

Rocky Formations at the La Jolla Tide PoolsLarge Group of California Mussels at the La Tide Pools

Not every beach trip is about splashing around in the water or laying out on the sand. Sometimes, a day at the beach is more enjoyable when you arrive at low tide and look around the tide pools to see those sea creatures that hang out among the nooks and crannies of a rocky shore.

Kids Looking at the Tide Pools at the La Jolla Tide Pools
Kids Looking at the Tide Pools at the La Jolla Tide Pools

If that sounds like your idea of heaven on earth, add a visit to La Jolla Tide Pools to your itinerary.

The La Jolla Tide Pools is a beloved beach with possibly the best tide pools in San Diego, where people can discover all sorts of marine life without the crowds you may encounter at some of the other more well-known spots. Finding unique sea creatures is part of our featured article Most Fun Things to do in San Diego.

Single Sea Anemone at the La Jolla Tide Pools
Single Sea Anemone at the La Jolla Tide Pools

The narrow, craggy coastline of this hidden gem is a new adventure every time you visit, thanks to the ever-changing assortment of marine critters that make these little saltwater pools their home.

It’s easy to find this strip of beach among the bigger tourist hotspots in La Jolla, like La Jolla Shores beach. Just look between Wipeout Beach, more of a traditional sandy shore that practically disappears in winter, and Marine Street Beach. It is just in front of Hospitals, also known to surfers as Hospitals Reef, where professional and Instagram photographers snap sunset pictures to catch the reflection among the pothole formations among the rocks and emerald seagrass.

Local Tips
Check Tide Charts
When visiting this amazing place, be sure to check the tide charts as they are all best at low tide. Also, be careful where you step when you are exploring them and don't leave trash.

Whale Watchers Save BIG!

Whale Watching by Hornblower Cruises
Whale Watching Cruise
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Local Tips
What is a Go City San Diego pass?

The Go City San Diego pass allows visitors to experience more attractions while simultaneously saving money.

With the pass, you can visit San Diego’s top attractions like the San Diego Zoo or LEGOLAND, all while saving up to 55% off on admissions. Plus, the pass gives you the ability to skip the line when visiting select attractions.

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Things to Do

Surfing
Surfing
Tide Pooling
Tide Pooling

Meeting Some of the Locals

This small stretch of beach in La Jolla is not a prime location for laying out on the sand, nor is it safe for swimming because of the rocky shore and changing currents.

What draws visitors to the La Jolla Tide Pools is, well, the tide pools. When the tide is low, the tide pools and tiny caves formed in the rocks are exposed, and you can spend hours looking down into this secret marine world.

Closeup of the Sea Anemones at the La Jolla Tide Pools
Closeup of the Sea Anemones at the La Jolla Tide Pools

Sea Life Uncovered

What can you uncover when you peek around the puddles? Sea life in its own shallow ecosystem may include anemones, starfish, small crabs, hermit crabs, clams, mussels, limpets, barnacles, snails, and even the occasional sea hare. If you are lucky you might even see a small octopus amongst the rocks. Every time the tide subsides, this underwater world is exposed, and it can be both fun and educational to investigate.

Closeup View of Sea Grass at the La Jolla Tide Pools
Closeup View of Sea Grass at the La Jolla Tide Pools

Preserve the Sea Life

One thing to keep in mind before you head to the beach, especially if you plan a day around visiting the tidal pools, is to be respectful of the sea creatures. Touching them or disturbing their homes can harm them and upset the delicate balance of their environment. Preserve the tide pools for everyone so they can be enjoyed for years to come.

Tide Coming in at the La Jolla Tide Pools
Tide Coming in at the La Jolla Tide Pools

Snorkeling & Scuba Diving

The La Jolla Tide Pools is also a hidden gem for snorkelers and divers, but only if the conditions are right. Any rough currents can make entry into the water challenging, so it may be better left to more experienced underwater explorers.

Stay Nearby at Grande Colonial La Jolla

The Grande Colonial La Jolla is the perfect place to rest your head while you explore the La Jolla Tide Pools and the surrounding beaches. It is less than a 20-minute drive to downtown San Diego where you can visit the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum or the San Diego Zoo.

How to Get There & Parking

Free Parking
Free Parking
Neighborhood Parking
Neighborhood Parking
Street Parking
Street Parking

Luxury Homes Overlooking the La Jolla Tide Pools
Luxury Homes Overlooking the La Jolla Tide Pools

Getting to The La Jolla Tide Pools

The La Jolla Tide Pools can be found between Wipeout Beach and Hospitals Beach, just off Coast Boulevard, and it’s easy to access by both I-5 and the Pacific Coast Highway. Look for the exit for La Jolla Parkway if you are coming from the south or La Jolla Village Drive from the north.

Once you get to Torrey Pines Road, follow it until you make a right on Prospect Street and another slight right on Cave Street. After you hit Coast Boulevard, start looking for the beach access and parking to the south of La Jolla Cove and The Children’s Pool or near Coast Boulevard Park.

Parking at The La Jolla Tide Pools

Parking is always at a premium along Coast Boulevard, especially in the spring and summer. You may want to park closer to the shops and restaurants in La Jolla and walk a short way to the access points if you cannot find a free space on the street.

Featured Activity

Gray Whale Statues outside Birch Aquarium
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
Birch Aquarium at Scripps features over 60 exhibits of the fish and creatures of the Pacific Northwest, as well as the tropical waters of Mexico. Enjoy interactive exhibits that focus on the ocean, climate and the Earth.
Learn More

Know Before You Go & Tips

Boardwalk
Boardwalk
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
Public Transportation
Public Transportation
Shade
Shade
Trash Cans Available
Trash Cans Available

Proper Tide Pool Etiquette

A Family Looking at All the Animals in the Tide Pools at the La Jolla Tide Pools
A Family Looking at All the Animals in the Tide Pools at the La Jolla Tide Pools

Believe it or not, there is proper tide pool etiquette, so these tips can help you make your visit all the better.

Best Time to Go

The beaches tend to be wider from late fall to early spring, and these months are the best time to go tide pooling.

Check the Tide Charts

No matter when you go, check the tide charts and check them twice. Make sure you go at low tide. The last thing you want to do is hit the beach at high tide and miss all the good stuff.

Educate Yourself about the Wildlife

Educate yourself about what marine life you can see. You may enjoy yourself more if you know what lives in tide pools and how to identify the different species.

Dress appropriately

Tide pools are best explored in closed-toe, waterproof shoes with gripping soles. Save your sandals and flip flops for another day at the beach.

No Dogs

Leave your dog at home. Dogs do not understand nor appreciate the sea life in tide pools, and their presence can be disruptive.

Don’t Touch

Look with your eyes, not with your hands. If you pick anything up, put it back where you found it. it’s best to leave these sea critters alone to live their lives.

Don’t Litter

Take any trash you see with you. If you see trash please pick it up and dispose of it in a trash can along the street. Do the tide pools a favor and be a good citizen.

La Jolla Tide Pools
is Known For:
Tide Pools
Tide Pools
Know This:
Boardwalk
Boardwalk
Tide Pools
Tide Pools
Trash Cans Available
Trash Cans Available
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Stay Nearby

Grande Colonial La Jolla
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Pantai Inn
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Pantai Inn
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Inn by the Sea, at La Jolla
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Inn by the Sea, at La Jolla
from $101 / 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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