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La Jolla Cove

For thousands of years, back to the time of the Indian nomads, man has walked along the shores of La Jolla. He has gathered from the sea, played in the surf, fished from the shore and watched the sun set in the far west. Surrounded by the brooding "Alligator Head" (a rock arch formation), the ocean and the sandy terraces covered with tide pools, the La Jolla Cove is this area's most historic spot. Being identified as a park in the 1887 protected the land around the Cove; it was then that this location was appropriately called "La Jolla Park." On October 18, 1927, it was dedicated as the Ellen Browning Scripps Park in recognition of Miss Scripps' 91st birthday and for her many contributions to La Jolla.

There is an abundance of marine life at the Cove, mostly because it is part of the La Jolla Park Ecological Reserve. Hunting of any kind is not permitted. The marine biodiversity is partially sustained by the nutrient-rich water, which is the result of upwelling from the nearby La Jolla Submarine Canyons. A number of harbor seals frequent the area and will occasionally join you on your dive, swim or snorkel. Sometimes the seals will come in close to take a peek at you, other times they just zoom by you, seemingly to prove who the better swimmer is.  La Jolla cove is filled with feathery strands of kelp, grasses, and anemones. There are octopi and lobster and powder blue sea stars, eels, and bat rays. Brilliantly colored garibaldi, sheephead, and schools of blacksmith frequent this area as well. It is another world, timeless, quiet, fragile, and beautiful.

The San Diego City Council recognized this significant natural resource in 1970 when six thousand submerged acres were declared an underwater park. A year later, 514 of these acres were included in a "look but don't touch" ecological reserve. No fishing or collecting of marine invertebrates, (even taking dead specimens or seashells) is allowed. All sea animals in this area are protected by law. Because the water is protected, surfboards, boogie boards and other floatation devices are not permitted and this rule is carefully enforced by the lifeguards. 

Just a short swim away to the right on the coast is "Sunny Jim Cave." The only cave of the seven La Jolla Caves that is also accessible from a nearby store, which charges a nominal fee to go down a staircase leading to the cave. There are 145 steps that take you down a steep descent onto a wooden platform that may be wet due to high surf. It was named by Frank Baum who wrote Wizard of Oz.  From inside looking out the opening resembles the character Sunny Jim, mascot for British Force Wheat cereal in the 1920’s. The cave was carved by over 200,000 years of ocean waves.  It took two years to carve the tunnel from the street to the deck. The man made tunnel was completed in 1903.

You can take some amazing pictures around the Cove. Because of its extraordinary beauty, La Jolla Cove is one of the most photographed beaches in Southern California.

The La Jolla Cove is home to the annual La Jolla Cove Rough Water swim. This is one of the oldest ocean swims in the world.

La Jolla Cove has some of the clearest water of all San Diego beaches. You will find it ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling. The gentle lapping waves of La Jolla Cove also make for an enjoyable day of sunbathing, picnicking, or reading a book.