Discovering La Jolla | What to See & Do
Before visiting San Diego, it was always at the top of my list on places to go in the States—beach, desert, beaches and sunshine are just a few of the elements that made me incredibly curious. In May, I had the pleasure of visiting San Diego and the surrounding area of La Jolla to experience Southern California at its best. Read on to discover our guide to La Jolla, the laidback beach town just north of the city.
Be sure to read our guide to ‘The Perfect Day in La Jolla’ in the newest edition of ROSE & IVY including where to eat, including mouthwatering places for Mexican food.
The Sea Life
It isn’t very often that you can get this up close and personal with marine life, but at La Jolla Cove you can do just that. Seals and sea lions bask lazily on the sand or rock formations that line the Pacific. I found it endlessly amusing to watch these gentle creatures—they all seemed to have their own personalities from the pups that were trying to find their way to the older ones that didn’t want to be bothered by the commotion. There were some tender moments that I was able to capture including the baby seal that looked directly at me while it scooted around its sleeping crew and further down on the rocks, a mother and pup sea lion shared affection. Either they were swimming or tangled upon each other as they slept, these sea creatures are just another reason we need to make sure that are oceans are taken care of now and for our future.
La Jolla Cove
In addition to sea lion and seals, La Jolla cove is a great spot to walk along the water’s edge, have a picnic or catch the sunset, while underwater, it is great for swimming and snorkeling. There are a few hotels and restaurants on Coast Boulevard, the main street that hugs the coast including George’s at the Cove and La Jolla Cove Hotel & Suites.
Torrey Pines Reserve
One of my favorite parts about San Diego is the easy access to nature, including the ocean and the dessert. Torrey Pines Nature Reserve is a must when visiting. Here you will find breathing landscape and a series of scenic sandy trails meanders through the hills overlooking the Pacific. Many of the paths are canopied or flanked by the endangered Torrey Pine, which is native only to this region. This majestic tree is characterized by its long needles and extra-large pine cones. Visitors to the reserve will find themselves surrounded by a profusion of native plants, including flowering cactus, assorted varieties of wildflowers and palm trees, which provide a colorful contrast to the carved, sepia-toned rock formations that resemble a network of veins pulsing through the landscape. There are a handful of paths that trace around the edges of the cliffs, offering stunning ocean vistas as you make your way down to the sandy beach below—depending on your love of nature and hiking, you could end up spending a good amount of time just exploring this breathtaking terrain.
The murals of La Jolla add a colorful backdrop to buildings in the quaint downtown area of the town. Painted by various artists and scattered throughout the area, these large scale artworks are on display for two months at a time. One of my favorite things about traveling is wandering and discovering places that are in short awesome. This was the case with colorful the Parakeet Café, a cafe that serves coffee along with healthy options like grain bowls and hearty salads throughout the day, all in a tropical-themed environment with vibrant bird-patterned wallpaper. They also have a location in downtown San Diego.
where to stay - The lodge at Torrey pines
Cozy interiors, roaring fires, ocean views and, of course, the smell of pine are just a few of the reasons to book your stay at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. This five-star hotel, located next to the world-famous golf course of the same name, offers many places to unwind, including the botanical courtyard filled with wild grasses and native flowers, a hot tub and a pool that looks out across the putting green towards the ocean.The hotel also features two different restaurants—The Grill is a more low-key space offering simple dishes like eggs, sandwiches and salads, while A R Valentin serves more elaborate farm-to-table fare. For breakfast, we enjoyed some of the best lemon ricotta pancakes we’ve ever tasted, served with a side of raspberry sauce; for dinner, the homemade herb biscuits and fish are a delicious bet.
To slide into full vacation bliss, book a treatment at The Spa where they offer a diverse range of treatments for face and body. We recommend the 80-minute Torrey Pines Signature Massage—their therapists tailor the treatment to your specific needs, concentrating on any areas that need some extra TLC. Afterwards, step into the eucalyptus steam room for the perfect finishing touch.
Catch the Sunset
Since La Jolla is located on the Pacific, taking in an epic sunsets are yours for the taking. One spot to see nature on fire is Windansea, which is situated to the south of La Jolla Cove where these photogs were taken. It’s also a great spot to see surfers catching the waves as the sun fades away.
This trip was made possible by Visit San Diego | All photography by Alison Engstrom