When you close your eyes and picture San Diego, what do you see? If you’re like me, you envision miles of gorgeous coastline, palm trees, blue skies, and crashing waves. Unfortunately, throughout the summer months the natural beauty of popular beaches like Mission Beach and La Jolla Shores can be obscured by a patchwork quilt of beach umbrellas, super sized blankets, and the increasingly popular camping tent (the purpose of coming to the beach if you plan to sit zipped inside a dark tent all day completely alludes me, but at least it’s a great form of sun-protection). If you enjoy a standing-room-only environment when you go to the beach, then more power to ya! If, however, you like to enjoy common oceanfront pastimes, like, say, relaxing, then I have a wonderful little secret for you. It’s called Windansea Beach.
This little gem of the Pacific is, in my mind, the most beautiful beach in San Diego. Surfers flock to Windansea Beach for its epic waves, which are the handiwork of submerged reefs and protruding rock formations. I come to Windansea for its majestic vistas. The cerulean sea doesn’t stop at the horizon, but seamlessly melds into the vastness of the blue skies above. With each wave the rolling tides crash into a confection of white sea foam as they wash over the sandy shores and aged rocks.
The only equal to the gorgeous scenery is the wonderfully inescapable solitude. There’s some sort of magic in the air that causes everything and everyone to move at a less hurried pace, more in keeping with the rhythm of nature. Maybe it’s the hypnotic ebb and flow of the sea or the infinite horizon that lulls beachgoers into a calm stupor of blissful serenity. Maybe it’s the absence of cooler-toting crowds frantically sprinting to claim the last square foot of shoreline. Whatever the cause, Windansea Beach feels like an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle, a portrait of a bygone era.
The tranquil environment is not the only thing from days gone by. The Surf Shack, which has become the unofficial mascot of Windansea Beach, still remains. Today the shack keeps watch over the myriad of surfers as they brave the pounding waves, much as it did when it was first built in the mid-1900’s. Personally, I love the Surf Shack because of its charming and sweet simplicity. The shack is almost like an ode to the past, inviting beachgoers to enjoy uncomplicated beauty and stillness, which are somehow easier to come by at this beach.
For me, no trip to Windansea is complete without a stop at WindanSea Café (now known as Café Vahik). This is the quintessential place for unpretentious, incredibly scrumptious beach eats. If you are lucky, you’ll get to meet the owner, Vahik, who is quite honestly one of the nicest people I have ever met. At his café, he has crafted a menu full of delectable bagel and panini sandwiches, soups, salads, and an endless array of coffee creations. My favorite dish is the ridiculously yummy Mediterranean Bagel, which is a toasted bagel layered with feta cheese, egg, fresh basil, and tomato slices. While the café has a relaxed and comfy atmosphere for dining in, I like to take my food to go and enjoy it on one of the benches that lines the sidewalk above the beach. From this vantage point, you get to enjoy a panorama of turquoise waters and palm trees swaying in the breeze, along with a nonstop display of San Diego surfers at their finest.
I love Windansea because it offers the same simplicity, solitude, surf, and scenery that it did decades ago. Windansea Beach welcomes you to a land that time forgot. A place where you can exhale and spend a few blissful hours relishing the pure joy of doing nothing. Your only job is to soak up the sun and bask in the ecstasy of life. For me, Windansea isn’t just a place but a state of mind. A reminder to pause and be present. An invitation to experience the world around me with all five senses. Evidence that a simple life is a beautiful life.