Caves in San Diego - 4 Sea Caves like No Other

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San Diego is a globally recognized hub for tourists. The city is renowned for its beaches and museums, while also having a massive cultural impact in the US. However, the city is also home to hidden natural beauty that makes it all the more beautiful. Amongst these undiscovered gems are the caves along the coast of the city. 

The caves in San Diego have been naturally formed over years of erosion thanks to the ocean waves crashing onto the rocks. As a result, one gets some stunning views of land and nature, with many of them being partially submerged in water. Visiting these sea caves is an adventure that is very rewarding at the end, as most of these caves are not easily accessible. Here are some of the caves in San Diego that offer you a thrilling experience.

4 Stunning Sea Caves in San Diego

1. La Jolla Caves

The 7 Caves of La Jolla
The 7 Caves of La Jolla (Source)

The La Jolla Caves are almost 75 million years old. These caves were carved out of the sandstone rocks by the sea. They can only be accessed from the sea, which made them a hideout for smugglers and pirates back in the 19th century. However, nowadays you’d find these caves occupied by friendly sea lions and harbor seals instead.
La Jolla Caves consist of seven caves. They are White Lady, Shopping Cart, Shopping Cart, Arch Cave, Sea Surprize, Clam’s Cave and Sunny Jim Cave. Except for the Sunny Jim Cave, all the other caves can be accessed only by kayaks, which makes it an adventure of its own. Boating under the rocks and their various formations, with the occasional sunlight illuminating them creates some stunning visual experiences. While Arch Cave is the second longest cave here, Sea Surprize is famous for its colorful fossilised anemones and other marine wildlife

2. Sunny Jim Cave

View from the Sunny Jim Cave, La Jolla
View from the Sunny Jim Cave, La Jolla (Source)
The Sunny Jim Cave is the only cave in the La Jolla Caves system that is accessible from the land. When viewed from a particular angle, the cave resembles the cartoon character Sunny Jim, hence getting its name. The cave was made accessible to the public by Gustav Schulz, who in 1902 decided to dig through the tunnel with picks and shovels. After nearly two years of effort, his labourers and him reached the roof of the cave. The 145 wooden steps soon followed, making it accessible to the public, albeit a small admission fee. Bootleggers too found great use of the cave during Prohibition, smuggling whiskey and rum through the caves.
On descending the steps, one gets beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean and nearby cave systems, making it a great frame for pictures. It is also a great setting to catch the sunset, with the sun rays streaming through the various openings of the cave and making for an exhilarating experience. Guests can also visit the Cave Shop here to shop for some mementos of their trip to this tourist attraction.

3. Sunset Cliffs Open Ceiling Sea Cave

An open ceiling cave
An open ceiling cave (Source)
The open ceiling sea cave near Sunset Cliff is one of the most picturesque sights in the city of San Diego. Located close to Luscombs Point, this cave is accessible only during the negative tides. Visiting this trek is a mini-adventure in itself, with a small walk across the irregular terrain leading to the caves. On visiting this cave, you will have to get your feet wet, with the water around knee-deep height or maybe more. Once you reach the location, you will be able to capture some stunning pictures of the rocks and the sky above. The ideal time to visit this cave is around sunset. However, be mindful of the changing tides to ensure you do not get caught when the caves flood.

4. Secret Sea Cave at the Cabrillo National Monument

Another hidden treasure that not many people know of. The Cabrillo National Monument is located at the southern tip of Point Loma in San Diego. The trail leading up to this cave is quite a challenge, thanks to its irregular and rough terrain. One must also time their trek perfectly to enter the cave during the low tide, or else the cave will be flooded. Once you reach the cave, the natural beauty enclosing you is simply stunning. You can laze down while soaking the few beams of sunlight that pass through, all while enjoying a few waves lashing nearby. However there is some ambiguity regarding permission to visit the cave, so do check in with the park personnel prior to undertaking the difficult journey to see this hidden sea cave.

If you are looking to do something adventurous and different on your trip to San Diego, you might definitely want to consider exploring these sea caves that will leave you with an unforgettable experience.

This post was published by Peter Nikhil David

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