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La Jolla Cove and Shores

Doral, Florida
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La Jolla Cove and Shores

I will be spending a day in La Jolla in late June and as I preparing my itinerary. Of course, I keep reading about the Cove and the Shores, but I don't think I am understanding the differences and which one I should visit or both. Is it possible to walk from one area to the other? On Google Maps it looks like they are each a separate beach area with a surrounding park?

By the way, I do not plan to get in the water or do any water activities. However, I would like to walk around to see the ocean, take some nice photos, see the famed seals and other animals and maybe be close to an area where I could catch lunch (not a requirement though).

Any clarification is appreciated!

San Diego
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1. Re: La Jolla Cove and Shores

Google maps will show you the distance between the 2 if you ask for directions for one to the other on the map.

They ARE separate areas and are quite different from one another!

The cove area is a series of small rock enclosed(cove) beaches with a grassy park above them. You can see seals and sea birds there in their native environment.

La Jolla Shores is a wide white sandy beach with a grassy park next to it.

La Jolla Cove has many restaurants,boutiques and art galleries nearby.

La Jolla Shores is a quieter neighborhood with several good restaurants but not many shops and is more residential.

I have walked between the 2 areas but don't know for sure how far it is.

Edited: 16 May 2012, 02:06
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2. Re: La Jolla Cove and Shores

La Jolla Cove and the areas near it are far more photogenic, in my opinion. La Jolla Shores is basically a large, flat beach that is popular for the water activities such as swimming, surfing, kayaking, etc. It has a boat launch area right next to La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. The Scripps Institute of Oceanography is at the north end of La Jolla Shores and is where the Birch Aquarium is located. But the whole La Jolla Shores area is basically flat, and in my opinion it is not picturesque.

La Jolla Cove is part of a long series of cliffs, coves and beaches that runs from Coast Walk at the north end, down to the 300 block of Coast Boulevard at the south end. Beyond these north and south ends are oceanfront houses, but everything along the oceanfront from Coast Walk down to the 300 block of Coast Boulevard is public land. You could walk the entire length of it if you wanted to or just part of it. Since it's a curving, winding path I can't say exactly how long it would be to walk from one end to the other, but a rough estimate would be 1.5 miles for a one-way trip.

Starting at the north end, you would start at Coast Walk, which is the name of both a dirt path along the clifftops and a short street to some houses. On the street there are 2 parking spaces, but they are usually filled. You could have someone drop you off if you started there. Also, on nearby Prospect Place, there are 5 or 6 parking places but they are also almost always filled. If you get lucky and find one of these available you could park for free in one of them, but only for 3 hours.

The view from the north end of Coast Walk is spectacular because you are up on the cliffs far above the ocean. It could be a bit scary if you are afraid of heights, although it is not dangerous because the path is not right on the edge of the cliffs, it is back a ways. You would have a view to the west towards La Jolla Cove and the other way, to the north, to the La Jolla Shores area.

You would walk on the dirt path that runs on fhe clifftops, west, and you would pass multi-million dollar homes, and you would be walking above the sea caves. You would arrive above Goldfish Point, and if you walk down to Goldfish Point you will have a good view of the caves standing from there.

Above Goldfish Point is the La Jolla Cave and Shell Shop, which has been there for over 100 years. Besides shells and other gifts you can buy, they have historical books and other memorabilia about La Jolla you can look at and buy. One of the books is a fascinating "then and now" comparison book of photos. There are 2 apartments upstairs from the shop, and in 1925 my mother and her parents rented one of those. I have no idea how much they paid per month, but we asked recently and the lady in the shop told me that one of them rents out now for $2,500 a month.

Also in the shop is the entrance to the tunnel to Sunny Jim Cave, one of the sea caves. The tunnel was built in 1902 I think, and has about 145 steps to go down (and of course to come back up all those steps) and the charge for adults to enter it is currently $4. At the bottom of the tunnel is a platform you stand on in the cave. You can't actually walk around on the cave floor itself. Some people have expressed that they were disappointed in it or didn't feel it was worth the time or money. That would be up to you to decide.

