San Diego Travel Guides

Top 5 Secret Swings in La Jolla You Never Knew Existed

Secret Swings in La Jolla

La Jolla, a charming coastal town in San Diego, is known for its hidden gems and secrets waiting to be uncovered. Among its many treasures, one of the most whimsical and Instagram-worthy attractions is the secret swings scattered throughout the area. These enchanting spots offer a unique and thrilling experience, allowing visitors to swing into the ocean breeze and take in the breathtaking views of the Pacific. In this article, we’ll guide you to the most popular secret swing locations in La Jolla, starting with the Hidden Cove Gem.

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Secret Swing #1: The Hidden Cove Gem

Discovering the Location

Why It’s Worth the Search

This swing is not just a play area but a canvas that changes appearances often. Due to its tendency to be torn down and rebuilt, each visit might introduce you to a different version of the swing, sometimes even featuring fresh paint or inspirational quotes. The panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean from this vantage point is breathtaking, making the search for this hidden gem entirely worthwhile.

Best Times to Visit

For a solitary experience with the swing, aim for sunrise. Not only does this time offer a chance to have the swing to yourself, but it also presents an opportunity for capturing some serene, moody photographs, especially on clear days. However, visiting on a foggy day has its charm, offering a mystical backdrop for photos.

Visitor Experiences

Visitors who successfully locate the Hidden Cove Gem are rewarded with not just a swing but a communal piece of art that reflects the collective spirit of those who visit. The swing, sometimes adorned with inspirational quotes, offers picturesque views of La Jolla, enhancing the overall experience. It’s a testament to the community’s dedication that when the swing requires maintenance or replacement, it is swiftly attended to, ensuring that this secret spot remains a cherished destination for all who seek it.

Secret Swing #2: The Scripps Seaside Surprise

How to find it

Nestled just off the parking lot of the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the Scripps Seaside Surprise swing is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. To reach this enchanting spot, visitors should park at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and head to the back of the parking lot, where a worn trail and a small bridge signal the beginning of the adventure. After crossing the bridge, a brief hike of around 150 feet brings the swing into view, ready to offer its visitors a unique experience amidst nature.

The panoramic views

Once you’ve made the short journey to the swing, you’re rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. This swing is not just a simple seat; it’s a vantage point that offers a different perspective on La Jolla Shores. The sounds of waves crashing below and the sight of the UCSD campus enveloped by woods create a serene atmosphere, perfect for those seeking a moment of peace or a unique experience in tune with nature.

The perfect photo spot

The Scripps Seaside Surprise swing is more than just a swing; it’s an Instagrammer’s paradise. Hidden within a palm tree grove, this spot is one of the most picturesque and instagrammable places in San Diego. However, finding it can be a bit tricky as it’s well concealed from the coastal walk. Adventurers willing to brave the steep and slippery descent, aided by a rope, will find that the effort is well worth it for the unique photo opportunities it presents. Just remember to wear the right shoes for the trek down.

History of the swing

The secret swings of La Jolla, including the Scripps Seaside Surprise, are part of a mysterious tradition where swings appear in trees throughout the city. Their origins are unknown, and they often don’t last long before being removed, only to be replaced by new ones. This ongoing cycle adds an element of surprise and discovery for those seeking out these hidden gems. The Scripps Seaside Surprise swing, in particular, has become a symbol of the community’s resilience and creativity, constantly evolving and providing joy to those who find it.

Secret Swing #3: The Forested Cliffside

Accessing this secluded swing

To embark on the adventure to the Forested Cliffside swing, start from The Cove Store, where parking is available. From here, follow the trail that runs parallel to the coastline. After hiking for about half a mile, you will reach a distinctive white picket bridge. It’s crucial not to cross this bridge but instead, look for the swing hidden under and behind the palm trees right before it. This route requires navigating a muddy slope with the aid of a rope, making the journey an integral part of the experience.

What makes it unique

This particular swing, nestled behind a lush palm grove on the cove, is not your typical swing. It’s a tire swing that offers a unique vantage point over La Jolla’s stunning landscape. The trail leading to the swing itself is a hidden gem, providing breathtaking views even on foggy days. This swing stands out not only for its secluded location but also for the sheer beauty of the trail that leads to it, making it a must-visit for those in search of La Jolla’s secret swings.

Safety tips

Given the swing’s secluded nature and the challenging terrain, it’s advisable to wear sturdy outdoor shoes for the hike. The path to the swing is steep and can be slippery, especially after rain, posing a risk of sliding down the cliffside if one were to fall. Therefore, this swing might not be suitable for young children. It’s also recommended to attempt this adventure with a companion who can assist in navigating the more difficult sections of the trail.

Community stories

The Forested Cliffside swing, like other secret swings in La Jolla, has become a symbol of the community’s adventurous spirit. Those who discover it often share their experiences and tips online, contributing to the lore surrounding these hidden gems. The swing has seen various iterations over the years, with the community coming together to maintain or rebuild it whenever necessary. This collective effort keeps the dream alive for future adventurers seeking the thrill of finding La Jolla’s secret swings.

