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Getaway Guide: La Jolla

Getaway Guide: La Jolla

By California.com
January 07, 2021

As California mitigates health risks during the COVID-19 pandemic, some travel restrictions may remain in certain communities. Call the local and regional tourism offices to learn more about the restrictions in your intended destination. Thank you for reading, and stay safe. 

Dramatic ocean bluffs, heavenly beaches, and fantastic fine-dining spots—no wonder La Jolla is known as the jewel of San Diego. Dotted with luxury hotels and posh boutiques, the seaside village is the ultimate coastal retreat for any occasion. There are countless must-see attractions and things to do in La Jolla; one trip just doesn’t do it justice. 

Thanks to the plethora of outdoor activities, visitors have more than enough choices to keep them entertained. Surfing, stand-up paddleboarding, and snorkeling are only a few of the many opportunities available for those looking to splash around in San Diego. So, if you’re looking to start planning your next getaway, here’s how to spend a weekend in the stunning town of La Jolla. 

Day 1

La Jolla is known as the crown jewel of San Diego, and for good reason. This coastal enclave is where natural beauty and upscale amenities meet.

Arriving

The seaside enclave of La Jolla, California, is a coastal paradise. As you cruise along the highway past Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, you’ll spot the glimmering ocean waters and immediately understand why La Jolla is a coveted San Diego destination—incredible coastal views, renowned golf courses, gourmet restaurants, and high-end shopping destinations await; you’ll never want to leave this place. 

The first thing to do upon reaching La Jolla, San Diego, is to check in to the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines Hotel. Here, you’ll enjoy the ultimate stay—you’re right next to the iconic Torrey Pines Golf Course, fewer than five miles away from Torrey Pines State Beach, and within walking distance of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The hotel itself has tennis courts and an outdoor pool that’ll make you crave a staycation, but La Jolla beckons to be discovered. 

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So, once you’ve settled in, grab a bite and fuel up for your La Jolla adventures. The perfect place to enjoy the best of both worlds—delicious food and scenic views—is Brockton Villa Restaurant. The oceanfront eatery features magnificent views of La Jolla Cove and is one of the best brunch spots in San Diego

Marvel at the magnificent views of La Jolla Cove while savoring a delicious meal at Brockton Villa Restaurant.

Afternoon

Since you’re already next to a picturesque La Jolla beach, you may as well take a dip in the water. La Jolla Cove is one of the most photographed places in SoCal and one of the best winter beaches in the state—the warm sands and turquoise waters complement the California sea lions resting by the ocean bluffs. Since the dog-friendly beach lies within the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park, you’ll find plenty of snorkelers and scuba divers exploring marine life.

Next up on your itinerary is a visit to La Jolla Shores Beach. The gentle, slow-moving waves here make it the perfect San Diego surf destination for beginners. Adding to the magical nature of La Jolla Shores is its bioluminescence—if you come at nighttime, you just might catch a glimpse of the blue glow lighting up the waters. 

Ready to hit the beach? Head to the stunning La Jolla Shores and ride the gentle waves.

Once you’ve gotten your daily dose of ocean water, switch things up and spend the rest of your afternoon hiking around Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. As the name suggests, this  2,000-acre coastal state park is home to the famed Torrey pines and some of the best hiking trails in San Diego. Recharge your soul as you discover the seaside community’s natural wonders on foot and breathe in the crisp coastal air. 

Evening

It’s dinner time—Duke’s La Jolla, a Hawaiian-inspired restaurant with spectacular ocean panoramas, is your go-to spot for a seaside dining experience. The sautéed macadamia nut- and herb-crusted fish is to die for, especially with a side of panko-crusted calamari. Aside from delectable seafood, Duke’s La Jolla also has a collection of historically significant surfboards on display that makes your experience even more memorable. 

As the day comes to an end, head back to your La Jolla hotel for a good night’s sleep—exciting adventures await tomorrow.  

Day 2

Fuel up for the day with some satisfying grub from Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, in La Jolla Village. Photo courtesy of Snooze, an A.M. Eatery.

Morning

You’ll never get tired of waking up to views of the Pacific Ocean and Torrey Pines Golf Course. Although it’s quite understandable why you wouldn’t want to leave your bed, a dip in the pool just might motivate you. Reinvigorate your body and relax by the outdoor pool first thing in the morning, and you’ll feel prepared to take on the day. 

Begin your explorations at La Jolla Village. Both a residential and business neighborhood, La Jolla Village is home to countless restaurants to satiate your appetite. Snooze, an A.M. Eatery is a top choice. Providing an eclectic and energetic atmosphere with friendly service, the restaurant uses local and organic ingredients to craft delicious fare with creative twists. From the chile verde eggs Benedict to the pineapple upside-down pancakes, you’ll find something to love here. 

When exploring La Jolla, keep an eye out for the colorful murals adorning the buildings. Photo courtesy of Murals of La Jolla.

Walk off your breakfast by window shopping; the hottest shopping spots in the San Diego coastal community are located in La Jolla Village. Then, take a stroll through the downtown area and discover splashes of vibrant colors—the iconic Murals of La Jolla. Conceived in 2010 to enhance the civic character of the coastal community, these murals bring a revived energy and vitality to La Jolla. There are over a dozen murals adorning the buildings and contributing beauty to the area. Feast your eyes on the artwork by taking a self-guided walking tour. 

Afternoon

The afternoon is the perfect time to hit the beach. This time, you’re going to Windansea Beach, one of the best beaches in San Diego. A shortened version of “wind and sea,” the beach is an awesome California surf spot for surfers of all skill levels. If riding the waves isn’t your cup of tea, swim in the waters and keep an eye out for whales if you’re visiting during their migration period. Windansea Beach is located in Bird Rock, a seaside neighborhood of La Jolla with hidden ocean lookout points, so spend some time exploring the area.

Spend some time at Windansea Beach to soak in the beautiful scenery and watch the surf breaks.

All of these trips to the beach call for a visit to La Jolla’s aquarium: Birch Aquarium at Scripps, which is home to over 3,000 animals representing 380 species—each more exotic than the other. The largest habitat here is the kelp forest tank (this can also be viewed live online through the Kelp Cam). Tide Pool Plaza is another visitor favorite; featuring three living tide pools, the exhibit offers up-close views of hermit crabs, sea cucumbers, lobsters, and starfish. 

Evening

Entice your taste buds at The Promiscuous Fork, a fun-filled foodie joint with an innovative menu. Here, you’ll find delicious meals highlighting a variety of flavors—Hawaiian, Mexican, Southwestern, and smokehouse BBQ. The dishes may sound familiar, but they’re anything but basic. (You can’t go wrong with the blackened salmon tacos, the Notorious P.I.G. sandwich, or the award-winning lamb “lollipops”.)

As the sun sets on your La Jolla getaway, make sure to visit Scripps Pier for the ultimate golden hour.

The highlight of your La Jolla getaway was visiting the pristine beaches, so it’s only natural to it in the same manner. Scripps Beach is the ultimate spot to watch the sunset and end your trip with a bang. While you take pictures of Scripps Pier radiating in the golden hour colors, a clear thought will come to your mind—you’re definitely planning another escape to La Jolla.  

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