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Encinitas, California
San Diego Beach Vacation

The City of Encinitas was founded over 100 years ago and is now made up of five communities that take pride in their own distinct personalities. "Historic Encinitas" fills the Highway 101 Corridor that parallels the beautiful beaches and ocean. "New Encinitas" centers on El Camino Real ("The Kings Highway" founded by the early missionaries from Spain). "Cardiff-by-the-Sea" is made up of quaint homes dotting the hillsides overlooking the sea. "Leucadia" is famous for its giant eucalyptus trees that line the main thoroughfare on the Coast Highway. "Olivenhain" (which means "olive grove" in German) boasts plenty of open horse country, pastures, and a rural way of life.

With six miles of rugged coastline and 21.5 square miles of land, Encinitas is a north San Diego County city situated between the San Elijo Lagoon to the south and the Batiquitos Lagoon to the north. It got its name from Encina Canada, Spanish for "hills of live oaks," which describes what Gaspar de Portola saw in 1669 when he led an expedition through the region. The Spanish Governor of Baja California hoped to create a stronghold in California and did so until Mexico laid claim on the land in the 1800s. That reign was short lived and California became a state of the United States in 1850.

From an 1800's gold rush in nearby Julian to the arrival of celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin in the early 1900's, at least two establishments offer glimpses into the rich Encinitas past. Visit the San Dieguito Historical Museum to learn about Indian tribes that once dominated the region. Or sit in the historic La Paloma Theatre (possibly the first ‘talking’ theatre in the rural United States when it opened its doors in 1928) to watch a current movie.
Beaches, flowers, peace and love welcome you to Encinitas. IBM, teeing off for golf and a Starbucks latte in a plastic cup might greet you, as well. Encinitas is a place where diversity rules and is celebrated daily. When the communities of Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Olivenhain and old and new Encinitas incorporated together as the City of Encinitas in 1986, their union on paper did not mean that each would give up its identity and character.

Apart from the other communities mentioned, even Encinitas appears to contain separate entities unto itself. There's an established district with beaches and shady, tree-lined streets located on Historic 101. Cute flags with pink butterflies welcome guests and give the impression of a happy, old-fashioned place where businesses such as Encinitas Surfboards have plied their craft since 1975. With an average annual temperature of 72 degrees and sunshine nearly every day, life feels great, no matter what you do in Encinitas.

In stark contrast, prepare for a time warp with new plazas, tract housing and a bridge where carts from Encinitas Ranch Golf Course pass over the fast moving, stoplight-driven El Camino Real. From the opulent Self Realization Retreat and Hermitage where world travelers come to meditate and look out over the Pacific Ocean, to the neighborly Moonlight Beach, where lovers look out at the same ocean and snuggle, cheek to cheek, life is beach after beach in Encinitas.

If you want waves, Swami's the place. It is located at the southern end of Encinitas and offers world-class surfing. If you want to take off your clothes and soak up rays, The Boneyard at 4th and D Streets is a spot where you can do that.

Activities for visitors include shopping, eating, sunbathing, swimming, surfing, museums and galleries, meditation and enlightenment and flower power. Once recognized as "the flower capital of the world," and spot where the renowned Ecke poinsettia was introduced in 1923, drop by one of the commercial nurseries open to the public and purchase a traditional poinsettia or be the first on your block with one of the new release plants. (Poinsettias grow rapidly in southern California and the innocent holiday bouquet planted in a yard can take off unexpectedly and become a tree.) Speaking of trees, Quail Botanical Garden claims it has the largest bamboo collection in the US. It is considered one of the best gardens in San Diego County and well worth a small admission fee charged.

Public Transportation: Amtrak and Coaster commuter train from Oceanside to San Diego. Train station in Old Encinitas. North County Transit District. Lindbergh Airport in San Diego. McClellan/Palomar Airport in Carlsbad.

Golf courses: Encinitas Ranch Public Golf Course, Aviara Golf Course in Carlsbad, and La Costa Resort in Carlsbad.
Parks: San Elijo State Beach, Cardiff State Beach, Swami's Beach, San Elijo Lagoon in Cardiff, Batiquitos Lagoon, Paul Ecke Sports Park, Cardiff Sports Park, Leo Mullen Sports Park, Magdalena Ecke Park (undeveloped), Oakcrest Park, Quail Botanical Gardens, and Stagecoach Park. For more park information call: 760-633-2740.
Special attractions: Nurseries, Friday Farmers' Market in Old Encinitas
April -- Encinitas Street Fair celebrating the arrival of Spring
July and August -- Sunday concerts at Moonlight Beach
August -- Encinitas Soccer Cup
Fall -- The Rob Machado Surf Classic & Cardiff Beach Fair
September -- Encinitas Day featuring a 5K/1 mile run/walk, live entertainment, and family fun
October -- Oktoberfest celebrates Olivenhain and Encinitas German heritage
Early December -- Fall flower tours