The Children's Pool

Less of a pool and more of a wildlife sanctuary, The Children’s Pool in sunny La Jolla is a must-see attraction, thanks to the ocean views, seals and sea lions.
Why you'll love this beach
Why you'll love this beach
Visit the Seals and Sea Lions at The Children's Pool in Sunny La Jolla
The Children's Pool
Overview
Save on Gear
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

Sunset at the Childrens PoolPeople Hanging Out on the Beach at the Childrens Pool

If you haven’t yet been to The Children’s Pool, you may be surprised to discover that it’s not much of either. Even regular visitors may find the name a bit ironic, since swimming is at your own risk and the beach access is limited for half the year.

Back in the early 1930s, local philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps had an idea to create a calm oasis along the rocky shore where children could safely swim and play in the water. She donated money to have a concrete sea wall built beyond the rocky jetty to protect this area of the beach from the rougher waves, and that’s how the beach came to be.

Of course, over time, the tides have turned, and what was once a peaceful lagoon has filled partway in with sand, making it an attractive spot for a different sort of visitor. The seals and sea lions that live in this part of the Pacific Ocean realized that the calmer waters of The Children’s Pool would make for a fabulous nursery, and they have essentially taken over the beach to birth their pups.

From mid-December to mid-May, the beach is designated for the sea mammals, and while people are welcome to come see them, it’s best to maintain a safe distance, as these proud mamas can be aggressive about protecting their pups. Visitors can best view the seals and sea lions from the breakwater wall or the park near Coast Boulevard.

For the other half of the year, the beach is open to humans, and lifeguards are present. Swimming is allowed, but again, thanks to the elevated bacteria levels associated with the seal and sea lion populations, it is not advised. Head to nearby La Jolla Cove for great swimming. Regardless, The Children’s Pool Beach is a fabulous attraction to visit if you want to watch the animals.

The seals and sea lions are pretty peaceful, but the beach has created a big hullabaloo between people who advocate for marine life and people who just want access to the beach. Some would prefer it be designated exclusively for the animals, while others find them a nuisance and wish they would go away.

Go Snorkel with Go Pass!

La Jolla - Full Day Snorkel Rental
La Jolla Full Day Snorkel Rental
While visiting San Diego, discover the sea creatures of San Diego with a Full Day Snorkel Rental with your Go Pass in La Jolla. Take pictures of the areas marine life and coral. Snorkel, mask, wet suit and flippers are included in your rental.
Buy Now
Local Tips
What is a Go San Diego Pass?

The Go 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.

Things to Do

Running
Running
Scuba Diving
Scuba Diving
Snorkeling
Snorkeling

But Wait, There’s More

Reefs Just Offshore

Beyond the seals and the questionable swimming, does The Children’s Pool offer anything else? Just ask the scuba divers you may see entering and leaving the water. Right off the shore are some impressive reefs, and with the clear waters, visibility is great for diving in this area.

It’s always a good idea to check with the lifeguard station to find out about any rough currents or water quality before you go, and a wetsuit isn’t a bad idea. If seals are sunning on the sand, you should avoid scaring them as you make your way into the water.

Explore the Tide Pools

During low tide, explore the tide pools to see what other sea life makes their home at The Children’s Pool. Starfish, limpets, snails, small, crabs, and anemones are just some of the creatures you should look for.

Great Photos

Another reason people love to visit this section of La Jolla are the amazing photo ops. Between the local animal residents and the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean, The Children’s Pool can ramp up your social media presence. Be careful if you venture on the sand or walk along the sea wall and jetty in case a rogue wave takes you by surprise. You inadvertently are in the splash zone.

Stay at the La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites

La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites is a great hotel to stay at while exploring The Children’s Pool and the surrounding beaches. It has ocean views and it is very close to many other things to do. Not only is it in the middle of La Jolla but you can get to downtown San Diego in less than a 20-minute drive.

How to Get There & Parking

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

Getting to The Children’s Pool

La Jolla, and specifically The Children’s Pool Beach, is easy to get to from San Diego or north of the city. The beach access is right at Coast Boulevard and Jenner St.

To get there from the south exit the I-5 at La Jolla Parkway will turn into Torrey Pines Rd. Then hang a right on Ivanhoe Ave and then a left on Silverado St. Girard Ave will come up in less than a mile and hang a right.

Follow Girard Ave, turn right on to Prospect St, then a left down the hill back which will turn into Coast Blvd. Try to find a parking spot and you will be nearby.

Parking

Parking, on the other hand, is not so easy. Park on the street if you can find any open spaces, but don’t expect to find a parking lot near the beach access. Another option is to find parking in downtown La Jolla and walk.

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

Lifeguards
Lifeguards
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
Outdoor Showers
Outdoor Showers
Public Transportation
Public Transportation
Restrooms
Restrooms
Trash Cans Available
Trash Cans Available

Know Before You Go

Be Respectful of the Seals

A rope barrier extends across the beach from December 15 to May 15 to keep people away from the sea lions and seals. It’s best if you stay on the human side. Pestering or “flushing” the seals, causing them to go into the water after startling them, may result in a fine.

Facilities Available

The beach access at The Children’s Pool does have public restrooms and showers. If you do brave the water, be sure to shower after. Pay attention to the water quality before you jump the waves.

No Surfing

The Children’s Pool is not a surfing beach. You may want to head south to Hospitals or north to Blacks Beach or Scripps if you want to ride the waves.

No Dogs on the Beach

Dogs are not permitted on the beach. They too can get excited by the mammals, and it’s probably best for everyone not to make those introductions.

Strong Currents, Be Careful

Despite the jetty barrier from the rougher waves, the ocean at The Children’s Pool can have strong currents.

The Children's Pool
is Known For:
Seals
Seals
Know This:
Lifeguards
Lifeguards
Outdoor Showers
Outdoor Showers
Restrooms Available
Restrooms Available
Trash Cans Available
Trash Cans Available
This Month's Forecast
67℉ / 79℉
Sunny in September
Oct
63℉ / 78℉
Sunny in October
Nov
56℉ / 73℉
Sunny in November
Dec
51℉ / 68℉
Sunny in December

Stay Nearby

La Jolla Cove Suites
Beachfront
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
La Jolla Cove Suites
from $132 / night
View Hotel
Residence Inn by Marriott San Diego La Jolla
Near UCSD
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Residence Inn by Marriott San Diego La Jolla
from $189 / night
View Hotel
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
Boutique Hotel
4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating4 Star Rating
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa
from $235 / 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
Show more San Diego Hotels >>