Encinitas Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by Cosmacelf
  • A landmark in Encinitas
    A landmark in Encinitas
    by lmkluque
  • Things to Do
    by lmkluque

Encinitas Highlights

  • Pro
    lotionlady profile photo

    lotionlady says…

     Not wanting to leave. 

  • Con
    depinski profile photo

    depinski says…

     ... maybe too laid back at some local restaurants 

  • In a nutshell
    miclev21 profile photo

    miclev21 says…

     Great escape from city life of SD. 

Encinitas Things to Do

  • Meditation Gardens

    Take a few moments out of a hectic day of touring and stop at the Swami's Meditation Garden. It is well kept and natural and peaceful. I am no longer able to walk the paths but have in prior years walked, sat and pondered in this lovely garden. Also, I've enjoyed the awesome panoramic view of Swami's Beach and the vast Pacific Ocean from this...

  • Moonlight State Beach

    This broad sandy beach is good for swimming, surfing and fishing. It is no longer a good place for long board surfing but fine for short boards. There are courts for games such as tennis or volleyball and you can rent the equipment here as well. The ironic thing is that Moonlight Beach got it's name from the fact that in the early part of the...

  • Visit the recently promoted Quail...

    Update April 2010These gardens were promoted in September 2009 and are now known as San Diego Botanical Gardens!They form a 30 acre oasis in urban America, surrounded by busy roads and lots of new build. Originally this was the private estate of a Mr and Mrs Larabee who occupied a modest home but enhanced it by developing the gardens. They were...

  • Sunset at the beach

    A rare sight. There are usually no clouds in the sky here except for the yearly rainy season of 2 weeks or so and the "May-Grey" and "June-Gloom" ( a daytime coastal haze).

  • Moonlight beach ... in the Moonlight

    I strongly recommend to go to one of the staircases that leads down the cliff to the beach and admire the ocean in the moonlight. It is very beautiful. You can stand there and listen to the waves and watch them break. Probably best to go on a night with a bright moon. Too bad I only had a digital camera with no exposure control as none of the...

  • Tan on Moonlight Beach

    Moonlight beach was a great way to spend 3 days to relax from Los Angeles. It was mostly filled with locals of which mostly were families with children of all ages. The beach was clean and the water looked clean as well. In the sand by the waterfront, there were hundreds of small clams that would just dig themselves into the sand. I took this as an...

  • Moonlight Beach

    Moonlight beach is a great spot to spend an afternoon or evening in Encinitas. One of my favorite things to do at Moonlight beach is to have a beach bonfire with a group of friends. There's volleyball and picnic tables and lots of spots to lay your towel down and relax.

  • Enjoy the view

    There are so many spots in Encinitas with lovely ocean views. This is a good city to find a viewpoint and just enjoy the scenery.

  • You Must Visit Leucadia's Shops of north...

    You have to visit the shops along Highway 101 in Leucadia. Don't miss Lou's Records. There are some great treasures to be found in this northern section of Encinitas.


Encinitas Hotels

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Encinitas Restaurants

  • Hershel's Restaurant and Delicatessen

    Edit...surprisingly, this restaurant has changed for the 'worse' since I posted this review...this is no longer on my favorites list. Used2Be...Outstanding American breakfast -- well-prepared -- fairly sizeable portions -- good service -- dine inside or out -- you get your monies worth here. Ham & eggs or fresh strawberry waffles

  • A small local specialty coffee house

    If you are looking for a small local specialty coffee house where they serve fresh coffee hand roasted on the premise as well as delicious locally sourced teas, offer a variety of breakfast and lunch dishes made fresh to order, and free WiFi, then Café Ipe is the place for you. I've been here a couple of times and the food as well as the coffee...

  • The patio area is interesting

    Swami's Café is located across the street from Yogananda Self-Realization Fellowship, Hernitage, which is locally known as Swami's. So, It makes sense to open a healthy, organic and earthy place to recharge the body after spending time recharging the spirit. This café is not connected to The Yogananda Self-Realization Fellowship but has a spiritual...

  • An Old Favorite

    Located in the old Santa Fe Depot Railroad Station which was built in 1888, Pannikin has been here since 1968. They also had a store in the Gaslamp Quarter downtown and that is where I first learned about the Pannikin Coffee & Tea. The downtown location had very little in the way of food to offer, but had so many choices in coffees and teas and...

  • A good choice!

    Laverne, "Rixie" and I planned to meet in Encinitas where she was staying for a few days. She chose this restaurant for our lunch meeting place and I'm glad she did. It was located on the main downtown road in Encinitas, not near, but not too far from the beach. The place is small, but there was some sort of party going on so the place seemed...

  • Chef-Crafted Vegan

    Ok, I'll start off by letting you know that I am a die hard "meat-a-tarion", so entering a place like this is foreign to me!!! Having said that, I wholeheartedly recommend Native Foods Café...it's a vegan restaurant serving homemade, fresh food every day of the week and oh boy is it delicious. If you are looking for a healthy alternative to...


