OverviewThis guide written by: Dustin Meyer
La Jolla Cove is a really popular snorkeling/dive location. It's usually pretty busy there because of this. The way that the beach is almost north facing makes the beach very sheltered from the waves. La Jolla usually offers some of the warmest waters off the coast of CA as well.
This beach has everything, and more. It is one of the prime snorkeling destinations in southern California right up there with snorkeling in Catalina. The fish are used to people, there are often sea lions/seals in the area, and just around the corner are a multitude of spectacular sea caves.
It's a protected beach, as a lot of snorkeling locations are.
Parking: Metered and Free Street Parking Available
Entry: Two Entries right across from one another - stairs
Facilities: Restrooms and Showers at the park above
Lifeguard: There is a station with a few lieguards usually
FeaturesIf you already like snorkeling, you simply have to get to La Jolla Cove. It has so much of everything that makes snorkeling enjoyable. All sorts of aquatic life -multitudes of various species of fish - I have also seen octopus, rays, swell sharks, seals and sea lions, sea slugs, sea stars, urchins, schools of fish ranging from tiny species to medium size species. Near the shore is has a low-lying rocky topography surrounded by high juting rockscapes.
The waves are usually really light here, and you dont have to go out far to see a ton of fish and other stuff so there are a lot of beginners here. It would be a good spot to introduce someone to snorkeling, because they are almost gauranteed to have a good experience (as long as you choose to go on a day with low swell or course).
If you swim around to the left you'll encounter a very rocky area with tidepools above, which are also accessible on foot during low-tide. During certain times of the year there will also be quite a few seals and sea lions here. If you swim around to the right and keep heading east along the shore eventually you'll encounter....THE CAVES!!
See a youtube video of the caves!
The Caves: The tides have over time eroded the rock surrounding La Jolla Cove to form spectacular sea caves that you can swim right into -- when conditions are right! It takes a decent swim around the corner from the beach and up the coast to get there (approximately 5-10 mins depending on your pace). A lot of fish like to hang around in there and it's just for some reason a really awesome experience swimming in and out of the caves amongs the rocks. I also saw quite a few sea lions on the rocks right there too. There are approximately 7-10 different sea caves in the area, each a bit different. There are also some areas just below the surface where you can swim right in between some tightly spaced rocks.
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ParkingThere are a lot of parking spots that are 2-3 hour maximum spots right along Coast Blvd. There might be some metered parking as well. It's usually busy as heck though. You'll have to get there early, or hope to find someone leaving. If not that than you'll just have to hit up some of the residential strees in the area.
Disclaimer: You shall assume all risks associated with snorkeling at any of the locations listed on this website. The articles and forecasts that appear on this site are intended to be for informational purposes only. It is up to you and/or the lifeguards present at the snorkeling locations to make the ultimate decisions regarding your safety. Follow all posted rules at any site that you visit.