Kayaking the seven sea caves in La Jolla Shores is a blast, if you can make it past the “guards”—that is, a bunch of playful sea lions! The helpful guides at Hike Bike Kayak Adventure Tours will handle all the details so all you have to worry about is having fun. They stow your gear, outfit you with a helmet and PFD, give you a quick kayaking lesson, and you’re off!
The paddling can be a bit challenging. You’re in the open ocean, where you’ll encounter waves, swells, and currents. But again, the guides are a huge help, and soon you and your kayak (solo or tandem; your choice) are out past the breakers and cruising calmer water.
The sound of barking sea lions fills the air as you near the sea caves, and soon you see them splashing and playing in the water around the cave entrances. Watch them dive and swim right under your kayak!
The area surrounding the sea caves is part of the La Jolla Ecological Reserve, so underwater plants and wildlife are abundant here. Kelp forests sway in the water below, and bright orange garibaldi (our official state fish!) dart around the rocky reefs. You might even glimpse a sea turtle or leopard shark. Most of the caves you will only get to see from a safe distance, but if the conditions are right, the guides will lead you through one known as the Clam—named for the way it sucks in water. Inside, the water is crystal clear, and you’ll get a few minutes to revel in the splendor before continuing on your journey. Alas, you eventually have to make your way back to shore, which means navigating the waves. But remember, your guides are awesome. They’ll have you dialed in so you won’t capsize. And if you get a bit damp, hey—it’s summer, and this is the ocean! A cool combo.
Hike Bike Kayak Adventure Tours (HBK) is located at 2222 Avenida de la Playa in La Jolla. From the I-5, take the Genesee Ave. exit and go west, then turn left on N. Torrey Pines Rd. Continue about a mile, then turn right on La Jolla Shores Drive. Go 2 miles and turn right on Avenida de la Playa. The La Jolla Sea Caves Kayak Tour is offered year-round, seven days a week. Advance reservations strongly recommended. Free parking is available in the neighborhood near HBK, but allow plenty of time to find a spot. No dogs.