California Cities


Encinitas, CA San Diego's Surfing & Beach Destination

It looks like a sleepy town, and parts of Encinitas on the west side of the freeway keep a totally different pace than the newer part of the city across the way. Maybe you'll come across the amazing boat houses. Maybe you'll see a dog relaxing on a bed in front of an owner's shop, or two girls stroll across the street with surfboards on their heads or by their sides.

But even the surfers wake up early and head for the waves, so in reality, Encinitas, the San Diego County beach and surf destination is constantly on the move.

A really cool place to visit, take a drive on Coast Highway 101 to see highlights such as (historic) Paloma Theatre and drive under the decorative Encinitas archway that spans the entire highway near the theater.

For a tour of Encinitas, you're going to have to stop at a lot of beaches. The streets sometimes go one direction into neighborhoods where you must find a place to park, then wander down stairs to find the surfing spots. More obvious locations include Leucadia (beach community), and Swami's, world renown for its surf breaks and the unique theme. Wood carved signs announce the names of these famous surfing beaches: Grandview, Leucadia, The Boneyard at 4th, D Street and Moonlight Beach, plus Swami's.

Encinitas has six miles of rugged coastline and 21.5 square miles of land, ocean view homes on hills above beaches, and provides a surfing mecca from San Elijo Lagoon on the southern end to Batiquitos Lagoon to the north.

In addition to surfing, sunbathing, and beach volleyball, San Diego Botanic Gardens (formerly called Quail) is an oasis of trees, forests, flowers and plants that guests can wander past, learn about, and enjoy. The botanic garden claims to have the largest bamboo collection in the U.S.

Encinitas was once recognized as "the flower capital of the world," growing miles of poinsettias. The renowned Ecke poinsettia was introduced in 1923 and the city used to celebrate a poinsettia festival annually. Nearby Carlsbad carries the flower tradition each March through May with its Carlsbad Flower Fields attraction.

Encinitas was named for Encina Canada, a Spanish term meaning "hills of live oaks," describing what Gaspar de Portola saw in 1769 when he led an expedition through the coastal area. Celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin in made an appearance in Encinitas as many celebrities have through the past 100 years. For a glimpse into the city's past, San Dieguito Historical Museum and the historic La Paloma Theatre (possibly the first ‘talking' theatre in the rural United States when it opened its doors in 1928) both provide a flavor of the what has transpired to make Encinitas so great today.

Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Olivenhain and old and new Encinitas incorporated as the City of Encinitas in 1986, with each agreeing that they would retain their separate identities, while being governed under one body.

Public Transportation: Amtrak and Coaster commuter train from Oceanside to San Diego. Train station in Old Encinitas. North County Transit District. Lindbergh Airport in San Diego. McClellan/Palomar Airport in Carlsbad.

Golf courses: Encinitas Ranch Public Golf Course, Aviara Golf Course in Carlsbad, and La Costa Resort in Carlsbad.

Parks: San Elijo State Beach, Cardiff State Beach, Swami's Beach, San Elijo Lagoon in Cardiff, Batiquitos Lagoon

Special attractions: Farmers Market in Old Encinitas
April -- Encinitas Street Fair celebrating the arrival of Spring
July and August -- Sunday concerts at Moonlight Beach
Fall -- The Rob Machado Surf Classic & Cardiff Beach Fair
September -- Encinitas Day featuring a 5K/1 mile run/walk, live entertainment, and family fun
October -- Oktoberfest celebrates Olivenhain and Encinitas German heritage

Subscribe to our newsletter!

More Info

Near Encinitas