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Welcome to Encinitas

Encinitas is home to the best local surf locations in San Diego. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more quintessential California surf town than Encinitas, a sun-drenched pocket of coastal North County San Diego where wetsuits hang like flags from bungalow porches and taco shops promise “No shirt, no shoes, no problem.” But when Morgan and Trevor Gates moved back to the area in 2018 after spending a year in Boulder, Colo., it wasn’t so much Encinitas’s beachy energy that convinced them to buy a home in the neighborhood of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, with its dramatic bluffs and cluster of oceanfront restaurants. It was its elementary schools, “We liked the vibe, the landscape and the downtown that feels like a small town,” Ms. Gates said of Encinitas, a 20-square-mile city with about 60,000 residents. “But first and foremost, it was the school district.”

In Encinitas, you’ll find the cutest boutiques, the tastiest Baja California foods, the cities most popular microbreweries, quaint local coffee shops, and holistic centers like the Self-Realization Gardens right on Highway 101. For our surfers and paddle boarders, San Elijo State Beach, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Pipes beach are gems where you’ll only find the locals and find the great, consistent waves to ride.

What we love about Encinitas:

  • Best nightlife for young adults in north county
  • Famous surf locations
  • Spectacular views of the Pacific coast


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