Overview of La Jolla Shores

La Jolla Shores

California South
USA West


This is the most popular beach in La Jolla. Sunners, surfers, picnickers, divers and dive classes use this area extensively during the weekends. The area is a fantastic underwater park, with fish hanging around for a handout. This can be an easy or a technically-advanced dive, depending upon your skill level.

Directions: 11 miles North of San Diego, take the Ardath Road exit to the West. In 1.4 miles turn right on La Jolla Shores Drive. Turn left on Avenida De La Playa, and you'll find the park in 1/2 mile.


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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

10/10/2012 Alex B. (Avg: 3.21 Review) - Loved this dive! In the sand there are tons of baby flounder. If you look hard enough you might see a pipefish. Me and my buddy saw 3. Down by the canyon we saw a lot- lobster, rockfish, an octopus, gobies, and more. However the best part of the dive was seeing an enormous halibut. It was about 4 feet long and probably weighed at least 50lbs! It was right on the edge of the canyon. Visibility was great! Around 20 feet or more. However. it is a long swim to get out to the canyon ( where all the life is. )

03/12/2012 Tahoe1840 (Avg: 2.84 Review) - This site has not had an eval for over a year, on 10 March 2012 the viz was extremely dark, slight red tide was occurring. The area is undergoing a face lift of sorts, a lot of construction was going on in the parking area. Get there before 7 AM if you want a decent parking spot on a Saturday.

03/06/2011 Doug from Cucamonga (Avg: 2.96 Review) - Pretty crappy site if you ask me. This is one of the most popular dive sites in Socal, and with some good reason. Good parking, typically light surf, light surge, good viz, ability to go REALLY deep, and nice facilities. BUT IT'S UGLY! There's really not much to see...lackluster rock formations, not many fish, very little plant life, and muddy/silty bottom. I had heard so much about this site I was honestly surprised by how unpretty it was here. Some people love this site so you may like it, but if you're looking for beautiful scenery, lots of fish, lots of plant life etc., check out La Jolla Cove or head up north to the Laguna area.

10/12/2010 Mike from Mesa (Avg: 2.61 Review) - First time diving at La Jolla Shores. Got down to about 90ft. Good dive spot if you want to go deep otherwise I prefer La Jolla Cove (more stuff to see).

05/16/2010 Anonymous (Avg: 3.66 Review) - (No Comment)

07/11/2007 Doug at CP (Avg: 3.07 Review) - Good spot for open water certification dives. Relatively easy entry, just be prepared and brief students on surf entry techniques. Long surface swim to get 20-30 ft depth, and then the creatures are usually out along drop off area in 40-50 ft. Life includes nudibranches, bat rays, sea bass, sea pens, sand dollars, sea cucumbers, sheep crabs, blue crabs, California halibut (flounder), ect. Area also good for advanced diving, especially navigation, deep (the drop off goes way beyond recreational levels), search/recovery, rescue training, ect.

03/21/2007 S1melan (Avg: 3.48 Review) - If topography is your thing, this is the site to dive, especially after the landslide. This site offers a little bit for everyone. Beginning divers can stay in the shallows and look amongst the rock piles that are in <30' of water. Beginners can also hit the top of the canyon in areas where the top is at <60'. Juvenile fish, sand dollars, armored sea stars, sand dabs, and numerous crabs to be found here. Intermediate and advanced divers can go to the upper edge of the canyon and to the bottom of the main walls. Divers often can find themselves swimming along the vertical walls peering into crevices and searching for shrimp, octopi, and sheep crab. Lobsters are also numerous under the many ledges at the top of the walls. Only advanced divers with the necessary training should venture into the deeper areas of the canyon. Found deep in the canyon is a wreck of a ski boat and numerous pinnacles. The flat but narrow bottom makes an easy descent, and the narrow bottom also allows easy access to a visual reference (the walls) for a quick ascent. DO NOT GO DEEP WITHOUT THE NECESSARY EQUIPMENT AND TRAINING! It is very easy to find yourself in trouble.

