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La Jolla Shores on Labor Day 2022

La Jolla Shores – Curious what La Jolla Shores is like on Labor Day? We were, too. We figured there’d be a mix of locals (both people who live here year-round and people who own vacation homes in the area), tourists staying in nearby hotels and short-term vacation rentals, and San Diegans headed towards the beach from other parts of San Diego County.

La Jolla Shores on Labor Day: Early Morning

First, we wanted to see what La Jolla Shores looked like around sunrise on Labor Day. According to The Weather Channel, sunrise was at 6:26 a.m. this morning.

Our consensus is that around 6:30 a.m. La Jolla Shores on Labor Day seems like just another weekend morning at the beach, even though it’s a Monday. The streets are sleepy. The occasional kayaker drives around looking for parking.

On the beach itself on this particular Labor Day, the surf was mellow but there were plenty of people enjoying it already–we counted about a dozen stand-up-paddleboarders (SUP’ers) and somewhere between 20 – 30 surfers. Lots of longboards, which was fitting given that the waves were forecasted at 2 – 3 feet (thigh- to waist-high). A couple of kids on boogie boards got into the surf action on the inside well away from the surfers; their parents cheered them on.

We noticed a lot of seaweed on the beach this particular morning, and we weren’t sure if the city was going to clean that up before the crowds arrived or just let it ride. At this hour, the trashcans along Avenida de la Playa still overflowed from Sunday’s crowds, but we were pretty confident the trash crews would be around a little later in the morning.

On the La Jolla Shores beach, two men with metal detectors optimistically hunted for treasure while an old-timer with a long white goatee and a small white dog sat in the same beach chair we’d seen him in yesterday and the day before. One chair for the guy, one chair for the dog.

By 6:30 in the morning, a few early-risers had already set up their tents for the day, although one or two beach tents had the look of being abandoned leftovers from last night.

The water temperature this morning was pleasant to walk in, especially for someone used to the water temperatures in San Diego. A lot of the surfers were in short-sleeved wetsuits, and a handful surfed in nothing but their swimsuit.

Overall, La Jolla Shores at sunrise on Labor Day is a nice time to be at the beach. It’s not crowded yet, the water feels nice on your ankles, the sky is tinted with pink highlights, and you can enjoy the peaceful sounds of waves and seagulls. It won’t be the same once the crowds move in.

La Jolla Shores on Labor Day: In the Afternoon

We headed back to La Jolla Shores between 1:30 – 2 p.m. on this very same Labor Day (Sept. 5, 2022) to see what the area like. Did the city clean up the seaweed? We have no clue. We couldn’t even really see the shoreline except for the slices of beach that were mandatory to stay clear for emergency services.

This was almost a surprise, because we had a leisurely walk to the beach down Avenida de la Playa. The restaurants and other businesses along the street seemed busy enough but certainly not slammed–about what you would expect on a Saturday with pleasant weather in April or so.

SUP and kayak rentals seemed to be the order of the day. We passed several people lugging enormous, oversized stand-up paddle boards and kayaks; a lucky few had rollers and the others had to keep stopping to rest and switch arms.

The beach, on the other hand, was a sea of tents! Rounding the corner, the first thing that grabbed our attention was a brigade of kayaks in the water and more groups of kayakers on the shore receiving instructions. Beyond that were the tents and umbrellas.

La Jolla Shores looked more like a swap meet or desert festival than a place to soak up beach vibes.

In front of The Shores Restaurant & Bar, there was a blend of the restaurant’s striped umbrellas and what looked to be privately-owned pop-up tents. As we passed Tower 30–the first lifeguard tower as you head south–the umbrellas from the restaurant ended and from there on down the shoreline it was the wild west. As mentioned above, the only pauses in beach shelters were the narrow strips required by ordinance to allow lifeguards to get to the water if they wanted to rescue anyone.

How was the La Jolla Shores parking lot?

La Jolla Shores parking lot on Labor Day
La Jolla Shores parking lot at around 2 p.m. on Labor Day.

Forgetaboutit. We weren’t there to see when it filled up, but look at the above photo, which we took at around 2 p.m. The lot was gridlock. Cars were idling in a row down every row. Maybe the idea is that you hope one of the 6 cars around you leaves while you’re there?