Exploring A Hidden Cave In La Jolla

Read Our Review Of Sunny Jim's Sea Cave

By Courtney Daly-Pavone September 15, 2020

*This review is a 2 minute read.

So You Think You've Seen It All?

 Check Out This La Jolla Hidden Gem!

Don't be fooled, The Cave Store in La Jolla is more than an unassuming gift shop.

The Cave Store is home to a tunnel that leads to a picturesque sea cave. The cave has been around since the early 1900's when Gustauf Schultz, a German artist, and mining engineer hired two laborers to dig the tunnel in 1902. Although I drove by  The Cave Store a million times on my way to La Jolla Shores and The Children's Pool, I just discovered it, and found out it's a historical landmark in California

I visited the cave with my son on a Tuesday morning when it was relatively quiet. It's 144 steps to the end of the tunnel, and the air is clean and refreshing. As we approached the bottom of the steps we heard the familiar bark of seals. They were basking on the cave's rocks, and one was twirling in the ocean like a child playing in the water for the first time. 

The seal sighting was only eclipsed by the spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean which could be seen through the eye of the cave. The view was like falling in love, someone pinch me please, but I was not alone in my state of bliss, other visitors were gleeful and happily snapping pictures of the cave and posting them on Instagram.

"Mom This Place Is Cool I Wasn't Expecting This!"

My ten-year-old son loved the cave. Earlier I told him we were going on a Tom Sawyer adventure, and he guessed that we were going to a cave, but his imagination couldn't predict this beauty. We were down below for about twenty minutes taking in nature, and our animal encounter still blown away by the secret portal leading to this wonder of nature.

Later I met with the Cave Store's current owner Shannon Smith. According to Ms. Smith, the cave is popular with families. She said they return throughout the years and introduce the cave to their children, and grandchildren. She said couples even get engaged at the cave, and I kept asking myself, "Why am I just discovering this place?"

How Did Sunny Jim's Sea Cave Get It's Name?

The name comes from L. Frank Baum, the creator of The Wizard of Oz. When he visited, he picked the name because the caves mouth reminded him of the profile of a 1920's British cereal cartoon mascot with the same name.

What We Loved

I love going off the beaten path, and The Cave Store is definitely not your typical tourist trap. It's romantic, and intriguing like a location in a Bond film, or Get Smart. Instead of a phone booth, you enter a gift shop, and discover a new world. 

The Cave Store has limited free parking in front, and there is also 2 to 3 hour free street parking available. There is a fee to enter the cave $10 per adult, and $7 per child. The cave is not recommended for the elderly, or very small children. In my opinion it was a work-out going up the tunnel steps, but certainly worth it.

After visiting The Cave Store check out wildlife as you walk along the promenade. Cormorants, pelicans, seals, sea lions, dolphins and seagulls are common visitors. Go for a swim in the Children's Pool, or stop by The Birch Aquarium which reopens 9/15/20 by reservation only.

Reservations are required everyday except Tuesday CLICK HERE FOR RESERVATIONS

Self-Guided Tours-9 AM to 5 PM

Address: 1325 Coast Blvd, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA


Tel. (858) 459-0746

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