Continuing west from the cave store, you will see 2 very old, dilapidated house-like structures which are known as the "Red Roost" and "Red Rest" cottages which were built in 1894. They are in the National Register of Historic Places and I don't know what's going to happen to them. You can read about the history of them at waymarking.com/waymarks/WMAJ3K_Red_Rest_and_…

You will then come to La Jolla Cove, probably the most famous feature on this stretch of coast. It has a small beach and lifeguards every day of the year. It is popular for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving, as the waters in that area are protected by the city as an underwater park. There are almost always sea lions lounging on the rocks at both ends of La Jolla Cove. The closest you can get to them is along the sidewalk at the west end of the Cove, overlooking one of the largest rocks they lay on. There are usually one or two swimming around in the water around the rocks. There are also many pelicans in the area.

The flat grassy area above La Jolla Cove is the north end of Ellen Browning Scripps Park. There is a bridge club building right there at that end, where people play bridge I think 2 times a week. It is also used for wedding receptions (and rents at a pretty high rate). There are restrooms there above the Cove. Continuing along the sidewalk after the cove, the sidewalk turns around to a mostly southerly direction, and the next beach you pass is Boomer Beach. Then there are several little playhouse-like structures you can enter and sit on a bench in and look at the views while in the shade. They are frequently occupied. The next beach is Shell Beach, which I think once had shells but it's all picked over now.

The sidewalk continues along the coastline and you then arrive at the Children's Pool, which was formed by a seawall built in 1931 to create an area of calmer water for children to play in, and it encloses a beach. In recent years, sea lions have taken up residence on that beach, and on most days you can see a lot of them laying on the sand there, with an occasional one arriving from the water or another one leaving to go swim. There has been an ongoing controversy, for about 20 years now, over the use of this beach, whether to let the sea lions use it, or let the public use the beach. There is generally a rope that delinates the area on the sand you are discouraged from entering, and I think there are signs discouraging you from even going on to the beach at all. but you can walk out onto the seawall and get a fairly close look at the sea lions. But they are almost always sleeping, and I think the ones at La Jolla Cove are a bit more active, barking a lot and swimming around near the rocks.

South of that is a beach that I don't know the name of, but to me it's one of the prettiest beaches in San Diego, not only because of the small cliffs that surround it but also because the water is shallow and a bright turquoise color. It is the beach directly in front of the Casa de Mañana retirement home and the south end of it is directly in front of the La Jolla Musuem of Contemporary Art. There are benches all along the sidewalk above this beach. This is at about the 700 block of Coast Boulevard.

South of that is the "Wedding Bowl," a flat round grass area where weddings are popular. There is a grassy park from this point southward for the next couple of blocks, with many spots to sit and look at the ocean and coast views. It is generally less crowded here and parking is much easier to find than at La Jolla Cove. This is at the 300 to 400 blocks of Coast Boulevard. At the ocean level below is an area of tide pools which are exposed at low tide, and you can walk around and look at them. At high tide, of course, that area is covered with water. South of that begins oceanfront houses again, and I think at low tide you can easily walk to the next beach to the south, the large, quiet Marine Street Beach. But basically the walk that I am describing ends here where the houses begin.

Another nice beach in La Jolla is Windansea Beach, a famous surfing spot described (and not necessarily flatteringly) in the first chapter of "The Pump House Gang" by Tom Wolfe, and if you read that and go to Windansea Beach, you will see the actual pump house described. I think it is probably the one beach in the city of San Diego that most typifies the "classic southern California beach scene." Windansea Beach runs along several blocks of Neptune Place, near Nautilus Street in La Jolla.

If the sky is clear and not cloudy, consider driving up to Mount Soledad Park in La Jolla, for sweeping views of most of San Diego and parts of the coastline. On a crystal-clear winter day we could even see snow on Mount San Gorgonio (near Big Bear) in the San Bernardino Mountains 150 miles to the north, and San Clemente Island offshore. But it has to be really clear to see that far. If it is a cloudy or overcast day, it won't be worth driving up to Soledad Mountain Park as you won't see the views, you'll just be looking at clouds instead.

