A relaxed and beautiful seaside town that has something for everyone
Cardiff is a charming, seaside village with a long surfing history and a truly California-boho vibe. Located about 25 miles north of San Diego and situated right between Solana Beach and Encinitas, Cardiff has terrific views of the Pacific. Also known as Cardiff-by-the-Sea, the area is officially part of the Encinitas Town Government and is home to many laid-back residents who love the down-to-earth energy of the area.
Cardiff is known for surfing, and many shops in town cater to surfers' needs. The area is home to surfing events and competitions, drawing fun and lively crowd. It’s not uncommon to see lots of surfboards under arms, on bikes, in the backs of trucks, and running across the coast highway to the beach.
Cardiff offers an idyllic Southern California lifestyle with world-class beaches and a Mediterranean climate all year round. The neighborhood is full of relaxed and friendly beach-lovers who take full advantage of the multiple coastline activities. Don’t be surprised to see your neighbors surfing, swimming, running, windsurfing, kayaking, or biking. And, of course, the Cardiff Kook is the must-see local surf statue that welcomes all into the community: such an endearing and beloved part of the neighborhood.
The best-known breakfast place in the area is Pipes Cafe, whose breakfast burritos are second to none - seriously, they are the best on the planet. Trattoria Positano on San Elijo is quite popular with locals, and for vegan treats and healthy bites, Ki’s Restaurant is another favorite in town. But for unparalleled views, the answer is Pacific Coast Grill for dining right on the sand.
For a stunning indoor bar area and charming American and European cuisine, Waverly is the go-to spot. Their cocktails are delicious, and proximity to the beach makes this a trendy hot spot. If you’re up early to beat the line, head to VG’s Donuts and indulge in some of the best sweets you’ll ever have.
The beaches, of course, are spectacular and offer great surfing, sunbathing, kite flying, or the perfect spot to enjoy the views. Cardiff State Beach will be your second home if you love the sand, and Seaside Beach or Solana Beach are some other local gems and fit the bill of gorgeous SoCal beaches. If you’re a runner, you’ll definitely want to take part in one of the many Cardiff Running Events held right in town.
In addition to the beaches, you can enjoy the community park in the downtown area, running along the “Rail Trail” and George Berkich Park in the Composer District. San Elijo Park/State Beach offers a popular campground for beachside camping and is a lovely state park to spend the day exploring.
Cardiff kids attend 1 of 2 elementary schools depending on their grade. Older students attend San Dieguito Union High School District. There are several private schools in Cardiff, including Montessori and the Sanderling Waldorf School.