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La Jolla CA, Hotels & Attractions - The Beach, Caves, Sun, & Waves

Updated on September 14, 2019
- Photo Courtesy of bryce_edwards -
- Photo Courtesy of bryce_edwards -


Situated within the expansive Southern California sun belt of San Diego County, sits La Jolla, an incredibly beautiful and scenic ocean side community located just 40 miles south of Orange County and approximately 10 miles north of downtown San Diego. A seven mile stretch of serpentine patterned Southern California coastline known for its stunningly beautiful shorelines, caves etched out of sandstone, the artistic result of continuous sand caressing over the centuries by the tides natural ebbs & flows, high end real estate, upscale shopping, and abundance of fine dining establishments. A fitting, generalized preamble to describe, and define some of the main attractions found in this region.

Boasting some of the highest real estate price tags in 2009, La Jolla is slowly yet incrementally becoming more popular with the mainstream crowd as the city and San Diego County in general, continue to modify and adjust to ever changing economic times and evolving demographics in a conscious effort to create an attractive environment where all individuals, regardless of financial means, can enjoy a day, weekend, or even extended stay without breaking the proverbial bank. A well intended, good faith strategy which has not achieved total desired results yet, but with a little more time and additional good faith planning, this admirable goal is certainly well within reach.

Home to the Torrey Pines Golf Course which hosts the Farmer's Insurance PGA Golf Tournament every winter, La Jolla has always been world renown as a well established, upscale resort style city which unapologetically caters primarily to the wealthy who can obviously afford to pay the premium required for services and entertainment rendered. Over the years however, it appears as if the aforementioned prudent, strategic forward looking planning is beginning to pay off by incrementally scaling back the exclusive focus on "high end" elites to aim for an all inclusive experience. A fresh new attitude which can be fostered by marking down inflated monetary expectations to a more realistic level. La Jolla will always maintain a certain elegant flare, the regal ambiance which simply exudes the distinct aura of wealth, but on a recent day trip, I had discovered a slightly different atmosphere which included a delightfully mixed bag of diverse visitors frequenting the city. And considering tourism along with exquisite dining and premium shopping are La Jolla's three main economic drivers, an effort to broaden the appeal of the city to include the working class seems to be paying off considerably. At least that's the impression I got during my casual observations and in depth economic study.

Photo Courtesy of bryce_edwards
Photo Courtesy of bryce_edwards

Today, as you walk the beaches and main streets as I've done many times to photograph and absorb the inviting marine atmosphere, you will find a much more diverse culture, one which seems to combine the traditional, quasi-elite lifestyle deeply embedded within the underlying fabric, with a more modest undertone.

A substantial international visitor presence is also noticeable and consistent with the city's interest in attracting all peoples from around the world. Rendering an evaluation after personally strolling the La Jolla streets, in my opinion, the natural allure itself is the best advertisement any chamber of commerce or department of tourism could possibly dream of, or articulate in a promotional piece. One primary reason for this apparent successful integration of multi cultural demographics is the consistent job growth La Jolla has experienced over the last few decades. Just five or ten years ago, the city was still experiencing and navigating through initial growth stages while nurturing a very modest jobs industry due to geographical separation from major metropolitan areas like Orange and Los Angeles Counties which are two of the largest, consistently thriving commercial economies boasting a wealth of colossal agricultural and industrial centers.

But now, the seeds of careful planning are beginning to bear the sweet fruits of labor. New industry integration is on the upswing which is resulting in robust population expansion to fill the new jobs currently being created. As I continue to observe the steadfast evolution of La Jolla which is slowly pivoting from an elite, one dimensional city which had in the past catered exclusively to the wealthiest consumer clientele, over to a vacation destination designed for all visitors, it gently quells previous concerns that this beautiful region would waste away in a lonely life of economic exile and solitude by continuing to be exclusively accessible to a select few. Conversely, my studies discount the previous notion and promotes a satisfactory feeling when we realize the fact that managers of the La Jolla future are beginning to incorporate a multi faceted approach to overall economic development which should lead to more opportunities for not only leisurely enjoyment by the middle class minority amongst us, but also the working people of America.

>> The Beaches

When visiting La Jolla, if your main desire is to just walk along the shoreline or endlessly sunbathe on your personal slice of sandy beach, it's well worth the trip. The sand is soft, the view is nothing short of spectacular, the surfing is excellent, and the bluffs in certain areas provide the sense of being alone on a deserted island, truly remarkable. Some of the beaches are narrow in space which tends to place a strict, non-negotiable limit on sports activities such as volleyball, football, and frisbee which typically require a more generous configuration of real estate. But other pre-planned or dedicated areas such as parks situated within the municipality, are better suited to accommodate the sports enthusiast. La Jolla, with its immaculately manicured grounds is mainly a place to relax, sun bathe, swim, picnic and just have a fun afternoon with friends, family, or acquaintances. A romantic evening here if planned properly, might strain the budget, but will certainly win your sweethearts affections.

