adventures with shawna leeann || exploring la jolla, ca

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admittedly la jolla is one of those places i never think to visit. mostly for the fact that i spend 80% of my week navigating its narrow streets en route to my day job. so come saturday, naturally my preference is to stay north of the i805/i5 interchange.

BUT this month is about getting out of our comfort zones, right?! so for the first official adventure of the may, S and i decided to spend a day in san diego’s “jewel” (the english translation of the word la jolla) with a visit to the birch aquarium, the la jolla cove, and the infamous favorite color mural (or as i like to call it, the technicolor dream wall). we even discovered a secret trail with the most gorgeous orange wildflowers. despite it being a little warmer than anticipated and QUITE crowded (i forgot how much more congested the sleepy beach town can be on the weekends), we had the best time!



unsure of how long the gorgeous weather would last, we decided to start our visit with a stroll along la jolla shores. the narrow pathway runs parallel with the coastline offering picturesque views and even more photo opportunities. along the way, we passed by the famous children’s pool (pictured above) and waved to the harbor seals snoozing in the saturday sun.

we eventually wound our way up to the la jolla cove (below), a popular spot for exploring tide pools, snorkeling and scuba diving. fun fact: my mom and step-dad met at this exact spot twenty-six years ago, so it has always held a very special place in my heart. despite the unfortunate smell (the sea life sure is cute but stinky!), it’s a must-visit on a trip to the intimate beach town. speaking of must-visits, one of our favorite breakfast spots sits just above the landmark, offering gorgeous views of the cove itself. if you’re looking for delicious fare and tasty cocktails, the brockton villa is a great spot.



from the cove, we continued up the hill to find a trail i had heard about from a fellow blogger. laden with gorgeous blooming orange and yellow wildflowers and wrap around views of the water, the narrow dirt pathway is the perfect spot to steal away for a romantic moment or in the very least -a pause to admire the stunning scenery. if you’re looking to find the hidden gem, the trail head starts at the base of another la jolla mainstay –the cave store.



after we descended the trail back toward town, we scaled the nearby cement stairs which dropped us off in the heart of the village. known for its world-class restaurants and upscale shops, the village of la jolla is a pedestrian’s paradise, with stimulation for all five senses. notable places to visit include: the la valencia (the famous “pink” hotel pictured above), eddie v’s (try the lobster tacos), the living room (delicious coffee drinks), warwick’s (a local book store), and of course, the “favorite color” mural (photo above), an art installation by roy mcmakin and one of the half dozen murals scattered throughout la jolla. more on that mural coming to the blog soon!

our last stop of the day was the birch aquarium. i had been there once on a school field trip, but it was my husband’s inaugural visit. as expected on a gorgeous saturday, even in the late afternoon, it was still quite crowded. there were dozens of young families wandering the grounds with their curious little ones. perhaps my favorite part of our visit were the tide pools (pictured below), located outside with panoramic views of la jolla acting as their backdrop. in the summer, the aquarium holds their green flash concert series featuring local artists and big names alike! while i haven’t yet attended one, it’s definitely on my bucket list. with no babies to chase around, we made it through the attraction fairly quickly, but S definitely agreed that it would be a great place to bring our future children, especially on a rainy day. i see an annual membership in our future.



overall, we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to spend a few hours in “the jewel” of san diego. as we inch closer and closer to the heart of summer, i’d definitely recommend visiting during the week (as opposed to a weekend) when it’s not as congested. but even if you are stuck in traffic, at least you’re looking out at some pretty spectacular views.


la jolla cove
1100 coast blvd
la jolla, ca 92037

favorite color mural
7596 eads avenue
la jolla, ca 92037

birch aquarium
2300 expedition way
la jolla, ca 92037
9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. daily
adult $18.50
child (3-17, under 2 free) $14
senior (60+) $15.50

  • Mom
    May 15, 2017

    Looks like it was a wonderful day. Beautiful pictures. You could be a travel blogger

    • snadelman
      May 15, 2017

      We’d love to be travel bloggers! Maybe someday 🙂 xoxo

  • Aunt Teresa
    May 21, 2017

    Wonderful post. The pictures and short narrative made me feel you were next to me and sharing your wonderful day.

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