If you’re a nature and animal lover, we’ve found the best of both worlds. You can swim and snorkel with Leopard Sharks in La Jolla at this beautiful San Diego beach.
While many people are afraid of sharks, there’s no need to fear leopard sharks. These gentle giants may get up to six feet long, but humans aren’t on their menu. In fact, they’re quite docile and their diet consists mostly of shellfish.
The best time to see Leopard Sharks in La Jolla is August through September since it’s nearing the end of their mating season. You can still see plenty of them in October though. The warm waters provide the perfect place for incubation and the sharks often stay around the shores for up to six months.
To get the best views, you should visit La Jolla Shores during the day when it’s sunny and the waters are calm. You can spot anywhere from a handful of leopard sharks to a few hundred in the water depending on the weather conditions.
Even if you don’t make it out to La Jolla between August through October, you can still spot the sharks there throughout the year. It’s common for about 100 to 200 of them to stay along the shores year-round.
How do you spot them (all pun intended)? Keep an eye out for sharks about six feet long and under. Leopard sharks have a silver body and beautiful dark brown spots that look like a leopard print.
Wade into knee-deep or waist-deep water and you’ll probably spot a few! If you swim out a little way, you’ll find more.
You can swim with them or grab your snorkeling gear for a better view. If you don’t have snorkeling gear of your own, there are plenty of shops within walking distance of the beach where you can rent or buy them. There are also guided tours in the area from a number of companies in La Jolla Shores.
The leopard sharks usually swim in ten feet deep of water or under. Make sure to keep your distance and give them space. Don’t try to touch them or feed them.
Have fun and stay calm. It’s important to respect both wildlife and the environment as you adventure!
La Jolla Shores
Location: San Diego
Why you should go: You can swim or snorkel with leopard sharks for free in the beautiful waters of La Jolla Shores.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
Editor’s note: Use common sense and watch out for rip tides and strong currents. It is important to always listen to the lifeguards and treat the animals and the environment with respect. Stay calm and wear appropriate gear.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.