La Jolla is often referred to as San Diego’s “Jewel by the Sea,” and we can honestly say it lives up to the hype! Spread over several miles of coastline you’ll find hidden La Jolla beach coves, long white sandy beaches, nude bathing, and even sea lions! With such diverse La Jolla beaches in this coastal town, it’s easy to see why people travel from all over the world to spend the day soaking in the California sun. As you’ll find out in this article, some of the best beaches in La Jolla San Diego are the secret ones you’ll discover yourself.
California Travel Inspiration
- 16 Best Things to do in La Jolla California
- The Taco Stand La Jolla: Why it’s the Best Mexican Food in Town
- 13 Fun Things to do in Pacific Beach San Diego
- All About Sunset Cliffs San Diego & How to Get to the Stunning Beach
- Does Oscars Mexican Seafood Have the Best Fish Tacos in Pacific Beach?
Best Beaches in La Jolla San Diego
La Jolla is a place we’ve really grown to love living in San Diego. So much so, that we actually moved there for our last year in California! We’ve spent days wandering up and down the sands in and out of the stunning coves and beaches.
In this article we’ve listed the beaches in order, starting closest to Downtown San Diego and running north up the coast. Use this as a loose guide while also exploring to find your own secret La Jolla Beaches!
9 Most Beautiful Beaches in La Jolla San Diego
1. Windansea Beach
Best For: Surfing and Sunsets
What makes Windansea different than the rest of the beaches in La Jolla is its ever evolving-landscape. The current pulls the sand in and out from the shore at Windansea, which brings a constant change to its appearance.
Depending on the time of year you visit you’ll see a long white sandy beach, while other months cliffs as high as 25 feet drop down into caves! Located in a more residential area, Windansea Beach is often quieter and more laid back then the other La Jolla beaches. Your only worry will be if you want to sit to the left or right of the iconic tiki hut!
2. Marine Street Beach
Best For: Boogie Boarding and Body Surfing
Just around the bend from Windansea Beach, this long stretch of sand is what you typically think of when you dream about California. Marine Street is known for being the best La Jolla beach for boogie boarding.
Its soft rolling waves and lack of rocks make it the perfect place to ride some waves without having to worry about surfers.
The one warning is that at certain times of the year the tide can fill the beach with seaweed. In that case, just head to one of the other 8 La Jolla beaches on this list!
3. La Jolla Tide Pools
Best For: Less Crowds and the View
Just as the name suggests this long stretch of rocky La Jolla beach is filled with tide pools. Much less crowded than the other sandy beaches in La Jolla, you will often see families set up with tents and tables of food for a relaxing afternoon.
If you’re not one to get in the water but still want a beautiful view, this is a great spot to spend the day. You can also set up on the grassy cliff that overlooks the water and this stunning La Jolla beach cove.
4. Wipeout Beach
Swimming: Yes, but the Current Can Be Rough
Best For: Walking the Beach At Low Tide
Wipeout is the largest of the beaches in La Jolla downtown. Stairs lead from the walkway down to the top of a set of rocks, and from there you hop right down to the sand.
During high tide, not much beach is left. However, at low tide, it is one of the best beaches in La Jolla San Diego! The waves change with the weather, but on a calm sunny day this is the place to be in the heart of the town center.
5. La Jolla Children’s Pool
Best For: Watching the Sea Lions
This La Jolla beach is home to dozens of sea lions who spend their days soaking in the hot sun and swimming in the chilled ocean water. No trip to the La Jolla beaches is complete without seeing (and smelling) the sea lions!
Even so, the children’s pool isn’t where you should plan to spend your day at the beaches in La Jolla. Be sure to walk out on the jetty that protects the children’s pool for beautiful views of the California coast!
La Jolla Beaches Warning: If you walk out on the jetty on a wavy day be ready to be splashed! We’ve seen so many people walking back soaked at this La Jolla beach.
6. Shell Beach
Best For: Sunbathing and Swimming
Just past La Jolla Children’s Pool, you’ll find a small slice of sand called Shell Beach. Located right in the heart of La Jolla Village, this is an awesome part of the La Jolla beaches to spend some time in after watching the sea lions.
A long set of stairs will take you from the bluffs to the beach below. Don’t be surprised if you see a sea lion floating in the water or bathing onshore… Just make sure not to get too close!
7. La Jolla Cove Beach
Boogie Boarding: No
Best For: Snorkeling in La Jolla
For being a small La Jolla beach, this prime real estate sure does draw a large crowd. Similar to Shell Beach and the Children’s Pool, sea lions can be spotted spending their afternoon right beside swimmers.
This is also the jump-off for the La Jolla Underwater Park! Countless swimmers with snorkels and flippers can be seen in the ocean and exploring the beaches in La Jolla from below the waterline. If you want to go snorkeling in La Jolla this should definitely be high on your agenda!
8. La Jolla Shores
Best For: Everything
Of all the beaches in La Jolla San Diego, this is by far the most popular. The long stretch of sand that spans almost a mile is packed in the summer months as it has everything to offer. Kayaks leave to cross the bay and explore the La Jolla coves, surfers fill the break line, and countless beachgoers cool down in the ocean.
This beach is absolutely stunning, but the only problem is how crowded it gets. For that reason, we wouldn’t say it’s one of the best beaches in La Jolla. We would also advise avoiding peak hours in the middle of the summer. Yet, if you’re visiting in the off-season you might have this La Jolla beach all to yourself!
9. Black’s Beach
Best For: Hiking, Natural Bathing, and Surfing
The last selection on our best beaches in La Jolla list is the toughest beach to find. Nevertheless, it can be the most rewarding depending on what floats your boat! The best way to get to Black’s Beach is to park at the Torrey Pines Glider Point.
If you come on a Saturday, dozens of paragliders will be taking off and filling the sky above. To get down to the beach you have to hike down several hundred stairs that cut from the top of the cliff down to the sand.
La Jolla Beaches Warning: Black’s Beach draws two types of people. Surfers looking to get away from the crowds, and sunbathers who prefer to spend their days in the nude. You’ve been warned!
Have any questions on this article or want to share more of the best beaches in La Jolla San Diego? Leave us a comment below!
Brigitte and Jake
Where in the world are we? Follow our daily adventures on Instagram @nothingfamiliar!
Where to Stay Near the Beaches in La Jolla
Ultra Luxury – La Valencia – If you’ve ever visited La Jolla then you’ve probably seen the extraordinary pink luxury hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You’ll have access to all the great bars and restaurants as well as an incredible view of the beach. We honestly can’t think of a better, more luxurious place to stay while you’re in San Diego!
Fun Vacation – Hotel Indigo – This funky but comfortable accommodation is a great choice if you’re looking to stay downtown without breaking the bank. Situated right in the happening Gaslamp district, Hotel Indigo features a rooftop bar overlooking Petco Park.
Hostel Life – ITH Beach Bungalow Surf Hostel – Located in the heart of the boardwalk in Pacific Beach, this surfer hostel is one of the best options around! It has an amazing view and is right in the middle of all the beach bars and action of San Diego’s most popular beach.
For more places to stay near the beaches in La Jolla you can explore the latest prices here!
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USA Travel Planning
Rental Car: We use Discover Cars when traveling. Consider renting a car in one city and dropping it off in another for an epic road trip!
Travel Insurance: Never travel abroad without being covered! We’ve been using SafetyWing for the last few years and they are there when we need them.