La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove picture
pilgrims49/Getty Images

Price & Hours

Free
24/7 daily

Details

Beaches, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Swimming/Pools, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
La Jolla Cove is the jewel of La Jolla. Located across the water from La Jolla Shores, La Jolla Cove may not be much in terms of a beach, but its striking beauty and snorkeling reputation more than make up for it among recent visitors. The site is an ecologically protected area that is home to vibrant wildlife both in and out of the water. In fact, it's not uncommon to spot sea lions hanging close to the cove's bluffs and tide pools. Oftentimes, they even come on the beach. 
This is also an excellent spot for beginner snorkelers. Advanced snorkelers should take advantage of the sea caves located along the bluffs, but only with a guide. If you aren't an advanced snorkeler but still want to see the caves, you can take a kayak tour, offered by La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks, or visit the Cave Store, which is home to a manmade tunnel that goes directly inside the Sunny Jim Cave. Travelers say even if you don't plan on swimming or snorkeling, you should still visit the attraction for its picture-perfect setting. 
Visitors also recommended stopping at Ellen Browning Scripps Park (the park above the cove) for a picnic or a walk along the bluffs. Make sure to stop at the Children's Pool Beach along the way for even more wildlife viewing. While people are allowed to access the area for sunning and swimming, most don't since it's become a safe haven for sunbathing seals and sea lions. What's more, the water is also filled with sharp rocks and the area has strong currents due to the offshore reefs. The best way to experience Children's Pool is to walk along its seawall.
La Jolla Cove is free to explore and open 24 hours per day, though swimming is never recommended without a lifeguard present. The cove has showers and bathrooms on-site and there are parking lots nearby. Note that due to its small size, La Jolla Cove beach can grow crowded quickly, so plan to arrive early in the day. For more information about La Jolla cove, consult the city of San Diego's website. 

La Jolla Cove is the jewel of La Jolla. Located across the water from La Jolla Shores, La Jolla Cove may not be much in terms of a beach, but its striking beauty and snorkeling reputation more than make up for it among recent visitors. The site is an ecologically protected area that is home to vibrant wildlife both in and out of the water. In fact, it's not uncommon to spot sea lions hanging close to the cove's bluffs and tide pools. Oftentimes, they even come on the beach. 

This is also an excellent spot for beginner snorkelers. Advanced snorkelers should take advantage of the sea caves located along the bluffs, but only with a guide. If you aren't an advanced snorkeler but still want to see the caves, you can take a kayak tour, or visit the Cave Store, which is home to a manmade tunnel that goes directly inside the Sunny Jim Cave. Travelers say even if you don't plan on swimming or snorkeling, you should still visit the attraction for its picture-perfect setting. 

Visitors also recommended stopping at Ellen Browning Scripps Park (the park above the cove) for a picnic or a walk along the bluffs. Make sure to stop at the Children's Pool Beach along the way for even more wildlife viewing. While people are allowed to access the area for sunning and swimming, most don't since it's become a safe haven for sunbathing seals and sea lions. What's more, the water is also filled with sharp rocks and the area has strong currents due to the offshore reefs. The best way to experience Children's Pool is to walk along its seawall.

La Jolla Cove is free to explore and open 24 hours per day, though swimming is never recommended without a lifeguard present. The cove has showers and bathrooms on-site and there are parking lots nearby. Note that due to its small size, La Jolla Cove beach can grow crowded quickly, so plan to arrive early in the day. For more information about La Jolla cove, consult the city of San Diego's website

See all Hotels in San Diego »

More Best Things To Do in San Diego

Balboa Park1 of 20
Mission Beach and Pacific Beach2 of 20
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Balboa Park

Home to the renowned San Diego Zoo. this 1,200-acre park is the city's cultural hub. Located in downtown San Diego (about 2 miles north of the city center), Balboa Park is a great place for a stroll, bike ride or picnic. Wander around the park's many gardens while admiring the intricate Spanish-Renaissance architecture that permeates the grounds (the best examples are the California Building and the House of Hospitality). The Botanical Building is a great starting point in Balboa Park. The building is one of the most photographed places in Balboa Park and is one of the largest lath structures in the world. But don't just look at it. The famous botanical building features more than 2,100 permanent plants, including striking collections of tropical plants and orchids. The park also features a cactus garden, rose garden, a Japanese-style garden as well as a palm tree canyon, among many others.

But if you find yourself growing antsy just walking around and smelling the roses, there are plenty of attractions located here (many of them free). Take in a show at the Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theatre, visit the Spreckels Organ Pavilion to see one of the world's largest outdoor pipe organs, or the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater if you got the kiddos in tow. Museums are just as aplenty, with enough to suit all types of interests. Art lovers will enjoy the San Diego Museum of Art, the Museum of Photographic Arts and Mingei International Museum while science enthusiasts will enjoy the Fleet Science Center and the Museum of Man. If you're traveling as a family, take some time to check out the San Diego Air and Space Museum or the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, the world's largest operating model railroad museum. There's also an automotive museum and the San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum, dedicated entirely to San Diego's sports history.

Read more
f11photo/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in San Diego »

Explore More of San Diego

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019

The Top Pyramids in Mexico to Visit

Add these ancient marvels to your Mexico vacation itinerary.

Lyn MettlerOctober 28, 2019

30 Top Babymoon Destinations, Trips and Ideas

From romantic beach getaways to big city adventures to glamping in the forest, these locales will inspire your babymoon planning.

Gwen PratesiOctober 15, 2019

15 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

These tips will help pregnant women travel the world in comfort and style.

Holly JohnsonOctober 10, 2019

The Best Chicago Segway Tours

See all the top sights in the Windy City without breaking a sweat.

Marisa MéndezOctober 3, 2019

The Best Washington, D.C., Bus Tours

Here's everything you need to know about D.C. bus tours.

John RodwanOctober 1, 2019

How to Visit Vatican City: Tours and Things to See

This country within Rome has a lot to offer travelers.

Lyn MettlerSeptember 30, 2019