Sunny Jim’s Cave – La Jolla, CAToday we visited a cool little beach Cave in La Jolla, CA. I have seen it come across various blog posts and now can happily say that I have experienced this totally neat old cave. Surprisingly, this is the only ocean carved cave that can be anised by land on the entire California coast. The actual entrance to “Sunny Jim’s Cave” is through the historic “Cave Store” located on Coast Blvd. in La Jolla, CA.
Currently the store is occupied by Lulumars Jewelry Boutique which loaded with custom beach inspired jewelry from a local designer as well as jewelry from Bali & other places around the world. There’s also all kinds of knickknacks, postcards, local art and random snorkel gear for sale…kind of a mix-match of random stuff.
Oh and of course you don’t want to miss the resident Cat.
Admission is only $5 for adults, $3 for kids, so that was affordable.
Now once you get inside the store, you’ll see a door that leads to the tunnel with steps heading down…145 steps to be exact. (it’s fine going down, but oooh-weee, booty workout on the way up!)
And a little bit of history for you… In 1902 & 1903 two laborers were hired to dig the tunnel. It took them two years to dig all the way to the opening, which isn’t a surprise to me since they dug it by hand using only picks and shovels. The stairs were added later for tourists.
But before the cave became a tourist stop, it was used to smuggle whiskey & illegal immigrants into La Jolla during the prohibition in the 20’s. I love finding out about these cool little tidbits!
Anyway, the stairs are narrow and only lit by dim cave lights which in my opinion, make the descent seem a bit more exciting. I felt like I was in an Indiana Jones movie or something. Super fun!
Once you reach the bottom…Wow! What a beautiful site. The colors are amazing! The minerals left on the inside of the cave range from a red tone from iron oxide, black/gray & yellow from vegetable matter, and even a beautiful purple color that comes from the iodine in the kelp ocean.
The mouth of the cave opens into the La Jolla Bay where you’ll most likely see groups of Kayakers exploring, an occasional Pelican & maybe even a super adventurous Seal if you’re lucky. We didn’t see any seals on our visit, but I know that they’re around.
Best part was that my little adventurer enjoyed our day too! That makes Mommy extra happy!
Outside the cave is beautiful as well. There are birds and greenery, shops and eateries! It is a perfect place to spend the day. I’m happy that I took the time to check it out.
Last bit of trivia…How did the Cave come to be known as Sunny Jim’s Cave & who is Sunny Jim in the first place?
Well Frank Baum, writer of The Wizard of OZ, thought that the caves opening resembled Sunny Jim which was a cartoon character used to promote Force, a Wheat Cereal sold back in 1902.
Their slogans were funny and promoted good health. Here is a sampling of slogans that were used back then:
“Jim Dumps was a most unfriendly man, Who lived his life on the hermit plan; In his gloomy way he’d gone through life, And made the most of woe and strife; Till Force one day was served to him, Since then they’ve called him “Sunny Jim.”
“High o’er the fence leaps Sunny Jim, Force is the food that raises him”
So now that you’ve got the inside scoop, go for a visit. I think it’s worth the trip!