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La Jolla Shores Coastline
  • Waves breaking on the La Jolla Shores coast during sunset
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Looking for new experiences but don't want to travel far?

Living in Southern California, we often take for granted that we spend our day to day in a region that the rest of the world sometimes only dreams of visiting. La Jolla is the epitome of that traveler's dream, a beautiful coastal area with warm sunny beaches and lots to explore. And, with a central location, a 30 minute drive from most places in San Diego, 1 hour from Temecula, and 2 hours from Los Angeles -- it's EASY to make a trip to La Jolla your family's reality.

If you think you've seen all La Jolla has to offer -- think again! The Jewel City has lots of hidden gems, just waiting to be uncovered. Take some time with the family to explore these little known treasures, as La Jolla Shores Hotel hosts an exciting family vacation, right in your own backyard!
  • Check out this guide to some of La Jolla's best kept secrets and fun family adventures.

  • Swimmers, Sunbathers, and Kayks on the La Jolla Shores Beach
    La Jolla Shores Beach
    We live about 20 minutes away from the La Jolla Shores Hotel and the beach here, but we stay here often as a staycation because the hotel is nice and quiet and overlooks the beach at La Jolla Shores. It's like being in Hawaii without having to take a plane there…
    - TJ F.
  • 1 Find Dr. Seuss All Around

    Did you know that Theodore Geisel, the man families all over the world know as Dr. Seuss, lived in La Jolla for almost 50 years? Many of his much-beloved books include elements from our city that are still present here today. Discover them all on a Dr. Seuss scavenger hunt, sure to be filled with wonderful childhood memories!
  • Dr. Seuss' Original Artwork

    Complete the scavenger hunt with a trip to the Legends Gallery, which showcases some of Dr. Seuss' original artwork. Enjoy the beautiful drawings that initially captured your family's imagination. You can even read up on the history of his stories and how he found his inspiration from La Jolla!
  • The bright orange Garibaldi swim in the Ocean right off La Jolla Shores

    One Fish, Two Fish

    The bright orange fish seen in countless Dr. Seuss books, including ‘The Cat in the Hat,' was inspired by none other than the Garibaldi, the official marine state fish of California, most commonly found off La Jolla Shores. Just south of The Marine Room restaurant, the underwater ecological reserve draws these brightly colored Garibaldi fish, along with other exciting ocean wildlife, like sea lions and dolphins. In summer months, friendly leopard sharks can skim the ocean floor and can often been seen from waist-deep water. This is an excellent place for families to snorkel and kayak to easily experience the wonderful sea life of Dr. Seuss' world.
  • 2 Take a Ride on the Secret Swings

    What's better than the feeling of joy when you swing at the park? How about swinging on ‘secret swings,' hidden in the La Jolla hillside! What makes them such a secret? Handmade by local residents, the swings' exact locations change often -- so finding them is half the fun! What doesn't change? The spectacular view of the ocean as you fly (safely) through the air!

    How To Find Them

    The swings are all located above Scripps Pier off of Expedition Way. Check out #lajollasecretswings on Instagram before you go for clues to the most recent locations.
  • View from the hills above La Jolla Shores reveal the La Jolla Shores Hotel and waves crashing on the beach up and down the coastline
    Overlooking the La Jolla Shores Hotel and Beach
    "This isn't a crazy adventure by any means...it's super simple and yet that's what makes it so cool. A beautiful view and a cool swing, what else do you need..."
    Grant N.
  • 3 Taste the Creations of a Food Network Star

    That’s right! Food Network’s Holiday Baking Champion, Maeve Rochford, is a local San Diegan with a bakery right in the La Jolla Village! Sugar and Scribe cooks up fresh goods daily, so you can start your adventure with a delicious breakfast pastry or cap your day of exploring with a treat. From mouthwatering breads to sweet cookies and cupcakes, there’s something to please everyone in the family. For added fun you can read all about her experience and bakes on the Holiday Baking Championship and see if you can taste what made her the winner!
  • A display and Sugar&Scribe bakery of candy and cookie decorations arranged by color to form a rainbow
    Rainbow of Decoration
    The view inside Sugar&Scribe Bakery of the display case and counter full of pastries, a wall of candy decorations, and the register with a bakery employee
    The counter at Sugar&Scribe Bakery
    A table at Sugar&Scribe with their Shephard's Pie in a cast iron skillet with a fork and knife crossed next to it
    Sugar&Scribe Shephard's Pie
  • 4 Hike La Jolla Heights Open Space

