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.

As spring warms into summer, 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

Accommodation

LOCALS GETAWAY PACKAGE

The Westgate Hotel
Valid: Mar 8 - ongoing

Book the ultimate staycation in the heart of downtown San Diego. Our Locals Getaway package includes overnight accommodations, parking ($40 value), and $50 dining credit.

Accommodation

Book Direct Daily Rate

Hotel Z
Valid: Jan 11 - ongoing

The only thing better than a vacation? A discounted one. Great rates on great rooms. Doesn't get much simpler than that!

Accommodation

STAY 3 & SAVE $100

Grande Colonial Hotel
Valid: Mar 19 - ongoing

Stay more and save more and find paradise all at the same time…right here in the Village of La Jolla, just a block from the ocean, with our “Stay 3 and Save $100”...

Events to check out

Event

La Jolla Art & Wine Festival

Oct 9 - Oct 10, 2021

The FREE La Jolla Art & Wine Festival returns for its 12th year with even more prestigious art, international wine, craft beer, and family fun on Saturday, October 9th and Sunday, October 10th,...

Event

28th Annual Luau and Legends of Surfing Invitational

Aug 14 - Aug 15, 2021

Surfers, scientists and survivors come together to support the fight against cancer at the annual Luau and Legends of Surfing Invitational at the beach near Scripps Pier in La Jolla.

Event

Pupologie Cardiff Dog Days of Summer

Aug 8, 2021

The Pupologie Cardiff Dog Days of Summer is presented by Cardiff 101 Main Street and the City of Encinitas. This free event features numerous dog-related vendors, rescue groups, pet adoption agencies,...

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

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