Exploring La Jolla, California

The best decision we made as we planned our weekend in San Diego was dedicating a couple of days to exploring La Jolla.

It probably comes as no surprise to those who know us and/or follow the nature (see what I did there?) of these blog posts that we’re not city people. During the COVID-19 pandemic this has become much more apparent to us and we’ve embraced it – planning our travels around time outdoors, moving to a new area in Washington state where we can more quickly access rural and mountain areas, and looking ahead at where and how we want to live in general.

While we enjoyed our time sight-seeing in downtown San Diego, we were more than ready to escape the city and walk, hike, and kayak our way along the coast!

These are a few of the highlights from our full-day in La Jolla.

Kayaking to the La Jolla Sea Caves

We used Everyday California to book a 90-minute morning kayak trip to the nearby sea caves. After checking in at their office in La Jolla Shores to get our equipment and leave our things in one of their lockers, we walked down to La Jolla Shores Beach. We had a little downtime as our group came together and the staff prepared our kayaks, but soon we were on our way.

We’ve kayaked several times before but not in the open ocean. I was not at all prepared for how much the waves were going to rock our tandem kayak around, both as we were sitting and listening to our guide tell us about the area and marine life or as we were kayaking along the sea cliffs.

Had I known, I would have taken some medication. I get sea sick fairly easily, and we were only a few minutes into our trip when I started feeling unwell. I made it to the sea caves – including going inside one – and along the rocky outcroppings where we got a closer look at some sea lions. But on our trip back toward the beach I got sick. In our kayak. Rocking around in the water. Ugggg.

I’ll know better next time!

Walking the Overlook Trail

We stayed along the water in the Village of la Jolla, just across from La Jolla Cove. This was an ideal spot for accessing all of the activities we wanted to do, including our kayaking adventure at nearby La Jolla Shores. The weather was marvelous the morning of our sea cave adventure so we decided to walk the 1.5 miles each way.

Happily we were able to follow the overlook trail for part of our walk. Accessible near the Cave Store, this dirt path winds along the coastline for about a half mile before returning to a paved road leading back to the main thoroughfare.

Even if you’re not walking all the way to La Jolla Shores, walking out and back on this trail is a great way to see more of the coastline from a higher vantage point.

Watching the Sea Lions and Seals

There are many beaches in La Jolla where you can spot sun-bathing sea lions and seals, but we ended up seeing the majority right outside our hotel in La Jolla Cove. It’s so much fun watching them interreact with one another – we spent quite a bit of time standing along the walking trail enjoying their antics.

One of my favorite moments was toward evening when two males started getting into it. There wasn’t a clear ‘winner’ in their dispute – just a lot of barking and postulating – but the one finally headed back over to a smaller sea lion who was trying to sleep nearby. He kept barking to himself, laid down beside her, and was huffing as he rolled over. She made room for him, patted him on the side with her front flipper as though to say ‘there, there, honey – you sure showed him’ and then they went to sleep.

I know I’m projecting human behavior on animals, but that entire encounter looked an awful lot like something you would see homo sapiens engaging in. It certainly gave us a good laugh!

Admiring the Sunset

As someone who goes to sleep around 8 p.m., I’m not usually privy to sunsets – especially during the summer. Thankfully the timing of our visit coincided with the sun setting at an earlier hour and we saw an absolutely marvelous one.

The colors were brilliant and evolved over a long period of time after the sun had gone down. Maybe I should try to stay awake for these more often!

Eating Amazing Food

We enjoyed incredible meals during our time in La Jolla, including at the following spots:

  • Mermaids and Cowboys: This spot is not along the water, which may have contributed to it being a little less busy than other spots. This worked out perfectly for dinner our first night since we didn’t have a reservation elsewhere. We shared the fish and chips and sticky pudding for dinner – perfect for two! – and enjoyed the atmosphere.
  • Brockton Villa: Our hotel recommended this late 1800s cottage turned restaurant for its famous breakfast ‘coast toast,’ but we ended up here for lunch. Lovely outdoor seating with views of the water, and the crab BLT was delish!
  • George’s at the Cove: We had our anniversary dinner on the open deck of the top floor. Cocktails, octopus, seafood pasta, lobster – and sunset views. Wow. It was a little pricey but in my opinion, worth it!
  • Special Shoutout Sugar and Scribe: Off the beaten path but busy for a weekday morning. I believe I had tears in my eyes when they brought out our Ulster Fry and sausage rolls. This meal holds such a special place in my heart, and getting to enjoy it while reflecting on that time 16 years ago when this guy I know flew to Northern Ireland for a weekend to ask me to be his girlfriend – priceless. <3 What a way to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary!

One thought on “Exploring La Jolla, California

  1. Pingback: Hiking in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve – Heather's Compass

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