Cardiff by the Sea

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Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a beach community tucked between Encinitas and Solana Beach in San Diego County, California. It has the Pacific Ocean on its west, Encinitas on east and north, and a beach and lagoon on the south. Operating as part of the city of Encinitas, the town of under 12,000 still considers itself a separate entity. Like so many other towns around the region, locals prefer the small town atmosphere and most want to keep it like that. It’s hard to believe it is located just 25 miles north of California’s second largest city, San Diego. Conveniently located just west of Interstate 5, many residents live on hillsides with gorgeous ocean views but are still within commute distance to downtown San Diego.

Over eighty years ago, this farming community in the hills north of the San Elijo Lagoon, began to take root and grow as Cardiff when developer J. Frank Cullen broke ground to build new homes. Many streets in Cardiff bear names this English-born landowner grew up with in his native UK. Birmingham, Chesterfield and Manchester are familiar streets to Cardiff residents. See the history of Cardiff.

Primarily residential, there are two hotels in town, fine dining, shops and the beautiful Pacific Ocean which attracts tourists to the region. San Elijo State Beach Campground, provides opportunities for tent camping right on the ocean. Locals and travelers alike, enjoy bird watching and hiking along the trails in the San Elijo Lagoon and running and biking along the beachside highway.

One of several restaurants lined up side by side on Restaurant Row is The Beach House. The unique building complete with stained glass bathroom windows looking to the ocean was designed by famed architect, Hubble (not related to the Hubble telescope). See restaurant review and photos

Cardiff offers a range of water-related activities; swimming, surfing, sunbathing, wind sailing and strolling along the shore. Also enjoy hiking, jogging, boating, tennis, fishing, hang gliding, bicycling, or nearby golfing. There is a residential and business district and a Chamber of Commerce office in Towne Centre. Drop by when they are open to purchase souvenir gifts such as T-shirts, ball caps, license plate frames and postcards.

Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a great escape. Known for its charm, village hospitality and warm, sunny weather, it offers everything unique to those who seek the beauty of a small ocean side town.

The community takes pride in its “walkability” with the beach, lagoon, restaurants, markets, post office, library, and other commercial services in easy walking distance to each other.

Restaurant Row offers beach-side dining and a wide variety of choices, including Mexican, Italian and California Cuisine with an emphasis on seafood.

San Elijo State Beach Campground provides beach campsites and day-use beach parking and lifeguard service.

Recreational areas include Glen Park, with tennis and basketball courts, a children’s play area and picnic tables. Cardiff Sports Park has multiple baseball and soccer fields.

One surf hotspot is Cardiff Reef, located alongside Historic Highway 101 at the mouth of San Elijo Lagoon. Surf at the reef consistently breaks both right and left attracting professional and amateur surfers from all over Southern California and beyond year round.

Carpentier Parkway borders the downtown area and is a volunteer community project.

Experience the unique identity of Cardiff-by-the-Sea – moderate climate, breathtaking views, two miles of Pacific coastline to the west, the 900-acre San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve to the south and world-class surfing.

Cardiff-by-the-Sea, a community within the city of Encinitas, is located 95 miles south of Los Angeles and 25 miles north of San Diego.