Within San Diego lies a hilly neighborhood by the sea, La Jolla. Bordered by seven miles of coastline on three sides, there’s a beach perfect for every lifestyle. Let’s check out a few of these beaches which make living in La Jolla such an idyllic experience.
Starting at Northern La Jolla, our first beach stretches from Torrey Pines State to Scripps Beach. Located near a glider port, it’s the perfect location for hang gliding and paragliding. For those who prefer to keep their feet in the sand, beach exploration, sunbathing, and whale watching are great ways to pass the time. Visitors to this beach should be aware of the clearly marked area which is famous for being clothing-optional. If you’re curious about a new experience or feeling adventurous, this beach could be for you — just don’t bring the kids.
North of the La Jolla Shores Beach is Scripps’s Beach. The Scripps Pier, although closed to the public, serves an important role in the study of ocean conditions and marine biology of the Pacific Coast. The information collected here is vital in the work and research of Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
On either side of the pier are beaches available for public use. These areas have their own dedicated uses, with surfers situated north of the pier, while the swimming and kayaking crowds enjoy the beach to the south. A posted lifeguard ensures Scripps Beach is safe to bring young children. Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach at non-peak hours for a majority of the year.
Children’s Pool Beach is a great place to bring your young family to play. This area is protected by a sea wall and was originally intended to be a small swimming hole. Sand has filled in a majority of the available swimming area, making it shallow and perfect for inexperienced swimmers. Visitors enjoy amenities like restrooms, showers, and easy access to public transit, and families have peace of mind knowing this is one of nine beaches with a permanent lifeguard station.
This beach is a popular viewing area for sea lions and seals which can be seen laying out on the sand and rocks year-round. They frequent the beach so often that access to the beach is closed off from December 15th through May 15th every year to give the animals privacy during mating season. As protecting native wildlife is a priority for the area, dogs are not permitted on the beach.
The Ellen Browning Scripps Park connects three beaches along the shores of La Jolla — Boomer Beach, La Jolla Cove, and Shell Beach. On the South end of the park are a set of stairs leading down to Shell Beach — a perfect place to spend the day tide pooling, snorkeling, scuba diving, and enjoying the nearby park. Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach during non-peak hours, and are welcome to utilize pet-friendly portions of Ellen Browning Scripps Park when on their leash.
During migration season, relax on the park’s grass and watch whales swim near the shore to access the rich food sources provided by the nearby underwater submarine canyon. Picnic tables, barbecue grills, and benches are available for use, and the grass can be rented for public and private events. As this location has gorgeous sunsets, evening weddings are popular at this location.
On the rocky central area of the La Jolla shoreline is a beach known for having more intense waters. Rip currents make swimming dangerous, especially for inexperienced swimmers. Low tide is the best time to visit this beach, as there’s more sand available to walk on, tide pools are uncovered, and sea caves are revealed for exploration. Leashed dogs are allowed on the beach during non-peak hours — before 9 AM and after 6 PM — most of the year, and then they can be on the beach after 4 PM during cooler months.
La Jolla Cove
One of the most photographed beaches in Southern California sits within the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve. Complete with a permanent lifeguard station, this beach is ideal for those looking to swim. Snorkelers and scuba divers can enjoy the underwater park for free as long as they don’t disturb marine life. Instead, appreciate the natural beauty and leave the place to be enjoyed by others after you. Like many other beaches in the area, La Jolla Cove has restrooms, showers, and picnic areas that are all available for public use as well.
La Jolla Shores
The other end of the San Diego Underwater Park Ecological Reserve ends about midway down La Jolla Shores Beach and is dotted with buoys to make the area easily distinguishable. This is one of the most gentle beaches in the San Diego area, as offshore reefs help tame the waves. For disabled beachgoers, beach wheelchairs are available at the lifeguard station and the beach can be accessed without a set of stairs.
La Jolla Shores is filled with an array of nautical activities to partake in. Local businesses provide novice scuba classes. One can rent a kayak, go surfing, or utilize the small boat launch three hundred yards south of the station. As the waves are small here, this beach is a great place to learn any water sport.
Families can be seen enjoying the picnic areas and the volleyball courts. As the day ends, many like to huddle around the fire pits to watch the sun dip below the horizon. Coupled with restrooms, showers, and public transport accessibility, La Jolla Shores is a popular choice. Be sure to arrive early for good parking!
Marine Street Beach
If you’re looking for an easily accessible beach that’s more secluded than others nearby, head over to Marine Street Beach. While swimming might be more difficult here if you’re not an experienced swimmer, surfers can rejoice over the thunderous surf. Bodyboarding and surfing in this area are for experienced individuals only, but the wide, sandy beach is perfect for sunbathing and watching surfers tackle the waves.
Mossy rock formations ubiquitous along the La Jolla shorelines are found at both ends of the beach, making this a prime location for dramatic seaside photo shoots. There’s no parking lot — only free street parking which can fill up quickly. Dogs are allowed on the beach on leashes during non-peak hours, and this beach is not family-friendly. For a more child-friendly locale, head north to Children’s Pool Beach.
Tourmaline Surfing Park Beach
A little further south is the San Diego surfing mecca — Tourmaline Surfing Park Beach. Swimming is not allowed here, but surfers, windsurfers, and kiteboarders can all take advantage of the salty, cool waves.
If you’re not looking to partake in outdoor recreational sports, feel free to stretch out on the sand and sunbathe while you watch the skilled locals. Wash off in the showers and utilize the picnic tables, barbecue grills, and fire pits to celebrate a long day at the beach. As dogs are allowed at Tourmaline Surfing Park, this beach is an excellent way to spend an afternoon with all your family and friends.
If you’re looking to enjoy La Jolla’s beaches year-round, consider investing in a property here.
If you’re in the market for a condo or one of the La Jolla homes for sale, contact a realtor who's proficient in the area’s real estate market. The Garrity Group will ensure a smooth real estate search and transaction from start to finish.