Located below bluffs at the northern edge of La Jolla, this two-acre recreational site was originally underwritten by local philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps. Concerned that the La Jolla community’s children did not have a safe place to swim, Scripps hired engineer Hiram Savage to survey the coast for a place to build a barrier to shield adolescent swimmers from dangerous crosscurrents. A popular beach adjacent to the La Jolla Park subdivision was chosen, and Savage, working with architect William Johnson, designed an arcing, 300-foot-long, concrete breakwater. To offer a respite to tired swimmers, Savage and Johnson built a series of steps into the inner portion of the breakwater. The site was deeded to the city in 1931.
The core of the site consists of a horseshoe-shaped cove situated beneath coastal bluffs. An observation walkway skirts an adjoining plaza (opened in 2018). Surrounded by an iron balustrade, the walkway continues to the top of the curved breakwater. Descending 25 feet from a wide belvedere that overlooks the ocean, a divided staircase with two flights opposite each other connects the plaza to the beach. Adjacent to the top level of the staircase, a two-story lifeguard station, built in 2016, replaced an earlier iteration. A wooden gazebo sits atop a rocky outcrop to the east. Due to the calm water, the beach has become a haven for harbor seals, and the tidal pool is closed during pup-birthing season.