La Jolla is a seaside village along the Pacific Ocean in the northernmost part of San Diego with numerous beaches and stunning views. It is also known as the Jewel of San Diego. On our year long trip around the country with our three young kids, we are spending 3 months in La Jolla. These beaches pictured below are just a 10 minute or less walk from where we are staying.
Since we arrived, we have spent almost every day down at Windandsea beach at some point in the day, many times twice a day. Sebastian and I go for runs along these beaches most mornings, and as a family we watch the sunset here in the evening. It is well-known as one of the best places to surf in San Diego with multiple surf breaks and waves anywhere from two to ten feet high. We haven't seen any yet, but apparently dolphins like to hang out with the surfers too.
At very low tide we've explored the tide pools, which I’ve learned is called tide pooling. It seems to be a pretty popular/common activity on the west coast. There were lots of tide pooling spots up on the northern coast of California by Redwood National Park when we visited.
Little shallow pools of water are left in the rocky shoreline at low tide and you can wander over and around them, peering in the little pools and spot sea anemones, starfish, barnacles, mussels, clams, lobsters, and more. The beaches are pretty spectacular at all times of day, but I love it in the morning where I often start my day with a run, and I love it at sunset. Many of the beaches are both sandy and rocky, giving so much texture and variety to the views. They are also dotted with detailed and magnificently designed homes.
In the mornings we see many of the same people going for runs, walking their dogs, fishing and taking in the surroundings. Most mornings you can see the same people fishing from the beach and a few small fishing boats off the coast. I imagine, given the fishing boats and people fishing from the beach, you can probably catch some good fish at the right time of day.
What has amazed me the most is how much the beach changes each day as the waves move the sand around the rocks on the beach. Some days there are lots of wide sandy patches. Some mornings the rocks are so exposed that a spot just the day before the boys were able to comfortable step down from the rock to the sand, they now need to hold our hands and jump several feet. There was one evening we went out to watch the sunset where there was an entire massive rock exposed that I had never seen before and had been previously submerged in sand.
On our first evening in town, we went down to the beach and watched surfers take on massive waves. I had never seen anything quite like it in person before. Our jaws all hung open. They were obviously all very much experts. Given the conditions and the rocky coast and the popularity of the surfing spot, they needed to be not to crash into each other or be smashed against the rocks.
It was also clear how much of a community was here. All the surfers chatted with families on the beach as they rode in off their last wave, discussing the surf conditions. Everyone seemed to know each other, and we learned that many of them come down each evening, especially in the summer to watch the sunset and the surfers together (sometimes to watch the surfers, sometimes to surf themselves). Some carry chairs, some bring picnics, kids play with shovels and buckets, and dogs chase balls dotting in and out of the waves depending on the tide.
Coming down here each day will absolutely be the thing we miss the most when we leave, and it’s what we look forward to each day now, adjusting dinner time as sunset gets earlier and earlier. Everyone, even the surfers it seems, stops to watch the sunset together. It’s the togetherness of everyone stopping to take in the sun going down at the same moment that feels so special and raw.
What to do at Windansea Beach:
- Watch the surfers
- Watch the sunset
- Look out for dolphins
- Tide pooling at low tide
- (Its not great for swimming with little kids, but plenty of sand for buckets and shovels)