    The La Jolla Heights Open Space hike is a well-kept secret that’s the perfect adventure for any nature lover. Just above the La Jolla Village is the entrance to a hidden trail, with a combination of local plant and wildlife and spectacular views from the Pacific Ocean all the way to Mexico that are definitely worth discovering! The hike is roughly 1.3 miles in distance and takes about 1 hour to complete - including stops for family photos. Wear your tennis/running/hiking shoes - the hike follows a dirt path and parts go up-hill. Dogs are allowed on leash. Don’t forget to bring lots of water and sunscreen for the whole family, especially when the weather is hot!

    How To Find It

    From The Village drive up Exchange Place to where it meets Soledad Avenue. Parking may be best around these streets or on side streets Virginia Way or Olivet Street. Continue on foot onto Soledad Avenue and go right onto Al Bahr Drive. Continue on Al Bahr under the bridge; the trail begins at the farthest end of the street loop, marked by a brown trailhead sign.
  • "...it was magical. Great place for a stroll, some hiking, and the views are absolutely stunning - especially on a nice sunny day with clear skies..."
    - Yonnie C.
    Read the Full Review on Yelp
  • 5 The Map and Atlas Museum

    One of La Jolla’s least known museums, this FREE exhibit displays a vast collection of antique maps and atlases of all types, from the stars and sea to the local SoCal region you call home. Take your family on a discovery of our world, historic and present, through these works of cartography and learn the history of exploration from the people who ventured into the unknown to document it. The museum even boasts kid-friendly activities to engage your young adventurers in the world of maps around them.

    How To Find It

    The Map and Atlas Museum is located on the bottom floor of the Merrill Lynch building at 7825 Fay Ave and open on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month.
  • Glass display cases filled with old atlases in front of old maps hung on all the walls
    The Map and Atlas Museum
    "If you or your children are interested in geography, history and interesting stories, you must take advantage of this small gem of a museum...The curator was clearly knowledgable and happy to give tips and point out some of the more unique items, like ancient maps showing California as an island!"
    -Julie J.
    Read the Full Review on TripAdvisor
  • 6 Ditch the Museums, Discover Fun Art Hidden In Plain Sight

  • Murals of La Jolla

    Murals of La Jolla

    Commissioned by the Athenaeum and the La Jolla Community Foundation, Murals of La Jolla is an outdoor art exhibit that can be visited at any time, just by walking the streets of the city. Vibrant, colorful, and unique to La Jolla, these murals are painted on private buildings, so they have a semi-permanent position in the village. The collection currently include pieces from over 20 artists, with a variety of themes, styles, and sizes -- perfect for discussing and comparing what each member of the family likes about art.
  • How To Find Them

    Head to the Murals of La Jolla website for a full list of artist and a map of each mural’s location.
  • The Stuart Collection

    Another fun and thought provoking public art display can be discovered hidden throughout the UC San Diego campus. Since 1983, the Stuart Collection has been adding sculpture of various shapes and styles around the campus. The result is a mixture of 19 pieces big and small, that vary from standing in plain sight to being hidden in the corners or campus, or even integrated into and on top of the buildings where classes take place. Family favorites include ‘Bear,' an enormous sculpture of a teddy bear made from 8 giant boulders, and Fallen Star, a tiny house ‘dropped from the sky' onto the top of a much larger building. You can even explore the inside of this crooked home on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11am-2pm.
  • How To Find Them

    Take your family on a scavenger hunt to see how many you can spot or download the map to guide you from piece to piece.
  • 7 Rock Out at the Green Flash Concert Series

