logo
  Facebook Twitter Flickr blog RSS

San Diego Caves and Mines

San Diego Caves & Mines Overview

San Diego

Sea caves and mines in San Diego include La Jolla Sea Caves and Julian Mines. Whether you're a spelunker, treasure seeker or just interested in going underground, caves and sea caves in San Diego are all uniquely interesting. Explore one of many sea caves in La Jolla that are only accessible by kayak. Find a souvenir in the tourmaline-rich ore at Gems of Pala. Ride an ore car into an abandoned gold mine in Julian. Most caves and mines hover around 60 degrees year round, making these underground attractions a great place to cool off on a warm summer day.

WARNING: Caves & mines can be dangerous and deadly. Please use caution and common sense when exploring caves. Don't enter caves without a light source and necessary safety equipment. Sea caves can be especially dangerous when tides and waves are up. Choose not to explore if in doubt and stay alive.

WHITE-NOSE SYNDROME: Bat populations in the U.S. are suffering devastating losses due to White-Nose Syndrome. Learn about this disease before entering caves and see what you can do to prevent its spread.

San Diego Caves & Mines

La Jolla Sea Cave

La Jolla Sea Caves are located off Interstate 5 in the beautiful town of La Jolla. Most of these sea caves are only accessible by kayak. Sea caves in La Jolla are some of the largest in Southern California. Sunny Jim Cave is one of the 7 Mammoth Caves and is accessible from inside the La Jolla Cave Store. Descend a huge staircase to the largest sea cave in La Jolla through a tunnel that was excavated in 1902. The best way to explore all the sea caves in La Jolla is by kayak.

La Jolla Cave Store
1325 Prospect Street
La Jolla, California 92037
(858) 459-0746

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Sunset Cliffs are located at the end of Interstate 8 on Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Sunset Cliffs is a narrow band of coastal bluffs that comprise some of San Diego's most beautiful shoreline. Uniquely carved bluffs are easily accessed and explored from several parking lots along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard. Explore picturesque shoreline, sea caves, arches and even a window that peers down into a sea cave from above. Sunset Cliffs Natural Park is located at the southern end of Sunset Cliffs Boulevard.

Sunset Cliffs
Sunset Cliffs Blvd.
Sunset Cliffs, California 92107

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Cabrillo National Monument is located on the southwestern point of the San Diego Harbor entrance and is accessed by Highway 209. Cabrillo National Monument features two lighthouses and a Visitor Center that memorializes the landing of Spanish explorer, Juan Cabrillo in 1542. There are tide pools and a sea cave on the western shore of Point Loma. The sea cave has a collapsed roof and is often closed by park rangers when in use by sea lions. Do not continue beyond barricade or tape when the sea cave is closed. Cabrillo Sea Cave is only accessible at low tide. Just before the monument Visitor Center and lighthouse, make a right on Cabrillo Road and follow down the hill. Hook north past the New Point Loma Lighthouse and park in one of the last two parking lots at the end of Cabrillo Road. Walk back south to the trailhead that descends the cliff and once on the beach, head north again to Cabrillo Sea Cave.

Cabrillo Sea Cave
1800 Cabrillo Memorial Drive
San Diego, CA 92106
(619) 557-5450

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Himalaya Tourmaline Mine is located off Highway 76 near Lake Henshaw. The Himalaya Mine is an operating mine and produces gem-quality tourmaline. The Smithsonian currently has a pink tourmaline from the from the Tourmaline Queen Mine of Pala on display. Ore is brought by truck loads and dumped where, for a fee, visitors are welcome to dig for pink, green, rainbow and watermelon tourmalines. All the necessary tools are provided. Just bring a hat, plenty of water and some good digging clothes.

Himalaya Tourmaline Mine
c/o: Lake Henshaw Resort
26439 Highway 76
Santa Ysabel, CA 92070
(775) 830-5797

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Eagle & High Peak Mines are located off Highway 78 east of San Diego in the wonderful town of Julian. Venture deep into the earth in search of gold. This is only a tour so no actual mining is allowed. Eagle & High Peak were once operational mines and are now one of the many sites to see around Julian. Gold panning is available for the youngsters outside the mine entrance. Learn to gold pan from sluice boxes and rockers. Enjoy hay rides, raspberry picking and fun pastime activities like tomahawk throwing and archery.

NOTE: Check out our Cool Towns page for more to see and do around Julian.

Julian Mining Company
End of C Street
Julian, California 92036
(760) 765-0036

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Smith Ranch Goldmine

Smith Ranch & Julian Railroad is located off Highway 78 just outside of Julian. Smith Ranch offers several tour options that let you experience the lifestyle and skills of early American pioneers. Tour options include the Julian Train & Goldmine Tour, Pioneerways Adventure, American Revolution Adventure and several holiday-themed events. All mine tours include a train ride aboard their 18" gauge mining train. Visitors are encouraged to tour an actual 1870 goldmine on foot or by mine car. After heading West for gold, try your hand at gold panning.

NOTE: Check out our Cool Towns page for more to see and do around Julian.

Smith Ranch & Julian Railroad
2353 Ethelwyn Lane
Julian, CA 92036
(760) 765-2288

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Ocean View Mine is located off Highway 76 east of Interstate 15 in Pala. Venture deep into the mine in search of tourmaline and beryl. This is one of several mines in the Pala region that produce gem-quality pink tourmaline. The Smithsonian currently has a pink tourmaline on display from the Tourmaline Queen Mine of Pala. Bring a bucket, food, water, some diggin' duds and get ready for a real mining experience. You are allowed to keep what you mine.

Ocean View Mine
Magee Road
Pala, CA 92059
(760) 415-9143

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Gems of Pala - Stewart Mine

Stewart Mine is located off Highway 76 east of Interstate 15 in Pala. Visitors are not allowed in the mine itself but they do sell buckets of tourmaline-rich ore. Tables and screens are provided. From our experience, everybody finds something, it's just how big that something is that differs.

Gems of Pala
Highway 76
Pala, California 92059
(760) 489-1566

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

California Caves, Caverns & Mines

San FranciscoLos AngelesOrange CountySan DiegoInland EmpireDesertCentral CoastSierra NevadaNorth CoastShasta CascadeGold CountryCentral ValleyHome Page