La Jolla Sea Kayaking: Caves, Sea Lions, and Sharks

La Jolla is a coastal community about 12 miles north of downtown San Diego. One of La Jolla’s big draws is, of course, the beach. This family friendly 1 mile stretch of sand is adjacent to sea cliffs that house a series of caves. These caves are easy to access by sea kayak.Sea Caves in La Jolla

A sea cave adventure in La Jolla sounded too good to pass up! We decided to use a guide service rather than going it alone. Several local companies offer this service. We selected La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks. In retrospect, I’m really glad we went with a guide! We saw and learned so much more from our guide, Luke, than we could have experienced on our own!

La Jolla Sea Kayaking

Our sea cave kayak tour was in the morning. We started  with a lesson on the beach in maneuvering the kayak. Fortunately, the water was like glass at launch time, so we had no trouble getting past the breakers.

Sea Kayaking in La Jolla

When we arrived at the cave, safety was the primary focus.  Our guide carefully explained the process of entering and exiting the cave. We were led in the cave 2 kayaks at a time. Instruction included how far into the cave to paddle and when to paddle out.  I was glad to be with a guide who knew the pattern of the waves as well as the location of the obstacles. I would not have felt comfortable doing this solo!

Sea Cave Kayaking in La Jolla

Mission accomplished – we kayaked in a sea cave! But, the fun was far from over! A colony of sea lions was lounging  on rocks near the cave. These marine mammals were entertaining and quite vocal! We had plenty of time to just sit and watch the sea lion soap opera unfold. Watching bulls jockey for position among the females was a hoot!

Sea Lions in La Jolla

On the return paddle along the cliffs, we stopped to watch sharks swimming below the surface. No need to sing the Jaws’ theme song – these were leopard sharks which are harmless to humans. It was such a treat to see these amazing predators in their natural habitat!

Leopard Shark in La Jolla

Kayaking in the sea cave and along the rocky La Jolla coastline was really fun! It wasn’t difficult or scary. A sea kayaking experience was an amazing way to spend a morning in La Jolla.  It far exceeded my expectations and was a highlight of our trip!

Tip & Tee: San Diego Bay

San Diego is home to a natural deep water harbor with a rich military and commercial history. San Diego Bay is at the heart of this coastal city. It is lined with hotels, shops, and restaurants, and there is no shortage of opportunities to stroll alongside this body of water.

Sailboat in San Diego Bay

San Diego Bay Trip Tip

There is so much to do in this Top Gun town that no trip is long enough to do it all! However, there is no better way to see San Diego than to get out on the bay. Whether you take a bay cruise or rent a boat and explore on your own, admiring San Diego from this incredible perspective is an experience you won’t soon forget.

San Diego TeeWhen it comes to shopping on a trip, I am a total tourist! My favorite souvenirs are travel tee shirts! Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a collection. In Tip & Tee, I share some of my treasures and a Trip Tip for that destination!

7 Tips for a Sensational Day at the San Diego Zoo

If you’re traveling to San Diego, you MUST explore the world famous San Diego Zoo! It is a remarkable place that certainly lives up to the hype. But be forewarned: There is so much to see and do that it is impossible to experience everything in one day!

As you plan your visit, consider these 7 tips to to make the most of your time at the unforgettable San Diego Zoo.

