Don’t argue with this: San Diego is “America’s finest city.” Admittedly, the name came about in the most casual and cursory of manners—an incidental happenstance, if you may. It hankers back to 1972 and the need to host the Republican National Convention for that year in San Diego. When the effort fell flat on its face, the then Mayor of San Diego Pete Wilson, decided to save face by organizing what was termed “America’s Finest City Week”— to make up for the fun and flair that was to sweep over the western city. Well, the name has stuck, like many words that are spoken in jest. Still, San Diego has a lot of fun and flair; pleasures, and treasures, one of which is the beautiful Mushroom Beach in the picturesque La Jolla neighborhood.


La Jolla is increasingly becoming a top traveler's favorite. According to Tripadvisor’s 2022 Best of the Best ranking, La Jolla Cove, a stroll from the mushroom beach, came at an impressive position 9 in the top 25 ranking of American beaches. To put this in perspective, there are 5,987 beaches in the United States! Expectedly, this pervasive natural beauty of the La Jolla coastline naturally rubs off on nearby beaches like Mushroom Beach.

What Makes La Jolla Beach A Must-visit?

First, the stunning natural scenes that breathtakingly dot the seven-mile coastline. You’d think there’s a little bit of Hawaii in La Jolla. The views of the beach are particularly spectacular. The calm ripples of the ocean waters create a stunning, iridescent shade of blue that’s absolutely gorgeous from a few meters out. The views of the horizon and the receding skyline produce faint, panoramic vistas that are at once both exciting and tranquilizing. While you can catch all these amazing views before sunset, watching the sunset in La Jolla’s Mushroom Beach will completely eclipse everything you’ve seen before. The sun’s rays dip into the ocean’s waters, creating a dazzling color effect that rubs on the rocks nearby—making the rocks subsequently glow in a stunning golden shade. You’ll feel the calming, relaxing effect of this spectacle in every nerve and fiber of your body. The truth is, you can come here for the views alone.

Then it’s quieter than the Cove, Mission Beach, and other attractions nearby making it a perfect place to unwind—without the intrusive chatter and clatter of an overcrowded, jam-packed beach. So if you’re looking for some alone time, to reflect on some issue, or to just enjoy your own company, this is the place to be. Part of the reason for the beach's quietness is that it’s a little more difficult to reach. Sure, it’s not that risky, certainly not life-threatening. It’s only that there’s a small stretch that’ll require more care in getting around and through. There’s a wall built by someone who probably wanted exclusive access to the breathtaking views all around. Who wouldn’t anyway? At this spot, one has to firmly hold the wall as he or she finds his way onto a narrow ledge, then carefully climb around and out onto the open beauty that nature has elegantly spread out. Don’t worry though. Even in the unlikely event that someone slips and falls, the descent is only about 13 feet. You’ll also just be immersed thigh-deep in water. This makes it obviously less touristy, more peaceful, and a little bit exclusive.

  • Location Of Mushroom Beach: This beach is located at the intersection of Palomar Avenue and Neptune Pl., La Jolla, CA 92037.

Related: Visit La Jolla For Its Scenery, But Stay For Its Prime Snorkeling

Once on the beach proper, you’ll immediately notice many small, shallow basins filled with ocean water. These little, lovely depressions vary in size and depth. Some are narrow at the edge, some are wide and more outspread. Some are only a few inches deep while others stretch to a foot or two. These are tide pools formed when ocean waters get trapped in little cracks and crevices when the tides eventually recede. Most of the tide pools are at the southern end of the beach and are filled with all kinds of queer marine life. One common sighting at this beach is the attractive sticky shell-covered crustaceans resembling mollusks called barnacles. Fun fact: barnacles ooze an adhesive that’s among the strongest natural glues on earth with a tensile strength of 5,000 pounds per square inch. So that’s probably one reason they’re able to defy the powerful pressure of ocean tides.

And don’t carry a backpack in which to stuff mushrooms. Though this beach is called Mushroom Beach, it’s not because of the abundant presence of the edible (or inedible) umbrella-shaped fungi that elegantly adorn the earth in many places. Rather, the continuous erosion of the rocks around the beach has left these rocks with a beautiful mushroom-like appearance that’s impossible to miss. It’s as if nature’s design was purposeful. If you want to see the rocks that lend this beach its name, you’d better come when the tide is low. So remember to check your tide map.

One last reason you can’t afford to miss the ethereal experience the Mushroom Beach offers is that it’s absolutely free. That’s right: it costs zero dollars. So whether you just want a quiet walk, to wade, surf, or enjoy some stunning, magical views, book your trip in advance to La Jonna’s Mushroom Beach.

Next: Guide: The Best Weekend Getaways From San Diego