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Snorkeling with Leopard Sharks at La Jolla in San Diego

These species of shark are peaceful and calm creatures that love summer and enjoy warm waters

Best time: August–September

Snorkeling with Leopard Sharks at La Jolla
Snorkeling with Leopard Sharks at La Jolla

Every summer thousands of leopard sharks head to the coast of La Jolla to mate. The warmer temperature provides an ideal place for eggs to incubate, and the sharks stay here up to six months before leaving with their babies.

Leopard sharks got their name for dark brown spots on a gray background that look like a leopard print. These are docile and shy creatures, if you keep your distance and don't bother them, they won't hurt you as well. Only one case was recorded in 1955 when a leopard shark attacked a diver, and fortunately, he survived. Many people come here with children to spend an incredibly educational and adventurous day on the beach.

Most of these sharks you'll find in the cove of La Jolla are female, and all of them are pregnant. They come to warmer waters to speed up the birthing process. The most incredible thing about it is the fact that you can grab a snorkel and spend some time together with them if you are ready for such an experience.

The right time to snorkel with leopard sharks is between late June and early December, but the peak season is in August and September. When it comes to choosing the best day, you need a sunny day and calm waters, that is the most important factor.

Practical info

When is the best time to go snorkeling with leopard sharks?

To spot leopard sharks in La Jolla, tourists may plan their visit during a season between late June and early December. The major season peaks in August and September with warm sunny days and calm waters. Around this time, La Jolla sees thousands of leopard sharks coming to mate in the cove, providing a unique opportunity to engage in snorkeling with these creatures. Show more

Where do leopard sharks primarily reside in La Jolla?

La Jolla’s cove is the ideal location to find leopard sharks as they come to these parts to bear their offspring. Pregnant and mostly female leopard sharks are attracted to warmer waters to help their eggs hatch. During incubation, the Cove proves welcoming to the sharks, and tourists can witness a variety of marine life while snorkeling in its waters. Show more

How can I stay safe during a snorkeling expedition with leopard sharks?

While snorkeling, it is paramount to maintain distance and avoid touching the beautiful sea creatures. Don't get too close to their tails and stay on the periphery while observing them. Leopard sharks are peaceful underwater beings who don't harm humans, provided we leave them alone. Therefore, we can maintain safety by practicing adequate precautions and keeping in mind their habitat. Show more

What's the ideal costume for snorkeling among leopard sharks in La Jolla?

Wetsuits are suitable apparel for swimming in cold water during the snorkeling experience with leopard sharks in La Jolla. A scuba mask, fins, and a snorkel are great companions for moving swiftly inside water and observing the sea creatures safely. Those with weak swimming skills should wear a life vest to prevent unpredictable occurrences in the water. Show more

Can children participate in snorkeling with leopard sharks in La Jolla?

There are no set rules or restrictions to snorkeling with leopard sharks in La Jolla. However, children must be supervised by an adult to prevent accidents. Guardians should wait until how children are comfortable swimming before taking them snorkeling. The beauty of underwater marine life provides a unique learning experience for children in a safe and secure environment. Show more

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