This Rugged Beach Is One Of The Most Picturesque Spots California Has To Offer

If you're taking a trip to California, then consider visiting its wonderful offbeat beaches with their unique landscapes and intriguing histories. One of the best is Windansea Beach, located in the La Jolla area of San Diego. This incredible beach is not only one of the prettiest in the region, it is an excellent surf spot too. One of the iconic sights on this beach is the old Surf Shack, made with a palm-leaf roof and perched on one of the flat rocks.

Three surfers built this shack in the 1940s, and when it was later annihilated by a huge wave, it was lovingly recreated by locals. It has been captured in many photographs ever since, and it is of such importance that it was awarded landmark status by the San Diego Historical Resources Board. Artist Andy Warhol was so inspired that he filmed "San Diego Surf" here, his film about local surfers meeting a couple from a big city. The beach is named after the Windansea Hotel that burnt down in the 1940s, and is (obviously) a shortened version of "Wind-and-Sea," two things for which the area is known. If you haven't been, Windansea Beach is definitely an underrated California beach that you should put on your bucket list.

Things to do at Windansea Beach

Naturally, the number one thing to do at Windansea is surf, as the beach has great breaks for experienced surfers that can reach six to eight feet. The most popular breaks are named "Middles," "Turtles," "Big Rock," and "Simmons," after famous surfer Bob Simmons, who died there. A dedicated Surfline camera broadcasts the daily sea conditions of these waves so you can see them before you arrive. While you can swim at the beach, it is only recommended for those who are strong swimmers as the waves can break roughly on the rocks. 

Not all the fun is to be had in the ocean, as this spot is perfect for sunbathing. This beach is tucked away, which means you can relax away from the hubbub of La Jolla while watching the rolling waves and experienced surfers doing their thing. As it isn't known as a family-friendly beach and it doesn't get too crowded outside of high season, you can really take in the magnificent views here. There are some great cafes, food shacks, and relaxed eateries where you can grab food from tacos to sandwiches and wash them down with tasty craft beer. You can also sit on the rocks and watch the glorious sunsets here. Windansea is a great jumping-off point for other lesser-known California beaches in the area, like La Jolla Cove, Black's Beach, and Seal Beach.

Places to stay near Windansea Beach

There isn't much in the way of accommodation at Windansea Beach, but there are plenty of great options just North of it, close to the equally picturesque Seal Rock and La Jolla Cove. The Grande Colonial Hotel is a popular option, with a 4.5-star rating on Tripadvisor. This classically designed establishment, built in 1913, knows how to look after its guests, who rave about its fabulous staff. For those who enjoy the luxurious life, it has a heated pool, health club access, in-room massages, and a valet service.

Another historic hotel with an equally high rating is the La Valencia Hotel. Known as the "Pink Lady," it cannot be missed with its iconic coral exterior, which has made it a popular getaway for Hollywood stars in times gone by. It is so unique that it has earned itself a Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice Award

Decorated to evoke classical Balinese design, the Pantai Inn has the highest possible review of 5 stars on Tripadvisor. Its suites delight tourists with their Indonesian-inspired artwork, as well as gorgeous ocean views. Also, Empress Hotel La Jolla is another good boutique option in the area, which also has a Tripadvisor Traveler's Choice Award. Kids stay free, it's close to the fabulous restaurants of La Jolla, and some of the suites even have private jacuzzis. Any of these wonderful places make a perfect stop on a stunning California coast road trip.