    The Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography is well-known filled for its kid-friendly ocean exploration.
    But, less known, is the fun the adults can have when the sun goes down! From May through September, the Aquarium hosts the Green Flash Concert Series where the 21 and up crowd can rock out to live music with summer sunsets over the Pacific as the backdrop. You may even see the elusive green flash during one of the sunsets!
  • A nighttime view of the crowd at a Green Flash concert, watching the band play, as the last of the sun dissapears behind the ocean
    Green Flash Concert Series
    View from behind the band at a Green Flash Concert, looking out on the audience and the ocean and coastline behind them
    The Bands of Green Flash Concerts
    The view from above of the crowd at a Green Flash concert with the ocean and the sun setting in the background
    Sunset on a Green Flash Concert
  • 8 Eat Dinner Above the Waves

    Why settle for dinner with a standard ocean view, when you can experience award-winning cuisine as you delight in the the ocean waves splashing right in front of you. From May to September you can treat all your senses with a High Tide Dinner at The Marine Room. Here culinary artist, Chef de Cuisine Mike Minor, use fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients to create world-class dishes. Paired with the thrill of being ‘eye-level' with the surf and a picturesque sunset creates a dining experience unlike any other.
  • Empty tables set up for dinner with a view out the window onto the setting sun over the waves
    Inside the Marine Room
    A crowd of diners fill the tables of the Marine Room with a view of the surf crashing from the windows
    Dinner at the Marine Room
    View of the waves crashing against the windows of the Marine Room
    High Tide on the Marine Room
  • 9 Run with the Grunions at Night

    Catching these small silvery fish as they come on shore to spawn is a classic Southern California experience for the entire family. The Birch Aquarium hosts Grunion Run events during the spring and summer for ages 6+. Kids learn about the fish as they wash in with the waves. It runs from 11pm-1am and if your kids can stay awake, it will be something they won’t soon forget. Dress warm and bring a flashlight!
  • You Don't Need to Go Far to Get Away

    When you're done exploring all La Jolla has to offer, let the fun and relaxation continue with a stay at La Jolla Shores Hotel. Creating a memorable family vacation is a breeze thanks to the helpful staff, kid-friendly activities, and close proximity to everything your family needs for relaxation, fun, and exploring the city's best kept secrets. Our hotel's location and accommodations make it easy for southern California families to sneak in a weekend getaway with comfort and ease.
    Just because you're a local doesn't mean you can't indulge right at home. Upon arrival, you'll feel a million miles away as you sink your feet into the warm sand and watch your kids play on the beach or delight in water activities right off the coast of the hotel!

    La Jolla offers so many unique experiences, it's easy to turn your weekend getaway into something memorable and special for your family. This summer, when it starts to heat up, put the kids in the car and escape to ocean breezes, sparkling shores, and new experiences at the La Jolla Shores Hotel.
  • View of the pool area and courtyard of the La Jolla Shores Hotel with the setting sun, ocean, and palm trees in the background
    Pool and Outdoor Courtyard of La Jolla Shores Hotel
    "We were looking for a romantic getaway. We wanted to get away from our own places and have a good time in our own backyard. It was perfect…"
    - John Darrell L
  • For the kids:

    • Complimentary rollaway beds and cribs for kids of all ages
    • 100% smoke-free environment allows kids to safely inhale ocean breezes.
    • A heated children’s wading pool for the little ones to splash around in.
    • Access to tennis pros at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club.

    For the parents:

    • Spectacular on-site dining and happy hour with ocean views.
    • In-room massages to pamper sore feet and melt your stress away.
    • Complimentary beach chair, towel and umbrella set-up on the sand. (No need to bring the wagon full of beach gear, we’ve got you covered).
    • Delicious food and refreshing beverages served while you relax in the sand.
    • Rooms available with kitchenettes for easy meal prep, snacks and beverages.
    • Souvenir shops, ice cream and restaurants just a short walk from the hotel.
  • Kids in summer clothes standing on the beach outside La Jolla Shores Hotel, looking at the ocean
    Kids at La Jolla Shores Hotel Beach
    Flowers in front of the Pool Area and Outdoor Courtyard in the foreground with balconies from the surrounding La Jolla Shores Hotel in the background.
    La Jolla Shores Hotel
    La Jolla Shores Hotel's beachchairs set up on the beach with a sun umbrella
    Beachchairs at La Jolla Shores Hotel