A lively and casually-chic beach town known for its great surfing and eclectic vibe
Looking for a fun, lively atmosphere with great restaurants and proximity to San Diego? Look no further: a quick commute to the city and only two hours from Los Angeles, Encinitas is full of great nightlife and laid-back residents who love the beaches and surfing spots.
Recently named among the “20 Best Surf Towns in the World” by National Geographic, Encinitas wears its surf history proudly. Located along six miles of the Pacific Ocean coastline, Encinitas is an unspoiled reminder of the historic Highway 101 beach culture that thrived in the mid-1900s. A favorite beach for surfing in Encinitas, Swami's was forever immortalized in the song "Surfin' USA" by the Beach Boys, and you can watch the longboarders from the sand or the bluff above.
But the best part of Encinitas is the eclectic and alternative vibe it brings; Encinitas has a flavor all its own and feels distinctly different from neighboring towns on the coast. Residents here are fun-loving, kind, and hospitable. It’s truly a fantastic place to put down roots.
The city'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. The beaches in Encinitas are considered “hidden gems” even by locals, especially Moonlight Beach.
Encinitas is known as the "Flower Capital of the World" because of its extensive collection of unique nurseries and gardens. The most extensive botanical collection is the San Diego Botanic Garden, and Encinitas is also the world's leading grower of the Christmas flower, the poinsettia.
The downtown Encinitas shopping district is more than 100-years-old. Today, the historic buildings house boutique shops and sidewalk cafes, where shoppers can find treasures old and new. Lofty and Ironsmith coffee houses are local favorites, serving delicious brews and teas.
Amongst the many trendy places to eat and drink downtown are Herb & Sea and Death by Tequila, both of which are home to fabulous cocktail menus and great atmospheres. Pacific Coast Grill has a view of the ocean from every seat and serves up traditional seafood favorites and American cuisine. For Mexican and Spanish tapas, there is no higher-rated restaurant in the area than La Papagayo. Their tacos and seafood dishes are second to none!
Another cool place for wine and great hangs is Solterra Winery & Kitchen. Be sure to check them out for outings with friends and date night, as they often host specialty events!
One of the most famed summertime events here is Switchfoot’s Bro-Am, a free bash put on by the town’s most famous musical act. From May through September, Encinitas hosts Classic Car Nights with vintage hot rods, woodies, and other classics alongside bands performing 50's and 60's music on three stages. The annual Encinitas April Street Fair takes place over two days each Spring. This free, family-friendly event features arts and crafts vendors, children's rides, unique foods, and live music on multiple stages. And the weekly Sunday morning Farmers’ Market is always a great spot for families and those who crave locally-sourced goods.
Encinitas also has the Encinitas Fall Festival, a holiday street fair with live entertainment, children's rides, and over 400 vendors and 200 local stores specializing in arts and crafts, antiques, clothing, and items from around the world. It’s beloved by all the residents and draws a great vibe for the community.
The Self-Realization Fellowship is a serene, local area featuring meditation gardens, koi ponds, a Golden Lotus Temple, and views overlooking Swami's beach.
Encinitas operates under the Cardiff Elementary School District and the Encinitas Union Elementary School District. Encinitas is part of the award-winning San Dieguito Union High School District but also offers a fantastic private school option in town: The Grauer School.