La Jolla

It feels strange to still be posting about May’s road trip but I still have things I need to share. Our stop in La Jolla is one of those things. Before heading down into Southern California, we had made a handful of stops at the ocean. There were a few things I was really looking forward to seeing including sea lions, seals, and tide pools. The last time we drove a portion of the Pacific Coast Highway I fell in love with tidepooling. I’ve been impatient waiting for the day I’d get to do more of it.

Well, we just kept striking out. Let me take that back. We weren’t striking out. I was still very much enjoying the ocean but the stops we made weren’t the kind of place you could play around in tidepools. And the seals and sea lions? They just kept eluding me. In Monterey I could hear them but couldn’t seem to get close enough to see them. (I did eat my first fish taco on that pier though, aaaand that may have trumped sea lions.) With only a day left in our trip I had basically come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to get to explore tidepools or squeal over how cute seals and sea lions were.

san diego, california, seal, children's pool san diego, la jolla, children's pool

…Then we went to La Jolla. To say I loved La Jolla would be a massive understatement. Everytime I thought “holy cow, how could get this better?!” It would get better!

The thing that originally caught my attention was Children’s Pool Beach. I found it while searching online for locations that would basically guarentee me the opportunity to see seals and sea lions. We managed to find a parking spot super close by and almost immediately after shutting my door I could tell I was going to get my wish. I saw a crowd gathered and speed walked my way over to them.

SEALS! They were so cute! They’re just like lazy water dogs. I loved watching them wiggle around, and arch their backs tobrace for the waves. I didn’t realize how smelly seals would be but they were every bit as cute as I had thought they’d be.

I was super pleased after getting to watch all the seals. We still had a bit of time to waste before we were able to check in the hotel so we decided to keep wandering around. After a few minutes we stumbled upon an area where I could see that down below people were on a beach. It was a gorgeous day and I’m always down to dip my toes in the water so we headed down the stairs thinking it was just regular ole’ beach. I got to the bottom and realized that the only other people down there were staring at the rocky ground an awful lot. I casually wandered over their way and realized I’d get to explore tide pools after all!

I’m not super versed in tide pools. I’ve explored a few on both the west coast and the east coast but always have the worst luck. I’m really really great at finding dead things (which I’m not going to lie, is still interesting) This was easily my most successful attempt. I have never seen so many live crabs in my life. I was kicking myself for not bringing along my macro lens – not that that would have helped me since every time I spotted one I let out a little squeal of excitement which prompted them to scurry away.

la jolla, sea lion

When the tide started to come back in I figured it was time to move on. We continued walking along the path a little more and eventually found the motherlode! Sea lions galore! They were out on some cliffs that weren’t surrounded by fencing meaning you could literally go a close as you’d like. The 70-200mm lens really came in handy at this stop. I was able to keep a safe, respectable distance and still get awesome shots. It was SO awesome, and so incredibly smelly. It was really exciting to be able to see so many of them in their natural habitat.

I loved visiting San Diego so much that I’m sure eventually we’ll make our way back there and visit La Jolla again. I can’t wait!

Check out more of my road trip adventures under the ‘travel‘ tag.

Author: Kaylah Stroup

A collector of weird things. Plant Enthusiast. Wanderer. Beachcomber. Forever longing for the desert.

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  • They are soooo smelly. Haha! I think we only stayed around with them for about 5 minutes before we all decided the stink was just too much. Great pictures!!

  • Ahhhhhhh these seals are so cute! I’ve only seen them once in person but I freaked out as well. I see foreign tourists going crazy over squirrels sometimes in New York and I always think it’s silly but that’s probably how people who live in CA feel about seals. “Lazy water dogs” is the best description I’ve ever heard haha. Also this lens is incredible – definitely looks like it’s worth the $$$

    • Dude. Are you telling me you’re not crazy about squirrels?! I mean, we definitely have our fair share of squirrels in Ohio. There are always some outside of my window but I always freak out about squirrels in CA!

      …Then again, I freak out about every animal all the time.

  • Did you have any more absolute favorites in San Diego? I’m going at the end of this month, and La Jolla Children’s Pool was my first planned stop!

  • These photos are all so beautiful and this is exactly my kinda holiday! I actually went on a boat trip to Seal Island here in England last month to spot some grey seals, but we only ended up spotting four of the forty-five strong colony- which was still lovely cause they’re so damn cute. I would love to see a big group of them in the wild like this, though, and one day I’m gonna have to cross the pond to spot some wild sealions. I love that you can just find them hanging out on beaches in the US!

  • SO FUN! Rob and I went to the Giant’s Steps over July 4th and totally struck out tidepooling. I was really bummed but we still had fun running around on all the rocks. Maybe we’ll have to make our 3rd trip out west soon!

  • the only thing smeller then a group of alive sea lions, is a beached passed away one. It will clear an entire beach… I’m a local beach live-r and its basically something that will make you throw up the minute you get out of your car, sadly not kidding. the city has to be called right away.

  • Seals are so cute! I saw a baby seal in a zoo once and I almost cried at how cute it was, I can’t imagine seeing them in their natural habitat. Exploring those tidal pools sounds like a dream!!

  • My kind of trip!! I went to San Francisco with friends once and could’ve stayed at the pier for hours watching the seals. None of my friends would though. None.

    Great pictures, as always!!