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North America > United States of America > California > Southern California > San Diego County > North County (San Diego County) > Encinitas

Encinitas

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Swami's Beach in Encinitas

Encinitas is a small beach town in the north end of San Diego County in Southern California. The town has a main street that looks to be right out of a George Lucas 1950s movie scene, including a city name sign spanning the Coast Highway that welcomes visitors arriving into the north end of town from Carlsbad. Population of Encinitas is around 50,000.

Understand[edit]

Visitor info can be found at 138 Encinitas Blvd.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Encinitas is located just off Interstate Highway 5. Take the Encinitas Blvd exit.

By train[edit]

The regional Coaster rail line between San Diego and Oceanside calls in Encinitas. Amtrak provides multiple daily connections from Los Angeles to nearby Oceanside and Solana Beach via its Pacific Surfliner train. 1 Encinitas station is located at 25 E D St.

By plane[edit]

The closest commercial airport is in San Diego (SAN IATA), and the closest general aviation airport is the McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad (CLD IATA). Los Angeles International Airport (LAX IATA) is 2-3 hours by bus or car depending on traffic.

Get around[edit]

Almost everything can be reached by foot, including the beach and most restaurants and shopping. Bikes can be rented as well. NCTD also offers buses and trains for transportation purposes.

See[edit]

  • The beach. Main entrance to the seemingly endless stretch of the sandy beach is at C street. A scenic outlook and stair access can also be found at the end of D street. Swimming is allowed only in designated areas.
  • 1 San Diego Botanic Garden (formerly Quail Botanical Garden), 230 Quail Gardens Drive. 9AM–5PM daily. Specializing in tropical rainforest plants with the largest display of bamboo in the world. A great way to spend the day gazing at magnificent and exotic plants, it's also a popular wedding destination. $14 for adults; $10 for students, seniors, and active military; $8 for children under 12; free for children 2 and under. San Diego Botanic Garden (Q7413603) on Wikidata San Diego Botanic Garden on Wikipedia
  • 2 San Elijo Lagoon Reserve. Coastal wetlands. San Elijo Lagoon (Q7413798) on Wikidata San Elijo Lagoon on Wikipedia
  • Meditation Gardens at the Self Realization Fellowship.

Do[edit]

  • Surfing. A favorite activity in Encinitas. Swami's is one of the most famous surf spots in Southern California, which is accessed via steep stairs down the bluff from the small city park by the same name at the south end of town. Several surf shops along Coast Highway can provide gear for the visitor.
  • 1 Cardiff State Beach (south on Highway 101). Oceanfront camping with beautiful views. Surfing and swimming beaches within short walking distance. Reservations can be made in advance, but the park books up for the peak summer season very early in the year. Cardiff State Beach (Q5038471) on Wikidata Cardiff State Beach on Wikipedia
  • Leucadia Surf School. For those who want to try out surfing for the first time with year around 2 hour surf lessons and summer surf camps.
  • Moonlight Beach. Beautiful white sand beach at the north end of town. West end of 'B' Street. Lifeguards on duty in season.
  • YMCA Skate Park. One of the first and still one of the best skate parks in the world. Not uncommon to see greats such as Tony Hawk here.

Buy[edit]

  • Hansens Surf Shop. Clothes, swim suits, surfboards, and almost all beach needs can be purchased here located at the south end of the 101
  • Shatto and Sons T-Shirts.. Buy a 'Keep Leucadia Funky' T-shirt at this family owned shop.
  • Lou's Records. Amazing local used music store. Plenty of new/used vinyl to choose from.
  • [dead link] Rhino Art, 97 N. Coast Hwy. 101, +1 760-943-7440. Great art supply shop.
  • Encinitas Photo Center. Lots of great cameras and film.

Eat[edit]

Encinitas is a small town with a long restaurant list. Along Coast Highway 101's downtown district are a wide range of options from upscale Italian to cozy cafes and diners. Small cafes can be found in the more residential streets heading towards the beach.

  • Pannikin's Coffee and Tea, 510 North Coast Highway 101. A local favorite, built inside the 1888 Santa Fe Railroad Station. Lots of places to hangout both inside and out. Very casual atmosphere.
  • E Street Cafe, 130 W. E St. Baked goods and lunch specials. Live music, internet and wireless (with purchase).
  • Honey's Bistro & Bakery, 632 S. Coast Highway 101. Popular breakfast and lunch cafe with plenty of California and Mexican favorites.
  • Oggi's Pizza & Brewing Co., 305 Encinitas Blvd (just off Highway 5).
  • Potato Shack Cafe, 120 West I St. Popular breakfast and lunch cafe.
  • Siamese Basil, 527 S. Coast Highway 101, +1 760 753-3940. Meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes in a casual atmosphere. Don't miss the specials listed on the table.
  • Sushi Bar Blue Fin, 257 N. El Camino Real (Exit ENCINITAS BLVD. just off of 5 fwy), +1 760 479-1555. Traditional Japanese flavors with contemporary Western fusion.
  • Rico's Taco Shop, 165 S El Camino Real, +1 760 944-7689. Some of the best burritos in town. Local hangout.
  • VG's Donuts, 106 Aberdeen Dr (between Newcastle Ave & San Elijo Ave), +1 760 753-2400. Best donuts in town.
  • Pipes Cafe. Great local cafe.
  • Firenze trattoria, 162 S. Rancho Sante Fe Rd (in the West Village Center at Encinitas Blvd and Manchester/Rancho Santa Fe), +1 760 944-9000. An Italian restaurant with a Tuscan style menu, and food prepared using fresh ingredients. There is a beautiful outdoor dining area with a water fountain. The food is quite excellent and if you are planning do be sure to make reservations.
  • Bubby's Gelato, 937 South Coast Highway 101. In the Lumberyard. Gelato and sandwiches.
  • Juanitas Taco Shop, 290 North Coast Highway 101. A popular inexpensive Mexican food shop. Big burritos.
  • Union Kitchen and Tap, 1108 South Coast Highway 101. Just across the street from the Self-Realization Fellowship. Get there early, because it can be nearly full at noon on weekends. Try their awesome beer.
  • Raul's Mexican Food, 490 South Coast Highway 101. Another popular inexpensive Mexican food shop located across the street from La Paloma Theatre. Especially good when the old lady is cooking inside. Try their tacos.
  • Açai Cafe. A cafe selling Açai Smoothies, Açai Bowls, etc. (Açai is a palm that grows in the Amazon, producing Açai berries that are used in many recipes).
  • Berry Happy Frozen Yogurt, 480 S Coast Highway 101. Across the street from the La Paloma Theater. Flavors may be switched occasionally.
  • Bull Taco, Cardiff State Beach Campground, 2050 S Coast Highway 101, Cardiff-by-the-Sea (Take the State Park entrance), +1 760-635-3595. Sun 8AM to 5PM, Mon–Sat 8AM to 6PM. Mexican snack bar with fabulous views.

Drink[edit]

  • D Street Bar & Grill, 485 S Coast Highway. Upscale pub lined with televisions tuned into sports and news.

Sleep[edit]

Go next[edit]

Driving North on PCH will get you into Carlsbad, and driving south will set you in Solana Beach. Inland of Carlsbad is La Costa, and inland of Solana Beach is Rancho Santa Fe.

Routes through Encinitas
Santa AnaCarlsbad  N I-5.svg S  Solana BeachSan Diego
Los AngelesCarlsbad  N Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Icon.png S  Solana BeachSan Diego


This city travel guide to Encinitas is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.