La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove
4.5
About
At this beach surronded by sandstone cliffs on the San Diego coast, the water is calm enough for travelers to enjoy diving and snorkeling. Walk along the rocky shore to spot large colonies of sea lions lounging in their natural habitat and looking after their pups, and have a picnic while soaking up the views of the ocean from the cliffs at sunset. If you visit at low tide, you’ll get to swim in the crystal clear tidal pools as well. You can also visit Sunny Jim's Sea Cave which is accessible via a tunnel. Visit early in the morning to find a parking space more easily. – Tripadvisor
Duration: More than 3 hours
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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  • L_K1509
    London, United Kingdom1,333 contributions
    Keep the area closed to people
    I was pleased to see the beach areas where the sea lions, seals were relaxing on the beach was closed to tourists. I agree people should not be able to harass them. However from afar it was amazing to see so many and observe them basking in the mid day sun.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 7, 2023
  • lovetowrite50
    Ridgefield, Connecticut73 contributions
    Abundance of enchanting seal lions
    The sea lions are a must-see. Right below the seaside path are dozens of mamas and papas and cubs basking in the sun and playing in the shallows. The only drawback: Wish there were craftspeople on the grass, so we could gaze at (and buy) their wares.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written March 13, 2023
  • Brit702
    Tucson, Arizona172 contributions
    Beautiful coastal spot!
    Great quick morning activity! My children loved walking along the cliffs and watching the sea lions. The views are gorgeous and the grassy area is wonderful for kids to run around in! However, parking is a pain to find.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written March 28, 2023
  • John S
    Saint Clair, Michigan523 contributions
    Spots avail early, good fun
    Very fun watching the sea lions and seals. You can go out near them on the beach and rocks at one cove (it's illegal to get close enough to disturb them, but you can walk out on the rocks and get a good look). The beach with the breakwater around it is closed off to people completely until mid may for puppy season, but you can still watch them from the walkways overhead. I think the city has struck a nice balance with allowing people to get close, but also not allowing people to disturb them. There's limited free parking, depending on the spot, it can be limited to 2 or 3 hours and it's enforced by a foot patrol that chalks tires. No problem finding a spot at 9:30am Wednesday, but spots were full by 11am.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written April 12, 2023
  • northernk
    Phoenix, Arizona12,659 contributions
    How can you not love this cove
    Wonderful place to take a wander and walk around. The park itself is lovely tree filled and grassy area. But, then you take in the view of the wonderful cove and shoreline and the small beach areas with seals and hanging out everywhere and you see why animals love it and clearly people love La Jolla Cove as well. No wonder so the land here was so in demand it's quite lovely. Well worth driving up from San Diego to see once again.
    Visited May 2023
    Written May 18, 2023
  • Explorer801291
    8 contributions
    Really good
    Absolutely awesome. So many sea lions and you can get so close, (safely) taking pictures and videos from not that far away. This is what I was hoping to see you on our Alaska cruise where we spent a fortune and this is free lol. Very cool experience.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 9, 2023
  • cm
    Canberra, Australia20 contributions
    Lovely spot
    We had a wonderful time observing the seals and sea lions and all of their antics. The bird life and squirrels were also a highlight for us. Parking was tricky, but we got lucky both times we visited. It would be good if people would not get too close to the animals on the beach despite the rangers asking them not to get too close multiple times.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 6, 2023
  • craig1086
    Atlanta, Georgia917 contributions
    Nice Area. Pray for Clear Skies For A Beautiful Sunset
    It was nice to visit here. It can be a great place to catch a sunset in San Diego. You can also have a picnic on the greenspace, or go hang out on the beach. The water was freezing when we went. On a certain section of the beach part of the cove, you'll see the seals sunbathing. You can't miss them. Honestly, the day we went(around July 4th) it was a constant fog in the air, so it was overcast all day. In the later afternoon time, parking will be harder to find. They have benches along the walk facing the sea and the sunset. Back up on the street level, there are shops and restaurants you can dine at. It's a visit you make if you're in the San Diego area, but it won't take up a whole day. Start at the Cave Store and work your way all the way down to the tide pools. I'd say visit, but let the weather determine if you swim or snorkel here. Especially with the water being so cold.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 10, 2023
  • LarsieB
    1,533 contributions
    Amazing Scenery and Wildlife
    We loved this beautiful area of San Diego - La Jolla Cove is stunning. It's so wonderful to walk along and see the wonderful coastline, bird life, sea lions and seals. There are lots of restaurants and coffee shops in this area too - lots of eating and drinking options. Parking can be a little tricky because it gets busy. We ended up paying $20 for underground parking as we had no chance parking in the open spaces near the cove but it was also good to have the car undercover and out of the heat. I loved this area and would recommend taking sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses, some water because you are exposed to the summertime elements. We really enjoyed watching and hearing the seals and sea lions in particular interact with each other. The sea lions are massive and bossy, and funny to watch!
    Visited June 2023
    Written July 16, 2023
  • Lori C
    5 contributions
    Great opportunity to see the seals and sea lions up close!
    Our family went to La Jolla cove on a Sunday afternoon. It was crowded, so we had to park and walk a bit, but it was a great opportunity to see the seals and sea lions up close! All the people didn’t detract from the experience, and we got lots of pictures without the crowd in them. If your family wants an efficient way to see the seals and sea lions up close, this is great! We had the full experience in 30 minutes (or less).
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 2, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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James P
La Jolla, CA10 contributions
Feb 2024 • Solo
This has been an outstanding beach through many many decades. But the Governed and NGOs have allowed the seals and sea lions to take over. The water is polluted, the air stinks and seal feces is everywhere. It is unhealthy to go in the water. There are better beaches near by. Don't swim here.. the risk of getting sick is too high.
Written February 24, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Frequent Traveler
3 contributions
Mar 2023 • Couples
La Jolla Cove used to be beautiful. Now it is crowded with bussed in hordes of tourists and the beach reeks of seal dung.
Written February 23, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jim G
2 contributions
Aug 2023 • Couples
How long can you hold your breath? This beach stinks to high heaven with all the seal poop all over the rocks. We couldn’t even eat at a restaurant near there unless it was enclosed, which is NOT what you want to do in nice weather. There are many beaches near there without the over crowded seal population stinking them up. Pick one and enjoy a much better experience at the beach.
Written February 23, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Belinda H
New York City, NY120 contributions
Jun 2023 • Couples
One of my favorite places in the world. When we lived in San Diego, we used to love coming here to take a stroll, see the seals, the waves crashing on the cliffs, and watch the beautiful sunset.
Written February 22, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

