In Spanish, “La Jolla” means “the jewel.” True to its name, this seaside gem is perhaps the most spectacular stretch of Pacific coast in Southern California. To enjoy the views of La Jolla’s majestic cliffs, caves, and rocky shores is reason alone to visit. Throw in a spectacular lodge, great dining, and sightseeing, and La Jolla is the perfect place to enjoy California’s coastal beauty any time of year.
To experience the quintessential La Jolla ocean view, head to the downtown coastal area known as the Village. Ignore the fancy boutiques and restaurants and focus on the spectacular coastline. I remember descending a staircase next to popular restaurant George’s and being amazed by the breathtaking views in front of me. It was as if I had stepped out of California and into a European seaside dream. For the same impact, park your car close to the beach near La Jolla Cove and watch snorkelers and sea lions cavorting in the calm waters. From the Cove, priceless views of blue ocean, rugged cliffs, and sandy beaches extend endlessly in both directions.
For a different view of La Jolla’s spectacular coast, visit or stay at The Lodge at Torrey Pines. North of the downtown area, The Lodge is a family-run Craftsman masterpiece that sits next to Torrey Pines Golf Course, a public course operated by the city of San Diego and considered one of the top courses in the world. From the Lodge’s balconies you will enjoy beautiful views of the golf course with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. If you want to play the course, decide in advance, because you must reserve a tee time at least a month ahead of your visit.
About midway between The Lodge at Torrey Pines and the Village is the Birch Aquarium at Scripps. The Birch is a public aquarium operated by the nearby Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego. Not only is this a first-rate aquarium perfect for children to enjoy, but it offers the added treat of beautiful views of La Jolla’s beaches and coast off of its rear balcony.
When you’re ready for a good meal, settle for nothing less than a restaurant with a prime ocean view. One of the best restaurant views in town is off of the veranda at Brockton Villa Restaurant in the Village. Brockton Villa sits above La Jolla Cove in a cliffside beach house that dates back to 1894. Reserve a table for dinner on the veranda to enjoy one of the most spectacular sunsets you’ll ever see, along with ocean views and plenty of people and sea lion watching. The food and service match the views.