Likewise, if it's a clear day, you can drive up to either Torrey Pines Glider Port, or Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve for sweeping views of the coast from atop 300-foot bluffs. Torrey Pines SNR has the very rare torrey pine trees, which are native only to that spot and one other spot on the islands offshore, and nice views of the coast and ocean. Torrey Pines SNR has a day use parking fee of $10 for the car. Further to the south, Torrey Pines Glider Port has free parking (on dirt), and the same or similar sweeping views of the coast as the SNR has, but no trees. You can watch hang gliders taking off, flying around and landing there, and if you have the nerve, even ride on one with a pilot, for a fee. But if it's a cloudy or overcast day it won't be worth going there as you won't see the views.

For places to eat in La Jolla, there are many choices, almost too many to list. Many are quite expensive because La Jolla is a very upscale community. If money is no object, consider Nine Ten, or the Marine Room which is an oceanfront restaurant where at high tide waves splash against the windows. We have eaten there twice and the food was very sophisticated and the service perfect. They do have a "Taste of the Season" menu which is a very good deal consdiering the quality and sophistication of their food. But there are tons of other choices. Study this site, yelp and others to pick out the place in La Jolla that is right for you.

Edited: 16 May 2012, 05:30
La Jolla, California
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3. Re: La Jolla Cove and Shores

Wow, bw, you've outdone yourself : )

In case the original poster is still curious about La Jolla Shores, there is more than just a large flat beach. From LJS you can see the LJ Cove and the cliffs underneath the Coast Walk mentioned by the PP.

During low tide, starting from the Scripps pier you can walk north underneath 500 foot cliffs to the tide pools and beyond to Black's beach and all the way to Del Mar. This is one of my favorite walks since it is very peaceful and few people venture into this rocky area. This is also a great place to sit on one of the rocks that is usually submerged, and spot dolphins.

Another nice walk is on the campus of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which is one of the most important centers for ocean and earth research. It has some interesting architecture and landscaping and beautiful ocean views. There is a small cafe with an ocean view right by the beach called Caroline's Seaside Cafe. Also on campus, albeit a bit of a walk up the hill, is the Birch SIO Aquarium. It is a small aquarium but well worth visiting. It, too, has an amazing view as it is located on top of the hill.

Walking from La Jolla Cove to La Jolla Shores is about a mile through residential streets.

Corona del Mar, CA
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4. Re: La Jolla Cove and Shores

It is easy to swim from the Cove to the Shores or vice versa..... just about 600 yards.... if you want to walk, about a mile, see the map below.

http://g.co/maps/r9ppz

Doral, Florida
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5. Re: La Jolla Cove and Shores

Thank you so much! This is exactly what i needed to know.

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6. Re: La Jolla Cove and Shores

We were just at the beach yesterday, that is in front of the Casa de Mañana retirement home and the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art. I found out that beach is called "Wipeout Beach" by some.

Key West, Florida
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7. Re: La Jolla Cove and Shores

this was very helpful. where would you suggest a place to eat lunch

La Jolla, California
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8. Re: La Jolla Cove and Shores

There are many places to have lunch in LJ. One of my current favorites is Prep Kitchen, but you may also enjoy Brockton Villa, the Cottage, and the newest, Herringbone.

PA
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9. Re: La Jolla Cove and Shores

Where would you suggest we park our car when we drive to La Jolla (beach or cove)? The last time we visited we spent most of our time looking for parking, so this time I will choose to at least start my visit near the most likely parking and walk to anything I want to see.

La Jolla, California
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10. Re: La Jolla Cove and Shores

In the "Village" of La Jolla (near the Cove) parking becomes scarce during tourist season. Although it is possible to park on the street--I do it all the time--there is a time limit of one or two hours on most streets. If you are willing to walk about mile or so, street parking shouldn't be a problem. There is plenty of all day free parking in the neighborhood just south-east of Torrey Pines Rd (Virginia Way, High Ave). For 2-hour parking I can always find spots on Eads and Draper near Pearl Street. Just keep in mind that the parking enforcement people are very diligent.

There are also parking garages throughout the "Village," and there are several on Prospect St.

La Jolla Shores (the large beach) parking gets pretty hard to find after about 11 a.m. in summer. There is a parking lot by the beach, but it fills up fast. There are parking spots on the neighborhood streets, but the ones closer the the beach fill up fast too. You can always find spots on uphill streets east of La Jolla Shores Drive.

Edited: 15 July 2012, 17:42