Encinitas is located
in North San Diego County, the southernmost county in the Western United
States. With six miles of rugged coastline and
21.5 square miles of land, Encinitas enjoys ocean views and a great
surfing culture from San Elijo Lagoon on the southern end of this
surfer's paradise to Batiquitos
Lagoon to the north.
Did someone say
surfing? That would aptly describe the best aspect of this city's charm.
Surfing looms large in a town with beautifully carved wood signs
announcing the names of famous surfing beaches such as Grandview,
Leucadia, D Street and Moonlight Beach. It's as if each beach has its
own personality, its own community and family of surfers who clearly own
this spot of the coast with their passion as stewards for the beach, on
the daily battle ground of surfing those wave sets that roll in
from Hawaii to the west. With road signs seen in a photo above of surfer
girl carrying a board on her head, its clear that cars must stop for
For tourists, surfing
and beaches are one major attraction in this laid back beach town with a
long and esteemed history of great surfing and skilled surfers. In
addition to those in the water, the surf culture is an attraction for
the "old guys who rule" as they drive along Coast Highway in their
classic cars, bringing their woods, or woodies to Moonlight Beach for an
annual woody meet. Sometimes it can be cool and foggy, but most days of
the year, expect sunshine and a happy face as you arrive in Encinitas.
We recommend your first be the beach when you get to the city on Coast
Highway, or exit Interstate 5, also known as San Diego Freeway, where
the road signs say Encinitas.
If you come in from
the Interstate, you can always make your first stop the Quail Botanical
Gardens. An urban oasis of shrubs, trees, and native plants, who could
believe that just off that ribbon of highway you'd find this secluded,
cool forest of green? Worth a good hour or two of wandering, not only
does this garden attraction offer tours and special lectures and events,
it also has a gift shop where you can buy something unique for your
collection. Admission fee to the garden is affordable, and we believe it
is worth the price. We've visited the place twice. You
can buy tickets on our site for your visit, or as a gift, if you
Encinitas got its name from Encina Canada, Spanish for
"hills of live oaks," which describes what Gaspar de Portola saw in 1769
when he led an expedition through the region. The Spanish Governor of
Baja California hoped to create a stronghold in California and did so
until Mexico laid claim on the land in the 1800s. That reign was short
lived and California became a state of the United States in 1850.
From an 1800's gold rush in nearby Julian to the arrival of celebrities
such as Charlie Chaplin in the early 1900's, at least two establishments
offer glimpses into the rich Encinitas past. Visit the San Dieguito
Historical Museum to learn about Indian tribes that once dominated the
region. Or sit in the historic La Paloma Theatre (possibly the first
‘talking’ theatre in the rural United States when it opened its doors in
1928) to watch a current movie.
Beaches, flowers, peace and love welcome you to Encinitas. IBM, teeing
off for golf and a Starbucks latte in a plastic cup might greet you, as
well. Encinitas is a place where diversity rules and is celebrated
daily. When the communities of Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Olivenhain
and old and new Encinitas incorporated together as the City of Encinitas
in 1986, their union on paper did not mean that each would give up its
identity and character.
Apart from the other communities mentioned, even Encinitas appears to
contain separate entities unto itself. There's an established district
with beaches and shady, tree-lined streets located on Historic 101. Cute
flags with pink butterflies welcome guests and give the impression of a
happy, old-fashioned place where businesses such as Encinitas Surfboards
have plied their craft since 1975. With an average annual temperature of
72 degrees and sunshine nearly every day, life feels great, no matter
what you do in Encinitas.
In stark contrast, prepare for a time warp with new plazas, tract
housing and a bridge where carts from Encinitas Ranch Golf Course pass
over the fast moving, stoplight-driven El Camino Real. From the opulent
Self Realization Retreat and Hermitage where world travelers come to
meditate and look out over the Pacific Ocean, to the neighborly
Moonlight Beach, where lovers look out at the same ocean and snuggle,
cheek to cheek, life is beach after beach in Encinitas.
If you want waves, Swami's the place. It is located at the southern end
of Encinitas and offers world-class surfing. If you want to take off
your clothes and soak up rays, The Boneyard at 4th and D Streets is a
spot where you can do that. .. Activities for visitors include shopping,
eating, sunbathing, swimming, surfing, museums and galleries, meditation
and enlightenment and flower power. Once recognized as "the flower
capital of the world," and spot where the renowned Ecke poinsettia was
introduced in 1923, drop by one of the commercial nurseries open to the
public and purchase a traditional poinsettia or be the first on your
block with one of the new release plants. (Poinsettias grow rapidly in
southern California and the innocent holiday bouquet planted in a yard
can take off unexpectedly and become a tree.) Speaking of trees, Quail
Botanical Garden claims it has the largest bamboo collection in the US.
It is considered one of the best gardens in San Diego County and well
worth a small admission fee charged.
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
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, Paul Ecke Sports Park,
Cardiff Sports Park, Leo Mullen Sports Park, Magdalena Ecke Park
(undeveloped), Oakcrest Park, Quail Botanical Gardens, and Stagecoach
Park. For more park information call: 760-633-2740.
Special attractions: Nurseries, Friday Farmers' Market in Old Encinitas
April -- Encinitas Street Fair celebrating the arrival of Spring
July and August -- Sunday concerts at Moonlight Beach
August -- Encinitas Soccer Cup
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
Early December -- Fall flower tours
Market - Del Mar YEAR ROUND Saturday, 1:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.;
Sunday, 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.