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About Encinitas CA
Encinitas is a beach city in the North County area of San Diego County, California. Located within Southern California, it is approximately 25 miles (40 km) north of San Diego and about 95 miles (153 km) south of Los Angeles. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 59,518, up from 58,014 at the 2000 census.
The city got its name from a Spanish name meaning “little oaks”.
It is alternately known as the “Flower Capital of the World,” because of its extensive collection of unique nurseries and gardens, most extensive of which is the San Diego Botanic Garden. Encinitas is also the world’s leading grower of the Christmas flower, the poinsettia.
Recently named among the 20 best surf towns in the world by National Geographic, this city wears its surf history proudly. Located along six miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, it is an unspoiled reminder of the historic Highway 101 beach culture that thrived in the mid-1900s. The neighborhood’s eclectic downtown has long drawn surfers and hippies with its unique and dynamic blend of San Diego’s top surf shops, coffeehouses and record stores, not to mention the beaches in Encinitas are coveted by locals as hidden gems.
Moonlight State Beach is a California state park that is operated by the city of Encinitas. This is the main central beach of Encinitas. It has a grass park with a kids play area in addition to a large family-friendly beach. The slope of the beach is gradual which makes playing in the surf more fun and a lot safer. Lifeguards have a significant presence here too. This is a popular beach so during the summers the park and the beach will be packed. If you can’t find a space to lay out right at Moonight Beach, then you can head south to D Street Beach and beyond or just head north toward Stone Steps Beach. Three sand volleyball courts are a big draw here. Surfing is allowed outside of the swimming-only zone. Moonlight State Beach is at the west end of Encinitas Boulevard from I-5. After crossing Highway 101 Encinitas Blvd becomes B Street. There is a paid parking lot with an entrance on C Street, but first look for free street parking in the area. You might have to walk a ways to the beach on sunny days, but there is a drop-off area next to the sand on B Street.
The city was incorporated by 69.3% of the voters in 1986 from the communities of its historic and new areas (Village Park, etc.), plus Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Olivenhain. The communities retain their identities and distinctive flavors.
The city can be divided into five areas:
- Old: a small beachside area featuring a mix of businesses and housing styles. Sitting along the coastal 101 highway, the Encinitas welcome arch, the famous surf break Swamis, and the early 20th century La Paloma Theater are located here. Old Encinitas is divided from New Encinitas by a low coastal ridge.
- New: a newer region which features a golf course, many shopping centers, and is composed of larger tract homes.
- Olivenhain: a semi-rural region in eastern Encinitas, composed of mostly single family homes, an active 4-H Club, and several private equestrian facilities. Olivenhain connects to Rancho Santa Fe via Encinitas Blvd.
- Encinitas lies on rugged coastal terrain. The city is bisected by a low-lying coastal ridge that separates New and Old. In the north of the city, the coast rises in elevation and the land is raised up in the form of many coastal bluffs. The city is surrounded by Batiquitos Lagoon and San Elijo Lagoon to the north and south, respectively.
- Leucadia: a coastal community of the city. Leucadia features tree-lined streets and boulevards. The community features art galleries, unusual stores, and restaurants, along with single family homes. This also contains beaches such as Beacons and Grandview.
- Cardiff-by-the-Sea: Encinitas’ southernmost oceanfront community, which features streets named after British cities and classical composers, the Lux Art Institute, and the San Elijo
It is located at 33°2′40″N 117°16′18″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.0 square miles (52 km2). 18.8 square miles (49 km2) of it is land and 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2) of it (5.89%) is water. The city’s elevation ranges between sea level and 180 feet (55 m) above sea level.
Guide to Encinitas Beaches
Running parallel to historic Highway 101, the beaches in Encinitas are some of the best hidden gems in San Diego’s North County Coastal region. The terrain ranges from white sand beaches to rocky bluffs, and legendary surf spots line the coast. An eclectic mix of ‘60s-inspired beach culture combined with boutique shopping, contemporary restaurants, new age meditation gardens and yoga studios, Encinitas is a vibrant and authentic beach town where the local surf scene rules, vintage cars take to the streets, and hipsters reside.
WHERE TO GO
- Moonlight State Beach at the end of Encinitas Boulevard is where the shore drops down nearer to sea level, and is the easiest of Encinitas’ beaches to find and use. With a large sandy area, a recreational playground, snack bar, bathrooms, showers, fire pits, volleyball courts and ample parking, this is a popular beach for families and vacationers looking to spend the whole day at the beach.
- D Street is the access point to the mile-long beach also known as Boneyards that runs below the bluffs from Moonlight Beach south to Swami’s point. D Street is a rocky cobblestone-encumbered spot better suited to surfing than sunbathing, although some of those dedicated enough to make the pilgrimage are also devoted enough to bare it all, despite state law.
- Swami’s is the popular surf break at the southernmost end of Encinitas, set below bluffs where the golden-spired Self-Realization Center is located—an enduring symbol of Encinitas’ positive and spiritual vibe. A great surf break, this spot is highly coveted by local surfers.
- Sea Cliff—the small park adjacent to the Swami’s parking lot—offers an idyllic setting of shade trees, picnic tables, barbecues and clean bathrooms.
- Moonlight Beach offers a large, dedicated free parking area.
- Swami’s offers a free parking lot.
- Street parking along residential neighborhoods is also free.
BATHROOMS & SHOWERS
- Restrooms and shower facilities are available at Moonlight Beach and Swami’s.
- Showers at Swami’s are at the bottom of the stairs at beach level.
- The Lifeguard station at Moonlight Beach serves as the main outpost for Encinitas Lifeguards. The stand at Moonlight Beach is staffed year-around.
- Lifeguard stands at other Encinitas beaches are staffed seasonally depending on weather conditions and the number of beach patrons. During spring and summer months, lifeguards are active and available.
- Surfing, paddle boarding, boogie boarding.
- Sunbathing and beach volleyball at Moonlight Beach.
- Body surfing and swimming is allowed in designated areas.
DIRECTIONS TO ENCINITAS BEACHES
- Exit Encinitas Boulevard from the I-5 freeway and head west. Encinitas Boulevard becomes B Street as soon as you cross Pacific Coast Highway, and B Street leads directly to the parking lot at Moonlight Beach. Simply head south two blocks to find D Street, or continue south on Coast Highway to Swami’s (look for the sign just south of the golden towers).