Seals and Sea Lions at La Jolla Cove

Are you, your kids, or your friends big sea creature enthusiasts? If so, La Jolla Cove will be sure to delight, because in addition to the gorgeous surf and sun, the cove is also home to both seals and sea lions. Every year, hundreds and even thousands of tourists come to see the seals and sea lions playing on the shore — from a distance, of course. It’s always good to keep in mind that these are still wild animals. However, with the right information and tips, this marine life excursion could be a must for your trip. As long as the weather and surf allows, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of both.

Seals vs. Sea Lions

Seals and sea lions are often confused, especially by those who don’t see them on a regular basis. Both are mammals who live in the ocean and the coloring and shape is similar. However, there are a few differences both in their behaviors and their appearances. In terms of appearance, sea lions have visible ears and strong flippers that allow them to “stand” and even “walk…” or at least waddle. Seals, on the other hand, have smaller flippers and are more likely to move around on their bellies on shore. Seals typically have speckled skin and vary in color, while sea lions tend to be brown. If you hear one bark on the beach, you can be sure that’s a sea lion.

Where to Find Them

It’s not difficult to find seals and sea lions if the weather’s right and you’re visiting La Jolla Cove. The beach is small and protected by rocky cliffs, so it’s perfect for seals and sea lions who want to come to shore and sunbathe. Sea lions are more common here, and as they’re used to crowds of tourists, you can approach pretty close without scaring them. However, you do want to keep in mind that these are still wild animals and give them some space. Don’t try to approach and pet a sea lion and don’t leave kids unattended around sea lions. The best time of day to see them is late afternoon, but as long as the sun is out, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find them.

Tips for Visiting the Seals and Sea Lions

First and foremost, giving the seals and sea lions space is your best bet, even if you can get closer than you might be able to otherwise because of the frequency of tourists in the area. However, there are a few other things to keep in mind when visiting La Jolla Cove for the seals and sea lions. The area is quite rocky, so flip flops won’t cut it. You’ll want shoes with a lot of traction, preferably sneakers. You’ll want to avoid brown puddles in the sand when you see them — given the amount of seals and sea lions nearby, you can probably guess what those are. Take pictures, but make sure your camera or picture taking device is waterproof.

Need a place to stay when visiting La Jolla Cove? The Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla is just a short walk away, and when you book direct, we’ll price match your reservation and even offer a 5% discount.

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