The Best Snorkeling in San Diego | Adventuress Luxury Catamaran

The Best Snorkeling in San Diego

The Best Snorkeling in San Diego

Jun 25, 2018

Snorkeling in San Diego is one of the most exhilarating, magical experiences. It is an unforgettable activity that everyone should try, both locals and tourists. You will have a chance to enter a rainbow of colorful fish, explore sea caves, and swim up close to leopard sharks, stingrays, sea lions, harbor seals, and more.

Where are the best spots to go snorkeling in San Diego? That’s an easy question to answer – they are all located off the beaches of La Jolla! Here is a rundown of our favorite places to marvel at the marine life hiding beneath the waves along the Pacific shoreline.

Snorkeling San Diego

La Jolla Cove

Head approximately 15 miles north of downtown San Diego to reach La Jolla Cove. Snorkelers everywhere recognize this area as a paradise under the sea. High-rise cliffs surround and shelter the Cove from harsh waves, creating a tranquil inlet with canyons, fine sand, tall kelp forests, and an abundance of glowing orange Garibaldi, the California state ocean fish. You may also catch sight of leopard sharks, sea lions, stingrays, and dolphins who live in this area. One unusual specimen that hangs out here is the shovelnose guitarfish, a harmless type of ray with a compressed and bizarre appearance.

La Jolla Shores

Glide out about 30 meters from the beach to either the north or south end to reach an excellent area for snorkeling in San Diego. Alternatively, you can anchor beside the La Jolla Shores and swim in from your catamaran. Look closely at the ocean floor and you’ll notice small stingrays coasting by, alongside black bat rays. Enormous beds of sand dollars are all around and plenty of hermit crabs, California spiny lobster, sand crabs, and sea snails lie hidden in the sand. Watch your step!

Seven Central

Sharks are undoubtedly one of the most graceful creatures to inhabit the ocean. If you are interested in getting personal with some big sharks, snorkeling in Seven Central will fulfill your wish! In spring and early summer, sevengill sharks glide into this area. During the summer and autumn months, schooling tope sharks call these waters home. Located between the La Jolla Cove and La Jolla Shores, the ocean depth of Seven Central ranges between 5 to 25 meters.

Marine Room Beach

At the eastern edge of the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, you will only need to swim a few feet from shore to discover an impressive amount of lovely leopard sharks winding their way through the rocky reef. As you snorkel along the seawall, pay close attention to how the sandy bottom turns into rock covered with lush seagrass. A gaze below the rocky ledges will reveal large clusters of red California spiny lobster. We recommend moving cautiously as you float past the rocky formations of Marine Room Beach because moray eels also enjoy this region!

The Seven Sea Caves

Snorkeling in San Diego is not complete without an investigation of the Seven Sea Caves, situated directly south of La Jolla Cove. Swim about 5 to 10 minutes from The Cove to journey to this location where legends were born. You’ll be awed by the gigantic sea caves carved into the magnificent sandstone cliffs. Watch for black cormorants, a fishing bird that can dive down to 40 meters below water. In front of the caves are shallow pools filled with darting orange senoritas that are cleaning the native mackerel and kelp bass. As you make your way northward, a smooth sandy floor will replace the rocks coated with red kelp. Electric rays and halibut generally make an appearance in this region.

Boomers’ Kelp Beds

This beach tends to be quieter and less crowded than other nearby La Jolla beaches, which makes it a preferred site for snorkeling in San Diego. However, the waves are also more powerful here – so we recommend Boomers’ Kelp Beds as a destination for experienced snorkelers, not newbies. Located southwest of La Jolla Cove, on the Coast Boulevard, there are thick patches of kelp growing about 100 meters offshore. The craggy rock walls also serve as a backdrop for hundreds of sardines and silver-top smelt, and baby harbor seals often float by. If you’re lucky, you may catch sight of some gray whales to the west of Boomers as they migrate between Mexico and Canada.

Devil’s Slide Reef

Way off at the base of the sea cliffs along the distant edge of a protected marine section of La Jolla, Devil’s Slide Reef is a complicated spot for the inexperienced snorkeler to reach. However, if you can get there, it is a worthwhile experience. Peer beneath the rocky structures to view spotted horn shards as they mate and birth. A variety of anemones wave along the walls and multi-colored octopi hide inside cracks. You’ll swim by thousands of fish, including anchovies and zebra perch.

Turtle Town

Smack in the middle of the marine sanctuary of San Diego lies Turtle Town, a hidden gem. The water is less than 10 meters here, and turtles glide through the colorful kelp. Baby turtles and full-grown adults live in the midst of swarms of fish in all hues. The only drawback to this wonderful area is that it can be very complicated to find so only attempt to visit this site when you are up for taking on a challenge.

San Diego Snorkeling Tips 

Before you dive into all of these crystal-clear waters, we’d like to share a few words of advice to help you make the most of your underwater experience. The best time of year to go snorkeling in San Diego is between March and October when the air and water are warmest. However, if you are snorkeling when the weather is cooler, it is a good idea to wear a short wetsuit to keep warm; wetsuit rentals are plentiful in La Jolla. Also, when you plan your outing, consider the tide level, winds and direction, and surge (amount of underwater wave motion), all of which affect the visibility of the marine life. That being said, now it’s time to put on your diving mask, fins, and snorkel and hit the beaches of La Jolla.

Rent a Yacht for Snorkeling in San Diego

The Adventuress Luxury Catamaran sails out of the bay daily. A trip along the stunning California coastline to the La Jolla Marine Sanctuary is the perfect way to access the water easily and launch your snorkeling adventure. Contact us today to reserve your San Diego yacht charter!