Skirting the northern Pacific coast and nestled in the northern city limits of San Diego, La Jolla is one of the hidden gems of California. La Jolla’s beautiful beaches are accentuated by Southern California’s year-round warm and mild climate. Combining the spirit of a beach town and a world-accredited marine research institution, La Jolla has plenty to offer all visitors.
Image via Flickr by jeeheon
Once you reach La Jolla, start your vacation at Windansea Beach. Be sure to check out the Children’s Pool, a beach cove at the north end of Windansea originally intended for kids that is now popular with the local Harbor Seals!
After you finish your first beach morning, stop at The Cottage La Jolla or Cody’s La Jolla for brunch. Eating outdoors in Southern California’s climate is a delight both restaurants provide.
San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park
Located north of downtown, the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park is a 6,000-acre recreational area with habitats ranging from tide pools to the 600-foot-deep La Jolla Canyon. The park is protected from the Pacific’s currents and waves by natural and artificial reefs, making it a perfect kayaking and snorkeling spot for both novices and experts.
Point La Jolla’s famous sea caves are located in a sandstone cliff in the park’s southern area. Local outfitters such as La Jolla Kayak offer guided tours of the caves and surrounding marine area, enabling visitors to get close to a variety of sea life such as the colorful Garibaldi damselfish, sea lions, and docile leopard sharks. Keep a lookout for whales, which are a common sight due to the deepwater canyon bisecting the park.
Relax in a Coastal California Hotel
After a full day of sightseeing and kayaking, you’ll undoubtedly be tired. Thankfully, you can find a plethora of fine La Jolla hotels through Hotel Planner, with many only a few hundred yards from the beach. The La Valencia Hotel, a beautiful Spanish Revival building in downtown La Jolla, offers 4-star amenities and oceanfront views from the courtyard and from many rooms.
La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites, a block away from La Jolla Cove, is a quaint 2.5-star hotel with a Midcentury vibe. Both hotels are within walking distance of plenty of great restaurants and bars.
The Birch Aquarium
After breakfast, head to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The aquarium features more than 380 species of marine animals, found in exhibits representing Pacific marine habitats from the Pacific Northwest to the Gulf of California.
After lunch, take a walk down Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier and try to spot some of the wildlife you learned about in the aquarium. Both Scripps Coastal Reserve and Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve offer walking trails through protected coastal scrub to the beach.
La Jolla’s draw as a beachside community doesn’t end in the dunes. Between the beauty of the California coast and the robust culture of La Jolla, this vacation mecca has plenty of activities for all visitors. So pack your bags, book your hotel, and get ready for two days that you’ll never forget!