La Jolla Cove

LA JOLLA, CALIFORNIA - People enjoying the ocean view from natural sandstone rock formations at La Jolla Cove.

Scuba diving is one of the most visually rich activities you can experience. That experience usually also depends on where you dive. We’ve compiled a short list of the best scuba spots to visit when in San Diego!

Because of San Diego’s population of retired Navy SEALS and divers, the local dive ranks are filled with knowledgeable professionals. They have spent more than their share of time in local waters. They’ll tell you the best beach dives are available along the La Jolla coastline, which serves as the hub of San Diego shore diving. For dive sites off the shore, boat trips run to many local spots, leaving from Mission Bay and San Diego Bay.


Where to Dive?

Sea Lion underwater

Sea Lion underwater in La Jolla, CA

La Jolla Shores: The gateway to the Underwater Park, La Jolla Shores, can be found West off the Interstate 5 toward La Jolla. From La Jolla Shores Drive turn onto Avenida de la Playa, which leads directly to the beach. For scuba divers, it is the ideal entry point to explore the La Jolla Canyon. You’ll find rays, guitarfish, and angel sharks in the sand. If you visit from late July through September, you might even see leopard sharks!


La Jolla Cove: Just North of Hospital Point, entering the water in La Jolla, there is a reef extending from the ocean side of the jetty down to Hospital Point. This means there is a cornucopia of marine life for an immensely scenic dive. It's a local favorite that features a large population of seals and sea lions.

Point Loma Kelp Beds

Diver's view of the Point Loma Kelp Beds

Point Loma Kelp Beds: There are two kelp forests off the San Diego coast, but local divers tend to prefer the one off of Point Loma. Point Loma dive sites are home to bass, treefish, kelpfish, Garibaldi, and a vast array of nudibranchs. (Nudibranchs are molluscs, by the way.) A series of unique pinnacles and shelves are along the bottom, interspersed among the kelp. This gives the feeling of truly being in a primal forest.

underwater view of wreck alley ship

Underwater view of San Diego's Wreck Alley ship the Yukon.

Wreck Alley: Wreck Alley is an artificial reef that sits a few miles off the coast of Mission Beach. It lies halfway between La Jolla and Point Loma. While the alley features eight ships and other structures, the two most popular are the Canadian destroyer called the HCMS Yukon, and the Ruby E, which is a 165-foot Coast Guard cutter.

Now that you have your list, you can prepare for the adventures! But no matter where you choose to dive, you will need to make sure you have a good pair of scuba goggles to help on your adventure! See our guide for what to look for in a pair of scuba goggles.

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