Snorkeling La Jolla Cove, San Diego, California, USA
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Pacific Ocean
North America
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Snorkeling La Jolla Cove, San Diego, California, USA

La Jolla Cove Snorkeling is not the most spectacular, but it is certainly fun and something that will keep your trip to California interesting. Many people gather here to swim and snorkel, so you will certainly meet a diverse crowd of people who are looking to have some fun.

La Jolla Cove Snorkeling Spots

la jolla cove snorkeling garibaldi fishWhen you are wandering to the cove, keep your eyes peeled for the local La Jolla Cove sea lions and seals, which are usually sunbathing on the rocks along the north side of the cove. The cove is not a very large area, but you will likely want to remain in the confines of this smaller cove area when snorkeling. Here you can see the famous California state fish, the Garibaldi, which are bright orange fish that can grow to over a foot in length. People also swim straight out from the south end of La Jolla Cove into the kelp beds. This is a good option if water visibility is poor in the cove, but you will want to ensure that the currents outside of the cove are not too strong that day. Here, you can make your way through the thick kelp beds and explore the floating pods and large leafs, as well as the little fish that are hiding there. If the cove and kelp beds don’t exhaust you, you can snorkel to the north along the coast where there are some sea caves. Note that the tide has to be very low to see the caves and it is not a good idea to enter the caves when snorkeling due to tide changes and frequent wave surges.

Things to Know About Snorkeling in La Jolla

The water temperatures are generally colder on the Pacific Coast and you may want to consider renting a wet suit to keep yourself a bit warmer while in the water. You can also rent snorkeling gear in La Jolla Cove, but it is much cheaper to rent both at Mission Beach. There are also usually several lifeguards on duty to keep you safe, but make sure that you heed their warnings at all times.

When to Partake in La Jolla Cove Snorkeling

The water and air temperatures are warmest from summer to early fall, making it the best time to visit La Jolla Cove for snorkeling. The water here ranges from +13-22C (55-72F), with air temperatures ranging between +10C and +24C (50-75F) It can be foggy in the morning, but this will fade and move out to sea in the afternoon. You can still snorkel when there is fog, but water visibility decreases a bit. To be honest, La Jolla Cove does not have the best water visibility to begin with, so you may only want to snorkel when it is sunny.

la jolla beach san diego

Where is La Jolla Cove

You will access La Jolla Cove from Ellen Browning Scripps Park. This park sits on a large bluff and as a result, offers views of some spectacular sunsets. To best way to get to La Jolla Cove is by taking Interstate 5 to the La Jolla Pkwy exit. Follow this parkway until you reach the coast, and note that it changes to Torrey Pines Road at some point along the way. You will take a right onto Prospect Place and either turn right onto Coast Blvd and park north of the park, or continue on Prospect Street for a bit and turn right onto Girard Ave and take that to Ellen Browning Scripps Park. Once you park, walk toward the north end of Ellen Browning Scripps and you will be able to see the cove.

la jolla snorkeling with sea lions

La Jolla Cove snorkeling is definitely a fun experience to break up your beach lounging days while in California. Come enjoy everything the Pacific Coast of California has to offer!

Underwater Life: 
Tropical fish
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