Ellen Browning Scripps Park is the heart of the La Jolla coast. This grassy area sits on a bluff above the ocean. It is great place to hangout and have a picnic. It also benefits from having three small, unique beach areas: Shell Beach, Boomers Beach and La Jolla Cove. Here we are talking about Shell Beach and Boomer Beach which are right next to each other at the park.
Beach Type: Small scenic rocky beach areas with some sand and
Access: Staircase, possibly some rock climbing
Parking: Free street parking
Facilities: Restroom changing at La Jolla Cove facilities
Good For: Laying out in the Sun, snorkeling, body surfing, tide pools, seal viewing
Not Good For: surfing, body boarding, inexperienced swimmers
The first thing to know about both Shell and Boomer Beach is entering the water here can be dangerous. These western facing beaches have rough surf and many rocks. For swimming, you are better off directly south at Children’s Pool or directly north at La Jolla Cove. Both areas are shaded from the large waves.
Shell Beach is marked by a staircase leading down to the beach. This beach is best visited in low tides when there is more sand and also opportunity to explore the tidepools. Off the beach you can see Seal Rock, where many seals hang out. Overall this is a tiny beach area, but it is scenic and conveniently located.
Directly north of Shell Beach is Boomer Beach which is even smaller. This beach is known for bodysurfing. However, I would only recommend this for experts. Personally, I cannot imagine going in the rocky water here. Bodyboarding and surfing are strictly prohibited.
However, we almost always visit Boomer Beach when we come to Ellen Browning Scripps Park. This is great area for climbing on rocks and exploring tide pools. In recent years, seals have moved away from the Children’s Pool/Seal Rock area and have taken up residence in the rocks surrounding Boomer Beach.
Even if you don’t spend a day at these beaches, the scenery makes them worth a visit on a trip to La Jolla. You go by both beaches in our central La Jolla walk. The next beach up is arguably San Diego’s best snorkeling spot, La Jolla Cove.
As a final note, that applies to all the beaches in the La Jolla Cove area, this is a popular place. There is free parking but it can be hard to find. We almost always park a few blocks away in central La Jolla village and walk down the hill. However, this also requires walking back up hill.