Shipwrecks & Sea Turtles: Our Favorite Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Hotspots in San Diego

When staying in San Diego, discover a whole new underwater world right in our own backyard. With just a few pieces of gear, you can explore the vibrant landscapes and colorful creatures beneath the sea. Whether you’re a scuba novice or an avid diver, San Diego offers some pretty impressive undersea hotspots for explorers of any experience level. Unleash your inner mermaid (or merman) and enjoy our favorite snorkeling and scuba diving locations. Check-in with our Concierge for more specific information and assistance with where to rent equipment!

Wreck Alley

Halfway between La Jolla and Point Loma lies an artificial reef known as Wreck Alley. This shipwreck site is located a few miles off the coast of Mission Beach and is home to eight ships and other structures to explore. A scuba diving mecca, Wreck Alley is mostly known for its two most popular wrecks, the HCMS Yukon, a Canadian destroyer, and the Ruby E, a 165-foot Coast Guard cutter. All the ships here offer large entry and exit holes for experienced wreck divers and plenty of exterior to explore for those less confident in sunken ship diving.

Location: 2 miles from the hotel

La Jolla Cove

Grab your gear and venture to La Jolla Cove to explore a colorful underwater paradise. From the steps of the cove, head straight out into the ocean to find crystal-clear water and most likely a few bright orange Garibaldi, the official marine state fish of California. You can also say hi to the sea lions lounging on the nearby rocks, and if you’re lucky, they’ll jump in and join you for a swim. This popular tourist attraction is great for both snorkeling and scuba diving.

Location: 4 miles from the hotel

Turtle Town

Known as one of San Diego’s best-kept secrets, Turtle Town is an excellent spot for glimpsing beautiful sea turtles gliding through the water. The shallow ocean depths make it a great destination for snorkeling. Find this hidden gem in the center of La Jolla’s marine park, which can be accessed through La Jolla Cove, La Jolla Shores, or Marine Room. It can take some time to find Turtle Town but trust us, it’s worth searching for!

Location: 5 miles from the hotel

Point Loma

Offering a different underwater landscape than La Jolla, Point Loma supports a wider range of marine life due to it’s colder water and ocean exposure. Dive down between 45 and 120 feet beneath the surface, where you’ll discover kelp forests home to bass, treefish, kelpfish, and Garibaldi. Keep a close eye on the ocean floor, where you might spot lobsters, moray eels, and a colorful display of sea sponges. Be sure to bring a dive torch to help with visibility amid the thick kelp and deep waters.

Location: 9 miles from the hotel