What to Know Before You Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving in La Jolla
Fun fact: I got certified for scuba diving in La Jolla, and whether snorkeling in La Jolla or scuba diving in La Jolla, there is an underwater adventure to be had. La Jolla is home to a number of sea mammals and creatures, making it one of the best — if not the best — places in San Diego for snorkeling and diving.
Where to Go Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in La Jolla
La Jolla Cove
The most popular place to go snorkeling and scuba diving in La Jolla is the La Jolla Cove, which is a must-see attraction in San Diego and is also brimming with sea life. On the end of the Cove, you’ll find the La Jolla Children’s Pool beach, where there are tons of sea lions just hanging out. Don’t go snorkeling or scuba diving right by that beach as you should give the animals space, but it’s common to see one swimming around over in the area of the cove off of Scripps Park.
This is also where you’ll find steps going down to the water. For scuba diving excursions, you’ll meet on the grassy area at the top of the stairs typically, and then gear up and go down the stairs. Since it’s a walk-in diving excursion, be prepared for some physical exertion as you have to navigate steep stairs going down and back up with a heavy tank on your back. The good news is that once you’re down there, you don’t have to swim out too far before making your descent. You’ll actually want to stay fairly close to the walls of the cove in order to see the many creatures that make their home in the crevices and cracks of the underwater wall.
Underwater Park/Ecological Reserve
The shores of La Jolla is home to an underwater park that begins at Scripps Park on the northern tip of La Jolla Cove and stretches along La Jolla Shores beach and up to Torrey Pines. The Ecological Reserve covers 6,000 water-filled acres.
The Ecological Reserve includes rocky reefs near where the sea caves and cove are, then transitions into sand flats near La Jolla Shores before you come to a thick kelp forest. On the northern part of the Ecological Reserve is a submarine canyon you can explore.
La Jolla Shores
Another notable place to do some scuba diving in San Diego is La Jolla Shores — the sand flats part of the Ecological Reserve, located north of La Jolla Cove. La Jolla Shores isn’t quite as exciting from a wildlife perspective, but it’s a great place for beginner scuba divers to get comfortable working on buoyancy, safety stops, and other important scuba diving skills.
La Jolla Shores is also an easy place for kids to get acquainted with snorkeling since they can stay in shallow water and take lots of breaks on the sand.
What You Might See When Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in the La Jolla
Leopard Sharks, sea lions, seals, octopus, jellyfish, crab, spiny lobster, sea anemones, sea stars, and even dolphins if you’re lucky!