La Jolla Children’s Pool

Where can you see seals, whales, pelicans, and people all from one spot? The La Jolla Children’s Pool.

Situated along the rocky La Jolla coast—arguably the most scenic part of the San Diego coastline—is a small, sandy beach protected by a sea wall built in 1932 known as the Children’s Pool. The curved sea wall was built to provide a sheltered space along the ocean for children to go swimming without having to worry about the surf on the opposite side of the wall.

The beach is better known today as a pupping ground for the local harbor seal population, and the pupping season runs 15 December through 15 May. During the season, the beach itself is off-limits to humans, but you’re able to get close and have a great view from the elevated sidewalks surrounding the beach. The seals have grown accustomed to humans being around, but please remember that it is against federal law to approach marine mammals and you can be fined if you do so.

It is possible to go swimming in the area both outside the Children’s Pool and inside it once pupping season is over. A lifeguard station is right at the pool. (Seals don’t use a calendar, and it is possible that seals and humans are competing for the same beach real estate outside of pupping season.)

From December through February, Pacific gray whales migrate along the San Diego coast—so closely that you can see their spouts and occasional tail fluke with the naked eye. Look for the white spray of their spouts against the deep blue waters of the Pacific (see an example in the gallery below). Bringing a pair of binoculars along would certainly enhance the experience. Binoculars would help with viewing the seals or checking out some of the birds flying along the coast.

Once you’ve finished at the Children’s Pool, you can walk along the coast to see some of the most spectacular scenery in San Diego, or you can head a few blocks inland to the heart of downtown La Jolla for a stroll through its shopping district or to grab a bite to eat.

If you want to check out some of the local wildlife and coastal scenery that makes you say, “Wow!”, explore La Jolla Children’s Cove.

What You Need To Know

Location: Near 850 Coast Blvd., La Jolla, CA 92037

Hours: All day (Lifeguard station open 9 a.m.–dusk)

Cost: Free

Phone: None

Website: There is no single website for the beach, but here are several links to descriptions:

Tips: Parking is street parking and it fills quickly, especially on the weekends. Be prepared to search for a space and walk several blocks away. Bring a pair of binoculars for view the seals and whales. There are restrooms and showers at the lifeguard station.


Click to see full-sized photos.

Visited: 16 January 2017

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