La Jolla Children's Pool and La Jolla Seals
Close to downtown La Jolla, the Children’s Pool — or the “Casa,” as locals have called it — is a tiny cove protected by a concrete breakwater. It was once a swimming area for children but is now a de-facto “Seal Sanctuary” thanks to the efforts of seal advocates and the placement of a permanent rope barrier by the City of San Diego. Now visitors can enjoy an ongoing marine mammal show courtesy of the seals and sea lions that play in and around the shore or at Seal Rock, their offshore reserve.
Sight-seers, walkers, photographers and bikers can check out the trails next to Coast Boulevard. High above the beach, these paths offer panoramic views of the water and the sandstone cliffs leading down to ocean's edge. Grassy picnic areas lie north and south of Children's Pool. You can mix with the well-to-do at La Jolla's high-end hotels, shops, and restaurants, or spend the day near the Pacific Ocean watching the seals and sea lions as they cavort at the Children's Pool — either way, a day well spent!
La Jolla Children's Pool Logistics (La Jolla Map)
Casa Beach (La Jolla Children's Pool) is a beautiful spot to enjoy viewing wild marine mammals up close and personal. The seals inhabit the beach year-round. Visitors can walk out onto the breakwater for close-up views of the Pacific Ocean and the seals or to observe the tide pools that teem with interesting sea creatures.
There are safety issues concerning water quality due to the overwhelming presence of seals. We strongly recommend visitors avoid entering the water at Casa Beach (La Jolla Children's Pool). La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores offer much better opportunities for enjoying the water without the safety concerns. Also, the seals are protected from harassment by federal law and getting near seals on the beach or in the water can easily disturb them. They are best viewed from the concrete breakwater or the walkways above the beach which offer fantastic and close-up views of the entire beach.
Note that Casa Beach has no wheelchair access and only one steep staircase leading down to the beach. There are no parking lots near the beach and street parking fills up quickly on weekends. It's best to arrive early; park downtown in one of the paid lots; or stroll to the beach from the hotel. Downtown is a short distance to the beach.
Getting To the La Jolla Children's Pool (La Jolla Map)
From the north, take I-5 to La Jolla Village Drive west. Turn left on Torrey Pines Road. Turn right at Prospect Street, bearing right on Coast Boulevard. From the south, take I-5 north to Ardath Road and stay on this road until it turns into Torrey Pines Road. Take Torrey Pines Road to Prospect Street and turn right. Veer right on Coast Boulevard.
At low tide, tide pools emerge on the west side of the sea wall. The pools teem with sea life and several are suitable for wading and swimming.
La Jolla Seal Advocacy
Please support seal advocacy by joining and donating to one of several groups who have fought hard to protect these wild and precious animals and the space they need to survive. Cameras installed by the City of San Diego have recorded seals being clubbed and beaten at night--presumably by people angered by the seal’s presence. Local divers and spear hunters have repeatedly defied rope barriers and frightened seals and their young needlessly into the water. Please report any seal harassment or abuse to nearby lifeguards or appropriate authorities.
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