La Jolla Cove is the most photographed beach in San Diego, because of its dramatic beauty. It’s easy to understand once you’ve seen it for yourself. One of the smaller San Diego beaches, this intimate and scenic beach cove is located below the towering sandstone cliffs of La Jolla Village. Rich in marine life, it draws travelers who love to scuba dive or snorkel. The water at La Jolla Cove is typically a bit colder than most of San Diego’s beaches and can at times get rather large and strong swells, so the beach is more suited to strong swimmers and experienced snorkelers. This is the perfect choice for those who want to enjoy getting an up close view of marine life.
This already small cove can seem even smaller during high tide when the dry sand area is considerably reduced, however, when it’s low tide, fascinating tide pools are revealed. The sand is rougher here than most other beaches in San Diego, but since the cove draws those who prefer to spend most of their time in the water, they don’t mind. The use of boogie boards, surfboards, kayaks, inflatable mattresses, and other similar swimming devices are not allowed at the cove since it’s a marine refuge area protected by the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park.
This beach is primarily for scuba diving, swimming, and snorkeling; it’s known for the orange Garibaldi fish, which are surprisingly strong in number in this area, and other marine life. You’ll even see a few sea lions swimming in the deeper parts of the water, or just relaxing on the rocks. Since this is such a small beach you’ll often find the crowd is minimal, it’s a good choice for a calm and relaxing beach day just enjoying the sun, sea creatures, and cool waters.
Near to the Beach
Above the beach on the bluffs and to the south of La Jolla Cove is Scripps Park, a shaded green space that stays well maintained throughout the year with gorgeous trees and other greenery. It’s a great place to unwind after a day at the beach and have a nice, relaxing picnic. If you want to continue exploring the wonders of the cove head over to the famous Sunny Jim Cave, just a short walk away. For a small fee you can enter the cave through The Cave Store and take the staircase down to explore Sunny Jim.
Adventure seekers can check out SeaStar Adventures just a short distance from the cove where you can sign up for a snorkeling tour. If you want to end your day with a delicious meal accompanied by a spectacular view head to George’s at the Cove off Prospect Street. Here you can dine on seafood-centric cuisine created by renowned chef Troy Foshee in an elegant setting. Brockton Villa, and Steakhouse at Azul La Jolla are two other excellent restaurants in the area to end your beach day in La Jolla. If you can’t tear yourself away from the Village, book a room or suite at La Valencia, the “Pink Lady of La Jolla.”
La Jolla Cove Essentials
One of the most important things to know when visiting La Jolla Cove is that it is an ecological reserve; this is why no swimming devices are allowed at this beach. There is also no fishing at this beach and no collecting marine invertebrates – including dead sea creatures and seashells. All specimens at the cove are protected by law, and all rules are enforced by the lifeguards on duty. Lifeguards are present at the cove every day from nine in the morning until sunset. They have a chalkboard where they post the daily water temperature, high and low tide times, and any other useful information to visitors.
When it comes to parking, you’ll find that free street parking is very rare, especially during high season, but there are a few paid parking lots in the area that you can use. To get down to the beach area from the bluff you’ll notice there are two sets of concrete steps on either side of the lifeguard station that lead most of the way down, but in order to reach the sand you’ll need to step on a few rocks. There is only one bathroom facility at La Jolla Cove and it’s at the top of the bluff, it includes outdoor and indoor showers and a changing area.
Tip: Due to the location of La Jolla Cove it can be tricky to maneuver your way down to the beach so this may not be an ideal choice for families with small children.
La Jolla Cove – It’s a Wrap
La Jolla Cove is a favorite of those local to this upscale neighborhood, and they’re happy to share it with eco-friendly tourists, so everyone can enjoy San Diego sea life together. Unlike other beaches in this city, it tends to be a quiet place that doesn’t appeal to the beach party crowd. Nature designed it for the experienced swimmers, adventurers, and underwater enthusiasts to enjoy. It’s powerful one minute and gentle and serene the next. La Jolla Cove is also home to one of the oldest swims in the world, the La Jolla Cove Rough Water Swim that’s held once a year. Spend an afternoon at La Jolla Cove and discover nature like a local.