April , Mark, Greer and Charlie

(Arizona's Weather Authority) -- Southern California is such a popular place for Arizonans to escape our brutal summer heat that we often jokingly call San Diego "Phoenix West" in June and July. We'll gladly trade our 110+ degree days for the "June gloom" and highs in the 60s and 70s. But many trips west have been canceled this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, many Phoenicians are considering heading to the beach, wondering what's open and what they can do.

Our family of four just returned from a week in La Jolla, where we stayed at a friend's place (she was not there at the time). We knew many things would be closed, but the beach was (sort of) open, so we decided to go. I thought I'd blog about our experiences because so many people are considering a trip west over the next few weeks or months.

Most restaurants were still closed, but we didn't mind that. We stocked up on groceries and enjoyed take-out from a few great spots. Our favorite was a spot called The Promiscuous Fork (Thanks for the recommendation, Ian Schwartz)! Masks are required at all restaurants, even if you're only popping in to pick up take-out. Masks also are required at all grocery stores and any shops that are open. There were not many shops open other than grocery stores, but that may change over the next few weeks.

Fun at the beach

Beaches have different rules, depending on where you go. Some beaches were open for everything; others didn't allow sitting or playing sports. That meant a lot of boogie boarding and body surfing for our family. Toward the end of our trip, the particular beach we were frequenting opened back up for sitting, but playing football or paddle ball wasn't allowed. Some days this was enforced by police walking the beach and asking people to keep moving. Other days, folks could be seen playing volleyball and paddle ball with nobody saying anything about it. Again, each beach and city has its own rules for this. We did try to go to Crystal Pier, but it was closed still to the public.

Tide pools

We visited the sea lions sunbathing in La Jolla during off-times. This was a crowded spot on the weekend, so we left and came back during the week when we could more easily socially distance. It was super easy to maintain that space at the tide pools. We spent hours looking at shells and crabs. It was easily my favorite part of our trip.

Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, and other theme parks were all closed, but we were not anticipating visiting those spots. We kept it very low-key and stuck to walking back and forth to the beach and enjoying time with just our family.


I chatted with a few police officers, who mentioned that they've slowly seen more Arizonans on their beaches. The beaches were unusually quiet during our stay, but I have a feeling that will change soon with the beaches opening back up and the Arizona summer heat about to set in.


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