If aggressive, all out energized sports like parasailing, speed boating, or any other high octane physical activity aside from jogging or tennis is your cup of tea, then La Jolla may turn out to be a slight disappointment. However, the aesthetic beauty, exquisite atmosphere, and abundance of other activities and attractions may make up for the lack of adrenaline pump. Situated a mere twenty miles from the Mexican border, La Jolla's geological location is the primary reason for the pleasant, balmy year round weather. It's one of the closest cities to the equator in Southern California where average daily temperatures are near perfection, roughly 70 degrees, and of course warmer in summer and cooler as you flip the calendar page to winter. Photography is a very popular activity for visitors, tourists, and of course locals, and it seems as if everyone you see walking the streets has either a camera in hand or gently dangling from a leather neck chain, always at the ready to catch a bird in flight or other more exotic aquatic species. The beaches offer a wide range of pictorial potential and winding shoreline characteristics offer both the professional and amateur photographer ample unique angles from which to frame up and shoot.

- Photo Courtesy of TimWilson -
- Photo Courtesy of TimWilson -
Photo Courtesy of lora_313
Photo Courtesy of lora_313
Photo Courtesy of Theodore Scott
Photo Courtesy of Theodore Scott

>> The Caves

One unique feature which always seems to attract the adventurers amongst us, especially the kids, are the land based caves which can be found along certain areas of the shoreline. Large enough to enter and walk through, these naturally carved out hollow halls of stone are an integral part of the overall La Jolla experience. As soon as you enter, three distinct elements caress the senses, a distinct, salty, seawater scent which is no surprise, the immediate echo effect which is fun for the kids, and the same surrealistic sensation of eerie recordings of wind, naturally occurring ocean sounds, and reverberations you experience when placing a large seashell up to your ear.

Some of the larger caves are only accessible via the ocean and several kayak rental shops can provide the necessary equipment to access these enchanting caverns. Maneuvering in and out of these prehistoric looking caves is definitely a unique experience, one which I highly recommend. It's also one of the best ways to get a more pristine view of the sandstone formations along the shore. A word of advice if I may, the kayaking journey is somewhat physically demanding depending upon age, so be prepared to get a good upper body and cardio-vascular workout from the paddling motion. Additionally, common sense practices should be exercised at all times to avoid incident. Physical conditioning and safety precautions aside, the symphony of various shaped and sized caves are unquestionably a top visitor attraction for those who have the ability and strength to negotiate natural tide patterns, and yet they are still only one small living snapshot of splendor within the much larger, exquisite La Jolla picture. If you get the chance and time permits, visiting these ocean domiciled cavernous natural wonders are definitely worth a visit.

Photo Courtesy of uhuru1701
Photo Courtesy of uhuru1701

>> The Waves

In comparison to Goliath surfing venues such as Hawaii or even further up the coast at the world famous shores of Huntington Beach Ca, La Jolla might seem a little more tame, docile, introverted, and uninspiringly subdued. But there is no doubt, adequate wave action does indeed exist, and when conditions are just right, the mighty Pacific Ocean can serve up a steady diet of robust water rides within this exclusive region of the west coast. Body surfing is also a favorite among the less adventurous and there is plenty of that to be had. Surf shops are abundant although the premium paid for purchasing necessary gear in town may set you back a few more dollars verses other areas which are not as prone to tourism mark ups. My suggestion would be to come prepared with everything you need to avoid unnecessary added expenses.

In summary, one fact still remains. until the full impact of strategic planning for the future is realized, La Jolla, although constantly evolving to embrace all demographics, is still primarily a playground, escape, and retreat for the well to do. Day trips should be affordable for all visitors who are not inclined to compulsive shopping at the exclusive consignment boutiques, and off season overnight stays might be the answer for budget minded individuals. The year round temperatures are mild even in winter so check hotel rates starting in the fall months.

>>> Partial List of Popular LA JOLLA Acivities >>>

  • *swimming* *tennis* *golf *biking* *hiking*
  • *running* *jogging* *kayaking* *snorkeling* *boating*

>>> And the list goes on.

- Photo Courtesy of Fovea Centralis -
- Photo Courtesy of Fovea Centralis -
- Photo Courtesy of ewen and donabel -
- Photo Courtesy of ewen and donabel -
Note from the author - I've lived in Southern California for over three decades, a generous length of time which has afforded me the fortunate opportunity to experience just about everything this west coast paradise has to offer - From the sun drenched weather perfected beaches, to the snow capped majestic mountain ranges perched above gentle cloud cover to the north, to the exotic, magically healing arid desert playgrounds situated in the northeast - You are cordially invited to join me as together we embark upon exhilarating travel excursions to explore & document this breathtakingly scenic Pacific Coast Wonder -

Hotels & Airports in the La Jolla Area

La Jolla Ca:
La Jolla, San Diego, CA 92037, USA

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La Jolla Cove Suites:
La Jolla Cove Suites, 1155 Coast Blvd, San Diego, CA 92037, USA

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Empress Hotel:
Empress Hotel, 7766 Fay Ave, San Diego, CA 92037, USA

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Estancia La Jolla Hotel:
Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, 9700 N Torrey Pines Rd, San Diego, CA 92037, USA

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La Valencia Hotel:
La Valencia Hotel, 1132 Prospect St, San Diego, CA 92037, USA

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La Jolla Shores Hotel:
Hotel La Jolla At the Shores, 7955 La Jolla Shores Dr, San Diego, CA 92037-3301, USA

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Grande Colonial Hotel San Diego Ca:
San Diego, CA, USA

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San Diego Airport:
San Diego International Airport (SAN), San Diego, CA 92101, USA

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John Wayne Airport:
John Wayne Airport (SNA), Santa Ana, CA 92707, USA

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