A Local’s Guide to La Jolla’s Best Beaches
In pursuit of surf, salt, and sand? Only moments from Orli, La Jolla’s beaches draw visitors from across the country — and the world. At seven miles long, La Jolla’s coastline is famous for its breathtaking jagged cliffs, towering palm trees, and shimmering sand. Below, find our local’s guide to La Jolla’s best beaches and start mapping out your seaside stay.
1. Marine Street Beach
SURFING – SUNBATHING – LOCAL VIBE
Powerful waves make Marine Street Beach a popular spot among La Jolla surfers. Known for rough surf, Marine Street beach is not the spot for leisurely swimming, but it is a great spot for sunbathing. Bring your camera to snap photos of the expansive surf and picturesque cliffs – then, strike a pose with two oversized beach chairs located next to the stairs. Just a quick bike ride from Orli will land you at this list’s most secluded beach, allowing you to experience the beach the local’s way.
SURFING – PICTURESQUE – HISTORIC
Famous as a popular surfing spot, Windansea Beach is located in the heart of La Jolla. So famous, in fact, that the moment the sun’s out, Windansea is sure to be bustling with activity. Gorgeous rock formations also make this sandy spot the perfect locale for a photo shoot. If you’re a history buff, you’ll love the backstory behind this beach: A palm-covered structure, known as The Surf Shack, was built on the beach in 1946 by three local surfers – Woody Ekstrom, Fred Kenyon, and Don Okey. The building is now a designated historical landmark and you can still see it standing today.
3. La Jolla Cove
SNORKELING – SWIMMING – SUNBATHING
Known best for its clear blue water and sea caves, La Jolla Cove is a must-visit for all who pass through our coastal haven. Snorkeling, swimming, and even scuba diving are popular activities here. If you love wildlife, you’ll spot tons of sea lions lounging in the sun, and if you stay for low tide, you can explore tidal pools full of marine life. Afterward, visit Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave, a fun attraction which takes you down 143 steps to see the uncanny silhouette of a man naturally formed by the rocks.
4. La Jolla Shores
SUNBATHING – SWIMMING – SURF LESSONS
If you’re dreaming of a classic beach day sunbathing and relaxing, look no further than La Jolla Shores Beach. You can spend all day lounging on the sand, or for something more adventurous, sign up for a surfing lesson. Bring hot dogs and a s’mores kit to host your own bonfire — fire pits are available upon reservation. Avenida de la Playa is also within walking distance, perfect for a midday break wandering the streets and window shopping.
NUDE DIPS – GORGEOUS CLIFFS – FOR THE STORY
Black’s is most well-known for being a nude beach, but today, that only makes up a small corner of the beach (the north side if you’re curious). Located beneath a glider port in Torrey Pines Mesa, Blacks beach is a popular destination for surfing, paragliding, and sunbathing… with or without your suit. If you’re there for the surf, be prepared for some of the best, but biggest waves in San Diego. The steep hike is well worth it, and also makes for an energizing workout!
Photo by Henry Head
Looking for more inspiration for your Orli itinerary? Discover 8 places to experience La Jolla’s vibrant art and culture. Or, be our guest and find your room.
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