Noxious odors

Prospective visitors should be aware that the air throughout the La Jolla Cove area is filled with the odor of seal and bird feces. The stench can be especially offensive on the warmest days in the summer.    The extensive fecal contamination also causes unsafe swimming conditions.

The beach at the Cove is very small, and the sand is gritty. Lifeguards are present at the Cove every day of the year from 9 am until the sun sets. The Cove is a very popular spot for swimming, snorkeling and scuba diving. During summer, there are two swim buoys placed at 1/4mile and 1/2 mile distances from the Cove. More adventurous swimmers will attempt to swim to Scripps Pier and back, totaling 3 miles round trip. The cove is home to many open water swimming events year round including the Rough Water Swim and the 10 Mile Relay swim.

Because La Jolla Cove is within the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park (a marine refuge area), swimming devices such as surfboards, boogie boards, and even inflatable mattresses, are not permitted, and kayakers are not allowed into the Cove; these rules are carefully enforced by the lifeguards on duty. Also because the Cove is an ecological reserve, no fishing is allowed. In addition, no collecting of marine invertebrates, (even taking dead specimens or seashells) is allowed in this area. All sea animals in this area are protected by law, including the orange Garibaldi fish, which are unusually common in the Cove. There are hundreds of sea lions that call the La Jolla Cove home, sometimes being seen in the deeper-water parts of the Cove or basking on rocks. 

As is the case at other beaches, the lifeguard's chalkboard indicates the time of the next high or low tide, and also the water temperature. The water temperature in the Cove is sometimes cooler than in some other areas of San Diego's coastline because the Cove faces out into much deeper, colder, water. The weather on land is typical of weather in La Jolla, where the temperature year-round seldom exceeds the 50 degrees to 90 degrees range.

Facilities
Right at the top of the Cove there is a group of outdoor showers, and large public restrooms which include one indoor shower and an indoor area with benches and hooks for changing in and out of swimsuits.