daniel f
Kemble, Canada817 contributions
Feb 2024 • Family
We actually visited here 25 years ago, I snorkeled just off shore and was chased by 2 seals back then, now still as busy, lots of seals , and more pelicans than I remember, water was a bit rough but with the sun and clear skies we had a great long walk with our dog, nice to see so many sight seers, and best of all seal pups, a must see spot , just about everything you can think of, we even ice skated here back that many years ago, cheers
Written February 12, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Adam G
Plainview, NY28 contributions
Jan 2024 • Family
We needed something to do for a couple of hours before we headed to the airport to catch our flight, so we decided to visit La Jolla Cove. We are so glad we did. It was truly unbelievable, especially seeing all the seals and sea lions lying on the beach. This should definitely be a stop, however brief, on everyone’s San Diego itinerary.
Written January 31, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

degrawm
Buckeye, AZ476 contributions
Jan 2024 • Couples
We arrived on a beautiful day. I can't believe how close you can get to seals! Parking is a bit tricky here, and once you find a spot, you have a three hour window to explore. There were little pop up vendors around as well as people painting. Very nice place. The best were the seals of course! They are a noisy bunch as well as the pelicans and other sea birds. We took so many beautiful scenic pictures here. People were actually swimming in the water believe it or not. I was told this was a great place to go diving as well, which I hope in the future to do. Restaurants were close by if you needed to stop. Definitely recommend!
Written January 24, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GoVols79
Chattanooga, TN2,894 contributions
Oct 2023 • Family
Our family stopped here briefly on our way out of San Diego and it proved to be a great choice. It is a little off the interstate but worth the time. We went mid morning so it was very busy but we were able to find free on street parking. We only stayed 20 minutes or so but it was great to see all the sea lions and birds in the area and was a fun way to end the trip.
Written January 15, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

10Orchard
Worcester, UK585 contributions
Dec 2023 • Couples
Walk along the cliffs from the lifeguard station to avoid the crowds in the village. There is plenty on street (free) parking. Its a lovely stroll with many spots to stop, sit and admire the view. We saw seals, lots of pelicans roosting on the cliffs and many interesting plants. Lots of photos of the surf crashing onto the harbour wall and running along the cliffs. To grab a coffee, you will need to walk into town, we didn't find a coffee shop on our walk.
Written December 26, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

slinderman16
Pittsburgh, PA19 contributions
Dec 2023 • Business
We were in San Diego for a work trip and was looking for something touristy to do. We came across this and I am so glad we did. AMAZING and something I’ll never forget. A must see.
Written December 11, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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LA JOLLA COVE: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about La Jolla Cove

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