Biking From Mission Beach to La Jolla

Pacific Beach to False Point
Mission Beach to La Jolla bike route

Mission Beach to La Jolla Bike Route

Playing in San Diego Like a Local

Biking Mission Beach to La Jolla

Beach boardwalks, beautiful neighborhoods, and gorgeous views – this bike route from Mission Beach to La Jolla is only about 8 miles (16 round trip) but you’ll want to allow plenty of time for café breaks and stops to watch the local sun, surf and windsurfing action.

Mission Beach to Pacific Beach

Start your ride in Mission Beach near the Giant Dipper, a wooden Roller Coaster built in 1925 and a historic landmark. Head over to the beach and up the wide ocean front boardwalk taking in the lively beach, bar and party scene. Between the clusters of bars and shops, you’ll see vacation homes and short term rentals of all types lining the boardwalk. An occasional funky dilapidated cottage nestles between new 2 and 3 story window-walled condos with outdoor spas and BBQ’s facing the boardwalk action.

Mission Beach at the Giant Dipper

Mission Beach at the Giant Dipper and along the boardwalk

Konos Cafe

Konos Cafe

Breakfast stop: Kono’s Surf Club Café. A line out the door almost all of the time. There’s seating inside, outside, and across the sidewalk behind a gift shop for a terrific view right above Pacific Beach.

Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach view from Kono’s outdoor terrace

Pacific Beach to La Jolla

The boardwalk ends at the grassy Palisades Park north of Pacific Beach. Follow the road up to busy La Jolla Boulevard where there’s a designated bike lane. You don’t have to bike along La Jolla Boulevard too far, just a couple of blocks before turning left on to Sea Ridge Drive. For the next couple of miles you’ll ride by all types of ocean front homes with access paths to the ocean scattered among them.

False Point

False Point at the north end of Pacific Beach, public access from Sea Ridge Drive

The access paths between the north end of Pacific Beach and Windandsea Beach lead down from the cliffs above to small rocky outcrops, terrific for views and popular with local surfers. More sandy beaches start at Windandsea Beach.

Windandsea Beach

Windandsea Beach

Children’s Pool

Up Coast Boulevard into La Jolla is Children’s Pool. The pool is protected by a seawall that was built in 1931 as a gift from local philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps. When the harbor seals took over the pool years ago, it started a huge controversy (and many lawsuits) over the use of the beach. As it stands now, you’ll see seals during the pupping season mid-December to the middle of May when the city of San Diego puts in a rope barrier to keep people away from seals. At other times both people and seals are allowed to use the beach. Even though we saw people in the water here, swimming isn’t a good idea due to high bacteria contamination from seal poo.

Childrens Pool

Childrens Pool

Coast Boulevard

Along Coast Boulevard north of Childrens Pool


Bobboi Natural Gelato

Bobboi Natural Gelato


Great Break: Bobboi Natural Gelato – After all this biking you deserve a treat! The best place for that calorie splurge is a gelato at Bobboi. One block up hill from Scripps Park, on Girard Avenue.

La Jolla Cove

Before heading back to Mission Beach, swing by La Jolla Cove at the northeast end of Scripps Park. The cove is within the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve, a protected marine area. You’ll see lots of people swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove

Back to Mission Beach

Mid-point Caffeine Break: Ready for a caffeine break? There are a couple of coffee shops, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters and a Starbucks on the corner of Bird Rock Avenue and La Jolla Boulevard just a couple of blocks east of the bird rock public access path. A nice little neighborhood for a break.

I love biking around San Diego and this is one of my favorite routes, plenty of beach boardwalk activity to oggle, beautiful neighborhoods with very little traffic and terrific breaks!

Practicalities

Bike Rental

What if you don’t have your bike with you? DecoBike rentals by the hour have sprung up all over San Diego, but for a long bike ride from Mission Beach to La Jolla and back, you’re better of with half or full day rates from one of the many companies in Mission Beach or Pacific Beach.

Route Map

Bike Route Map

Have you been biking around the beaches in San Diego? What was your favorite stop?

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6 Comments

    1. Rebecca

      It’s a fun place to live (and to play tourist in!) – although the “May Grey” “June Gloom” and “July oh My” of the marine layer surprises a lot of visitors. The West Coast is beautiful, I’ve driven it a few times from the Washington border down to San Diego and there are so many special places to poke around for awhile. But even though there’s so much beauty here in the good ‘ol USA the lure of the unfamiliar keeps tugging us to explore other countries. Happy travels in South Africa!

      Reply
  1. Shelley Meine

    Your writing is so appreciated. I thank you for your description of the route as well. I’ll be traveling with my 13 year old and although the organized tour with a bike company sounded great, as I looked at youtube videos and photos of the route, I knew I would want to stop and play. So, I feel encouraged that I can do this without a group!! Looks great. Thanks.

    Reply
  2. Laura

    Thank you for publishing this! I’m visiting next week and would love to make that trip. When I click on the route map you provided, it doesn’t seem to provide the trip, just the possible stopping points along the way. Just so I’m clear – as I’m obviously from out of town 🙂 – is it boardwalk-La Jolla Blvd-Sea Ridge Dr-bike paths from Bird Rock the rest of the way? Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Rebecca

      Yep, that’s it .. just follow the pedestrian path (it’s not really boards but we call it a boardwalk!) to the end and go uphill until you get to La Jolla Blvd. From La Jolla Blvd, go to Sea Ridge Drive and turn left to go down to the streets closest to the ocean and follow them around. There aren’t dedicated bike paths on most of the streets in these neighborhoods but they are very calm with places to stop and look at the ocean along the way. Have fun biking and exploring!
      Rebecca recently posted…Death Valley Road Trip – Two Nights in Death ValleyMy Profile

      Reply

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