Top “Things To Do” in Encinitas
Driving along Coast Highway 101 is breathtaking.
When you decide to stop and get out of your car, make sure you do it in Encinitas, Ca. This quintessential, low-key beachside town is the perfect place for family activities, surfing, sidewalk cafe dining, craft beer, and so much more.
Day Time Activities:
Explore One Of Six Picturesque Beaches
Moonlight beach is a spot where locals enjoy playing volleyball, surfing, boogie boarding, swimming, enjoying bonfire pits, BBQing, and laying out under the California sun. Moonlight beach is accompanied by five other amazing Encinitas beaches that feature everything from tide pools to surf spots.
Find your way to one of the six beaches of Encinitas by clicking on your desired destination.
Best Surf Spots
Although most of Southern California’s oceanfront communities can be classified as “surfy”, Encinitas seems to embody this spirit better than most. Encinitas is classified as a surf town that stands out from the rest with some of the most sought after surf spots including Swami’s and D Street.
If you’re feeling ambitious, scout out the miles of beaches, reefs, jetties and river mouths along the Encinitas coast line.
Craving some adventure?
The Encinitas Ranch Hiking Trail lines the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course, making the green visible from multiple points along the beautiful 9.5 miles of trails. The trail is open to hikers, equestrians and bicyclists, as well as dogs on leashes. Encinitas offers an array of nature trails.
Self Realization & Meditation Gardens
The Hermitage Self-Realization Fellowship & Meditation Gardens were established in 1937, originally the home of a temple surrounded by the beautiful gardens. The temple was torn down in 1942 as it was built too close to the edge of the cliff. Today the beautiful gardens remain, lining the edges of koi ponds.
Visit Quail Gardens
The Quail Botanic Gardens offers an amazing display of all kinds of plant life. The gardens are organized by different paths, making it fun for families of all ages. The gardens are not only well organized, but offer many different activities and learning opportunities.
Enjoy A Day In The Encinitas Community Park
The 44 acre Encinitas Community Park features playgrounds, ball fields, walking paths, skate plaza, grass fields, dog park, restrooms and more. This is the perfect place for picnics in the park, where beer and wine are allowed.
Enjoy All That The YMCA Has To Offer
The YMCA is a community focused nonprofit established in 1844 with recreational programs and services for all ages. The YMCA includes skate parks, ballfields, indoor soccer arenas, lap pools, full size gym, basketball courts, and more! Summer camps are also offered and cover a wide range of activities.
Go To The Farmers Market
The Leucadia Farmers Market happens every Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Locals come from all over to enjoy the large selection of produce including certified organic, specialty foods, and food court. The market also provides live music and a kids playground to top off the experience.
Take In The Lux Art Museum
The Lux Art Institute is much more than just a museum where you view spectacular art; guests are presented with the opportunity to see the artistic process firsthand. Artists work within the museum allowing guests to watch their pieces unfold. The museum has something to offer individuals of all ages!
Dig Into a Little History:
Get Lost In The Encinitas Library
Craving a good book and an even better view? The Encinitas Library has something to offer everyone. This library is the perfect place to lounge with your feet up and read while enjoying the patio that overlooks the ocean. It’s no wonder this place is known as one of the best libraries in San Diego!
Visit The Boat Houses
If you plan on spending your day walking or biking the 101, the 1883 boat houses are a must see. The boats were built in the late 1920’s using timber salvaged from the local bathhouse and hotel that failed to survive Prohibition’s dry years. In fact, these boats have never been out to sea!
The Encinitas Historical Society purchased the houses in 2008 and currently rent both out to private renters. The plan is to use the rent income to pay off the loan on the houses and turn them into small museums for everyone to enjoy!
Find the boat houses at: 746 Third Street, Encinitas, CA
Visit The San Dieguito Heritage Museum
The San Dieguito Heritage Museum was founded in 1988 to preserve the local history of the area. The historic artifacts, records, and stories of the San Dieguito River Area are on display allowing visitors to relive the rich heritage. Explore the Native American grass hut, grinding stone exhibit, sand painting activities and listen to Native American Stories.
Find the San Dieguito Heritage Museum at: 450 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, CA
The Encinitas Historical Society
The Encinitas Historical Society, a hidden gem of Encinitas that locals cherish. It’s a place where you’ll discover photographs, exhibits, research papers, oral histories and individuals eager to share their passion for this unique city and history.
