arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin

Swimming with Leopard Sharks

An unconventional way to enjoy the California coastline

Oh the stories you’ll tell when you say you’ve been swimming with sharks in San Diego.

Springtime in San Diego brings out the sharks! But don't be alarmed, they're harmless Leopard sharks congregating in the shallows for breeding season. These graceful creatures are typically 4-5 feet long, covered with the bold, yellow and black patterns from which they get their colorful name.

You may be lucky enough to spot their shadowy outlines from a surfboard or kayak, but the best way to get up close and personal with the sharks is to swim with them. And, the best place to start your adventure is from the Marine Room restaurant at the extreme south end of La Jolla Shores Beach.

Although it's usually relatively calm and safe at this location, there can be surf, especially in the winter. On a normal day, the sharks can be found just beyond the surf in 4-8 feet of water, even shallower on a calm day. You don't need serious dive equipment, just a mask or swim goggles will do the trick. Leopard shards are fairly timid but if you're patient and refrain from chasing after them, the sharks will pass close enough for a good look.

Leopard sharks are bottom feeders that eat shellfish and other small prey. Their mouths are narrow and their teeth small, so they present no danger to humans. Be on the lookout for stingrays however, which hide on the sandy bottom and pack a painful punch. Virtually all stingray injuries are the result of stepping on one, so do the "stingray shuffle" and drag your feet across the bottom, rather than lifting them. This will warn the rays of your approach and keep them from getting underfoot.

To increase your odds of finding the sharks and enhance your shark diving encounter, consider taking a guided tour with one of the excellent beach outfitters in La Jolla Shores.

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Related Articles and Features

Deals just for you

Boating & Sailing

$5 off Whale Watching Cruises

Hornblower Cruises & Events
Valid: Jun 13, 2019 - ongoing

$5 off Whale & Dolphin Watching with Hornblower Cruises. Hornblower offers large comfortable Whale Watching boats with live narration from San Diego Natural History Museum's trained naturalists...

Team Building

MRDRinSD 10% Discount

Murder n Mayhem
Valid: Sep 9, 2019 - ongoing

Use discount code: MRDRINSD for $10% off tickets for the Who Dunnit?! Gaslamp Quarter murder mystery scavengert hunt or the downtown San Diego Historic True Crime Tour.

Venues

Oyster Monday

Rockin' Baja Coastal Cantina - Gaslamp
Valid: May 29, 2019 - ongoing

All day on Monday, We serve up freshly shucked Oysters for only $1 each. Minimum of 3, per order. While they last.

Events to check out

Event

San Diego Crew Classic

Apr 4 - Apr 6, 2020

Regarded as the first major regatta of the year, the San Diego Crew Classic brings together thousands of athletes from more than 100 universities, clubs and high school programs across the United...

Event

San Diego Undy Run/Walk

Mar 7, 2020

During the San Diego Undy Run/Walk, participants run in underwear-themed outfits to get people talking about the often tabooed disease of colon cancer.

Event

Brewbies Beer Festival

Feb 8, 2020

Get your glasses ready for the 11th Annual Brewbies® Festival benefitting the Keep A Breast Foundation at Bagby Beer Co. in Oceanside. Enjoy an array of outstanding, interesting, unique and...

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Visitor planning guide

For the ultimate guide to planning your San Diego vacation, view and download the San Diego Visitor Planning Guide, packed with useful information that will help you plan the perfect San Diego getaway.

Read More

Partners

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish