LaJolla, San Diego

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Martí Micolau

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  •  Discovering La Jolla
  • What to see in La Jolla
  • How to reach La Jolla

La Jolla is a coastal town of approximately 40.000 inhabitants that overlooks the Pacific Ocean and is barely outside the northern suburbs of San Diego. Famous for the sea lions and seals that populate its beaches, it is among the most popular and renowned tourist resorts in the area.

The beach is composed of fine white sand, with small coves and jagged inlets. The marine ecosystem is so rich and varied that it attracts the many fans of snorkeling from all over the world.

La Jolla is well connected with the metropolis of San Diego and it is easy to reach by car or public transport. Let's see what this beautiful piece of California paradise has to offer.

 Discovering La Jolla

As already mentioned, La Jolla is an independent municipality from nearby San Diego and is one of the most popular tourist destinations among those visiting Southern California.

It is surrounded on three sides by the Pacific Ocean and its coast is full of cliffs, canyons and small hills which then culminate in the Mount soledad, a hill of 250 meters. There are several theories on the origin of the name La Jolla, but according to the most accredited one it derives from the Spanish 'la joya', meaning the jewel.

Today La Jolla is one of the landmarks of local tourism and is the home of theUniversity of California at San Diego (UCSD).

There are also many biomedical research institutes and other companies in the software, real estate and finance sectors here. Instead, for those who want to shop or entertain themselves, there are restaurants, bars, shops and hotels that meet especially along Prospect Street.

Sports fans will be pleased to know that La Jolla has a golf course Torrey Pines Golf Course, a public facility that annually hosts the Farmers Insurance Open, the PGA Tour tournament.

Finally, if you are wondering when to visit La Jolla, it is good to say this stretch of Californian coast features a fairly dry climate. The scarce rain and wind make the sky almost always clear and clear. With an average temperature of 21 ° C, the climate is quite favorable all year round.

Kayak tour

What to see in La Jolla

The city of La Jolla is quite small, but at the same time it is very lively and sparkling like atmosphere. You can easily stroll through the shops in the center or take a walk through the gardens that line the sea.

Coming from the chaos and the frenetic nightlife of San Diego, it is immediately perceived a decidedly more peaceful and relaxed environment, where you can spend days at the beach with friends and family. Here are the best things to visit in La Jolla.

La jolla cove

This is one of the most important points of interest in La Jolla. It is a bay with a magnificent coastline made of high cliffs, where rock walls and small coves alternate with white sand. Here you can see sea lions and seals.

La Jolla Cove is a natural reserve of 24 kilometers square which hosts 4 different habitats inside. Therefore, it is not possible for visitors to collect shells, fish, water sports and use mattresses.

Those arriving by car can stop it for free on Coast Boulevard for 3 hours with a parking disc. In this area there is also theEllen Browning Scripps Park. It is the ideal place in summer to beat the heat and from a gazebo on top of the cliff you can see the Seal Rock, the favorite rock for seals, gulls and pelicans.


The town center stands out for a certain class and elegance. With its palm trees and many green spaces, Downtown is pleasant to explore on the hottest days, as well as in the evening, when the main streets light up with boutiques, shops and clubs.

There are two major streets in La Jolla: Prospect Street e Girard Avenue. They are the hub of local shopping and nightlife. In fact, La Jolla isn't all about having fun as there are attractions of all kinds.

For example, in Downtown you will find the Museum of Contemporary Art at 700 Prospect Street. More than 5.000 works of contemporary art are exhibited and it is open from Thursday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 160:00.

Geography enthusiasts can instead take a trip to Map & Atlas Museum at 7825 Fay Avenue which aims to enhance and appreciate the beauty of atlases and ancient maps. You can visit it on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 11:00 to 16:00.

Among the things to admire in the center there is also the Cuvier Park at 590 of Coast Boulevard S., known as The Wedding Bowl for being the preferred location for future married couples.

While not as stunning as nearby San Diego's Sea World, there is an aquarium in La Jolla right on the ocean. And the Birch Aquarium, where in addition to seeing the usual tanks with various marine species, you can take part in interactive activities. It is open every day from 9:00 to 19:00.

Finally, Downtown is a wonderful example of impressive religious architecture. It is the Mormon Church The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It cannot be visited by non-Mormons, but photos can be taken of the stunning facade recognizable by its tall white spiers.

Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave

In the state of California there is only a single sea cave accessible from the ground, or Sunny Jim's Sea Cave. To reach it you need to follow a short path with a staircase of 143 steps and go through a tunnel that offers an incredible panoramic view.

The tunnel was designed by the German engineer Schultz in 1904 and in the years of prohibition it was often used for alcohol smuggling.

The name derives instead from the fact that the shape of the entrance to the cave recalls Sunny Jim, one of the characters of the Wizard of Oz. Sunny Jim's Sea Cave can be visited every day from 9: 00 to 16: 30. Alternatively, it can be accessed by sea with a canoe tour.

La Jolla Shores

North of the city you will find La Jolla Shores. It's a beach more than a kilometer and a half long and is very popular with divers and kayaking and surfing enthusiasts. From this area you can then enter the protected marine area underwater.

In the evening the beach is often illuminated with scenic bonfires, while a path of about 200 meters allows you to climb the cliff. With a nice walk of 3-4 kilometers you can also reach the Seal Rock on foot.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is a fascinating state park overlooking the coast for 8 kilometers and offers you pristine beaches, a lagoon with different specimens of birds and cliffs overlooking the sea.

There are gods to move you inside trails of various lengths and difficulties. This is the perfect place for birdwatching and you will occasionally spot other animals such as coyotes, raccoons, lynxes and foxes. During the migratory season of the whales, it is possible to spot some herds from the cliffs.

La Jolla Tide Pools e The Children’s Pool

When low tide comes, we advise you to go and see the so-called La Jolla Tide Pools. They are pools that form between the flatter rocks. As the tide falls, pelicans and seagulls arrive to feed on the fish.

The southernmost part of La Jolla is called Children's Pool. It is a natural swimming pool carved out of the sea with a concrete pier and was designed for children. However, it soon became a meeting place for sea lions and seals, who spend their time rolling around in the sun.

How to reach La Jolla

You can get to La Jolla from San Diego without great difficulty and in no time. In fact, those who have a rental car must take the San diego freeway in a northerly direction.

Those who prefer to move by public transport will have to take bus n. 30 which leads directly to Downtown La Jolla. From downtown San Diego it will take about an hour to get to your destination.

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