La Jolla Cove

Knowing the best times and sites to snorkel at can be hard to figure out for yourself if you don’t know the area or the water. If you want to go out and explore the depths of the ocean on your own time, our expert divers at San Diego Scuba Guide came up with these helpful tips for snorkeling in La Jolla, California.

1. The Best Snorkeling Spots

There are many well-known and hidden spots to snorkel in La Jolla. You can snorkel and swim at La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores beach. At these sites, you can watch sea lions and see colorful ocean life. Come encounter a once-in-a-lifetime experience when you snorkel in the waters of La Jolla with the help of San Diego Scuba Guide!

2. You Will Always See Garibaldi 

When your snorkel in the shallow waters, this bright orange Garibaldi damselfish won’t be hard to miss. As California’s state fish, you will regularly see them swimming around while you’re in the water. They eat small invertebrates like shrimp and worms off of rocks on the seafloor. Schedule your snorkel or scuba tour with our experienced staff at San Diego Scuba Guide if you want to see a Garibaldi fish up close!

3. Swim with Leopard Sharks

You might be thinking to yourself that you want to stay far away from any sharks that you might encounter while scuba diving in San Diego. However, Leopard sharks are completely harmless and only eat small invertebrates living underneath the sand! They can grow to more than 5 feet and enjoy swimming in the shallow waters and on the ocean floor of La Jolla. La Jolla is the only place that these animals have been observed mating, and August is usually the peak month to spot a Leopard shark swimming around.

4. Observe Grunions

California is the only place where the Grunion resides! These tiny silverfish aren’t very interesting to look at. However, during their breeding season and high tides on spring and summer nights, Grunions will ride the waves to the sand. The fish then flop around and bury themselves down in the sand to lay their eggs. “Grunion runs” consist of thousands of these fish surrounding the beach next to the ocean waves.

5. See Gray Whales from Shore

Whales are an exciting and unique animal to be able to witness. However, Gray whales can only be seen at certain times of the year from the shore in La Jolla when snorkeling. They spend half of the year in Canada, and then starting in October, they begin migrating all along the coast until they reach Mexico to give birth to their calves. Gray whales are baleen whales, meaning they only have bristles in their mouth. They take in large mouthfuls of seawater and push it through their baleen, trapping small shellfish and other animals.

6. Snorkel with a California Sheephead 

Although it might seem different, the California Sheephead fish is born as a female fish, and then some later transition into males. This makes them transgender fish. The process isn’t fully known, but it is known that a full-body change happens during this transition time. Adults can be up to 3 feet long, and males are usually colored black and red. They eat lots of sea urchins, crab, and mollusks. Come check out this exciting animal when you snorkel with us at San Diego Scuba Guide!

Why Choose San Diego Scuba Guide

Have you been wanting to witness San Diego’s Ocean life while snorkeling around the water at La Jolla Cove but don’t know how to do it? Make sure to check in with one of our tour guides, who can show you accessible snorkeling routes and let you know of good times to snorkel when the waters are calm enough to swim in. Don’t miss your chance to see these animals up close and in person when you go snorkeling this year! To book an eco-conscious scuba or snorkel tour, give us a call at 1-858-397-8213 or go online to our website at

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