Encinitas CA - An Eclectic Seaside Town in San Diego's North County

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California, Inc. CA DRE #01490977

 The gateway to Encinitas CAEncinitas is a North San Diego County coastal town about 25 miles north of San Diego, sandwiched between Carlsbad to the north, Cardiff and then Solana Beach to the south, the ocean (west, of course), and Rancho Santa Fe to the east.


Incorporated in 1986, Encinitas has an international reputation as a flower capital (especially poinsettias), and a cruise around town will show you why this is so.


While many nurseries have disappeared, or are in the process of disappearing in order to make way for housing, you will still find a good number of them scattered about. Rightly so, Encinitas is also the home of the San Diego Botanic Garden, a feast for the eyes if you are a plant lover.


The San Diego Botanic Garden hosts a number of events throughout the year - a chocolate festival, a special walk for dogs and their owners, an art festival, the festival of lights during the holidays and more. It's a special place and we are so fortunate to have it.


 Homes on the golf course in Encinitas Ranch in Encinitas CAEncinitas (92024) consists of several areas from which it was originally incorporated:


Encinitas (which includes the downtown area) and is  sometimes referred to as Old Encinitas.


Leucadia (the older, funky, surfing part of town to the north just south of Carlsbad)


Olivenhain (to the east bordering on Ranch Santa Fe) well known for its "dark skies,' large homes with big lots, and equestrian properties.


Encinitas Ranch (a newer and  fairly large planned community) , occasionally called New Encinitas, and Cardiff or more formally Cardiff-by-the-Sea (to the south bordering Solana Beach, with a separate zip code, 92007, but without a separate town government).


Each Encinitas neighborhood has a different feel, and housing can vary quite a bit both in style and price depending on what area you are in. The town of Encinitas covers about 20 square miles and as of the 2000 census had a population of 58,000. As of the 2019 census this population had grown to almost 63,000!


Encinitas' location allows for ready access to the Interstate 5 freeway for easy commuting north and south. The Coaster (commuter train) also stops in Encinitas (the Amtrak train does not but you can catch it in Carlsbad, to the north, or in Solana Beach to the south) also providing easy access north and south to San Diego.


 The bluffs above Moonlight Beach in Encinitas CAEncinitas has a thriving downtown area, primarily south of Encinitas Boulevard along the Coastal Highway (Route 101) near the beaches and bordering Cardiff.


The down town area includes abundant office space, along with numerous shops, clothing boutiques, dozens of restaurants, art galleries, and a wide range of services catering to residents, surfers, vacationers and others - just about everything you can imagine or need except the "big box stores".


Another major shopping area is several miles to the east along El Camino Real, for a couple of miles north of Encinitas Boulevard, with hundreds of retailers (with larger stores like Home Depot, Target, Office Depot, TJMaxx, HomeGoods, Best Buy, Ross Dress for Less, among others), and other several distinct shopping centers (e.g., Encinitas Town Center ).


There is a nice array of restaurants in Encinitas, ranging from the most casual to fairly upscale. The downtown area along the Coast Highway has approximately 50 eating places, offering a broad range of American, California, and ethnic styles (Indian, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Jamaican, Italian, French). You will certainly find the place to suit your budget and dining preferences.


A favorite local hangout and one also popular with visitors is Le Papagayo in Leucadia, offering indoor and outdoor dining and live music in the evenings.


And the amenities of Carlsbad, including high-end dining at the Park Hyatt Aviara and the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa, are a short distance away to the north.


Or head south a mile or so to Cardiff and take in one of the many shore-front eateries on the coastal route such as the Chart House and the Pacific Coast Grill.


Encinitas Schools have an excellent reputation, a reason many residents have decided to reside here (and in parts of South Carlsbad also served by these schools). Two school districts service the residents, along with some students from neighboring communities in the upper grades: San Dieguito Union High School District and Encinitas Union School District.


 View south at Swamis Beach in Encinitas CA

Encinitas beaches are well-known by surfers and non-surfers alike. No matter what your favored beach activity, you will likely find a place here to suit your fancy.


Swamis, at the far southern end, is probably the best known surfing beach in the area. It is located below the bluff where the Self-Realization Fellowship Temple  was built back in 1937 - locals began calling the beach Swamis (it was originally named Noonans Beach) and the name stuck [this beach was immortalized by the Beach Boys' famous hit, "Surfin' USA" ].


Heading north you will come to Boneyard Beach, D Street Beach, and then Moonlight Beach, perhaps the most family/activity friendly - it is popular with residents and visitors, there are barbecue pits, picnic tables, beach volleyball areas, showers/changing rooms, a snack bar and plenty of parking, a playground, plus handicapped access to the beach itself. Moonlight Beach has been upgraded in recent years and is usually pretty crowded. There are great views from the parking lot on the hill!


