La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove beach

La Jolla Cove is the place to go for excellent snorkeling & scuba diving and is probably the most visually stunning beach in San Diego.

The "Cove" is truly picturesque: beaches, quaint walkways, grassy areas, panoramic ocean views, smashing waves - all this makes for great photo opportunities. Here's what I mean:

La Jolla Cove beach

The Cove

At the north end of La Jolla Cove you will find a cove. A cove is a natural indentation in the land shaping the shoreline into the letter C. The result is a protected nook-of-a-beach with a cozy, wrap-around feel. As far as beaches go, this one is pretty small, but families love it because the beach is enclosed and children cannot wander off.

The power of the ocean waves is dampened by the shape of the land, this allows plants to take root and grow. The underwater kelp forest attracts a rich assortment of sea life. It's no wonder that scuba divers, snorkelers, and good swimmers love the Cove.

La Jolla Cove and the stretch of ocean south of La Jolla Shores is an ecological preserve (La Jolla Underwater Park). If you swim at the Cove, remember that the animals and plants are protected by law: look but don't touch or take. Among other things you may see Garibaldi (a brilliant orange fish; California's state fish) and leopard sharks which are harmless to humans.

Kayaks, canoes and other vehicles are not allowed at the Cove. Swimmers are advised to swim away from the rocky outcrops because a strong wave can hurl you into the rocks. Lifeguards are on duty, however, it is better to avoid injury by demonstrating caution.

La Jolla Cove beach

Unlike some of the other beaches found along San Diego's coastline, La Jolla Cove has a lot of interesting rock formations, outcrops, and caves. During low tide, you can walk onto these outcrops and explore the tide pools.

At the Cove you can easily walk into a simple cave carved by the ocean waves. These caves are dangerous in that they may collapse, however, this does not deter anyone. Hundreds, if not thousands of people enter these crevices to see what is on the other side of the natural passageway. The city has tried to protect visitors and the caves by installing inconspicuous support beams.

Please note: these caves are often wet and slippery so be careful and be prepared to leap over puddles or scramble over rocks. There are many sea caves along the sandstone cliffs in between La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores. However, these are, for the most part, not accessible by foot and can only be seen when you embark upon a guided kayak tour.

La Jolla Cove beach

Scripps Park

As you move south from the Cove, you will immediately find yourself in a large grassy area called Scripps Park. Here you will see gnarled, windswept trees, a groomed green lawn, and fresh, open space. Have a picnic, play frisbee, toss a football, or just sit back and relax.

Open fires are not permitted at this park but alchohol is permitted from 12 noon to 8 pm (alcohol not permitted at the beach, at any time). Freelance musicians and merchants often set up shop here.

The ocean is just a few seconds away so, you can hear the crash of the waves, smell the scent of seaweed, and see the seagulls & pelicans glide by. Want to go for a walk? Go ahead...

La Jolla Cove beach

The Oceanside Walkway

As you head further south, away from the Cove, you will find a pleasant, paved walkway. This walkway is adjacent to Scripps Park and runs parallel to Coast Blvd. It will lead you directly to the Children's Pool Beach and beyond.

Along the way you will be dazzled by the sight of the ocean crashing onto the sandstone cliffs. Sandy beaches are speckled along the shoreline. These beaches are small in comparison and cannot accommodate volumes of people (as is the case for many of the other San Diego beaches). Not to mention, the waves at La Jolla Cove are relatively strong. If you want to experience the ocean spray, use the stairs that lead down to the water; do not scramble down unmarked paths because these may be unstable and such traffic would promote erosion of the cliffs.

Parking, Bathrooms, Restaurants, and Shopping

There is only street parking at La Jolla Cove. It is free; however, it is almost always full. Even metered parking is often completely full. If this is the case, your only choices are to drive further away from the Cove for parking, or find a paid parking lot (approx $5).

Public restrooms and showers are available at the north end of La Jolla Cove near the cove. Port-a-pottys are available at south end, near the Children's Pool Beach.

There's 4 ways to get food:
  1. Bring your own picnic and eat it at the beach (the Cove" or at the grassy area (Scripps Park).
  2. Try one of the trendy seafood restaurants at the north end of La Jolla Cove (near the Cove itself). There are also a few restaurants at the top of the hill on Girard Ave.
  3. Enter any one of the hotels and resorts that line Coast Blvd and sample the cuisine within.
  4. Walk inland for about 2 blocks and enter downtown La Jolla - a must-see trendy, shopping district. Read more...
La Jolla Cove beach