Known as much for its magnificent bluffs as the multi-million dollar homes that line them, La Jolla is a beautiful coastal community just a short drive from the excitement of downtown San Diego.
Perfectly situated, La Jolla treats visitors to a quiet retreat that feels like the world away from San Diego’s urban center. Its soft sandy beaches are ripe with activity, which means you’ll likely be able to find some way to enjoy your favorite water sports – be it surfing, snorkeling, kayaking or even kiteboarding.
Some other ways to spend time while visiting La Jolla include exploring the area’s museums and landmarks or playing a round of golf at one of the most attractive municipal courses in the country.
A good way to begin your trip and get a unique perspective on the area’s geography is by visiting La Jolla’s highest spot–Mount Soledad.
Atop this vantage point, travelers will be treated to astounding views of the coast from the county’s northern border to the south far beyond downtown.
Visitors that plan their visit to Mount Soledad at during dusk will be treated to one of La Jolla’s amazing watercolor sunsets.
Once you’ve got the lay of the land, it’s time to start your adventure. The first stop. A small crescent-shaped stretch of beach known as La Jolla Cove.
The cove is home to the La Jolla Underwater Park, this scenic cove is a great place to go tide pooling, shell hunting, and swimming or just take in the warm rays of the California sun alongside sea lions, pelicans, and ground squirrels.
However, the real enchantment is under the water, where snorkelers and divers come face to face with beautiful bright orange Garibaldi, lobsters, and other fascinating sea creatures.
Weekend Activities Guide
For those that want to stay a little drier, there are a lot of places that rent kayaks to explore the many caves carved out of the areas sandstone cliffs. If the surf is calm and the tide is low, you can carefully navigate through some of them. For those with less experience, a local guide can assist you, and can be hired at many of the rental shops around the area.
La Jolla Cove also offers a cliffside coast walk for romantic strolls and several grassy parks that are perfect for picnics.
Birch Aquarium La Jolla
Perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the aquarium is part of the of the world-renowned Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Here visitors can explore the wonders of the ocean without even getting their toes wet.
Featuring more than 60 habitats including three outdoor living tide pools, the aquarium is full of amazing coral reefs, thrilling sharks, remarkable seahorses, and many other weird and strange creatures of the deep.
Birch Aquarium is an interactive museum that showcases research discoveries by Scripps scientists on climate, earth, and ocean science.
Just a short jaunt north and on the campus of the University of California San Diego is the Salk Institute, known as the most significant architectural site in San Diego.
Recognized throughout the world for its biological research, and founded by polio vaccine developer Jonas Salk. This architectural wonder constructed in the 1960s by modernist architect Louis I. Kahn includes a foot-wide “Stream of Life” that flows through the center of a travertine marble courtyard between the twin structures that sit on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
There is a free guided architectural tour Monday through Friday at noon, but visitors may also stroll at will through the dramatic courtyard on their own.
Before leaving the area, make sure to check out the Stuart Collection, an outdoor, site-specific museum with many large scale exhibits created by leading contemporary artists on the campus of UCSD. Enjoy a picnic lunch alongside sculptures that include a sun god, and trees that breathe, whisper, and play music. Maps are available on the Stuart Collection website.
Adjacent to the Sulk Institute and situated on the southwest edge of Torrey Pines Preserve, is the world-class Torrey Pines Golf Course, with its two gorgeous municipal 18-hole championship courses that have been featured on the PGA tour.
Situated on a bluff overlooking the ocean, the north course provides a postcard-perfect setting, but it’s the south course that presents the best challenge for golfers with its sea-facing play. Tee times are taken up to 90 days in advance, and it’s a good idea to call way ahead if you plan on playing at this magnificent course during your next trip to the area.
La Jolla Village Shopping
Finally, a great place to unwind after taking in all of what La Jolla has to offer is The Village with its high-end art galleries, charming boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment venues, that provide the perfect ambiance for letting everything go.
For the more adventurous day-trippers, a guided kayak tour to the seven sea caves of La Jolla can not be missed. Only one small cave can be entered from land the rest can only be viewed from the sea. You will get wet if you take the kayak tour, but it’s all part of the fun.
Where is La Jolla
La Jolla is located one hour 45 minutes from Los Angeles, and two hours 15 minutes from the San Fernando Valley. Traditional hotel and motel lodging is available in the city if you choose to make it a weekend trip or family vacation.