Brushing along six miles of the Pacific coastline, Encinitas has made a name for itself as a luxury living destination and one of the most desirable beach towns in the world. Incorporated in 1986, the town fused the communities of Old Encinitas, New Encinitas, Olivenhain, Leucadia, and Cardiff-by-the-Sea, to create one super community rich in quality businesses, schools, and real estate. From its goldmine of surf spots and unique gardens to its seasonal street fairs and omnipresence of wellbeing, Encinitas can’t help but justify its “sunshine tax” as one well worth the expense.
History of Encinitas
First inhabited by the San Dieguitos Indians, the La Jollas, and the Dieguenos, Encinitas coined its name from the rich flora and vegetation that flourished on the land (and still does today). In 1669, the then-Governor of Baja California, Gaspar de Portola, set out for a coastal expedition from San Diego to Monterrey in hopes to erect presidios, where residents could participate in religious service. During his travels, de Portola discovered the land he named Encina Canada or, translated from Spanish as, “Hills of live oaks.”
However, it was Jabez Pitcher who would come to be known as the father Encinitas shortly after the land’s rule by Mexico in 1880. In 1881, Pitcher filed a claim for 160 acres on a mesa neighboring the railroad tracks where the Encinitas Civic Center stands today.
Surfing and Recreation in Encinitas
Named one of twenty best surf towns in the world by National Geographic, Encinitas is known for its handful of internationally known surf gems. Amongst the swells of Grandview and Moonlight, Swami’s Beach has been considered a famous surfing mecca of southern Encinitas and is best identified by the Beach Boys classic, “Surfin’ USA.”
While the unbeatable surfing conditions are enough to covet in itself, the parks on beaches like Swami’s offer a prime vantage point of the ocean as well as shaded picnic and grassy areas for the whole family to enjoy. Sports and outdoor enthusiasts should take note of Moonlight Beach, a recreational haven for volleyball, tennis, barbeques, and even fire rings to house the perfect sunset bonfire.
Restaurants in Encinitas
Amongst a variety of menus offering fresh seafood and beach fare, coffee aficionados will appreciate popular café hangouts like Pannikin Coffee & Tea or Lofty Coffee, which offers pour-overs, aero-pressed java, and cappuccinos that invite you to stay and savor inland.
For a more filling dining experience, Pacific Coast Grill brings the beach to you its sand swept décor and two-story views of the ocean from every table. A few favorites on this menu feature the bestselling lobster tacos, oyster bar, and premium beef burgers.
Events in Encinitas
Between the many regular events drawing crowds to Encinitas yearly, Switchfoot Bro-Am is of one of the largest beachfront festivals held in July at Moonlight Beach. All are welcome to participate in this free surf competition and outdoor music festival feeding local charities with its proceeds.
Other memorable events are the Spring Street Fair and Fall Festival taking place in April and November. Watch the streets come alive with carnival rides, live entertainment, and over 450 exclusive vendors offering food, arts & crafts and much more. To seal the deal, this event even houses its own Beer Garden.
Other Things to Do in Encinitas
Apart from its renowned surf culture, Encinitas is secondarily known as the “Flower Capital of the World” due to the number of gardens and nurseries flourishing in the area, the most notable being the San Diego Botanic Garden. While nature enthusiasts stop to smell the flowers, movie-goers can experience the historic La Paloma Theater or relish in the picturesque views from their car driving down the coastline on Historic Highway 101. Shoppers need not be excluded, for the downtown Encinitas shopping district is bountiful with boutique shops, sidewalk cafes, and unique buildings that have stood strong for more than 100 years.
Population 2017 (via census.gov): 63,131
Estimated Median House Sales Price in April 2018 (via SDAR): $1,255,000
Estimated Median Condo/Townhouse Sales Price in April 2018 (via SDAR): $750,000
Median Gross Rent 2012-2016 (via census.gov): $1,791
Median Household Income in 2012-2016 (via census.gov): $100,698
Encinitas Real Estate
Despite the town’s melded population of over 60,000 people, each community has proudly retained their own distinct flavor, offering a colorful spectrum of character within one gem of a city. It is arguable amongst some that the unchanged charm of Old Encinitas, New Encinitas, Olivenhain, Leucadia, and Cardiff-by-the-Sea is what makes Encinitas so exclusive. “Finding the perfect home” is a phrase that floats through the air of this pristine beach town amongst its dear $750K+ housing market. While some families and couples consider moving north to be an unfeasible feat, they might choose to consider the high-ranking schools, vibrant business district, and lifestyle diminishing the importance of any “sunshine tax.”