La Jolla Shores


Location: La Jolla Shores (12 Miles / 20 Minutes North of Downtown San Diego)

Features: Beach area offers Playground, Calm Surf, Kayaking, World-Class Ocean Swimming, Scuba Diving, Panoramic Views, Long Walks; Accessible on a Sightseeing Tour from downtown San Diego

Learn more about La Jolla Sightseeing Tours with TourGuideTimLa Jolla Shores Highlights: La Jolla Shores provides a little something for everyone. The beach in La Jolla Shores is a nearly a mile long. Near its center is Kellogg Park. Here, you will find grassy park areas with tables for picnics. The south end of the beach stretches towards La Jolla Cove’s calm waters. This attracts kayakers and divers who like to explore the underwater ecological reserve. It also attracts ocean swimmers who train for swimming endurance races around the world. The north end of the beach stretches towards Scripps Pier and Torrey Pines. This is a good area to go for a walk along the beach, especially during low tide when you can walk five miles to Torrey Pines State Beach. (Take precaution after you pass Scripps Pier when you will be walking below tall beach cliffs.)

la-jolla-shores-scripps-pierThe stretch of beach closer to Scripps Pier provides sun bathers very few crowds and a lot more space. Most sun bathers settle down near the parking lot and Kellogg Park. Those who want to play in the waves will need to stay to the left side (south side) of the beach while those who want to surf will need to stay to the right side. The life guards will have signs posted on where you can go. Water temperatures are usually 60F (15 C) during winter and 70F (21C) during summer. If that is too cold for you, there are wetsuits available for rent from local shops.

la-jolla-shores-homesWhile most visitors will spend their time looking at the waves, some will face the opposite direction and enjoy looking at the surrounding hillside full of multi-million dollar homes. The tallest hill you see towards the southeast is Mount Soledad.

After a day at the beach, visitors can find a small handful of restaurants, both formal and informal, a couple blocks to the south. Most are on Avenida de la Playa, where you will also find a few shops. Avenida de la Playa is also home to businesses offering beach equipment rentals, including kayaks, dive equipment, and boogie boards.


What to Expect

  • Lifeguards are on duty year-round. Generally, you will see them from 9AM – Dusk.
  • At the north end of Kellogg Park is a children’s playground. Next to it is a map of the underwater ecological reserve, which is just off shore where divers go to explore the marine life habitat. It is laid out over the ground with descriptions of the different sea animals found off-shore. The raised animal images allow kids to lay a piece of paper over them and sketch out the fish and other sea life. (So, don’t forget to bring paper and crayons.)
  • Those who want to learn more about the local marine habitat should visit the nearby Birch Aquarium, which hosts field trips to the waters off La Jolla Shores.
  • See a Picture Slideshow of La Jolla Shores Beach and Local Shops provided by TourGuideTim
  • No alcohol is allowed on City of San Diego beaches.
  • All beaches and most parks throughout San Diego County are smoke-free. A few do provide designated smoking areas.

Ocean Swimming – The La Jolla Cove Swim Club has put together a great page of advice for those who want to swim in the area between La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores. It includes a list of times throughout the day when you can join others who will be swimming. Everyone is welcome. You will also find information on swim safety, what sea life to look for during your journey, and information about competitive events.

The one-way distance from La Jolla Cove to the La Jolla Shores boat ramp where you will primarily see kayakers is 2/3rds of a mile while the one-way distance from La Jolla Cove to Scripps Pier is 1.7 miles. The most recognized ocean swimming competition is the La Jolla Rough Water Swim. Started in 1916, the event takes place in late September. Over 2,000 participants swim either a 1-mile or 3-mile course.

Scuba Diving – provides detailed descriptions for La Jolla Shores dive spots. This is the most popular location for scuba diving in San Diego and attracts both beginner and experienced divers. The biggest attraction for diving in La Jolla is the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, a 533 acre underwater marine preserve.

Also, just 100 yards off-shore, divers will find La Jolla Canyon, which drops to 600 feet deep and Scripps Canyon, which drops to 1,000 feet deep. In addition to abundant sea life, this area is home to harmless leopard sharks during the late summer, an occasional California Blue Whale during the winter, and sting rays. Visit our diving page for more information on scuba diving in San Diego.

KayakingKayaking is a very popular activity at La Jolla Shores. The north end of Kellogg Park is the launching point for several La Jolla kayak tour companies. You can explore the caves in La Jolla Cove, paddle over the marine life, including harmless Leopard Sharks during the summer and Sting Rays, explore the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, or fish offshore. Visit our page on kayaking for more information and a list of kayak companies in La Jolla.

