La Jolla is a stunning seaside town located in San Diego County, California.

With its white-sand beaches, picturesque cliffs, and wide range of outdoor activities, it’s no wonder why La Jolla draws so many visitors each year. 

12 Best Things to Do in La Jolla, California

Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a family vacation, this guide will show you all the best things to do when visiting La Jolla. 

1. Stay at the Cormorant

If you’re planning a trip to this coastal paradise, the Cormorant Hotel is the perfect place to stay. Not only does it offer prime beachfront access and luxurious accommodations, but there’s plenty to do in the area too.

Here, you’re in the midst of all the action, so it’s a perfect getaway spot.

Best Things to Do in La Jolla, California

Best Things to Do in La Jolla, California

Plus, when you travel to the rooftop, you can enjoy some food and drinks at Birdseye.

It’s one of the very few rooftop bars of its kind in the area with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

Best Things to Do in La Jolla, California

2. Swim at La Jolla Cove Beach

La Jolla Cove Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the area. This beach offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and plenty of opportunities for swimming and snorkeling. 

If you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of some sea lions sunbathing on the rocks. This is one of the best places for it!

Be sure to bring your camera along because you won’t want to miss out on capturing some beautiful photographs of La Jolla Shores Beach with sea caves. 

Best Things to Do in La Jolla, California

Best Things to Do in La Jolla, California

3. Wander the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego

The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is a great place to visit during your stay in La Jolla. The museum houses an impressive collection of modern art from over 4,000 artists from around the world. 

Not only will you be able to admire some amazing artwork here, but you’ll also have the chance to attend special events such as lectures and film screenings throughout your visit. 

If you love art museums, this is a must-see.

4. Journey Through the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography 

The Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego is one of the top attractions in La Jolla. Here you can explore exhibits featuring more than 500 species from tropical coral reefs to seahorses and jellies from our own Southern California coastal waters. 

There are also interactive experiences that allow visitors to learn about marine life conservation and sustainability initiatives happening around the globe. 

If this is interesting to you, then don’t miss the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

5. Go on a Kayak Tour

Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or just starting out, La Jolla Kayak Tours are the perfect way to experience the sights and sounds of this vibrant city from the water. 

For those wanting to get their feet wet in the world of sea kayaking, there are several guided tours offering basic instruction and safety tips along beautiful coastal routes.

Experienced paddlers can choose from more advanced tours that offer longer distances and more difficult terrain. 

Depending on your route and time of day, you may see playful sea lions frolicking in the waves, or dolphins breaking through the surface nearby as they hunt for food. This is also a great place to go whale watching.

Best Things to Do in La Jolla, California

6. Walk Along Prospect Street

This beautiful stretch of road is full of shops, restaurants, and outdoor activities that make it the perfect place to spend the day doing tons of fun things. 

From boutiques and specialty stores to art galleries and gift shops, there’s something here for everyone. If you’re looking for unique items or one-of-a-kind souvenirs, then this is the place for you. 

Whether you’re craving Italian, Mexican, Japanese, or farm-to-table dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, the best restaurants can be found here.

There are also plenty of cozy cafés where you can grab a coffee or a pastry before heading out on your next adventure, like Harry’s! (More on Harry’s in a bit.)

harry's in la jolla

Just off Prospect Street is La Jolla Shores Beach, a popular spot for swimming and surfing, as well as other parks such as Ellen Browning Scripps Park which offers stunning views of La Jolla Cove, mentioned above. 

If golf is more your speed then head over to Torrey Pines Golf Course which boasts two 18-hole courses with breathtaking ocean views.

7. Explore Windansea Beach 

Windansea Beach is the best spot for both amateur and experienced surfers. The waves here are often stronger than those at nearby beaches.

You can take a leisurely stroll along the small beach and admire the views or take part in a more rigorous hike along one of the trails nearby.

There are also plenty of tide pools that are perfect for exploring marine life up close. 

Windansea Beach also offers plenty of space for picnicking and camping. Pack a picnic basket full of your favorite snacks and find a nice spot on the beach where you can relax and enjoy some quality time with your friends or family.

Camping is also allowed on certain parts of the beach.

Best Things to Do in La Jolla, California

8. Visit La Jolla Playhouse

La Jolla Playhouse is a spectacular theater in the heart of beautiful La Jolla, California. Whether you’re looking for a night out with family or friends, an evening of entertainment and culture, or just an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle, you’ll find it all at La Jolla Playhouse.

The main attraction of La Jolla Playhouse is its live performances. From classic plays to modern musicals, the theater has something to offer every genre enthusiast. 