Encinitas Nightlife

  • Martinis at Martini Ranch

    Martini Ranch has two locations in Encinitas, one in downtown and this one, on the Coast Hwy 101. This one is less crowded than it's downtown couterpart and still enjoyable. The clientele spans all types of people from those in their 20's to those in their 40's that all have a good time dancing to the live music during the evening, and then to the...

  • Nightlife in Encinitas

    Okay, you can try the local bar on First Street (Highway 101). Maybe you read about it recently. It's where one of the Secret Service agents got their teeh knocked out (literally) after insulting a local Encinitas woman. Usually, it's uneventful. You can get some good music at the southern end in Cardiff at the Kraken. How about a nice quiet drink...

  • Encinitas Hotels

    13 Hotels in Encinitas

    87 Reviews and Opinions

Encinitas Transportation

  • Bus

    The Breeze is a big blue bus is part of the North County Transit District, that services the North County of San Diego. Though this is basically for the North County, it does connect with the MTS in the southern part of the county. I've never used this system.However, I do see the buses pass by so know that they go to useful places and they do have...

  • Train

    The Coaster is not as obscure as it seems from the photos. The Coaster is a commuter train servicing the Northern part of San Diego County. It has a stop in Encinitas and the route runs north from Oceanside to south as far as the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.Look closely at the photos background. The Coaster runs right through the middle of...

  • Car

    Encinitas is a city in California so I should tell you that having the use of a car is most efficient and most convenient. I did not notice any abnormal problems with parking and I did stop at a few places, and have over the years not had a problem with traffic. Even on weekend days when beach towns tend to swell with visitors.If you are of the new...


Encinitas Local Customs

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    by lmkluque Updated Sep 12, 2013

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    Since 1920 The Self-Realization Fellowship has been a world wide organization. It started with a young man from India, Paramahansa Yogananda who wanted to share his philosophy with those in the Western world who might be interested. He came to Encinitas.

    His followers in Encinitas wanted to make his dream of "having a place by the Ocean" come true so while Yogananda, who is locally known as Swami, was traveling his disciple Rajarsi Janakananda collected enough money to build a Temple.

    In 1936 Swami began to live in Encinitas and during his tenure here, he wrote his famous, "Autobiography of a Yogi," among other writings, spiritual and humanitarian works.

    The foundation has endured after his death in 1952 and now includes an ashram, retreat center, a Book & Gift Shop. Also the Meditation Gardens behind the compound, which are free and open to enter during the day.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Religious Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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Encinitas Warnings and Dangers

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    VG's, the world's greastest donuts in Cardiff

    by lotionlady Written Feb 22, 2003

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    Some are afraid of rip tides, others the fast and silent Coaster train. The Secret Service are afraid of the local saloon. However, the biggest danger is, if you stumble onto to the world's greatest doughnuts at VG's in Cardiff.

    Fresh and full of calories. All just waiting to go to your waist. Once you've had one, it's too late. You must have another...

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Encinitas Tourist Traps

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    People are drawn to the ocean

    by lotionlady Updated Feb 22, 2003

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    It's not your typical tourist trap, but everyone is drawn to it, the Pacific Ocean. Surfing, swimming, fishing, boating or just toasting the sunset with a margarita, eveyone is fascinated with the world's largest air conditioner.

    Unique Suggestions: You don't have to surf. You don't have to swim. However, you have to take your shoes off and walk along this magnificent shoreline. Sundown is the best time.

    Fun Alternatives: For ose more interested in terra firma, don't miss the Quail Botanical Gardens just off of Encinitas Blvd.

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Encinitas Off The Beaten Path

  • Just Chill

    The Self-Realization Fellowship Temple and Ashram centre may sound a little new age to many and it could be. On "K" Street is the hermitage and meditation gardens. Our friend (a resident in San Diego) took us there and we loved it. Peace and quiet with lovely floers and views over the pacific ocean.We took the family there and it's peace and...

  • Encinitas Meditation Gardens- A sight to...

    Here is a find for people with some peace and quiet in mind. The meditation garden in Encinitas are a part of the Self-realization temple and Hermatige founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1937. And while the gardens do provide an excellent place for meditating or studying the plants one does need to be religious or a plant-lover to enjoy it. Not...

  • Check out the Neighborhoods

    There is much to see from the old town hall meeting place in Olivenhain (circa 1885) to the La Paloma Theater (circa 1928), to the gardens at the Self Realization Fellowship (Swami's), to the "Boat House" (circa 1927)apartments near downtown.


Encinitas Favorites

  • lotionlady's Profile Photo
    First Street is Highway 101

    by lotionlady Written Feb 22, 2003

    Favorite thing: There is not one big attraction about Encinitas. There is no Disneyland here. However, most come here for the surfing. Besides the beach, there are still buildings here from the 1800's! Some will also come for the flowers. Encinitas has been known as the flower capital of the world. Many come to the Quail Botanical Gardens.

    Fondest memory: When I'm away, I wonder why I left. Just relaxing in the warm summer breeze is enough.

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