What to Do in La Jolla? 9 Must-Try Activities For a Great Beach Adventure

There are so many things to do in La Jolla, California! Here are the best suggestions for a day trip to this beautiful west coast gem.

Wondering where is La Jolla California? Follow along to discover all of the fun things to do in La Jolla! What is there to do in La Jolla? Plenty! If you only have a weekend in La Jolla or one day to explore the neighborhood, after reading through this post, you’ll wish you could stay longer.

The beaches in La Jolla are breathtaking, the sea caves and other outdoor activities in La Jolla are a must-visit for all explorers, and La Jolla’s secret spots are extraordinary to discover.

Oh, and have we mentioned the food? La Jolla is a heaven on earth for foodies, too! Plan your La Jolla day trip with these top-notch San Diego La Jolla activities.

Getting to La Jolla

Getting around Southern California towns and neighborhoods has room for improvement. Fortunately, La Jolla is one of California’s most popular beach destinations, so visiting La Jolla and the beautiful seaside area can still be a breeze!

La Jolla is still technically part of San Diego. Hop on the 30 bus at any bus stop in downtown San Diego, Old Town, or North County, and you’ll reach La Jolla in 30 minutes or less.

Driving to La Jolla is much easier. Whether you’re already in San Diego or a town farther away, taking either the I-5 South or I-5 North (depending on where you’re coming from) will eventually take you to La Jolla hotels and La Jolla things to do nearby, including Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD Scripps Pier, Ellen Browning Scripps Park, La Jolla Underwater Park, Torrey Pines Golf Courses, and more!

aerial drone view of La Jolla coastline with blue waters and hotels in San Diego, California, USA

Experience a Beach Day in La Jolla

La Jolla is officially dubbed as San Diego’s Jewel by the Sea. So, if you only have one day in La Jolla, why not visit the best La Jolla attractions? Run to the beautiful beaches or relax in the children s pools with your kiddies!

Aside from La Jolla Beach, California, which tends to get extra crowded during the weekend, there are many more beaches to add to your La Jolla itinerary where you can enjoy crashing waves and fresh air from sunrise to sunset.

Related Post: La Jolla Tide Pools San Diego – Where to Go & What to See

Here are some of the best beaches in La Jolla. Lounge in one of them or beach hop–it’s your choice!

La Jolla Cove

If you’re wondering what to do in La Jolla, the most straightforward answer would be to take a trip to The Cove. There are many things to do in La Jolla Cove, from watching seals and sea lions lounging lazily on the rocks to admiring the cliffs surrounding the beloved beach.

In addition, this spot is the neighborhood’s most desirable local for swimming, diving, and snorkeling!

Windansea Beach

One of the best things to do in La Jolla is to take a day off to one of the neighborhood’s most beautiful beaches. And if your purpose is to wind down, there is no better destination than Windansea Beach.

The rocky shore of Windansea Beach boasts gorgeous scenery and fantastic surf breaks created by underwater reefs. Although swimming is allowed at the beach, visitors often come here for a laidback lounge by the sea or for great surf. So, calling all water sports enthusiasts!

Tiki hut and the sunset over the ocean at Windansea Beach La Jolla in San Diego, California, USA

La Jolla Shores Beach

La Jolla Shores Beach is one of the most popular beaches in the area, and naturally, it is on top of people’s things to do in La Jolla San Diego. The waves at Shores Beach make it an excellent spot for surfing.

Bringing snorkel gear is also not a bad idea. In addition, there are grassy areas for picnics with friends and family.

However, since the beach quickly gets crowded all week, it can sometimes feel like a neighborhood park. This should not be a problem if you’re looking for lively energy and a fantastic place to hang with the kids!

Black’s Beach

It takes time and energy to trek down Black’s Beach. However, if you’re really outdoorsy and are eager to reach a beautiful beach with the least crowd, then spending a day at Black’s Beach is one of the fun things to do in La Jolla.

Related Post: Things to Do in La Jolla California – 9 Must-Try Activities

Black’s Beach is a long walk away from Shores Beach, but it is doable. Once there, you will be rewarded with views of dramatic cliffs and a quieter beach.

Note that a portion of Black’s Beach is clothing-optional, although the beach is vast enough that visitors shouldn’t expect to encounter nudity.

photo credit: Aaron Chang via Facebook

Explore the La Jolla Sea Caves

Of all the La Jolla best things to do for adventure lovers, exploring the Sea Caves is arguably the most popular.

Seven caves make up the Sea Caves. Six of seven remarkable, brine-lashed caverns can only be accessed from the water. Namely, Clam Cave, Arches, Shopping Cart, White Lady, Little Sister, and Sea Surprize.

A few La Jolla Sea Cave kayak tours take visitors to all seven caves, provided the weather and the waters are calm.

Each of the caves is unique from the others, showcasing what La Jolla has to offer. The impressive rock formations, colorful flowstone, and mesmerizing stalactites and stalagmites make the trip one of the best La Jolla activities.

The kayak tour is also an opportunity to see seals, California sea lions, harbor porpoises, sea otters, fish, sea birds, leopard sharks, and more sea creatures.

Related Post: Landmarks in San Diego – 17 Must-See Sights

There is, however, one Sea Cave that can be accessed both by land and water–Sunny Jim’s! It is arguably the most famous out of all seven caves and is the most photographed.