Surfing – La Jolla Shores is a popular spot for surfing classes and local surf club competitions, especially for kids. Surf Diva is the most recognized name for classes in La Jolla Shores because of the national attention it has received for teaching women to surf. As noted earlier, surfers need to stay at the north side of the beach. Include a surf lesson as part of a sightseeing tour operated by TourGuideTim that departs daily from downtown San Diego.

If you are already a great surfer, the SurfShot web site provides good details about surfing in La Jolla Shores You will find bigger waves the farther you head towards Scripps Pier to the north and smaller waves if you stay closer to the park and main beach area.

la-jolla-shores-walkBeach Walks – Heading south from Kellogg Park will take you about .35 miles towards La Jolla Cove before the beach ends. Most of the walk goes behind the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. The Marine Room restaurant is behind the floor-to-ceiling windows you see during this segment of the walk. It is famous for its high-tide dinners during the summer and high-tide breakfasts during the winter when waves come crashing up against the windows. With that said, expect there to be no beach to walk on during those times. After the Beach and Tennis Club, there are a few homes you will pas before the beach ends at La Jolla Cove.

Learn more about La Jolla Sightseeing Tours with TourGuideTimHeading north from Kellogg Park will take you about .65 miles to Scripps Pier. Scripps Pier is a research pier for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, so there is no public access to it. If there is low tide, you can walk past the pier. From this point forward, you will be walking below tall beach cliffs so take precaution because they can collapse on occasion. About .35 miles past the pier, you will come across an area of large volcanic rock from the Miocene era. This 11 million year old volcanic rock is referred to as Dike rock. If you continue on, you will walk through Black’s Beach. Black’s Beach has traditionally been a clothing optional beach. However, the city has been trying to stop this tradition since it is illegal. Be forewarned of what you might see. Better yet, keep your eyes up and you will see one of the most expensive homes in the world. It looks more like a resort. Sitting up on the cliffs and facing south, this Italian-style Villa was purchased in 1999 for $16 Million by Ron Burkle as a vacation home. If you continue to look up you will walk under paragliders, who will number in the dozens on a good gliding day, taking off from the Torrey Pines Glider Port. Finally, you will reach Torrey Pines State Beach, which is 5 miles from Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores.

Beach Weather – Visitors can enjoy the beaches in San Diego year-round. However, finding ideal beach weather during the winter and spring is hit or miss. The best beach weather occurs from July to October. Ocean temperatures are usually around 70 degrees during the summer and 60 degrees during the winter. Learn more about San Diego weather.

La Jolla Sightseeing Tour – Spend the afternoon at La Jolla Shores (2.5 hours) as part of a Sightseeing Tour with TourGuideTim, owner of this travel web site. TourGuideTim offers half-Day, Expert-Guided Tours from San Diego to La Jolla and Torrey Pines. Enjoy Amazing views, Fascinating Trivia, and free time.

Learn about History of Aviation, Geology, Architecture, Famous Residents, and more.

Get more sightseeing tour details, check out the reviews from past guests that make this a Top 10 Attraction in San Diego, and book your tour today!

Information on Visiting La Jolla Shores

Directions from Google Maps to 8200 Camino del Oro in La Jolla, CA 92037. (The entrance to the parking lot is one block north of this address at Camino del Oro and Calle Fescota.)

Traffic – The three main routes heading down into La Jolla Shores all provide spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and the palm tree lined beach. This provides a nice distraction on summer holiday weekends when traffic heading into La Jolla Shores can be very heavy. Traffic is also slow on other summer weekends and during evening rush hour but they generally do not add more than 5 – 10 minutes to your drive. However, those using I-5 leaving La Jolla Shores during evening rush hour will run into heavy traffic in both directions. Fortunately, there are several restaurants in La Jolla Shores where you can wait out the rush hour. (Learn how to get the latest traffic updates.)

Parking – The parking lot is free and fills up quickly during summer and on nice winter weekends. Parking along residential streets is also free but tough to find during the summer.

Transit – Buses do serve La Jolla Shores Beach. (See San Diego Transit Information for bus schedules and information for the online Transit Planner.)

Additional Information – Visit the City of San Diego’s web site for additional information on La Jolla Shores beach.

Related Attractions – Even though La Jolla Shores is part of the La Jolla Community, the Village of La Jolla and its spectacular coastline views are about 2.5 miles away. The Village area is the community you see on the expanse of land sticking out into the Pacific Ocean when you look south from La Jolla Shores.

Find More Attractions with Similar Themes or Location: Beaches & Surfing, Kids Attractions & Activities, La Jolla, Ocean & Bay Adventures, Parks - Local, State & National, Picnics - Great Places, Scenic Views, Walking / Jogging, Wildlife - Places to See |

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