La Jolla Shores Beach is a long stretch of sand about a mile from La Jolla’s popular shopping and dining areas in the “village.” The Shores is where San Diego locals and visitors head for walking, kayaking, surfing, sunning, SCUBA diving, and playing in the waves.
In short, La Jolla Shores is pretty much paradise. I’ve lived here most of my life and walk on this beach several times a week, and yet I still can’t quite believe how beautiful it is.
Considering this, it’s not surprising that La Jolla Shores hotels are in demand. I mean, given the option, wouldn’t you like to roll out of bed onto the beach? Only two properties offer this possibility and, at the most popular times of the year, reservations need to be made well in advance.
La Jolla Shores Hotel
Since I live nearby, I haven’t actually stayed at La Jolla Shores Hotel, but I eat there frequently because I love watching beach activities while I dine (and the food is great). Kayakers and scuba divers come and go, flocks of pelicans fly overhead, and sometimes dolphins can be seen jumping in the waves just a short distance offshore.
The last time I was there, I asked for a tour and here’s what I learned:
The 128 rooms include “coastal view,” beachfront,” and “garden patio.” They are all nicely furnished and include flatscreen TVs, mini-fridges, in-room safes, bathrobes, coffee makers, wi-fi, and iHome docking stations. Some 24 rooms come with kitchenettes – and all of them seem really family-friendly.
The recreation facilities include a smallish swimming pool (heated year round), a Jacuzzi, a tiny kiddie splash pool, and tennis courts. In addition, an excellent public playground is just steps away, and the hotel provides beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels for sitting on La Jolla Shores Beach. Kayak rental shops, surf shops, and a half dozen good places to eat are within a block.
In addition to great food and an ocean view, The Shores Restaurant and the adjacent bar are popular spots for watching the sunset. The hotel also is in the perfect spot for destination weddings right on the sand, with a reception following on a patio surrounded by colorful landscaping, and dinner for up to 120 guests in a private room.
Here’s a good insider tip: It’s almost impossible to eat lunch at a restaurant near La Jolla Shores Beach during the summer when all the street parking is taken up by beachgoers, BUT La Jolla Shores Hotel offers one hour of free parking in their underground garage for those dining at The Shores Restaurant. Just remember to ask for validation. The second hour costs $4.
The first two weeks of August are the busiest time, so book well ahead if that is when you will be in San Diego.
La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
Located a stone’s throw from La Jolla Shores Hotel – right on the same gorgeous beach – the “B&T” is a hotel, as well as an exclusive private club.
In fact, their 90 rooms are very popular with guests who enjoy being in a cul de sac at the south end of La Jolla Shores Beach where there is very little “through traffic.” All California beaches are public to the mean high tide line, but above that line this one is private.
The Club was founded in 1935 and is known for its 12 championship tennis courts, on which tournaments are held in March, May, and December. The 25-yard heated pool (the biggest hotel pool in La Jolla), fitness center, 9-hole par 3 golf course, rose garden, massage rooms, and restaurants are also big draws.
Having said that, the beach is still the most popular attraction. Food and beverage service, umbrellas, and lounge chairs are all provided, and swimmers are safe from kayakers inside a roped-off area. After dinner, members and guests gather around the fireplaces that take the chill off the cool San Diego night air. If a cocktail on the beach sounds like a good idea, opt for the B&T with its private beach rather than the La Jolla Shores Hotel, which fronts the alcohol-free public beach.
Like its neighbor the La Jolla Shores Hotel, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club is very kid-friendly. Santa and the Easter Bunny visit on their respective holidays. Turtles, ducks, and a swan live in a pond near the playground, and the beach hut serves great burgers.
Almost all rooms have complete kitchens or kitchenettes, and all come with wi-fi, robes, safes, iHome docks, flatscreen TVs, and DVD players. If you stay here, you might want to consider that the beachfront rooms have been redecorated, and A/C was added to non-beachfront rooms.
Beachfront room #120 has a full kitchen, a separate bedroom, a sofa sleeper, and a roll away. Number 113 is tiny, but popular because it’s right on the beach. Numbers 218 and 219, on the second floor, are two-bedroom units with big kitchens – great for two families traveling together.
The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club on La Jolla Shores Beach is a beloved La Jolla institution for the 1,500 or so families who are members and the savvy travelers who choose to stay here – and then return year after year.
More La Jolla beachfront lodging
While only the La Jolla Shores Hotel and the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, offer direct access to the sand (what my Aussie friends refer to as “absolute beachfront”), Hotel La Jolla is about three blocks inland in La Jolla Shores and rooms above the 5th floor have ocean views.
I also want to mention Pantai Inn, a great all suites property, and Scripps Inn, an adorable boutique hotel. Both of these places are located in the village and only separated from a pretty beach by Coast Boulevard. Their location is close to the famous Children’s Pool seal colony, and both offer amazing sunset views and complimentary breakfast. La Jolla’s myriad shopping and dining options are within easy walking distance.
Regardless of where you stay, I know you’re going to have a great time in my hometown. Here’s a quick run-down of my favorite things to do in La Jolla.
Category: Southern California