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Days
<1
Motors Allowed?
Yes
Difficulty
Easy / Class A
Distance
?
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The coastline off of La Jolla is host to myriad species of wildlife, from large migrating sea mammals to small fish and a variety of seabirds. Even if the marine mammals are in hiding, the La Jolla Sea Caves and kelp forest offer year-round interest. Kayaking is one of the most accessible ways to get in the water and view some of this sea life. If you’ve rented a kayak from one of the local shops, your kayak will be waiting for you at the beach; simply walk down Avenida de la Playa to the beach. If you’re bringing your own, there is a beach entry and boat launch at the end of Avenida de la Playa. Vehicles are permitted on the beach for the purpose of unloading your kayak (or other equipment).

Buoys mark the areas within limits. To the west, the longest open water swimming lane in the United States forms the boundary. To the north sits Scripps Canyon and the San Diego–La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Preserve. But for kayakers, the real draw is La Jolla Bay, with Leopard Shark City, Pipefish Patch, Sand Dollar Beds, a kelp forest, and the popular La Jolla Sea Caves. Sea lions and seals congregate along the caves, but they are more likely to be laying around out of the water during pupping season in spring. Migrating gray whales head north in spring and south in winter, and common dolphins may be seen year round. Pipefish and Garibaldi are frequent sights closer to the beach and in the kelp forest. Cormorants and pelicans gather on the cliffs above the caves and may soar right in front of you.

Note: Waves approaching the caves can be unpredictable, so keep a safe distance or go with a tour group, especially if you are an inexperienced kayaker.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Kelp forest. Great wildlife. Family friendly.

Cons

None.

Features

Fishing
Bird watching
Wildlife
Wildlife

Site characteristics: Water

Ocean

Portage required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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