Find the Encinitas Historical Society at: 390 West F Street, Encinitas, CA
Enjoy A Movie At La Paloma Theater
The La Paloma Theater is a historic Spanish Colonial Revival style theater constructed in 1927. This place is all about the atmosphere- the craftsmanship on the walls and ceilings are sheer artwork. This place encompasses history while still playing a variety of modern day films.
Delicious Food & Drinks:
Enjoy The Morning At Pannikin House
The Pannikin Coffee & Tea House is located in a converted railroad station, the charming cafe offers a variety of different beverages. The coffee house is nestled on the 101 and is a popular spot for locals to grab a morning coffee and a bite to eat. The line is usually out the door due to its popularity but its worth the wait!
Grab A Coffee At Better Buzz
Better Buzz is a local chain that serves organic & fair-trade coffee drinks, tea, hot chocolate, juice bar, eats, acai bowls, and more! It is a popular morning and afternoon hang out spot for locals due to its modern decor. The coffee shops slogan is, “Life is better buzzed”.
Enjoy A Beverage At Solterra Winery
Solterra Winery is where the wine meets the coast as this adorable winery is placed in the middle of the 101. The winery’s barrel-lined decor provides a cozy and comfortable setting for the afternoon as well as a date night, girls night out, or other occasion. The winery also offers Mediterranean small plates to pair with a house label wine on tap.
For Endless Wine Selection Visit 3rd Corner
The 3rd Corner wine bar is a wine lovers dream, as it offers bottles of wine for purchase from the on-site shop and pairs it with amazing small plates. On Sundays, they offer a brunch deal, $20.00 for bottomless mimosas and a meal. This place does it all breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Get A Bite To Eat At Union Bar & Kitchen
During the week and early on the weekends Union Bar & Kitchen is a gold mine. Awesome happy hour, awesome view of the 101, awesome staff, awesome place to bring a date, and just hang out with friends. It offers great drinks and New American Cuisine in an inviting, warm, and comfortable restaurant setting.
Want to know more about Union Tap & Kitchen? Full blog post here!
Get A Taste Of Old Encinitas At Lumberyard Tavern
Lumberyard Tavern is a neighborhood saloon, a perfect spot for visitors to get a sense of old Encinitas when lumberyards were as common as surf shops are today. It is spacious, fun, and lively, with a number of large TVs for sports fans and comfortable booths for families and groups of friends.
Craving Fresh Produce Visit Whole Foods
Whole Foods Market is an American supermarket chain exclusively featuring foods without artificial preservatives, colors, flavors, sweeteners, and hydrogenated fats. If you love fresh produce, this is the place for you!
Beachside Night Life:
Beachside Bar & Grill
Beachside Bar & Grill is a local favorite for watching sporting events of all kinds.
The back patio offers plenty of space to hang out outside and enjoy the California sun during the day and stars at night. This bar & grill also offers amazing food items including, burgers, sandwiches, salads, and more!
D Street Bar & Grill
D Street Bar is not only known for great food, but also great music and drinks.
On the weekends D Street Bar turns into a popular bar for individuals of all ages. The bar has great table space for standing and chatting with friends or tearing it up on the dance floor while the DJ plays your favorite hits.
1st Street Bar
1st Street Bar is a local favorite Dive Bar in Encinitas.
During the week they offer pool, ping pong, shuffleboard, and more. The weekends include: cheap pitchers, a young crowd, and a dance floor with a DJ spinning classic hip hop from the early 2000’s. If you are looking to have a fun night & meet local people (21-35 years of age), this is the bar for you!
Saloon Bar is one of the oldest bars along the 101 and is best described as a hole in the wall. The individuals at Saloon tend to be on the younger and drunker side after 10:00 p.m., but is a fun place to dance with a good group of friends. If you’re okay with crowded and want to meet a different mix of people (21-30 years of age), this is the bar for you!
One of the best parts about Encinitas is not having to go to the bars to get a nightlife experience. Locals enjoy hanging out at beach bonfire pits year-round with friends and family. The built in bonfire pits at Moonlight Beach even offer tables, all you have to bring is the wood!
Encinitas sunsets are epic and unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. When in Encinitas make sure you take the time to drive, bike, walk or run down the coast and find a spot to enjoy the beautiful coastal sunsets of Encinitas.
If this photo isn’t enough to convince you, check out this beautiful time-lapsed sunset:
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