Top 5 Places to Snorkel in San Diego
At the right time and place, snorkeling can transport you to another planet. From lush seagrass to strawberry-colored bat stars to colorful pastel fish coasting seamlessly with the current, life under the sea can truly be a fantastic getaway for anyone eager to explore this aquatic world. What’s more, many San Diego visitors surprisingly don’t add snorkeling to the top of their to-do list. However, our vibrant plant and animal life will surprise even the most seasoned snorkelers. Here’s a list of the top places to snorkel in the paradise we call home and hope you get a chance to experience our backyard for yourself.
#5 - Sea Lion Cave and Devil’s Slide
The Sea Lion Cave and Devil’s Slide is just to the north of La Jolla. You will find clear blue waters saturated with life. Thanks to the La Jolla landscape, massive rock outcroppings lie submerged in 15 to 20 feet of water (tide dependent) a little less than 25 yards out. Sightings of bat rays, shovelnose guitarfish and tons of tiny lobsters are not unusual. You will also get a chance to swim with some leopard and horn sharks, though not to worry, they are relatively harmless. Just as the name implies, there is sea lions as well as harbor seals. However, be aware that to get the most of the experience there is a long swim.
#4 - Snorkel in La Jolla Shores
Keep going north past the peninsula, and you will reach La Jolla Shores, a quiet community with great underwater views just south of the Marine Room Restaurant and north of Scripps Pier. La Jolla Shores is a sand-bottom beach, so typical dwellers like halibut and flounder rule to roost in these parts. You will also encounter stingrays and yards upon yards of sand dollars. Be careful, however. You can snorkel here, but this area is an ecological preserve, so be sure to look and not touch to take. What makes La Jolla Shores a perfect place to bring family is that you can see wildlife as well as have a relaxing afternoon at the beach.
#3 - Boomers and Shell Beach
Heading south from La Jolla you will run into Boomer Beach and Shell Beach. These alcove-type beaches feature big bottom rocks with eelgrass and an abundance of California’s state fish: the orange Garibaldi. Boomers and Shell Beach are typically less crowded than other beaches, mostly due to the high tides and surf. Therefore, it is recommended only for advanced swimmers and divers.
#2 - Mission Bay
High surf and high tides not your cup of tea? Check out one of San Diego’s most underrated places to snorkel: Mission Point Beach (located at the south end of Mission Blvd). The snorkeling here is fantastic, and safe, with no surf and little tidal surge which means that it can be a place for the whole family. It is a shallow and quiet cove that features copious amounts of Garibaldi fish and coral plants. You may also come across some octopuses, sea cucumbers, spiny lobsters, and kelp bass. Check out the rock jetty too for some other vibrant life.
#1 - La Jolla Cove
Of course, we saved the best for last. Here, in the La Jolla Cove, you will find some of the best snorkeling in the world. It is part of the 6,000-acre La Jolla Underwater Park and Ecological Reserve that stretches to the Torrey Pines State Reserve. Millions of years of erosion have left La Jolla Cove with underwater caves and canyons that house massive underwater kelp forests, sandy plains and a fantastic variety of sea life. Check it out on a day with little surf, swim out 20 yards to see the remarkable animal life: sea lions, fish, lobster, and even sheep crab that get up to 2 feet diameter!
The Final Verdict
Anxious to get out there yourself but wondering where to begin? Surf You To The Moon is happy to offer a local experience for you and your group to enjoy. We’ll provide you with all the gear and knowledge you need to snorkel La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Shores and Mission Bay, in true San Diego fashion. Book your tour now!
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