La Jolla’s grandeur is nowhere more evident than along its coastline, where you’ll find some of the most breathtaking beaches in California. Dramatic cliffs, sandy expanses and secluded coves, La Jolla offers a range of beaches to please everyone—whether your interest is sunbathing, swimming, surfing… or seals!
The following is an overview of La Jolla’s top beaches, listed from south to north:
Underwater reefs and jutting rocks create fierce waves at Windansea; you’re more likely to find experienced surfers than families with small children. The secluded, breathtaking scenery attracts admirers as well, particularly the romantic type. The historic and often photographed surf shack on the beach makes a popular backdrop for wedding photos and richly colored sunset shots. Located at the end of Nautilus Street, with a small parking lot as well as street parking.
La Jolla Children’s Pool
Originally conceived as a protected swimming area for children, the sea-walled cove began to fill with sand and eventually, harbor seals. There is still ongoing debate over who is more entitled to this spot—children or the seals—but it does not diminish its appeal to tourists and locals. It’s a great place to take a photo. Free parking along Coast Blvd, accessible from nearby paid lots as well.
La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove is San Diego’s most desirable spot for swimming, snorkeling and diving. The water is calm and ecologically protected, providing a safe home for colorful garibaldi, yellowtail, rays and even leopard sharks. Because the water is protected, surfboards, boogie boards and other floatation devices are not permitted. The beach itself is small, but nearby Scripps Park offers a nice grassy expanse for spreading out. Parking is available in nearby paid lots, with a few street spots available for the lucky.
La Jolla Shores
A long, wide beach with soft sand, clean water and gentle waves, La Jolla Shores is an ideal spot for families, sunbathers and beginner surfers.
The beach is cozy and comfortable, with a nice picnic area at the adjacent Kellogg Park. The beach offers a large parking lot and free parking on nearby residential streets.
Beautiful and isolated, Black’s is located north of Scripps Pier, beneath the Torrey Pines Gliderport and close to UCSD. Access it by walking from Shores or descending the rough cliff path from above. The north portion of Black’s is clothing-optional, where nudists bask in the sun and play volleyball without bathing suits.
In general, dogs are not allowed on beaches during the day. Alcohol, smoking and beach fires are not permitted. No overnight camping. Please check each beach’s posted rules.