La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club - weekend la jolla
Credit: La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

How to Spend a Quintessential California Weekend in La Jolla Shores

From Oceanfront Rooms to Memorable Restaurants, Here’s What to Do in La Jolla Shores

Whether you’re a San Diego local or an out-of-towner, a weekend visit to La Jolla is always a good idea. The coastline is dotted with ecological reserves, making it an ideal place to observe marine life or go snorkeling, surfing and kayaking. For a picture-perfect coastal staycation, visit La Jolla Shores, a northern neighborhood home to local attractions like the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club and Birch Aquarium along with an abundance of waterfront restaurants. Whatever your speed is, we’ve got you covered with a complete itinerary for a full weekend on the shores of Jewel City.

 

DAY 1

4 p.m. Check-in at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

guide to La Jolla
Credit: La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

Unpack your bags at the beautiful La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, a resort that merges historical charm with modern-day amenities. With its oceanfront guest rooms, tennis and pickleball courts, par-3 golf course, and an exclusive beach, this waterfront property is the ultimate vacation spot. Accommodations are spacious and modern with a touch of coastal luxury, and when it comes to dining, you’ll have access to an assortment of seaside restaurants. During the day, take a dip in the Junior Olympic-size swimming pool, or if you’re feeling adventurous, go stand-up paddleboarding, snorkeling, scuba diving or kayaking. It’s safe to say, you and your crew won’t be bored at this time-honored resort!

 

6 p.m. Happy Hour at Walnut Lounge

guide to La Jolla
Credit: La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

This new oceanfront lounge combines stunning coastal views with a carefully crafted menu of light bites. Located within the beautiful La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, Walnut Lounge’s 13,000-square-foot venue elevates happy hour to a new level. Members, resort guests and guests of the beach club can enjoy discounted craft cocktails (think mai tais and margaritas!) as well as tasty dishes like The W—a culinary masterpiece complete with caramelized mushrooms, bacon jam and horseradish aioli. The bar is open for orders Sunday-Thursday from 4-6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 3-5 p.m.

 

DAY 2

8:30 a.m. Coffee at Brick & Bell

No quintessential California weekend would be complete without a pit stop at a quaint, coastal coffee shop. Brick & Bell is a staple in the La Jolla Shores community, serving up everything from spiced chai lattes to freshly baked seasonal pastries. Stop into their little cottage shop for your caffeine fix and expect to see plenty of locals doing the same. Brick & Bell also sits only a few blocks from La Jolla Shores Beach, so you can take your coffee to-go and enjoy it with a side of ocean views.

 

9:30 a.m. Go Surfing or Hike in Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Whether you’re chasing swells on a shortboard or viewing the splendor of the waves from atop the bluffs of Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, morning movement by the beach is essential to any La Jolla getaway. Skip dawn patrol and sign up for a surf lesson with Surf Diva! From mastering the basics to enhancing your foundation, their certified surf instructors will have you shredding waves in no time. Alternatively, Torrey Pines offers some of the best ocean views for a morning walk or hike. Take in views of the flowering canyons, chiseled sandstone caves and sandy shore banks along this nature preserve, which features several amazing hiking trails.

 

Noon Brunch or Lunch at The Shores Restaurant

Credit: La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

Aptly named, this refined oceanfront restaurant at La Jolla Shores Hotel features tall arched windows with waterfront views of La Jolla Cove. The Shores serves up Cali-coastal cuisine with menus curated for a weekend brunch date or a social hour luncheon. Popping in for a midday meal? Some of their staples include tuna ceviche, black mussels farmed right in Carlsbad and fish tacos—one of their most popular dishes! Pair your lunch pick with a Floral Reef cocktail and sip the day away on their oceanside patio. Stop by from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to indulge in a weekend brunch and take your pick between sweet or savory. You can’t go wrong with their Crab and Avocado Omelet, Bananas Foster French toast, or lobster Benedict!

 

1 p.m. Play Pickleball

guide to La Jolla
Credit: La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

Pickleball: the trending sport no one can seem to get enough of! If you’ve never tried your hand at this paddle sport, sign up for one of the pickleball clinics at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. Nestled amidst the lush greenery, whispering palms and crashing waves, this venue might just be the prettiest spot to play pickleball in Southern California. Beginner, intermediate and advanced clinics are hosted daily, making pickleball suitable for players of all skill levels. Clinics are $33 for hotel guests hoping to learn the basics or enhance their craft. Clinic topics vary by skill level and cover everything from lob retrieval and bounce attacks to basic doubles strategy. Seasoned players are welcome to join free drop-in games on Sundays from 9 a.m. to noon.

 

3 p.m. Explore Birch Aquarium

Credit: Leslie Luna

Birch Aquarium is part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, so you’ll find educational and informative displays of sea life specific to La Jolla. Explore the many interactive exhibits, get lost in the aquarium’s two-story Giant Kelp Forest and maybe even pet a baby shark if you’re brave enough. The marine life showcased here is incredibly diverse, with everything from loggerhead sea turtles to moon jellyfish and Pacific octopus. The tide pool experience lets you touch creatures of the sea like starfish, anemone and coral!

 

5:30 p.m. Explore Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave

Located just south of La Jolla Shores Hotel, Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave is a must-visit in this coastal community and is only a 5-minute bike ride from the hotel. Take the 100-year-old tunnel down to the sea cave (note that there is a small entrance fee; adults are $10 and minors are $6) and listen to the echoes of the ocean. You can also pick up some souvenirs at The Cave Store after.

 

6:30 p.m. Dinner at The Marine Room

guide to La Jolla
Credit: La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

This iconic restaurant has been operating since 1941 and is best known for its unparalleled seaside views. Recently renovated, guests can now experience the Lounge for an additional, exclusive dining experience at the restaurant’s most desirable seats. Flanked on all sides with ceiling-high windows, The Marine Room sits (quite literally) on the shore, offering beyond breathtaking views. It was built to be as close and as low to the ocean as possible, so when high tide comes, guests can experience a dramatic display of the waves crashing against the glass. They serve only the best to accompany the views, so you can dig into options like marine lobster tail, Togarashi sesame-crusted ahi tuna and Angus filet mignon.

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DAY 3

9 a.m. Breakfast at Pinpoint Cafe

Before you return home, make way for one last adventure! Founded by two sisters with a love for coffee, Pinpoint is a hidden treehouse cafe nestled high above the UCSD Scripps Pier. Grab a seat on the scenic outdoor deck surrounded by towering trees and fuel up for your drive home with morning eats like the smoked salmon toast or acai bowl. They also offer an amazing selection of espresso- and tea-based beverages. We love the honey cinnamon latte, flat white and Mexican hot chocolate.

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