Photos by Joanne DiBona Courtesy of San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau
La Jolla Shores draws families to its gentle, sandy beaches near Scripps Pier, where kids love to build sand castles.
By Richard Irwin, Travel Editor
La Jolla is an affluent seaside town that features world-class restaurants, luxury homes and upscale shopping. But I like La Jolla for its beaches, which vary dramatically from one end of town to the other.
The northern beaches are shored up by 300-foot-high cliffs. La Jolla Shores is a beautiful mile-long beach that’s great for families.
Looking like a Mediterranean beach, The Cove is one of San Diego’s most sheltered swimming spots, while the reefs south of there are some of the most exposed.
I like La Jolla Shores. Adjacent to the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Ecological Reserve, this beach usually offers the gentlest waves in the summer.
The north end is marked by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. While its landmark pier isn’t open to the public, the area is a haven for intermediate surfers and bodyboarders.
Families flock to this wide sandy beach. By day, the main beach is a busy swimming area popular among families, who set up elaborate base camps in Kellogg Park behind the main lifeguard tower. This grassy area is perfect for picnics.
A permanent lifeguard station is next to the main parking lot at the foot of Calle Frescota. This station is usually manned from 9 a.m. to dusk daily.
From there, it’s only a short walk across the beach to the shallow water, where children love to boogie board. This beach is especially lovely at night, when the glow of bonfires lights the family gatherings.
If you bring your boat, small boats can be launched from the end of Avenida De La Playa. However, four-wheel-drive is recommended for the unimproved boat launch across the sand.
A couple blocks away are shops where you can rent a kayak or fill your scuba tank.
La Jolla Shores serves as the gateway to the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park. This marine park is 10 miles longs and three miles wide.
It’s a diver’s paradise, so dozens of divers can be usually found prepping their gear. The area just offshore is flat and sandy. But farther out are the dark blue depths of the La Jolla Submarine Canyon that drops to 900 feet.
Diving is also very popular in the southern end of the Shores. Protected by La Jolla Bay, this area is used by many beginners learning to scuba dive.
Harmless Leopard Sharks often gather here, offering an exciting adventure for both divers and snorkelers.
The nearby cliffs are dotted with sea caves, which attract adventurous kayakers paddling over from the beach.
The annual La Jolla Rough Water Swim is held off the La Jolla Shores. The largest rough water swim in the United States, this premier event attracts more than 2,000 swimmers. The next swim will be held on Sept. 13.
The La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club occupies the south end of the beach. While this club is private property, the beach is public.
The club is a great place to take the family for a vacation. I like it because it’s spread over beautiful landscaped grounds.
The club offers a wide range of accommodations, ranging from hotel-style rooms to spacious one-, two- and three-bedroom suites complete with a living room and full kitchen. It has a total of 98 guest rooms, including 59 oceanfront rooms or suites.
In addition there are 12 lighted championship tennis courts. The tennis club provides a free tennis matching service and unlimited court time.
Guests may also enjoy the heated swimming pool and par-3, nine-hole golf course. The club has a fitness center for adults.
But one of the best features is the private beach area. Families can have beach barbecues right on the sand. Or just lay out in the sun and watch the kids frolic in the gentle surf.
Room rates begin around $200 for a standard room, including breakfast for two. They rise from around $300 for a standard one-bedroom suite to $600 for a two-bedroom suite right on the beach.
La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club is at 2000 Spindrift Drive. For more information, call (858) 454-7126 or check its Web site at www.ljbtc.com.
(626)962-8811, Ext. 2801