La Jolla Cove Sea Lions Create Controversy

See the Sea Lions Up Close and Personal at La Jolla Cove

“Every time I stand before a beautiful beach, its waves seem to whisper to me: If you choose the simple things and find joy in nature’s simple treasures, life and living need not be so hard.” -Psyche Roxas-Mendoza

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla, California is a top tourist destination and one of the most fascinating spots in the town is definitely the beach full of sea lions. The sea lions have a long history of meeting and getting to socialize with humans on the beach. Many swimmers and snorkelers start their adventures in La Jolla and over the years they say that the sea lions have totally taken over. There is a spot a little farther down the beach where the city has protected the sea lions and the sea lions are all over the beach now. A lot of swimmers are afraid that this will happen with the sea lions on the non-protected beach because there are so many now that it is almost getting dangerous for humans. The swimmers want the beach to remain open to people, and of course animal activists want to close off the beach and let the sea lions take over. Read this article to find more about the debate.

La Jolla Cove

When my son and I visited the Sea Lions in La Jolla the first time, we walked up to the staircase and I quickly noticed a sea lion laying on the beach. I hurried my son down the stairs and I was irritated that the other tourists weren’t walking fast enough. I didn’t think I would be able to see another sea lion the entire time I was there!  When I finally made it to the bottom of the stairs a minute later, I was horribly mistaken. There were sea lions everywhere, as far as you could see! In the water, on rocks nearby, and right on the beach! My son walked right up to the sea lion and I took a picture of him next to the majestic sleeping animal. I wasn’t afraid that it would bite him at all, but as we watched, other kids tried to get closer and closer to the sea lion and finally the sea lion woke up and made a grumpy noise at one of the kids. I guess there is a breaking point, even for sea lions.

La Jolla Cove

When the sea lion woke up he was very upset, but only for a moment, and then he went right back to basking in the sun. He kept brushing sand up onto his body in the sun, and everyone crowding around was trying to figure out why. Some people thought that the sea lion was keeping cool by brushing the sand on top of him. Others thought it was more for shade (to keep out of the sun’s rays) and still others thought it was to swat flies, or another reason. For whatever reason, the sea lion kept brushing sand up on top of him, and then went back to snoozing on the beach.

La Jolla Cove

We walked to the other side of the beach where there was another sea lion that had come up on the shore. A family was getting closer and closer to it taking photos, and finally the sea lion felt nervous enough to waddle back into the water and swim out into the ocean. Several of the sea lions were busy playing and basking in the sun on the rocks nearby. There is a small cove under a dock where you can walk from rock to rock pretty easily. I would not suggest wearing jeans when walking on the rocks. I wore jeans and as I got out on the rocks that are farther out, a big huge wave came and crashed against me, leaving my pants soaking wet! I was so wet and cold, and if I hadn’t picked a big flat rock to stand on, I would’ve fallen for sure. My son followed me out on the rocks but luckily he ran back quickly when he saw the big wave coming. I had my camera with me and was recording but luckily the waves only came up to my stomach and not any further. The wave came and washed through the whole cove and went back out into the sea. I quickly jumped back through the rocks and decided that my pants were too wet to get back in my car. As soon as we walked back up the stairs from the beach, I looked for a place to get some dry clothes. We stopped at a gift shop on the way to the car and picked out matching “La Jolla” t-shirts! (I also picked up a pair of shorts to change into.

La Jolla Cove

Overall it was a very, very fun day getting to see the sea lions live on the beach! Be very careful if you go there because they are wild animals that can bite! Also don’t forget to get there early or park far away and walk. If you try to park close you will end up driving in circles for 20 minutes anyways before deciding to park far away after all.

Directions to La Jolla Beaches

  • From the northbound 5 FWY exit La Jolla Parkway west to La Jolla Shores Drive. Turn left at Avenida De La Playa, right on Camino Del Oro two blocks to Kellogg Park.
  • From the southbound 5 FWY exit La Jolla Village Drive west, then left on Torrey Pines Road and right on La Jolla Shores Drive. Turn left at Avenida De La Playa, right on Camino Del Oro two blocks to Kellogg Park.

(directions via

La Jolla Cove

Let me know if you’ve been to the La Jolla Beaches and what you thought of the sea lions. Should they have their own special spot on this beach too? Should humans be banned or should we be able to integrate without trouble? I would love to know your thoughts!

Amanda Henry
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Amanda Henry is a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, photographer, web designer, mom, and freelance blogger living the luxury and active lifestyle in San Diego.