If you’re looking for an insider’s perspective on what goes on behind the scenes at a professional theater, then be sure to check out one of their guided tours. Led by knowledgeable guides who are passionate about theater, these tours provide insight into everything from costume design to set construction. 

La Jolla Playhouse is located in close proximity to many great restaurants and shops so you can easily make a day (or night) out of your visit here.

9. Explore Downtown La Jolla 

Downtown La Jolla has something for everyone; from local boutiques filled with unique finds to popular restaurants offering delicious cuisine from around the world. 

When staying at The Cormorant Hotel, be sure to head downtown for some shopping at Girard Avenue or catch a show at one of several theaters in town. 

On Girard Avenue, I fell in love with Warwick’s, the country’s oldest independently owned bookstore. The locals love it so much, they spent millions to keep it in downtown La Jolla. Click here for the story.

Best Things to Do in La Jolla, California

Afterward, treat yourself to dinner overlooking the ocean at George’s At The Cove or grab a drink (and some karaoke) at Coyote Ugly Saloon & Dance Hall. 

We stopped for a drink and appetizer at Puesto and had breakfast at La Jolla’s oldest diner, Harry’s Coffee Shop. My husband ordered the famous B.W. Benny. I also got a La Jolla Cove burger at Public House.

It was all amazing! See?

Best Things to Do in La Jolla, California

10. Soar High at Torrey Pines Gliderport

Torrey Pines Gliderport is a breathtakingly beautiful place to experience the thrill of flight. Get an adrenaline rush or take in the stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Torrey Pines Gliderport.

The main attraction at Torrey Pines Gliderport is undoubtedly gliding and hang gliding. With more than 10 tow planes available, the experienced staff can help you soar higher than ever before!

For those new to gliding and hang gliding, Torrey Pines offers introductory flights so that you can get a feel for it before taking your skills to the next level. 

If you’re looking for an even bigger thrill, why not try paragliding? Paragliders launch from the cliffs at Torrey Pines and sail through the air with unparalleled views of downtown San Diego and its surrounding beautiful beaches. There are several different courses available depending on your skill level.

Torrey Pines State Park is home to 8 miles of trails that offer sweeping views of both land and sea. The Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve trails range from easy-going strolls to challenging treks up steep inclines, so no matter what your fitness level is there’s something here for you.

And don’t forget about all the wildlife – keep an eye out for dolphins, grey whales, seals, and more.

11. Check Out Balboa Park

Balboa Park has dozens of miles of trails that wind through its rolling hills and dense forests. These trails are ideal for hiking or taking leisurely strolls on a sunny day.

You can also go mountain biking along some of the more rugged paths. And if you’re feeling adventurous, there are several trails that lead up to the top of nearby peaks that offer spectacular views of La Jolla and beyond. 

The Nature Center at Balboa Park is a great place to visit if you want to learn about the local flora and fauna. The center offers educational programs for kids as well as adults, and it’s home to a variety of animals such as birds, turtles, frogs, and fish. 

Balboa Park is an ideal spot for outdoor activities like picnicking, volleyball, disc golfing, or even just relaxing in one of the many lawn areas scattered throughout the park.

There are also tennis courts available for those who want to play some competitive matches amongst friends or family members.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even try your hand at horseback riding.  

12. Visit the Children’s Pool Beach

The Children’s Pool Beach has been around since 1931 when it was created as a protected swimming area for children. 

Today, it’s one of the most popular spots for sightseeing in La Jolla because of its resident harbor seals and sea lions. There are viewing areas along the shoreline where visitors can observe the animals from a safe distance. 

Best Things to Do in La Jolla, California

With its majestic cliffs, serene beaches, museums, aquariums, and more, there’s something for everyone in La Jolla.

From cozy restaurants with ocean views to exciting outdoor adventures like kayaking and hiking—you can easily spend days soaking up all that this sunny coastal town has to offer without ever getting bored. 

So if you’re looking for an unforgettable getaway full of fun-filled activities that are sure to please everyone, don’t miss out on exploring all that La Jolla has to offer. 

Best Things to Do in La Jolla, California

If you want to venture out of La Jolla, don’t miss the nearby San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld San Diego, or a ride on the Old Town Trolley!

For more on things to do in the San Diego area, click here to see how my family spent a few days on our first trip to one of my favorite cities!

If you’re nearby and travel to Laguna Beach, don’t miss this round-up of the best things to do here.

Palm Springs? No problem. I have you covered.

Other Places to Stay Around La Jolla

I already mentioned The Cormorant as my favorite place to stay in La Jolla because it’s so close to everything, but if you’re looking for other options in the area, keep reading.

La Jolla Shores

If you’re looking for a beachfront experience with a laid-back atmosphere, La Jolla Shores is the perfect choice. The area offers a wide range of accommodations, including boutique hotels, luxury resorts, and vacation rentals.

