Surf’s Up in La Jolla – Guide to a Surf, Sand and Sun Getaway

La Jolla, Spanish for “The Jewel,” lives up to its name as one of San Diego North’s most treasured coastal retreats for surf, sand and sun.

Characteristic of its natural beauty and dramatic ocean views, the coastal community contains grassy high bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, an underwater ecological preserve, natural sea caves and one of the nation’s rarest pines trees, the Torrey Pine.

Known as the “Rodeo Drive of San Diego,” Prospect Street in La Jolla is famous for its collection of designer boutiques, diverse art galleries and ocean view dining.

Below are some ideas for experiencing surf, sand and sun activities in La Jolla:

Surfing in San Diego North

· Explore La Jolla’s Delicate Tide Pools
Uncovered daily with the rise and fall of ocean tides, tide pools are one of the most diverse ecological marine systems that are best viewed during a low tide. With low tides typically occurring early to late morning during summer months, visitors can start their day by exploring tide pools at Shell Beach where they can observe some of La Jolla’s most delicate marine life in their natural habitat including sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and mussels.

· Snorkeling with Sharks
Visitors can brave the ocean waters for another opportunity for an up-close encounter with native marine life by snorkeling with leopard sharks in La Jolla Cove. During late summer, when the water is at its warmest, friendly leopard sharks frequent La Jolla Cove and can even be seen in the gentle ocean waves. The best time to snorkel with these tame sea creatures is in the mornings when it’s typically less windy and crowded.

· Learn to Surf at the World-Famous Surf Diva
Visitors can catch a wave with the world famous Surf Diva Surf School. Beginners can learn to surf with the school’s party wave program or try stand up paddleboarding for a more tranquil experience. For added challenge, experienced paddleboarders can participate in a yoga session on a paddleboard in the ocean.

· Birch Aquarium
After being immersed in the ocean and coming face-to-face with marine life, visitors can learn about oceanography at Birch Aquarium. The aquarium showcases marine creatures in all stages of life with educational interactive exhibits that explore the ocean world. While there, be sure not to miss the informative feeding demonstration during the aquarium’s kelp tank dive.

· La Jolla’s “Secret” Beach – Horseshoe Beach
Accessible only by an unmarked stairwell (off Coast Boulevard near Prospect Street), Horseshoe beach is a secret find that is perfect for an intimate picnic by the sea or to escape the typical summer crowds.

· La Jolla Concerts By the Sea
Another option for a picnic by the sea is at the Ellen Browning Scripps Park. Each Sunday the park hosts the La Jolla Concerts by the Sea event, featuring live music and family-friendly activities in a beautiful outdoor setting adjacent to the ocean.

· Rediscovering La Jolla’s Surfing Past at the New Waveriders Exhibit
As a tribute to La Jolla’s rich surf culture history, the new Waveriders exhibit at the La Jolla Historical Society’s Wisteria Cottage showcases historical perspectives on surfing La Jolla from 1930 to 1950 when surfing first came to the area. On display from May 20 to July 16, 2010, the exhibit features photo memorabilia and homemade surf boards that were donated by the local surfers who used them during the 30s and 40s era. Waveriders explores the transition from the paddleboard and surfboard throughout the years.

San Diego North Tidepools

· Exploring La Jolla Cove’s Underwater Preserve and Seven Caves by Kayak
One of the best ways to explore and learn about the La Jolla Cove and its underwater ecological preserve is by kayak. Provided the waves are calm enough, La Jolla Kayak offers guided kayak tours where visitors can have the opportunity to kayak through some of the La Jolla’s seven caves while learning about La Jolla Cove’s history.

· La Jolla Cave Shop & California’s Only Land Access Cave Entrance
Surf, sand and sun memorabilia can be found at the La Jolla Cave Store, which also contains underground access to a La Jolla sea cave. Named “Sunny Jim” by Frank Baum of Wizard Oz fame, the manmade tunnel that connects the cave to the cave shop is the only known land access sea cave on the California coastline, according to the Cave Store.

· Watch the Sun Set at Windansea Beach
Best known for its surf breaks created by underwater reef and beautiful scenery, Windansea beach in La Jolla is an ideal location for surfing or watching the sun set over the Pacific. The hard breaking surf at the shoreline and secluded atmosphere created by sandstone rocks provide a tranquil setting.

· World Premier of the Dramatic “Surf Report” Production at La Jolla Playhouse
Visitors can catch a performance of the world premier of “Surf Report” at La Jolla Playhouse, which is famous for housing original performances that later become Broadway hits. The comic drama, scheduled to run from June 15 to July 11, 2010, combines a surf-obsessed venture capitalist, a hard-working mother and her starving artist daughter who all receive a wake-up call when life in a beautiful Southern California town becomes filled with more than just good surf.
· Moonlit Pier Walk on the Restricted Scripps Pier with Birch Aquarium
During full moon nights June to September, Birch Aquarium hosts educational moonlit pier walks that explore La Jolla’s oceanic nightlife. The Full Moon Pier Walk provides a rare opportunity to venture out on the famed Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, which is otherwise off-limits to the public. During the walk, aquarium naturalists teach participants about the structure’s history, and guide them as they dissect a squid, make marine organisms glow in the dark, collect plankton, observe ocean conditions and study the nocturnal habits of marine life.

· Dine Next to Crashing Waves During Marine Room High Tide Dinners
As one of the only restaurants in San Diego located directly on the beach, The Marine Room hosts high tide dinners during summer months. Visitors can view over six-feet-tall waves dramatically crashing against the floor-to-ceiling windows while enjoying award-winning cuisine.

The San Diego North website ( is a great resource for visitors to discover ideas and book a surf, sand and sun vacation directly on the site. Images are also available upon request.

About San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau
The San Diego North Convention & Visitors Bureau provides visitor information for the 2,000 square mile San Diego North region from La Jolla north to Encinitas, Carlsbad and Oceanside to the valley, mountain and desert communities of Escondido, Rancho Bernardo, Julian and the Anza-Borrego Desert. For more information, visit or call (800) 848-3336.

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