La Jolla, California is a gorgeous hilly seaside community located just north of downtown San Diego. We wanted to to visit the most photographed beach in Southern California and we also wanted to check out those cute seals and sea lions along the beautiful coast. You can pretty much spot seals and sea lions anywhere along the coastline, but the best place to see them is along Coast Boulevard in La Jolla.
Before our visit to La Jolla, earlier that day, we spent the day exploring Balboa Park. We left the park midafternoon to give us enough time to see the sunset in La Jolla (sunset in the beginning of November was around 6pm). We read that you can spot seals and sea lions almost anytime, but it's best to avoid early afternoon since that is usually when they are out feeding.
Before heading to the shores, we stopped by the La Valencia Hotel. We wanted to relax and have a couple of drinks at this iconic hotel. This pink Spanish-style building stood out from afar and the decor inside is very vintage and classy. Every single staff member was friendly and welcoming. The hotel lobby was inviting and the lounge area was definitely relaxing. We wanted to sit outside since this hotel is an oceanfront property, but the sun was beaming down on us at this time of day, so we opted to sit indoors. You can still see the spectacular views from indoors. It's no wonder that this hotel has top ratings from Trip Advisor.
After we had our drinks, we started to make our way to the Children's Pool. This is where you can see the most seals and sea lions hanging out. We first passed through Scripps Park, which is a grassy area where we saw people playing frisbee and picnicking. It was a Saturday, so we saw a lot of families enjoying this space.
After we walked through the park, we made our way to Shell Beach. This is a really small beach area where you walk down a concrete staircase and then walk over huge rocks to get to the sandy parts. It was fun hopping around the huge rocks, but we had to be very careful because some of the rocks were unstable. This is definitely not an area to bring small children. We managed to climb to one of the rocks to the right of the staircase and grabbed a really nice spot to watch the sunset.
While the sun was setting, we started to make our way to the Children's Pool. The water here is calm and the seals and sea lions pretty much take over this entire section. There was a rope sectioning off the visitors from the seals and sea lions, but you are still pretty close and can get decent photos. We spotted a white pup and couldn't get enough of it's cuteness.
We could have stared at the sea lions and seals for a little longer but it was getting dark, which meant it was time to head home.
* Parking right along Coast Blvd. is extremely difficult. It's best to park in one of the parking garages in the village area. If you're on a tight budget and don't mind the walk, there is free street parking on Ivanhoe Ave. near the Post Office.
* If you want to jump around on the rocks at Shell Beach, wear shoes with a good grip.
* The waters in this area are protected, so glass bottles, alcohol, smoking, and floating devices are prohibited. They also have specific hours of when dogs are allowed.
Special thanks to Ryan Sebastyan for taking our beautiful photos.