  1. Arrive early.  The San Diego Zoo is popular, so you may encounter crowds. Arriving early will give you some time to enjoy exhibits with less congestion. In the summer, morning is a great time to explore the zoo when the temperature is more moderate.San Diego Zoo Flamingo
  2. Don’t rush. Don’t make the mistake of creating a rigid itinerary for the day. Focus on quality, not quantity.  Being flexible allows you to enjoy the unexpected. During our recent visit, the leopards were active, and a volunteer was on hand to answer questions. We lingered longer at this exhibit just gazing at these magnificent creatures.  I never knew I could be so mesmerized by leopards!San Diego Zoo Leopard
  3. Wear appropriate footwear. Covering 100 acres, this animal wonderland is massive! You’ll have no trouble getting in your steps for the day when you tour the San Diego Zoo! Also, this acreage isn’t flat! Expect to trek up and down inclines throughout the day. I recommend wearing tennis shoes, hiking shoes, or a hearty adventure-style sandal. I’d avoid anything with thin soles or delicate straps. And, if you decide to wear a heel… well… don’t say I didn’t warn you!San Diego Zoo Koala
  4. Don’t stress about food. I found in my online research that several people suggested bringing a picnic to avoid the high cost and not-so-awesome food at the zoo. To save prep time, we opted to eat at the park. While it wasn’t the best food on our trip, the food was fine and prices weren’t outrageous. For us, this was just easier.San Diego Zoo Opaki
  5. Don’t wait too long to ride the Skyfari. The San Diego Zoo has a great old-school gondola that runs from the front of the park to the back. (Does anyone else besides me think it is a shame how many parks no longer have this type of ride?) Riding the Skyfari offers great views of the park. It can help you get your bearings while you rest your feet. But, lines can be long. We rode the gondola early in the day from the back of the park to the front. There was no line at the back station, but it was quite long at the front station. I would not wait more than 10 minutes to ride it even if it means skipping it all together.San Diego Zoo Skyfari
  6. Stay hydrated. As I mentioned, the San Diego Zoo is vast and can also be hot in the summer. A visit to this zoo means a lot of walking in the sun. Making sure everyone in your group drinks plenty of water will make for a more enjoyable day! Don’t worry, the bathrooms are fine!San Diego Zoo Turtle
  7. Consider a special experience. The San Diego Zoo offers a variety of different special experience tours for an additional fee. These tours aren’t cheap, so I debated whether or not it was worth the extra cost. We chose one of the Inside Look tours and absolutely loved it! It was a highlight of our visit. I would highly recommend it if you can make it work in your budget.San Diego Zoo Panda

Whether it is your first visit or your 10th, chances are you’ll experience something new and delightful at the San Diego Zoo. With 3,500 animals to see, you’re likely to want to go back again and again to this San Diego landmark!San Diego Zoo Giraffe

5 Must-See Sights in Sunny San Diego

There is no shortage of activities and sights to see in San Diego.  In fact, you’ll likely have trouble narrowing down all the great options! Few destinations offer so many choices for family fun!

During our recent trip, our time was limited.  We only had 3 days! I’m not sure 2 weeks would be enough time to experience everything this city has to offer. I did quite a bit of research before the trip to decide the best way to use our time.  Fortunately, we were able to squeeze a lot into this relatively short trip.

Here are what I consider to be 5 must-see sights in sunny San Diego:

  1. The San Diego Zoo:  The San Diego Zoo is amazing, so it is no surprise that this world famous zoo is one of the top rated attractions in San Diego. Of course, the pandas are a highlight, but the polar bear exhibit is probably my favorite! This zoo is massive, so I’d suggest allowing at minimum 6 or 7 hours for your visit.Polar Bear at the San Diego Zoo
  2. Coronado Island: The Coronado Island community is a great place to relax and play. It is a quick car trip or ferry ride from downtown San Diego, yet it feels like it is worlds away. Enjoy the beautiful beach or a bike or surrey ride around the island. As you might expect, there are plenty of local restaurants where one can grab a tasty meal. Spending a half or whole day on this island is time well spent!Coronado Island
  3. San Diego Bay:  San Diego Bay is the heart of this city.  Of course, various water craft rentals are available in the bay as well as shopping and dining bay side.  One of the best ways to experience San Diego Bay is to take a bay cruise which is offered by several tour companies.  A 1 or 2 hour bay cruise provides a great perspective on this city and a view of its many military installations.View of San Diego Bay from Point Loma
  4. The USS Midway: The USS Midway Museum is also ranked as one of the top attractions in San Diego.  The reason for this is clear – it provides a fascinating look into life on an aircraft carrier.  This museum also highlights the important role these floating cities play in the freedom of our nation.  Be prepared – this museum is one in which you’ll wish you had more time.  We were there for about 3 hours, and it was not enough!USS MidwaySan Diego USS Midway-3 trip
  5. Cabrillo National Monument:  Cabrillo National Monument is located on Point Loma, and I can’t imagine a more spectacular view of San Diego Bay.  This National Monument offers family friendly hiking trails as well as a historic lighthouse to explore. In certain times of the year, this is a great destination for tide pooling and whale watching.  Regardless of when you visit, you won’t be disappointed.Cabrillo Monument

Whatever you decide to do during your trip to San Diego, its likely that you’ll find more to do than time allows.  Of course, that just means you’ll have to plan another trip to this Southern California vacation wonderland!