If you’re wondering where to stay in La Jolla, just read this guide to the best places and areas.
La Jolla, which aptly means “The Jewel” in Spanish, is a lovely seaside village just north of San Diego. It’s one of the best areas to stay around San Diego. La Jolla attracts tons of visitors wanting to enjoy the unique cliff top views of the Pacific ocean, the sandy, family-friendly beaches, and the upscale restaurants and bars.
La Jolla is the perfect destination for a beachy getaway with your romantic partner, friends, or family. All that’s left to do is figure out where you’ll stay!
Table of Contents
- Best Places to Stay in La Jolla
- 4 Best Areas to Stay in La Jolla
- Tips for Staying in La Jolla
- FAQs About Where to Stay in La Jolla
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Best Places to Stay in La Jolla
Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in La Jolla? Here are my top picks:
- 🏆 Best Overall Hotel – The Lodge at Torrey Pines
- ✨ Best Luxury Hotel – La Valencia Hotel
- 👪 Best for Families – La Jolla Shores Hotel
- 👔 Best for Business – San Diego Marriott La Jolla
- 🛎️ Best Boutique – Cormorant Boutique Hotel
- ⛱️ Best Beachfront – Pantai Inn
- 💵 Best Budget – Hyatt Regency La Jolla
Ok, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods in La Jolla:
4 Best Areas to Stay in La Jolla
La Jolla is a relatively small beach community located North of San Diego. It beckons to people from all over that are hoping to enjoy La Jolla’s gorgeous beaches, ocean views, and quaint neighborhoods. An overnight stay in La Jolla is completely worth it, but choosing between the many unique areas and hotels can be tough, so thankfully I’ve done the work for you!
La Jolla Shores
La Jolla Shores is a beloved San Diego beach, beloved for its long, flat stretch of sandy shore and great surf break. Its accessibility and extensive sandy area make it one of the most popular beaches for families to spend the day enjoying the sun and sea.
The Shores is home to the iconic Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier, and a charming park and grassy playground at Kellogg Park. The main thoroughfares, Camino del Oro and Avenida de la Playa, are lined with charming restaurants and recreation shops that offer gear rentals. If you decide to stay in La Jolla Shores, you could easily spend the entire visit in these few blocks!
Pros of Staying in La Jolla Shores:
- Easy access to La Jolla Shores Beach
- Beach, bars, restaurants, and shops are all within walking distance
- A great jumping-off point for water activities like surfing, kayaking, and snorkeling
Cons of Staying in La Jolla Shores:
- Can get crowded due to its popularity
- Hotels can be pricey
📚 La Jolla Shores Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Families
- ✨ Best Hotels – Hotel La Jolla • La Jolla Shores Hotel • La Jolla Riviera Inn
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in La Jolla Shores
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – The Marine Room ($$$$), Piatti ($$), Shorehouse Kitchen ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Barbarella Bar & Restaurant, Shore Rider
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – La Jolla Shores Beach, Kellogg Park, La Jolla Sea Caves and Under Water Marine Park
The Village of La Jolla
The Village of La Jolla, also known as downtown La Jolla, is located in the heart of the lovely town, making it a perfect home base for exploring the best things to do in La Jolla. The downtown, which showcases historical buildings, incredible restaurants, chic bars, and cute shopping boutiques, is perched atop the La Jolla cliffs, and almost every spot offers a view of the Pacific Ocean.
Moreover, you’ll be steps away from famous attractions such as La Jolla Cove, and the Children’s Pool, and just a short drive from stunning beaches such as Windansea Beach and La Jolla Shores. Many of the hotels in this area are luxurious and beautiful, making this my top recommendation for a romantic getaway.
Pros of Staying in the Village of La Jolla:
- Centrally located for most La Jolla destinations
- Lots of great restaurants and bars that offer stunning patios and ocean views
Con of Staying in Village of La Jolla:
- Hotels tend to be expensive
📚 Village of La Jolla Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for a Romantic Getaway
- ✨ Best Hotels – Pantai Inn La Jolla • La Valencia Hotel • Cormorant Boutique Hotel
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in the Village of La Jolla
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Nine-Ten Restaurant & Bar ($$$), Herringbone La Jolla ($$$), Taco Stand ($)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – George’s at the Cove, La Sala, Catania
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – La Jolla Cove, Sunny Jim’s Sea Cave, The Children’s Pool
Torrey Pines is a clifftop community that lies between La Jolla and Del Mar, best known for containing the famous Torrey Pines Golf Course and Torrey Pine State Natural Reserve. The golf course consists of two 18-hole courses that sit atop cliffs that power over the pacific ocean, offering some stunning views.