With its proximity to popular attractions like the Birch Aquarium and Torrey Pines Golf Course, La Jolla Shores guarantees a memorable stay.

La Jolla Village

La Jolla Village provides a mix of luxury accommodations, boutique hotels, and charming bed and breakfasts. Located near the renowned La Jolla Cove, this area offers stunning ocean views, upscale shopping boutiques, art galleries, and world-class dining options.

Take a leisurely walk along the picturesque coastline, explore the famous sea caves, or discover the hidden tide pools. With its central location and lively atmosphere, La Jolla Village is ideal for those who want to be in the heart of the action.

Torrey Pines

Nestled between the majestic Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and the renowned Torrey Pines Golf Course, this area offers a serene and tranquil retreat for nature lovers and golf enthusiasts.

Stay in one of the luxury resorts perched atop the cliffs, providing breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the iconic Torrey Pines golf greens. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the reserve, hike along the trails, or enjoy a round of golf at one of the world’s most prestigious courses.

Bird Rock

Bird Rock is known for its beautiful coastal homes, cozy bed and breakfasts, and small boutique hotels. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the neighborhood’s streets, visit the local cafes and shops, or relax on the quiet beaches.

Windansea Beach

Known for its rugged coastline, dramatic cliffs, and stunning sunsets, this area offers a unique and intimate setting. Accommodations in Windansea range from cozy beach cottages to luxurious vacation rentals, all within walking distance of the beach.

Choose the area that resonates with your preferences and indulge in the beauty, luxury, and relaxation that this coastal gem has to offer.

What’s the Weather in La Jolla?

La Jolla boasts a Mediterranean climate that beckons visitors year-round. With its mild temperatures, abundant sunshine, and refreshing ocean breezes, this coastal paradise offers an idyllic setting for leisure, outdoor activities, and exploration.

What's the Weather in La Jolla?

Mild and Pleasant Summers

From June to August, the average high temperatures range from the mid-70s to the low 80s Fahrenheit (24-28°C), making it perfect for beach activities, water sports, and outdoor adventures.

The refreshing ocean breezes keep the temperatures comfortable, and you can revel in the clear blue skies while basking in the sun.

Pleasant Spring and Fall Seasons

In the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November), temperatures hover in the mid-60s to low 70s Fahrenheit (18-23°C), offering pleasant weather for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and exploring the local attractions.

The coastal fog that occasionally rolls in adds a touch of mystique to the landscape.

What's the Weather in La Jolla?

Mild Winters

Even during the winter months, La Jolla remains mild and inviting. From December to February, temperatures range from the mid-60s to the low 70s Fahrenheit (18-23°C), creating a comfortable environment for outdoor exploration.

Although slightly cooler than other seasons, winter in La Jolla still provides ample opportunities to enjoy the beach, explore the tide pools, and engage in various water activities. With fewer crowds and lower accommodation rates, winter offers a serene and peaceful experience in this coastal paradise.

Avoiding the Marine Layer

One aspect to keep in mind when planning a visit to La Jolla is the marine layer, also known as the coastal fog. During certain times of the year, particularly May and June, the marine layer can roll in and create overcast conditions in the morning and late afternoon. However, this typically burns off by midday, revealing clear blue skies and sunshine.

To maximize your chances of avoiding the marine layer, consider visiting during July and August, when the fog is less prevalent, or opt for the warmer months of September through November for a balanced mix of clear days and comfortable temperatures.

Plan your visit accordingly, and be prepared to experience the magic of this coastal paradise in its finest weather conditions.

What's the Weather in La Jolla?

Where are the Seals in La Jolla?

La Jolla is home to a captivating population of seals. These adorable creatures have become an iconic symbol of the area, attracting visitors from near and far. Here are the best ways to observe them responsibly.

The Pacific Harbor Seals

The most common type of seal found in La Jolla is the Pacific Harbor Seal (Phoca vitulina). These marine mammals are known for their sleek bodies, large dark eyes, and playful nature.

They inhabit the shores of La Jolla year-round and can often be seen lounging on the rocks or sunbathing on the sandy beaches. With a population of approximately 300 to 500 individuals, La Jolla offers a unique opportunity to witness these magnificent creatures up close.

Where are the Seals in La Jolla?

Seal Conservation Efforts

La Jolla’s seal population has benefited from dedicated conservation efforts aimed at protecting their habitat and ensuring their well-being.

The local community, along with organizations such as the San Diego Coastkeeper and the San Diego Natural History Museum, actively promote responsible seal-watching practices and educate visitors about the importance of maintaining a safe distance and not disturbing the seals or their natural habitat. These efforts have contributed to the thriving seal population in La Jolla.

