A sunset with the orange sun through silhouette of the bottom of the pier in La Jolla.

La Jolla Shores & La Jolla Shores Park - All You Need to Know

Planning on visiting San Diego for a summer getaway? Make sure to check out La Jolla Shores Beach & La Jolla Shores Park for an unforgettable experience!
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La Jolla Shores Park - All You Need to Know

If you’re planning a trip with both sun and relaxation in mind, we’ve got you covered. California residents will almost always tell you to visit San Diego and its renowned La Jolla Shores Park, and we’re inclined to agree with them. 

La Jolla Shores is a seaside community with gorgeous beaches, amenities, parks, and other activities and sights that you can see. It’s one of the most popular spots for beach-goers, surfers, and families with kids in California and the entire West Coast. 

But what exactly makes La Jolla Shores so special and why should you pay it a visit? Keep reading this guide to find out and start planning your trip to La Jolla Shores Park accordingly. 

What is La Jolla Shores Park?

La Jolla Shores Park is a mile-long area with a beach with soft, golden sand and calm, warm waters. It’s the prime location for some fun activities in the sun. The beach itself is shielded by La Jolla Bay, making it the perfect place to experience the wonders of kayaking and scuba diving. 

If you’re also a fan of going out at night to feel the chill night air and to see the moon illuminate the ocean, you’ll be happy to know that there are bonfire locations in the few parks in La Jolla Shores. 

There are numerous attractions in La Jolla Shores, including:

Torrey Pines State Beach: 

This beach features massive 300-foot cliffs on the dry side and a gorgeous nature walk along the bluffs that will lead you to an amazing lookout position overlooking the entire Pacific Ocean. The beach is also a popular destination for those who want to sunbathe or enjoy their time with family.
Light blue sky at sunset time in Torrey Pines San Diego

La Jolla Cove: 

La Jolla Cove is a water bay surrounded by sea caves that make for an incredible kayaking experience. If the tide is low, you can even walk around on foot. The beach is pretty small, but the water is nice and calm, enabling swimmers and snorkelers to have some casual fun. 

You can access the cove by going down the stairs or walkways that are close to a large park, bathrooms, picnic tables, and several gazebos.


This is another popular beach that you’ll encounter if you travel south. Low tides enable the appearance of rich tide pools which are great for kids and families. 

You also might see (or join) numerous skilled surfers showcasing their surfing ability. The best place for swimming is in the southern half of the beach as the waters are calmer.

The Children’s Pool:

Although its name suggests that it’s the perfect place for kids, it’s actually the opposite. The entire cove is closed for swimming but what makes this place special are the sea lions who have made the cove their home. 

Originally, it was a safe spot for kids and adults alike but as time went on, more and more sea lions started appearing there, eventually ‘overrunning’ the place. You’ll be able to get a stunning view of these beautiful and playful marine animals.


No, there are no hospitals right on the beach. Hospitals is the name of a reef and beach that are located in the South part of La Jolla Shores. This is an excellent spot for scuba diving and exploring tide pools that appear when the tide is low. 

You likely won’t encounter good weather and sea conditions but if you do, it’ll be an unforgettable experience. If you do choose to scuba dive and the conditions cooperate, you’ll be able to explore some impressive undersea ledges and arches that are full of lobster. 

La Jolla Shores Park Activities

A light orange sunset in the sky with a reflection of blue water and sandy San Diego Cliffs.

Now that you’re familiar with some of the locations in La Jolla Shores, it’s time to talk about some of the activities you could do. 


There’s no better way to give yourself a workout in La Jolla Shores Park than to hit the waves. This is one of the prime destinations for excellent surfing conditions and for beginners who want to get their feet wet. There are plenty of surf lessons available with experienced surf instructors so you’ll definitely be able to find one that suits you. 

If you want to ‘blend in with the crowd’, make sure to cover yourself in some surfing fashion; the more color you pick, the better. 


Kayaking is another fun water activity in La Jolla Shores, with a couple of excellent locations. Anyone can learn how to kayak during their first kayaking session, so even if you’re completely inexperienced, you’ll quickly pick it up. 

Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, and Swimming

Due to a large number of reefs, and undersea arches & ledges, La Jolla Shores is one of the best locations to go snorkeling and scuba diving. Hundreds of species of fish, coral, and other marine creatures will be visible in most locations but there are a couple of prime places for this activity. 

Of course, we can’t forget about swimming which you can do across the entirety of the 1-mile-long beach. Just be mindful of the coves which might not be the best for swimming due to their surroundings (mostly rocks, cliffs, etc.).

Go on a Cruise

While cruises are slightly more on the expensive side than other activities, they will leave a mark on you and will showcase the full beauty of the Pacific Ocean and La Jolla Shores. If you have the time (and money), we definitely recommend giving this experience a try at least once.

Visit Scripps Pier

Scripps Pier (full name Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier) is part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and is a vital scientific area for measuring climate change and the ocean. But, it’s open to the public and it features some very tall pilings. 

Overall, it’s a highly popular area for photography and for learning a bit more about how the Institution uses this area for its scientific analyses. 

Visit the Adjacent Parks

There are a couple of green areas and parks on the opposite side of the ocean. These parks are great for relaxation, sitting around bonfires, and letting the kids use up their energy by having fun and playing. 

There’s plenty of shade as well which makes them ideal for hot summer days when there are no clouds in the sky. The parks are also close to other amenities such as restaurants, cafes, and cultural centers, so there’s definitely a lot to do. 

Go Sea Lion-Watching

Although we mentioned this earlier, we want to expand a bit on what you can expect. For starters, there are dozens of sea lions in a couple of coves during most days and they can be very funny at times. 

They are naturally inquisitive and are used to human presence so don’t be surprised if a sea lion or two start making fools of themselves for some food. While feeding or touching the sea lions is not allowed, what is, is watching them and taking photos to immortalize the experience. 

A group of juvenile sea lion pups all with their heads up in La Jolla Cove next to the water.


Overall, La Jolla Shores Park is a great place if you’re with family and kids, but it’s also perfect for adrenaline junkies, casual visitors, and everyone in-between. This little piece of paradise (or The Jewel, as it’s called colloquially) has a little bit of something for everyone, hence its growing popularity. 

Just make sure to arrive early because parking space could be an issue, especially on weekends.

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Side view of the La Jolla Seven Sea Caves and the water is calm with looming sandy cliffs.

What Does La Jolla Mean?

Large orange sunset behind a surfer about to catch a big wave.

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