For a more natural appreciation of these views, head to the Torrey Pines State Reserve, which has some of San Diego’s most beautiful and popular hikes. One of my favorite, and less well-known activities in Torrey Pines is to visit the Gliderport at sunset and watch the paragliders swoop around the cliffs.
Pros of Staying in Torrey Pines:
- Easy access to golf and hikes
- Some of La Jolla’s most stunning views
Con of Staying in Torrey Pines:
- Not many restaurants or bars in close proximity
📚 Torrey Pines Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Golfers and Hikers
- ✨ Best Hotels – La Jolla Hotel and Spa • The Lodge at Torrey Pines • Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Torrey Pines
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Ruth’s Chris Steak House ($$$$), Pinpoint Cafe ($)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Zanzibar Cafe at the Loft, Raised By Wolves, Drift
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Torrey Pines Golf Course, Birch Aquarium, Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve
La Jolla Village
While La Jolla Village (not to be confused with the Village of La Jolla) itself is further away from most of La Jolla’s attractions, it’s a great option if you want to be close to La Jolla’s beaches and towns without spending so much on a hotel. The area is also the location of the UC San Diego campus, so it has tons of restaurants and shopping and is easily navigable by car.
La Jolla Village is also a great place to stay if you’re hoping to explore outside of La Jolla and take advantage of the many San Diego activities and attractions. For example, the village offers easy access to Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo.
Pros of Staying in La Jolla Village:
- Easy driving access to La Jolla beaches and all of San Diego
- Less expensive hotel options
Cons of Staying in La Jolla Village:
- Not very walkable
- There can be traffic getting to La Jolla Shores and the Village of La Jolla
📚 La Jolla Village Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Budget Travelers
- ✨ Best Hotels – Residence Inn By Marriott La Jolla • Hyatt Regency La Jolla • San Diego Marriott La Jolla
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in La Jolla Village
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Javier’s ($$$$), Urban Plates ($$), Seasons 52 ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Eureka!, Raised By Wolves, Drift
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Birch Aquarium, Torrey Pines State Natural Preserve, Mt. Soledad National Veteran’s Memorial
Tips for Staying in La Jolla
Visit Later in Summer for the Best Weather
La Jolla, being a beach town, is best enjoyed under the summer sunshine and warm weather. The ocean stays pretty cold, even into the summer, so you will get the most out of the water-based activities when it’s warm.
La Jolla truly warms up with predictably warm temperatures later into the Summer months, so visiting in July, August, and September is recommendable. Read more about the best time to visit San Diego.
Visit in Off-Season to Avoid Crowds
While Summer may bring the best weather to La Jolla, it also brings the crowds of tourists and college students celebrating their freedom from classes. To avoid fighting for space at the beach and for tables at the best restaurants, the best time to visit this part of California is during early fall, when temperatures remain wonderfully high, but the crowds have mostly dispersed.
Practice Ocean Safety
The Pacific Ocean is gorgeous, but can also be slightly dangerous, especially if you’re visiting an unfamiliar place and don’t know the wave or current patterns.
Some of the beaches, like Windansea, can have rough waves that crash onto the sand. If you are concerned about ocean safety, the safest option is to set up at La Jolla Shores, which is relatively calm and has lifeguards on duty.
Be Sure to Catch a Gorgeous Sunset
Watching a sunset into the Pacific Ocean from La Jolla is amazing! The sky often turns incredible shades of pink, orange, and purple making it a dazzling experience. My favorite spots to spectate from are Cuvier Park, Windansea Beach, or a beachside restaurant such as George’s at the Cove, Brockton Villa, or the Marine Room.
Pack Light Layers
Because of La Jolla’s geography, it often stays overcast in the mornings and evenings and receives a cool breeze off the ocean. This, mixed with the dampness in the air from the sea, makes the air feel brisk in the evenings and early mornings.
FAQs About Where to Stay in La Jolla
What is the best area to stay in La Jolla?
Downtown La Jolla is the best spot to stay during your visit to La Jolla because it offers walkable access to most of La Jolla’s most famous attractions, like La Jolla Cove, the La Jolla sea caves, and the Children’s bar. Downtown La Jolla also has the highest concentration of boutique restaurants, bars, and shopping. All in all, the Village of La Jolla offers the best of all that La Jolla has to offer, all within a few blocks.
Is La Jolla or Coronado better?
Both La Jolla and Coronado are luxurious beach communities with upscale dining and hotel options with beautiful beaches. While you can’t go wrong staying in either of these two wonderful places, La Jolla offers a wider variety of activities and sites, such as the sea lions at La Jolla Cove, kayaking through the beautiful underwater park and caves, and the unique Children’s Pool.
What are some pet-friendly hotels in La Jolla?
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