Secret Swing #4: The Urban Jungle Escape

Navigating to the swing involves a bit of an urban adventure. Start by parking at the Birch Aquarium, a landmark that’s easy to find and accessible. From there, a short trail at the back of the parking lot marks the beginning of your journey. Cross a small bridge, and you’re on your way up a gentle ascent. This path quickly leads to the La Jolla swing, making it an easy trek for adventurers of all ages.

The swing’s urban backdrop

What sets the Urban Jungle Escape apart is its unique blend of natural beauty and urban scenery. Positioned closer to downtown La Jolla, this swing offers a panoramic vista that juxtaposes the lush landscapes of La Jolla with the bustling cityscape. It’s a rare opportunity to enjoy the tranquility of nature while being reminded of the vibrant city life just a stone’s throw away.

Interaction with local wildlife

Despite its urban proximity, the area around the swing is teeming with local wildlife, adding an unexpected element to the experience. Birds native to the region often perch nearby, and the occasional squirrel can be seen darting through the trees. This interaction with wildlife enhances the sense of escape and immersion in nature, making the Urban Jungle Escape a truly unique spot.

Memorable moments shared by visitors

Visitors to the Urban Jungle Escape often share stories of serenity and surprise. Many recount the peaceful moments spent swinging with a backdrop of the city, while others share tales of unexpected wildlife encounters that add a touch of magic to the experience. The swing, with its urban and natural elements, has become a cherished spot for both locals and tourists seeking a secret escape in La Jolla.

Secret Swing #5: The Coastal Bluff Beacon

Locating the bluff’s secret

Finding the Coastal Bluff Beacon swing is an adventure in itself. Nestled above the caves of downtown La Jolla, it offers breathtaking oceanfront views, making the hunt worthwhile. The entrance to the path is cleverly hidden right before a bridge, requiring keen observation to spot the wooden planks on the bluff leading to the trail. The descent involves navigating two sets of ropes, a thrilling challenge that adds to the allure of discovering this hidden gem. It’s a journey that demands caution but rewards explorers with a unique experience.

The swing overlooking the ocean

Once you’ve successfully descended, the Coastal Bluff Beacon swing emerges as a quaint yet exhilarating spot. Hanging from a sturdy tree, it overlooks the vast expanse of the ocean, offering a serene escape. This swing, often featured under the hashtag #lajollasecretswing on Instagram, provides not just a place to swing but a moment to connect with nature’s grandeur. The panoramic views from this vantage point are unparalleled, making every effort to reach it utterly rewarding.

Sustainable visit tips

Given the swing’s location in a sensitive environmental area, visitors are encouraged to practice sustainability. This includes packing out what you bring in, being mindful of the surrounding flora and fauna, and avoiding any behaviors that could harm the natural setting. Engaging with the community’s efforts, like the Rose Creek cleanup, highlights the importance of preserving such beautiful spots for future generations. By respecting these guidelines, we ensure that the Coastal Bluff Beacon and other secret swings in La Jolla remain enchanting escapes for all.

Reflections from first-time finders

First-time finders of the Coastal Bluff Beacon often share their awe and appreciation for this secluded spot. Many recount the exhilaration of the descent, the beauty of the swing’s setting, and the tranquility of swinging over the ocean. This shared experience fosters a sense of community among those who’ve discovered it, with many vowing to return. It’s a testament to the enduring allure of La Jolla’s secret swings, hidden yet profoundly impactful, offering a slice of paradise to those adventurous enough to seek them out.


Throughout this exploration of hidden treasures, we journeyed across La Jolla, unearthing five secret swings each with its unique allure. From the serene vistas atop the Hidden Cove Gem to the thrilling descent towards the Coastal Bluff Beacon, these swings offer more than just a playground — they provide gateways to breathtaking views, moments of quiet reflection, and the exhilaration of discovery. Their locations, embedded within the natural and urban tapestry of La Jolla, underscore the community’s vibrant spirit and the ever-present invitation to explore the lesser-known corners of our world.

Reflecting upon these clandestine spots, it is evident that La Jolla’s secret swings are not just hidden gems but also symbols of adventure, community, and the pursuit of beauty in unexpected places. They encourage us to seek beyond the ordinary, to venture onto untrodden paths, and to cherish the moments of joy and tranquility found along the way. Each swing’s story, enriched by those who have come before and those yet to discover them, continues to weave the larger narrative of La Jolla’s enchanting mystery.


1. Where can I find the secret swings in La Jolla?
The hidden swings in La Jolla are located near the Birch Aquarium at 2300 Expedition Way, La Jolla, CA 92037. You can park for free in the Birch Aquarium parking lot.2. Is the famous La Jolla Swing currently accessible?
Yes, the La Jolla Swing is up and accessible as of early 2024. It offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. It was temporarily removed in late 2022, but it has since been reinstated, much to the delight of visitors and some locals who appreciate the trail where it is located.

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