The La Jolla sea caves, formerly known as the Mammoth Caves, have been one of San Diego’s major tourist attractions since the late 1800s. They are among the City’s most unique and scenic features. Situated just east of the famous La Jolla Cove, the seven sea caves were naturally sculpted into the base of a 75 million year old sandstone sea cliff. The caves’ openings face north towards Scripps Pier and La Jolla Shores beach. At low tide the caves are accessible from the ocean, but only one (“Sunny Jim’s Cave”), is accessible from land. Visitors can enter Sunny Jim Cave via a tunnel which was dug in the early 1900s from the historical landmark, The Cave Store, located on the cliff above on Cave Street.
Many stories have been told about the history of the fascinating and majestic sea caves. City Clerk’s Archives special collection from the early 1900s tells the story of that tunneling and proposed tunneling of the infamous Mammoth Caves by two former Cave Street landowners, and includes the petitions and reactions on the subject by the then residents of the small seaside community and other concerned San Diego citizens.