Thursday

California Family Vacations: Things to Do With Kids in San Diego - Children's Pool Beach (Seals galore!)


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Please note: All pictures of seals were taken from a safe distance away with a large camera lens to give the seals their space. It is completely discouraged to get too near the seals and disturb them as it can cause them stress or harm. 

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

Children's Pool Beach San Diego, CA Overview

Forget aquariums, who wants to watch some seals right on the beach?!

If your little guys love watching animals, especially in their natural habitats, Children's Pool Beach is a must! Located on the coast of San Diego in La Jolla, Children's Pool Beach is a gorgeous little beach that also happens to be the location where many seals choose to stop and rest, give birth to their pups, sunbathe and play.



Note: Getting down to the beach required a brief walk down a set of stairs. We did not see any accessible access to the beach and had read this was a controversial issue, which had not yet been rectified to our knowledge at the time of our visit. We did see mobile bathrooms along the sidewalk, but did not notice any other restrooms available, which may have been due to the time of year we visited.

Location: 850 Coast Boulevard San Diego, CA (La Jolla)
 
Parking: street parking, garages nearby (the earlier the better if you want to grab street parking)

Additional Info: Children's Pool Beach government website

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

When we visited we noticed that Children's Pool Beach (which was walled in by fairly short, rocky cliffs and a long walkway) was somewhat small, but large enough for quite a few chubby seals to flop around on with their pups. The beach seemed to be split into two rounded areas, a larger area to the right and a smaller area to the left--each with its own staircase down separated by what looked like a watchtower between. The sand was soft and while the waves weren't too large, they did seem to have some force behind them--watching little ones carefully would be a must.

The day we visited the water was too cold to go in, however, we had really only come for the seals as we'd read they frequented this beach and couldn't pass up the opportunity to see them in person!

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach
Larger section of Children's Pool Beach
 

Pupping Season at Children's Pool Beach

Pupping season at Children's Pool Beach runs Dec-May. Honestly, this is the time to go in our opinions, but keep in mind that the larger part of the beach remains closed off at times to allow the seals some privacy during this period (visitors can observe from the walkway). We did find the smaller section to the left remained open during our visit, which allowed for some really amazing seal watching right on the beach!

*Please also note that even if the beach is not closed off, it is really important that the seals be left alone. Getting too close to a pup can result in the mother abandoning it and sadly we noticed that some people didn't observe this rule. There was an individual there when we visited that made sure she let every visitor know the rules (yelling at anyone that didn't maintain their distance), but given what was at stake we could understand why she was so upset.

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

The boys were absolutely hypnotized by these seals and their pups! They remained still and quiet the entire time we stayed (a couple hours) so they didn't disturb them; observing the adults and their pups as they sunbathed and moved around the beach. We were surprised to find that some pups were only an hour or two old. We actually missed one birth by less than an hour--darn! Other pups and seals varied in age from a few weeks to juveniles and adults.

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

Such a great educational opportunity! We watched as the moms nursed their pups, rubbed off their newborn fuzz, scared off pesky fellow seals that got too close and bathed in the sun on the warm sand.

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

We even got to watch as seals rolled into the waves and swam off to go fish!

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach


Best Areas for Seal Watching

If a section of the beach isn't closed that is definitely the ideal place to do some seal watching!

As we mentioned above, the day we visited the larger section of the beach was closed off, but the smaller section to the left of the walkway remained open. While we made sure we kept our distance, we were able to observe the seals for quite some time from various angles on the beach and rocks overhead--amazing!

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach
The boys were actually perched on one of the rounded cliffs overlooking the seals here. They had a great view!

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

The long walkway that curved around the larger portion of the beach was another great spot to do some seal and wave watching. We did find that it was fairly heavily trafficked by visitors when we were there. A bit on the narrow side, if you plan to stop to take pictures or observe you may find you get bumped a bit as people try to squeeze by.

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

The day we visited the seals on the side visible from the walkway were less active, so we spent the majority of our time on the smaller section of the beach observing seals from the rocks, the stairway and the beach itself.


 Stuff To Do Nearby

Once you've had your fill of chubby seals and their adorable pups (as if you can ever have enough!), there is plenty to do nearby--shops, dining, etc. We didn't spend too much time in La Jolla as we tried to pack in as much as possible during our time in San Diego, but we found it was a nice area for families wanting to do a little shopping and dining in addition to seal watching.

Parking lots in La Jolla (and in other areas of San Diego) were a bit of a zoo during busy times of the day. The ones we parked at in La Jolla had private security guards on-duty to help direct and oversee traffic. Even still, lots seemed to never have enough parking spots for those trying to shop and drivers whizzed through them--keep this in mind if you visit with your little ADHDers.

Don't forget, La Jolla has a Sprinkles (which now offers gluten-free red velvet cupcakes), so you may want to stop before or after you visit the seals for a sweet treat if you don't live by one!


Final Thoughts on Children's Pool Beach & More Seals

Of all the places we visited in San Diego this was one of our family-favorites. Being able to observe seals at such a close distance without glass between us was amazing! Plus, it's always nice to be able to watch animals in their natural habitats as opposed to man-made tanks and cages. This experience was magical for all of us and one we'll definitely make time for again next time we return to the area.
 
If you can't visit during pupping season we still think it's a great beach, but we'd highly recommend trying to visit with little ADHDers between December and May to get the full experience!

While parking wasn't plentiful, we visited around 2 or 3 in the afternoon on a weekday and managed to find a spot with a little effort. We found the later it got, the busier it got, so keep that in mind when planning your time.

I have to admit, the entire time we were at the beach I snapped non-stop pictures and as a result came home with over 1,000 seal photos. Though it took me nearly 2 weeks to sort and edit them, I still ended up with quite a few to share that didn't make it into the content above. If you're like us and can't get enough, I've included some of them below! While all of the seals were really fun to watch we managed to fall in love with a couple in particular, which you'll probably be able to pick out below.

Ready for a major dose of cuteness? Enjoy and feel free to spread the love!


San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach


San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach


San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach
Mommy told me I could be anything, so I've decided to be a bird!

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach


San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach
This baby was 1 hour old when we arrived!

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach
I loved that you could see the other seal swimming under the wave behind this guy!

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach
Rollin' with my homies (into the waves)...

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach
This mom was super sassy!

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

San Diego Family Travel Guide Children's Pool Beach

Have you been to Children's Pool Beach? If not, would you like to take your family?

8 comments:

  1. Wow that is amazing. I'd never heard of Children's Pool Beach. My girls would love it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They totally would! I hope you get the chance to go! :)

      Delete
  2. This looks like such a fun time! We want to go back to San Diego sometime soon and I would LOVE to go there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my gosh, yes! Definitely visit next time you go!

      Delete
  3. I AM SO JEALOUS! OMG! So freaking cute! I just asked my husband if I could have one and he said no =(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well darn it that's not fair! I wanted to take my favorite pup home so badly, but sadly I had to remind myself it was better he stay with him mom. Darn :( lol

      Delete
  4. These photos are absolutely GORGEOUS!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Those baby seals are so cute!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

    ReplyDelete

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