The San Diego area has some of the best year-round weather in the world, and since autumn is particularly enviable in Southern California, it’s a fine time to visit one of the planet’s most beautiful coastal villages. La Jolla is compact enough to be eminently pedestrian friendly, with tons of shops and bistros in and around Prospect Street, which is roughly a block inland.
My most indelible memory of the place is watching long-distance swimmers casually drop their towels and car keys on the lawn above La Jolla Cove (the place is that homey and safe), descend the cliff stairs and swim out to the half-mile buoy and back. The water is crystal clear with an electric emerald color, and there’s great kayaking among the sea caves, too.
If La Jolla’s natural beauty, water sports, and walkability weren’t enough, the town has a thriving theater scene, owing to the respected La Jolla Playhouse. And this week (October 3–6), its Without Walls Festival (WOW) is offering performances, artist salons, live music, food trucks and local craft beers. I’d advise staying at La Valencia, a Mediterranean-style hotel — resplendent in pink — that overlooks the lawns, winding walkways and waters of La Jolla Cove.