NOTES: North of San Diego and Pacific Beach, the snorkeling at the La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve is known for its diverse marine life and sea caves. Most snorkelers will start at La Jolla Cove where water visibility is usually about 15 feet, but can sometimes exceed 30 feet (which still isn't that great). Outside of the cove, the water is known to have strong currents, so make sure to check with the onsite life guards. Snorkeling north from La Jolla Cove, there are sea caves that consist of eight caverns. The water around the sea caves is known for surges, so use caution. Snorkeling south from La Jolla Cove, a half mile away is seal rock where you will find kelp forests with harbor seals and sea lions. When snorkeling near kelp forests, use caution not to become entangled in the kelp.
While the orange garibaldi fish is a popular sight during La Jolla snorkeling, keep in mind that during the summer the harmless leopard sharks migrate into the area to breed and give birth, along with occasional stingrays.
The waters around La Jolla Cove are known to be quite cold, even in summer. So, unless you are a local who is accustomed to the cold water, you may prefer to use a wet suit while snorkeling here, which is available from nearby rental shops.
To reach the La Jolla Cove snorkeling off Ellen Browning Scripps Park from San Diego or Los Angeles, follow US5 to the La Jolla Parkway Exit. Head west on La Jolla Parkway, which becomes Torrey Pines Road, to the coastline. Turn right on Prospect Place. Turn right on Coast Boulevard and park along the road just north of Ellen Browning Scripps Park, which is the entrance down to La Jolla Cove. There is metered and some free street parking available. There are restrooms and showers located at the park above the cove.
Additional printed reading material on La Jolla Cove snorkeling
can be found in Snorkeling Southern California from Lonely Planet.