La Jolla Cove Has the Bluest Water in California and Ranks Fifth Nationally

Valorie Hirsch | June 29, 2023

Travel experts at SIXT color-picked 53 waterways across the U.S., revealing where the bluest waters are.

If your favorite color is blue or you just want any excuse to enjoy the healing properties of the coast, come out to admire the water in La Jolla Cove, because it just ranked fifth for the bluest waterway in the nation, and the bluest in California.

Is using color Hex codes to choose where your next vacation to the water is the next big thing? If so, full credit goes to international mobility provider SIXT, with their Perfect Shades of Vacation

They “color-picked more than 50 of the best bodies of water in the U.S. and found the nearest color shade to illustrate the various colors of water available in the nation.” They looked at a wide range of aquatic environments that includes ocean water, lakes, cenotes, and hot springs, giving the hex color code for each waterway.

La Jolla ranks at the top of the bluest water in California

La Jolla Shares is part of a group of three SoCal beaches who made the national rankings. The other two beaches in San Diego with the bluest water in the nation were Sail Bay in San Diego who ranked sixth, and Coronado Beach in Coronado who ranked 32nd.

Whether you’re hoping to escape to a remote beach town with scenic Pacific views or be mesmerized by the gulf shores and Atlantic coastlines, there are countless spots to explore and admire the incredible magic of the water.
-David Woody, Travel Expert at SIXT

 See all the waterways that made the national list here.

The science behind water color


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Bodies of water around the world can range in color, with varying hues of blue, green, brown, and even pink, but what exactly causes the differences in water color? 

Colors vary depending on a number of factors like how much water there is in the area, the depth, what the content is on the floor of that body of water.

Most water appears blue because of the absorption of red, yellow, and green wavelength light. Blue light wavelengths are shorter and aren’t as easily absorbed by water molecules, so the blue light is scattered, and is why the water appears blue.

When sunlight hits the ocean, some of the light is reflected back directly but most of it penetrates the ocean surface and interacts with the water molecules that it encounters. The red, orange, yellow, and green wavelengths of light are absorbed so that the remaining light we see is composed of the shorter wavelength blues and violets.

Water color can also change depending on plant life, moving particles like sand, phytoplankton, or other substances. For example, microscopic marine plants, phytoplankton, or algae, use chlorophyll, which is green in color, to produce carbon.

Because of the green pigment in chlorophyll, phytoplankton absorb the red and blue wavelengths of light, making the water appear more green in areas where there’s a higher concentration of phytoplankton. 

So in essence, the more blue the water, the less phytoplankton, and the more phytoplankton, the greener the water is. Other factors like weather, water currents, tides, and proximity to rivers and inlets can all affect the change in clarity and color of water.

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