The La Jolla caves are 7 sea caves between La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Cove in La Jolla, California. They are named as follows, from left to right as seen from the water:
- White Lady
- Little Sister
- Shopping Cart
- Sea Surprise
- Arch Cave
- Sunny Jim Cave
- The Clam
Only one is accessible from the land. Sunny Jim Cave has a man-made tunnel entrance. This entrance is located inside the Cave Store and you can use it for a $5.00 entrance fee. (17 and under, $3.00)
Once inside, 145 steps take you to the mouth of the cave.
And this is the reason they call it Sunny Jim Cave. The mouth of the cave resembles a cartoon character named “Sunny Jim” that was used to sell a breakfast cereal around the turn-of-the-century.
The other 6 caves are reached by kayak or swimming.
It is not permitted to take a kayak into the caves without a guide but you can swim or snorkel inside without one. Just be aware of your abilities and the dangers involved. A large wave could cause you problems.
Fortunately there are several guide services that can take you on kayak tours of the caves. I went with Sea Cave Kayaks, who supply you with the kayak, helmet, life vest and a guide who will teach you some paddling techniques before taking you over to the caves.
Unfortunately, my group didn’t enter many of the caves due to crowding. If you can, it would be best to go on a weekday and/or off-season as it can be pretty crowded out there on a summer weekend.
While not the biggest or deepest sea caves around, the La Jolla sea caves are some of the most accessible and located in a top-notch vacation area.