There are several communities in Encinitas: Old Encinitas consisting of the downtown area; Cardiff-by-the-Sea; Olivenhain, a rural-style residential neighborhood with several horse stables and Leucadia the cool youthful and funky part of town with many art galleries and where you’ll meet lots of surfers. Encinitas is best known as the “Flower Growing Capital of the World” because of the poinsettia growing industry and the Encinitas San Diego Botanical Garden. It is also known as a surfing capital, and home of legendary surfer Rob Machado.
Encinitas is 25 miles north of downtown San Diego and covers about 21 square miles with a population of about 58,000. The neighborhood is known for its new age culture of yoga, meditation, spirituality and a 60s inspired beach culture. On the cliffs overlooking Swami’s Beach is the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple and Ashram Center. There are 6 miles of coastline with beautiful beaches and surfing waters from San Elijo Lagoon to Batiquitos Lagoon.
Recreation, Culture and Entertainment
The local library hosts free lunchtime concerts in November. Shopaholics will love El Camino Real Shopping Corridor which is wall to wall boutiques, restaurants and stores. The San Dieguito Heritage Museum can teach you about local history. Encinitas is home to the Lux Art Institute. There is an historical walk you can take around the downtown area where there are many historic buildings. La Paloma Theatre is a classic single screen movie theatre dating back to the 1920s. Visit the unique European style market, Encinitas Seaside Bazaar.
The famous Encinitas beaches include Moonlight State Beach which has playgrounds, fire pits, facilities, volleyball courts and a snack bar; D Street which is best for surfers and accesses a mile long beach and Sea Cliff, a smaller beach popular for picnics and divers. Swami Beach is listed as one of the top 5 surfing beaches in the world and is mentioned in The Beach Boys song “Surfing USA.” In the Encinitas waters you can surf, paddle board, swim and dive. Flower lovers can enjoy the Botanical Gardens and golf enthusiasts can play at the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course.
Restaurants and Cafes
Encinitas has a range of restaurants, many of which are family friendly and reasonably priced. Urbanspoon lists the neighborhood’s best restaurant as Ric’s Taco Shop and Trip Advisor recommends the vegetarian Lotus Café and Juice Bar as well as the seafood restaurant Fish 101. For cafes try the Loftybean or Pannikin Encinitas Café.
Festivals and Special Events
There is an Encinitas farmers market on Wednesday nights. Other events include the Classic Car Night on the 3rd Thursday of every month from May to September; Fall Festival in November; Taste of Main Street when restaurants welcome people to sample new tastes and enjoy live music and the April Street Fair with food, arts and crafts and live performances. There are Encinitas Sunday Concerts by the Sea in July and August and in May the Encinitas Arts Alive Banner Auction sees banners painted by local artists auctioned off at the Cardiff Town Center.