Where are the Seals in La Jolla?

Best Places to Observe Seals

La Jolla Cove and Children’s Pool (Casa Beach) are the main areas where visitors can observe the seals in their natural environment. The rocky outcrops provide resting spots for the seals, and the sandy beaches allow for close-up views.

It’s important to remember to maintain a respectful distance of at least 100 feet (30 meters) from the seals to avoid causing any distress. Binoculars or a zoom lens can enhance your viewing experience while ensuring the seals’ safety and minimizing human impact on their habitat.

Where are the Seals in La Jolla?

Behaviors and Interactions

Observing the seals in La Jolla offers a glimpse into their fascinating behaviors and interactions. You may witness seals basking in the sun, swimming and playing in the water, or engaging in social interactions. Mothers can often be seen nursing their adorable pups, creating heartwarming moments.

Seals are naturally curious creatures, but it’s crucial to give them their space and let them dictate the terms of their interactions.

Responsible Seal-Watching Tips

To ensure the well-being of the seals and to have a memorable and responsible experience, consider the following tips:

  • Maintain a safe distance of at least 100 feet (30 meters) from the seals.
  • Avoid loud noises, sudden movements, or any actions that may startle or disturb the seals.
  • Do not attempt to touch or feed the seals, as this can disrupt their natural behavior and health.
  • Observe quietly and respectfully, allowing the seals to go about their daily activities undisturbed.
  • Dispose of trash properly and leave no trace behind to protect the seals’ habitat and preserve the natural beauty of La Jolla.

La Jolla’s seals are an integral part of the coastal ecosystem, enchanting visitors with their playful antics and gentle presence.

By observing them responsibly and respecting their natural habitat, we can ensure their continued well-being for generations to come.

Where are the Seals in La Jolla?

Getting to La Jolla for Vacation

La Jolla sets the stage for an unforgettable experience. These are the best ways to reach La Jolla, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable journey to this coastal paradise.

Fly into San Diego International Airport

For those traveling from afar, flying into San Diego International Airport (SAN) is often the most convenient option. Located approximately 14 miles (22.5 km) south of La Jolla, the airport offers numerous domestic and international flight connections.

From the airport, you can rent a car, take a taxi or ride-share service, or arrange for airport shuttles to reach La Jolla. The drive from the airport to La Jolla typically takes around 20-30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

Drive from Nearby Cities

If you’re already in Southern California or prefer a road trip adventure, driving to La Jolla can be a delightful experience. La Jolla is conveniently located near major highways, making it easily accessible from nearby cities.

From Los Angeles, the drive to La Jolla takes approximately 2-3 hours, depending on traffic. If you’re coming from Orange County, the drive is shorter, averaging around 1-1.5 hours.

Keep in mind that traffic conditions can vary, so plan your departure accordingly.

Getting to La Jolla for Vacation

Public Transportation

While public transportation options are available, they may not be as convenient for reaching La Jolla directly. However, once you’re in the San Diego area, you can use various public transportation modes to explore La Jolla and its neighboring attractions.

The Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) operates buses and trolleys throughout San Diego, including routes that connect to La Jolla. Additionally, ride-share services and taxis are readily available for local transportation.

Explore the Coastal Scenery by Bike

If you’re staying in a nearby area, such as Pacific Beach or Mission Beach, cycling to La Jolla can be a delightful and scenic option. The coastal bike path, known as the Mission Bay Bike Path, stretches along the coast and offers breathtaking ocean views.

Rent a bike from one of the numerous rental shops and enjoy a leisurely ride along the coast, taking in the beauty of La Jolla before reaching your destination.

Getting to La Jolla for Vacation

Arrange Private Transportation

Limousine services, private car services, and luxury shuttle companies can provide a comfortable and convenient way to reach La Jolla from various locations.

This option is ideal for those who value privacy, comfort, and personalized travel experiences.

Whether you choose to fly into San Diego International Airport, embark on a scenic road trip, utilize public transportation, cycle along the coastal path, or arrange private transportation, the journey to La Jolla promises to be as memorable as the destination itself.

Remember, for more on things to do in the San Diego area, you can click here to see how my family spent a few days on our first trip to one of my favorite cities!

If you’re nearby and travel to Laguna Beach, don’t miss this round-up of the best things to do here. The drive from Orange County to La Jolla was stunning!

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I'm Christina!

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 a millennial mom here to inspire you to live your best life without feeling anY mom guilt.

Thanks for stopping by for my unfiltered approach to family and lifestyle where I share what helps me run my family, business, and life while being lazy AF as often as possible. (Bubble bath, anyone?)



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