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

Team Building

Twofer Thursdays!

Hydrobikes San Diego
Valid: Apr 12, 2021 - ongoing

Reserve online or just walk in. A great way to take a bike ride right on the water in America's Cup Harbor, San Diego Bay. Have off our tandem or single bikes. Check in at Disco's Paddle...

Accommodation

Multi Night Stay PROMO

Best Western Plus Bayside Inn
Valid: Mar 19 - ongoing

Our Multi Night Stay Promo consists of: room accommodations, complimentary breakfast "Grab & Go" and a 15% savings. Staying for 3 nights or more?.... Our multi night stay promo offers 15% off of...

Accommodation

Rewards Members Flexible Rate

Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina
Valid: Jan 12, 2021 - ongoing

Best Western Rewards Members rejoice! Save 10% or more on stays at the Best Western PLUS Island Palms Hotel & Marina when you book now! Not a Rewards Member? No worries, sign up when you book!...

Events to check out

Event

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl

Dec 28, 2021

The SDCCU Holiday Bowl is America’s Finest Bowl Experience! This signature San Diego event annually showcases a thrilling game between some of college football’s most competitive...

Event

San Diego International Auto Show

Dec 30, 2021 - Jan 2, 2022

Where the cars are the stars! The San Diego International Auto Show features the widest variety of new vehicles under one roof.

Event

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

Dec 12 - Dec 19, 2021

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored holiday tradition with more than 80 boats lavishly decorated sailing by the shores for all to see.

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