Snorkeling at La Jolla Cove: Complete Guide

by CaliCase Team on September 11, 2023

Where is La Jolla Cove?

La Jolla Cove is situated in the coastal community of La Jolla, which is a neighborhood within the city of San Diego, located in Southern California, USA. La Jolla itself is not far from downtown San Diego and is renowned as a desirable destination for snorkeling in California, known for its upscale atmosphere within the larger city. Downtown San Diego is approximately 12 miles (19 kilometers) south of La Jolla, and the San Diego International Airport is also relatively close. The distance between La Jolla and the airport varies, roughly ranging from 12 to 15 miles (about 19 to 24 kilometers), depending on your specific starting and ending points within La Jolla and the airport. The drive between La Jolla and the airport typically takes around 20 to 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions."



La Jolla Cove Access and Parking

Parking in La Jolla Cove can be quite challenging due to its popularity and limited spaces. You may wonder if you can parking at la jolla shores, unfortunately that is not something possible, So visitors are advised to arrive early to secure a parking spot or consider using public transportation or ridesharing services. Metered street parking and a few paid parking lots are available, but they tend to fill up quickly, especially during peak times. Many visitors to the area have found that securing parking can be a bit challenging, but the consensus is that it's a minor inconvenience well worth enduring, As one reviewer on Maps put it "Parking can be difficult but tough it out because it’s an experience you’ll never forget.". We recommend you to planning ahead and being patient can help make your visit to this picturesque coastal destination more enjoyable.


The Underwater Wonderland


This protected marine reserve offers excellent visibility, making it perfect for both beginners and pros. Snorkeling at La Jolla Cove let you to explore colorful kelp forests, encounter diverse species, especially sea lions and seals on the beach, and marvel at the marine wonders below. "Great place for snorkeling, just stay close to the beach where it is shallow and you'll see lots of fish. Water is cold here, so better to wear swim suits" according to a review on the maps. The Cove's sheltered location and accessible entry points ensure a safe and enjoyable snorkeling experience. Dive in to discover a mesmerizing underwater world filled with fish, sea urchins, leopard sharks, playful seals, and graceful rays.

Don't miss our guide to the best snorkeling spots in San Diego to learn more about the top locations.


Snorkeling For All Levels

La Jolla Cove offers opportunities for all skill levels to snorkeling as one of the best snorkeling in San Diego. If you're new in snorkeling or want to learn more about the marine life in the area, there are guided snorkeling tours and rentals available from local shops and outfitters that provide gear, safety instructions. The knowledgeable guides will lead you to the best snorkeling spots while ensuring your safety.
For those with more experience, the Cove has plenty to offer to you as well. You can venture out on your own and explore the underwater world at your own pace. Just make sure to check local conditions, tides, and the marine life regulations to protect the fragile ecosystem of La Jolla Cove.


La Jolla Snorkel Rental and Tours

When planning your La Jolla snorkeling adventure, don't forget to consider La Jolla snorkel rentals. You can rent snorkel equipment in La Jolla Cove from various reputable shops and rental providers. Some popular options include:

  1. La Jolla Kayak: Located right at the Cove, they offer snorkel gear rentals along with guided tours and expert advice on snorkeling spots.
  2. Hike Bike Kayak: This rental shop provides high-quality snorkel equipment and is conveniently situated near La Jolla Cove.
  3. Everyday California: They offer snorkel gear rentals as well as guided snorkeling tours, making it a one-stop-shop for your underwater adventure needs.
  4. La Jolla Dive: If you're looking for specialized dive gear and snorkeling equipment, this dive shop has a range of options to choose from.
  5. Sea Cave Kayaks: Located nearby, they offer snorkel rentals and guided snorkeling tours, allowing you to explore both above and below the water.

Be sure to check their hours of operation and availability in advance, especially during peak seasons, and inquire about any additional services or packages they may offer to enhance your La Jolla Cove snorkeling experience.


Water Conditions At La Jolla Cove And Best Time to Snorkel

The best time to snorkel at La Jolla Cove is during the summer and early fall months when the water is at its warmest and the visibility is at its best. The sea temperature hovers around 70-75°F (21-24°C) during this period, making it comfortable for extended snorkeling sessions.

"Beautiful scenery and the baby seals. The water is cold, but it matches the hot air during August and September weather. Great for families and just sightseeing," said one review on Google Maps.

However, marine life is present year-round, and even in the cooler months, you can spot various species. Keep in mind that the water temperature drops significantly during the winter, so wearing a wetsuit is advisable if you plan to snorkel during this season.


Best Spot To Snorkel At La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove Beach, often simply referred to as La Jolla Cove, is a picturesque and well-known coastal destination located in La Jolla, San Diego, California. It is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and exceptional opportunities for snorkeling and other water activities with the sea creature like sea lions. Here are some key features and highlights of La Jolla Cove Beach: 

  1. Scenic Beauty: La Jolla Cove is famous for its dramatic coastal cliffs, rocky shoreline, and crystal-clear waters. The combination of rugged landscapes and vibrant marine life makes it a prime spot for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

  2. Marine Life: The cove is part of the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, which means that it is home to a diverse range of marine life. Snorkelers and divers can expect to encounter a variety of colorful fish, sea lions, seals, and occasionally even harmless leopard sharks.


La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach is another beautiful coastal destination located in the La Jolla area of San Diego, California. It is a popular beach known for its wide sandy shores, gentle waves, and a variety of outdoor activities, let's take a look at what folks who have experienced it had to say from the Maps review "Beautiful place to walk, surf, sun, snorkel, people watch and just enjoy the day. Parking is for another review". Here are some key features and highlights of La Jolla Shores Beach:

  1. Kayaking: The beach is a popular starting point for kayaking adventures, especially to explore nearby sea caves, including the famous La Jolla Seven Caves. Guided kayak tours are available for those who want to explore the caves safely.

  2. Snorkeling and Diving: Just like La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Shores is part of the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, making it an excellent spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. You can encounter a variety of marine life, including fish, rays, and sometimes even leopard sharks.


San Diego - La Jolla Underwater Park

The San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, often simply referred to as the La Jolla Underwater Park, is a protected marine area located off the coast of La Jolla in San Diego, California. It is known for its rich marine life, underwater ecosystems, and diverse recreational activities. Here are some key details about the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park:

  1. Ecological Reserve: The San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park is a designated ecological reserve, which means that it is protected by law to preserve its natural habitats and marine life. This protection helps maintain the health and diversity of the underwater ecosystems.

  2. Scuba Diving: The park is a popular destination for scuba divers due to its diverse underwater topography and marine life. Divers can explore kelp forests, rocky reefs, and underwater canyons while encountering a variety of fish, invertebrates, and other marine creatures.



Tips for an Enjoyable Snorkeling Experience

  • Gear Up: Invest in good quality snorkeling gear, including a mask, snorkel, fins, and a wetsuit if needed. Comfortable gear is essential for an enjoyable experience.
  • Respect the Environment: Remember that La Jolla Cove is a protected marine reserve. Do not touch or disturb marine life, and avoid standing on the fragile reefs.
  • Safety First: Be aware of your surroundings, tides, and currents. It's a good idea to snorkel with a buddy, especially if you're new to the activity.
  • Stay Hydrated: Snorkeling can be physically demanding, so stay hydrated and take breaks as needed.
  • Capture Memories: Bring an underwater camera or a GoPro to capture the stunning marine life and create lasting memories. Check out our waterproof phone case!
  • Support Local Businesses: Consider booking a guided snorkeling tour or renting equipment from local shops. This supports the community and ensures you have a safe and enjoyable experience.