Swimming with the Seals

Posted by on Nov 25, 2013 in Life in SoCal, On the Road


Many years ago, at the ripe age of 7, my whole family and I vacationed in California.  One of those days we headed on down to Sea World, as one does not see many dolphins back in Upstate NY.  I don’t remember the reaction I had to seals them at the time, but I probably hadn’t gotten close enough for a good look anyway.  Charting out my latest trip south, I was told to check some out over at La Jolla (lah hoy-yah) Beach.  Never one to pass at the chance to meet new mammals, I was on my way.

La Jolla was a refreshingly sparse beach, at least by SoCal standards.  Some of these spots can be absolute nightmares to get into, particularly on the weekends, but La Jolla is just enough off the beaten path that only the most dedicated of tourists and bougiest of Californians would be there.  After arriving, it was either head left alongside the beaches or a right to the cliffs.  Having been cooped up in a city for 18 straight months, it was refreshing to be able to just go walking somewhere without crossing lights or even on a designated hiking trail.

The cliffs got steep quickly, with the seals flopping around on the rocks below, looking back at the tourists above in mutual shared confusion.  Most people resisted the urge to bark back… but I am not ‘most people’.  While I hadn’t scaled a sheer rock face in quite some time, I figured these flubby creatures resting below would be cushion enough if I were to slip.  Of course though, once reaching the bottom, the easier and far safer pathway revealed itself.

I must confess, coming face-to-face with a pack of them was a bit more intimidating that I had expected.  They’re supposedly quite safe, if not outright playful at times; but when a large, hairy creature perks up and starts barking, along with all of its friends, there’s always an intimidation factor.  They also had some younger cubs there… not babies, but small enough that mother was watching closely.  As much as I wanted to play patty-cake with them, this first visit to La Jolla was strictly hands-off.  We all went for a swim afterward.

Following my seal excursion, I went back to the fork in the trail and turned for the beaches.  All week I’d been hearing “Oh, La Jolla is beautiful, you’ve got to check it out!”.  That’s become such a regular thing to hear about all these beaches though, so it’s easy to shrug the comment off, thinking it’ll just be sand and waves.

NOPE. This spot is gorgeous. Seals aside, whenever you next traverse the Pacific Coast, this stop is an absolute must.  I’ve got a few photos to share from the short visit, but this is yet another place that has to be seen to believed. Warmer water in the summer is sure to make this beach one of our best.

But it was all just a precursor, one stop along the way toward Amercia’s Finest City… San Diego!  That’s a whole other story in itself though, which I’ll write up and share later on this week.  Check back soon!


  1. Derek Short says:

    Sounds fun! I’ll keep this place in mind in the future.

  2. MAtteo says:

    You should check out crystal cove in southern Cali, north of la jolla

    • Nagle says:

      That’s a good idea… I’m seeing some pics online of it with sheer rock faces dropping off into the ocean, which is the exact kind of location I’m scouting out the next movie for right now. Not sure when I’ll be back down that way, but I won’t forget to check it out. Thanks!!!

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