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Exploring the La Jolla Sea Caves – Sunny Jim Cave


I’ve kept seeing an online discount for kayaking into the La Jolla Sea Caves for years and decided to be spontaneous by surprising the kids with a visit for the first time this afternoon. The kids and I jumped into the car and made our way down the 5 freeway to La Jolla where we were about to embark on the most memorable day trip of our summer.

One of the most popular ways to visit the sea caves is via kayaks, but since I was with the kids alone, I didn’t want to attempt to kayak without another adult to help ensure the kids were safe on the water.





There is one place that families can visit the sea caves without water access, and it is hidden inside of a small store on the La Jolla Shores called The La Jolla Cave and Shell Shop. From the front, it looks just like a souvenir shop, but once families enter there is a small hole in the floor that leads guest down to the magical sea cave (kinda like something out of the movie ‘The Goonies’).





The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for children. Once you enter the small hole in the ground, there are 145 (steep) steps that leads you down to the cave. It is fun for the kids to climb stairs in an underground tunnel, but you have to go slow. There is some lighting, but I brought an extra flashlight that was very helpful for my youngest. The stairs also get damp as you make your way to the bottom so bring your kids in tennis shoes vs. flip flops.







At the bottom of the staircase, you’ll find yourself inside of a magical cave! There is a large hole where your children can watch the kayakers floating past and lots of sea lions inside of the cave. It is truly a magical place that your children will never forget visiting.




The entire experience took us about an hour (my kids went slow going up/down the stairs). At the top of the stairs is a small gift shop where your kids can purchase a souvenir or get a much-needed bottle of water.


Once you’re done exploring the cave, take your kids over to the neighboring beach where they can cool down with a swim in the ocean (where you’ll also find sea lions relaxing on the beach – but don’t touch because they will bite).

Location: 1325 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037

Cost: $5 adults, $3 children

Hours: Monday-Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am to 5:30pm (Cave closes at 4pm)

Parking: A nightmare! Come early, and be prepared to walk quite a distance.

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  1. Looks beautiful. How much is it to kayak?

  2. We have been to La Jolla so many times with the kids and never stopped here. Can’t wait to try it out!

  3. Omg thank you sooo much for sharing this, as a single mother it’s hard to take my 2 kids out without spending a fortune here in SD! I am absolutely grateful that you shared this info and that you included times that way I can plan accordingly! Thanks again!


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