Encinitas is a quintessential California beach town that may be most famous for being immortalized by the Beach Boys “Surfin' USA”, but can also boast a history dating back to the first peoples.
From Batiquitos Lagoon to San Elijo Lagoon, Encinitas is not only the picturesque California paradise that songs are made of, but a naturalist paradise edged by bold bluffs, sandy beaches, and 13 square miles of marine habitats.
It’s no wonder that this sleepy coastal town has become one of the most sought after beach destinations in all of Southern California!
Besides her natural beauty, Encinitas offers shopping, art, culinary delights and a rich history of cultural and agricultural pursuits. In fact, Encinitas once was home to an Ostrich Farm, and today is host to one of the best Farmer's Markets in Southern California.
Encinitas stretches from the South end of Batiquitos Lagoon and Ponto Beach to Cardiff by-the-Sea and the San Elijo Lagoon State Marine Conservation.
To the West of Encinitas lays the protected area of the Pacific Ocean known as Swami’s State Marine Conservation Area. A sanctuary for marine and wildlife, this cherished expanse perfectly encapsulates the eco-friendly spirit of San Diegans.
The Encinitas coastal region is broken up into 3 areas: Leucadia "Leu", Old Encinitas "Enci" and Cardiff-by-the-Sea "Cardiff"
The Northern most section of Encinitas bordering Batiquitos Lagoon, South Carlsbad State Beach and home to the beautiful Alila Marea Hotel & Resort perched on the bluff overlooking the Pacific.
The name Leucadia is of Greek origin as its namesake, Lefkada (Leucadia), is one of the Ionian Islands.
Early in the community's history, a development company based in San Diego gave Leucadia and its streets their Roman-Greco names which include Hymettus, Neptune, Phoebe, and Daphne.
Leucadia faces the Pacific Ocean and the community is set on a series of bluffs along Neptune Avenue. Its beaches are located below steep vertical cliffs lending them a relative seclusion.
Meander the neighborhood of Leucadia along the one way Neptune Avenue from Moonlight to Grandview for some of the most spectacular vista points Encinitas has to offer.
Or coast down 101 and stop at one of the local coffee shops, restaurants, shops or art galleries!
Notable businesses include:
In the heart of Encinitas, the downtown area known as Enci is home to eclectic shopping, art galleries, a variety of restaurants with international an local cuisine, lounges, and the renowned Moonlight Beach.
This historic corridor was once Highway 101, which was the only coastal highway connecting San Diego to Los Angeles, in now one of the Top 50 destinations to see in the world.
Featuring an eclectic mix of businesses and housing styles and sitting along Coast Highway, Moonlight Beach, the Encinitas Welcome Arch, the famous surf break Swamis, the Encinitas Boat Houses, Meditation Gardens and the early 20th century La Paloma Theater are located here, to name a few.
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The Southernmost region of Encinitas, Cardiff stretches from Swami's beach south to the mouth of San Elijo Lagoon. Travel on the East side of the railroad tracks along San Elijo Ave for amazing ocean views before arriving in the quaint village of Cardiff with shops, restaurants and home to San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center.
The first inhabitants were the Native Kumeyaay Indians, referred to as the Diegueño by the Spanish. In 1769 the Spanish started colonizing this area with the construction of the Spanish Missions.
The First Settlement outside the natives and Spanish was by the MacKinnon family in 1875. In 1909 this farming community began to be developed when Boston developer J. Frank Cullen purchased land from the MacKinnons. For $30 a lot, one could buy land and build new homes.
Frank Cullen's wife, Esther, a native of Cardiff, Wales, persuaded him to name the community "Cardiff-by-the Sea", as well as naming many streets after other cities in Britain, such as the English "Birmingham", "Oxford", "Chesterfield" and "Manchester", despite heavy Spanish influence in the area.
In 1986, "Cardiff" joined with the nearby communities of Leucadia, Olivenhain, and Encinitas to form the incorporated city of Encinitas, but you can still feel the independence of Cardiff immortilized in the beloved by some, loathed by others, Cardiff Kook.
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South of Cardiff along the 101 rests Solana Beach.
Coveted by locals and visitors alike, the welcoming beach town of Solana Beach is known for its walkability and is home to endless scenic trails, welcoming surf breaks, natural tide pools, and a wide variety of eclectic, locally-owned shops and services that are almost all within a 30-minute walk or less from Fletcher Cove, the main beach.
Solana is also home to the Cedros Design District, a haven of renowned designers, trailblazing boutique agencies, and mouthwatering restaurants.
Whether you’re stopping in for a bite to eat, spending the day on the beach and exploring the shops, discover Solana Beach and all it has to offer.
A ride down to Solana Beach is perfect for those taking a Moke on a 5-8 hour experience Tour.
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