The La Jolla Seals and Sea Lions are wild animals living in their natural habitats. They are a unique natural treasure, the only location along the California coastline where you can view both harbor seal and California sea lion breeding areas. The experience of watching them is an enriching and educational experience when conducted responsibly.
The safest and most responsible place to watch them is from the sidewalk
Give seals and sea lions space: always stay at least 50 ft away, don’t surround, corner or block their path
Don’t scare them: watch quietly – no shouting or clapping – and move slowly – no jumping or running
Respect them: Never attempt to touch or pet, follow or chase, or throw any item at them
Keep safe: Do not take selfies and prevent children from approaching them: they can be unpredictable if they feel threatened
Keep them safe: Keep dogs away, do not feed them or touch them – it can make them sick
Don’t use flashlights at night: it disturbs their sleep
Read their behavior: if they look up, move or bark – they have been disturbed so move away quietly.
Always be respectful of the seals or sea lions and their habitats,
Share your experience and these precautions with friends and family!
Protection by the Marine Mammal Protection Act
All marine mammals are protected from being disturbed or harassed by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act as well as California and City ordinances. Harassment is defined by the MMPA as “any act of pursuit, torment or annoyance which has the potential to injure a marine mammal in the wild, or to disturb a marine mammal by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, which includes, but is not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering”. This would include any behaviour disturbing their resting/sheltering after long periods fishing at sea, inhibiting their movements (mothers and young reuniting for example) or any behaviour leading to growling, barking, biting, moving away from you due to fear or toward you aggressively.
The best views are:
for seals: on the sea wall and sidewalk at Children’s Pool/Casa Beach or behind the guide rope when the beach is open
for sea lions: on the sidewalk at Point La Jolla and Boomer Beach.