03/05/2007 Norman Kukona (Avg: 3.96 Review) - I believe that this is the best shore dive site for deep water training because people can actually dive deep underwater formations as often as they want, without having to worrying about the cost of boat fees. There are tons of rock piles, steps, and columns in the 180' to 300'(+) range that contain schools of fish and lobster that aren't afraid of their bubble-blowing/wide-eyed friends.

02/17/2007 Brian Morrison (Avg: 2.36 Review) - Not to much to see here. A slide covered up most of the wall. Great dive for beginners, not so for advanced divers. Didn't see hardly any marine life, except for one small octopus and one lobster. I did see a large sheep head, and that was the best part of the dive.

01/26/2007 Will Neff (Avg: 2.66 Review) - According to dive guide, a recent earthquake caused slides in the Canyon that scraped a lot of the walls down to sand and mud. Observations during my dive supported this. Marine life is still present but benthos appears to have been heavily impacted.

01/28/2006 Kendall Roberg (Avg: 3.06 Review) - This is a nice dive site with fun diving conditions. Parking (at least in Winter) was not a problem. Tons of divers out on Saturday for classes. Dolphins can often be sighted from the shore and while surface swimming, but I didn't see any underwater. Thorn Back Rays in the shallows and Catalina Gobies deeper out (living on the wall). There were tons of squid eggs too. At about 100 feet deep, the ground was covered with them.

11/16/2004 Greg Ireton (Avg: 3.81 Review) - Our shore dive was conducted in the rain with light to moderate surf. The SST was a chilling 61F, but only 59F at 60ft, but that did not deter the surfers nor the divers. During our 500 meter surface swim, we were greeted with a very friendly seal that posed for a few second before disappearing. We descended toward the West Wall with visibility running around 25ft. Wildlife was abundant with the usual suspects: very large sheephead, crab, spotted scorpionfish, etc. But the highlight was the appearance of a small (2ft) sun fish. A great dive!

08/16/2004 Bill H. (Avg: 3.53 Review) - First shore dive. Past Canyon rim the H2O was B.A. cold.

08/04/2003 Chris 1 (Avg: 4.12 Review) - Great dive site. Many Morays live in the clay wall at the edge of the canyon. Sea Hares and Nudibranchs are abundant. Kelp in the northern area of the canyon in about 75ft of water. Reserve, so don't disturb or take anything!

03/10/2002 Margaret Joppa (Avg: 3.93 Review) - When you enter the water, the shore slopes of very gradually. You can drop down in about 15 feet of water, swim east over the sand, and slowly descend towards the canyon. Or, you can do a long surface swim to conserve air, and drop down at the canyon edge. Sheephead, black sea bass, nudibranchs, stingrays, halibut, sea hares, scorpion fish, and piddocks are common, as well as sea pens, sea pansies, sand dollars, starfish... This is a great dive site but you must be patient and look carefully for the life, it is not always obvious. This is a great dive for beginners, but be sure you have a compass, there are not many landmarks underwater. Showers, restrooms, and picnic areas convenient. Watch for the southeast current.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: CS1001


Parking at La Jolla Shores 

If you are lucky enough to find a place close to the park, gear up at your car, or carry you gear to the grass. Otherwise, drop your gear off, and plan to spend 15 minutes searching for parking. (Weekday diving is much more fun!)




Overview at La Jolla Shores 

Throughout the park, dive classes and groups of friends set up their gear on the lawn.

Left Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: CS1003


Left Entry at La Jolla Shores 

Enter anywhere along the beach.

Right Entry

 Map     Sat
GPS: CS1004


Right Entry at La Jolla Shores 

With Scripts Pier in the background, choose the right entry for one tank, and the left for another.




aerial at La Jolla Shores 
(click photo for details)

It's a gentle slope, so take your time and explore.




Informational at La Jolla Shores 

This shower at the South end of the park is popular with returning divers!

Last Verification: July, 2001  


Diver Averages for  La Jolla Shores  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.07
Bottom Conditions:  3.53
Reef Conditions:  2.87
Animal Life:  3.40
Plant Life:  2.33
Facilities:  4.13
Solitude 2.67
Roads:  3.87
*Site Average:  3.28

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.40
Beginner Scuba:  3.80
Intermediate Scuba:  3.73
Advanced Scuba:  3.67
Night diving Scuba:  3.80

Number of reviews for this site: 15


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