La Jolla Beach Spotlight: Windansea

It’s hard to avoid the beach when you vacation in La Jolla. We’re surrounded by not one but several beautiful beaches, all with their own unique attributes and experiences. Windansea Beach in south La Jolla, for instance, is one of the most popular beaches in the area. It’s perfect for surfers, marine biology enthusiasts, and it even has its own claim to fame. Thinking about visiting Windansea beach while you’re here? Here are a few fun facts and things you should know about the place.


One of the biggest draws to Windansea Beach is surfing. While the south part of the beach is great for bodyboarding, you can catch some thrilling waves on the northern side. Surfers like the legendary Butch Van Artsdalen, Skip Frye, and Mickey Munoz have all surfed here. There’s also an annual surf competition, Windansea Surf Contest, hosted by Windansea Surf Club, to be found here. Whether you like to surf yourself or watch others ride the big waves, surf lovers have historically loved Windansea and continue to come back.

“The Pump House Gang”

Windansea found its claim to fame in the title story of Tom Wolfe’s collection of journalistic stories, The Pump House Gang. In it, renowned journalist Tom Wolfe writes about local surfer Jack “Jack Mac” Macpherson and his friend Robert Norris “Meda” Rakestraw, who used to gather for a few drinks near a sewage pump at Windansea Beach in the 1960s. Their friends, whom they called the Mac Meda Demolition Company, were mostly known as local characters, but Wolfe’s story about them nonetheless put the name of Windansea Beach out for the world to know, and many literature fans make their way here to see the beach of the story.

Tide Pools

If you check out Windansea Beach during low tide, you’ll find lush tide pools full of sea grass and a variety of sea fauna, including lobsters and different types of shellfish. Feel free to interact with the safer forms of marine life here, as long as you put them back when you’re finished. These fascinating ecosystems are delicate, and should always be treated with care. You can find sea shells here, as well. Whether you want to take a few great pictures or you’re a lover of marine biology, this is another great reason to visit the beach. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes and step carefully.

Accessing Windansea Beach

Windansea Beach has easy access to the public, which is another reason it’s a popular option. You can find a classic surf shack on the southern end of the beach that’s been designated as a historic landmark. While there are rocky bluffs throughout this beach, you will find a few stairs to guide you down to the shore. It’s worth noting that there are only 16 parking spots on the beach, and no public facilities, so it may be better to arrive beach ready and to walk to the beach if you can.

Thinking of visiting Windansea Beach or any of La Jolla’s other terrific beaches? Contact the Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla to book your stay, and don’t forget! When you book direct with us, we’ll price match your room and throw in a 5% discount.


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