Visitors also enjoy learning more about the deep history of the caves while going down the tunnel and narrow staircase that enslaved people used to enter the cave.

But while learning is fun, the view at the end of the tunnel is, many will agree, the most rewarding part of the trip.

photo credit: Shalika Weerasingha via Facebook

Unearth La Jolla’s Hidden Gems

Wondering what to do in La Jolla for a day? How about discovering some of La Jolla’s hidden attractions? Earn bragging rights for visiting as many of these secret spots as you can. Here are some of most fun things in LaJolla:

Ho Chi Minh Trail

Want to go hiking? It’s actually one of the top things to do La Jolla when you only have one day! The Ho Chi Minh Trail, however, is not your typical short trail.

This hike is not for the faint of heart; anyone afraid of tight spaces will want to avoid it. But if you are up for the challenge, you will be rewarded with gorgeous views and Insta-worthy photo opportunities.

Related Post: Seaforth Sportfishing San Diego – 4 Ways to Save Up to 10% Off

In addition, the end of the Ho Chi Minh Trail will take you to Black’s Beach La Jolla. Stroll by the beach and enjoy a peaceful sunset while you’re at it.

Can’t get enough of San Diego’s beautiful outdoors? Check out our guide to the 13 Best Hikes in San Diego!

Razor Point Trail at Torrey Pines State Reserve - San Diego, California, USA
photo credit: Millie Wong via Facebook

SS Monte Carlo Shipwreck

Most shipwrecks can only be seen deep underwater. But if you’re in the area, it’s possible to see one without scuba diving. The SS Monte Carlo Shipwreck isn’t always visible, but it is occasionally exposed during low tides, especially in winter.

So if you plan to head to Coronado Beach anyway, head straight to the SS Monte Carlo Shipwreck site, you’ll find it south of Hotel del Coronado.

Broken Hill Trail Loop

When in the area for a day, the Broken Hill Trail Loop should be on your Things to do in La Jolla this weekend. It’s one of those beautiful, underutilized trails you don’t want to miss if you’re into hiking and breathtaking scenery.

Broken Hill Trail Loop is generally easy to navigate. However, please note that the trail has numerous stairs, so it can be challenging if you bring toddlers with strollers.

Related Post: San Diego Zoo or Sea World – Which is Better?

Along the way, you will see gorgeous Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. They’re perfect backdrops for the ideal “one with nature” photo you’re aiming for, but the trees are much more appreciated as shade when the sun’s too bright.

Secret Swings

No one knows when exactly the La Jolla swings were built, nor who built them. But whatever purpose the secret creators of the La Jolla swings have, we sure are glad the swings are still around.

Experiencing La Jolla’s secret swings is one of the most memorable things to do in La Jolla today. And if you’re visiting La on a whim, there is no need to reserve time at the swings.

Some of the swings have the perfect Pacific Ocean view. Imagine gently swinging with the perfect Southern California view.

photo credit: Secret Swings of La Jolla via Facebook

Satisfy the Foodie in You

If you’re always looking for the next best restaurant, we recommend trying out one or two of the fine dining experiences!

There are currently seven Michelin-approved restaurants. Marine Room is a romantic spot where you can celebrate a special date, but you don’t need an occasion to enjoy fresh seafood selections with a French and Asian twist.

Into Mexican food? Puesto is arguably the best Mexican restaurant in the neighborhood. It boasts fresh, bright flavors in Mexico prepared just two blocks from The Cove. Taco Tuesdays in a renowned Mexican restaurant and a day at the beach? Sign us up!

Discover More Places to Explore

San Diego’s hidden gem is brimming with exciting places to explore! Many activities will keep you busy all day, from beautiful beaches to must-try fine-dining restaurants.

For more fun in the sun, check out day trips from La Jolla and experience San Diego’s top attractions. So what are you waiting for? Head to Tripster and book your Southern California vacation today!

Things to Do in La Jolla FAQs

Exploring the enchanting seaside community of La Jolla is definitely a trip worth taking. The picturesque coastal town is filled with inviting beaches, outdoor activities in La Jolla, and stunning cliffs, and discovering its beauty won't take you longer than 30-60 minutes, but it's very much worth your time.

If you're planning a trip to La Jolla and wondering where to stay, consider the area around Torrey Pines. This neighborhood is not only home to the famous Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Torrey Pines Golf Course but also offers stunning, panoramic Pacific Ocean views and easy access to exquisite dining and shopping options.

While La Jolla proves to be a beautiful destination year-round, the optimal time to visit can vary depending on what you're seeking.

Summer is the most popular time to visit the cave, but winter is our favorite season to take to the water as the town takes on a more tranquil character and welcomes you with a refreshing respite from the cooler temperatures, inviting you to explore everything La Jolla has to offer!

Have You Been to Southern California?

What would you add to our list? Leave us a comment below!

Avatar photo

Written by Nicole King

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely...

2 comments about “What to Do in La Jolla? 9 Must-Try Activities For a Great Beach Adventure”


September 24, 2022 at 6:59 am

Are there crystal stores in the area and vegan restaurants?

avatar of Teresa in blue tripster shirt


September 26, 2022 at 11:31 am

Hi Karen! Vegan restaurants and crystal stores can be found in La Jolla. Enjoy your trip!

Have something to add? Post it here:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Are you a Tripster?

Create an account to get access to exclusive pricing and rewards.