Other beaches as you head north along famous Neptune Avenue include Stone Steps, Beacon's and Grandview (in Leucadia, and my favorite!!) below the bluffs; all are particularly popular with surfers and beach-goers alike but beware - because of the bluff they require a steep set of stairs for access - easy going down but quite a trek heading back up.


 Seabirds on Moonlight Beach in Encinitas CAHousing in Encinitas is fairly diverse - in style (cottage, contemporary, Tuscan, Spanish, Italian/Mediterranean, traditional, craftsman and so on), age, size and price, but with the coastal location prices are higher than further inland.


There are wonderful updated beach cottages (and those that need to be remodeled) and a couple of boat houses that are now preserved, bluff-top homes along Neptune Avenue (the most expensive area on average) with fabulous ocean views, expansive tract homes in Encinitas Ranch, funky houses in Leucadia mixed in with some of the newer subdivisions in Encinitas, larger homes on huge lots with room for horses in Olivenhain, and numerous condos and town-homes, great for primary and second homes or vacation rentals.


New Encinitas home


There are a good number of rental properties in the area for vacationers, as well as several mobile home parks and multiple apartment buildings. There are also several 55+ communities.


 Moonlight Beach in Encinitas CA


Entrance to the Self Realization Fellowship in Encinitas CAThere are a number of subdivisions in Encinitas, both gated and ungated, and some have been built in just the last couple of years or still under construction.


Village Park is a large neighborhood west of Encinitas Ranch offering a mix of housing (attached and detached homes,  condos and apartments) and tending to be the least expensive area on average.


Nearby, and east of El Camino Real, you will find a 55+ community, High Country Villas, and a neighborhood of attached single family homes, Summerhill, among others.


Encinitas Ranch is a large community of newer tract homes, many with views of the distant ocean and/or the Encinitas Ranch Golf Course.


Encinitas Community Park


Some other Encinitas complexes include Pacifica, Nantucket, Sea Bluff (attached townhomes in Leucadia, some with direct ocean frontage and great views), West Hampton Cove, Cambria, Rancho Encinitas, Palomare Heights, Sage Canyon, Sheridan Estates, Nautilus Cove, and Sandalwood.


Several new housing communities were built in Encinitas in the mid 2000's -  Mainhouse, Fiore, Seaside Ridge and The Beach House Cabanas, among others.




You can also SEARCH FOR ENCINITAS HOMES FOR SALE to learn more about the housing market and search for YOUR dream home.


An appealing coastal town in North San Diego County, Encinitas may be just the place for you, with a range of homes for sale, excellent schools, beautiful beaches, a booming downtown, abundant recreation opportunities, and terrific climate year-round.


If I can provide more information about this wonderful community or the housing market in general, or help you in any way, please don't hesitate to get in touch.


CALL or TEXT me at (760) 840-1360 or email me at and we can arrange a time to sit down and discuss your housing needs, lifestyle, and budget, then plan a strategy for buying and or selling your Encinitas home.







Posted by

Jeff Dowler, CRS
Certified Residential Specialist / Realtor®

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Enjoy the beach life in Carlsbad, Oceanside, Encinitas,
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

I'd love to hear from any residents, or visitors to Encintas, who have thoughts on this seaside town.


May 23, 2007 05:00 PM
Marlene Bridges
Village Real Estate Services, Inc. - Laguna Hills, CA
Laguna Homes|Laguna Condos|Laguna Real Estate
Jeff, You have certainly demonstrated your knowledge of the are and market.  Great always!
May 23, 2007 05:39 PM
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
Okay...far from there but sure know a lot more now!  And you added in music. Cool!
May 23, 2007 05:43 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Marlene -  thanks for dropping by. It's a cool town. Glad you enjoyed it.

Sally - thank you for your kind words. I'm glad it was helpful - hope it will be for folks moving to the area.


May 23, 2007 06:00 PM
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans

Jeff D. .....  I agree with Marlene... and I love the background. I tried doing a specific word in color and I couldn't get it to work....  I am trying to learn this stuff. Nice job.

                                                                                                             jeff belonger

May 23, 2007 11:24 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks, Jeff. I appreciate the compliment. If you have questions, let me know, I can guide you through adding the border and background.


May 24, 2007 12:59 AM
Jeff Belonger
Social Media - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc - Cherry Hill, NJ
The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans
will do... thanks
May 24, 2007 05:56 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Jeff,

Wow - this blog is 15 years old but has a lot of good info packed in it.

May 09, 2022 06:28 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Thanks Sheri Sperry - MCNE® 

I've updated the post a few times and it's now had almost 28,000 views!


May 10, 2022 07:33 AM