Encinitas California is a quaint surfside town just north of San Diego. As one of the top 20 surf towns in the world, Encinitas offers visitors a quirky and dynamic blend of beach vibe and upscale California culture. It remains a must-visit destination with excellent beaches, food and California surf culture. Here are 3 unique things to do in Encinitas California.
Encinitas is one of several beach communities and towns that dot the San Diego County coastline. Each town has its own vibe and culture. A helpful analagy to describe Encinitas is to compare it to automobiles. If La Jolla, CA, its Southern neighbor was a Bentley and Carlsbad, its friendly northern neighbor, was a BMW 7 series, Encinitas would be a well-kept, older model Land Rover; still luxury but with a little panache (plus the owner has a VW bus in the garage).
Located just south of Carlsbad, Encinitas is only mere minutes from the Carlsbad Airport. From San Diego, the drive is also relatively short.
The surf town has a hippy vibe with just enough upscale lifestyle to remind you are in a California beach community. Its historic district dates back over 100 years and features cool surf shops, excellent grub, and fascinating museums and art galleries.
Unique Things to do in Encinitas California
A visit to Enicinitas can take many shapes. From the weekend getaway to a leisurely weeklong chill-out or even a fun beach day with the family or date night with your special someone there is plenty to do and see in Encinitas, CA. Here are 3 unique things to do in Encinitas.
Surf’s up at Swami’s Beach
Made famous by the Beach Boy’s Surfin’ USA song, Swami’s Beach is a bucket-list kind of beach for surfers given the amazing surf break it offers. TripAdvisor ranks a visit to Swami’s as one of the Top 3 things to do on a visit to Encinitas – and that’s no surprise!
Swami’s lies below some picturesque bluffs not far from the self-realization center, but access isn’t too complicated, although parking can be scant if you don’t get there early.
Pannikin Coffee & Tea
An old train station from 1888 (yes, you read that right) houses what is now the premier Coffee and Tea destination in San Diego County – perhaps Southern California. Pannikin Coffee & Tea is a great place to grab some delicious tea (80+ varieties!), superb coffee and a place to enjoy the beach vibe and great weather.
The place gets busy so plan ahead, but a stop here is 100 hundred percent worth it!
Peruse the 100-year old Encinitas Shopping District
It’s easy to see why this town has existed for so long: it’s a lovely part of the world. The 100-year old Encinitas Shopping District houses a myriad of quaint shops, fun eateries, art galleries, museums and more. With great SOCAL weather, it’s an easy place to wander around for some window shopping!
Additional Things to do in Encinitas CA
Haven’t found what you are looking for yet? Here are some more great ideas for an Encinitas visit.
- Haggos Tacos – OMG. So good. So very, very good. Hit these folks up for a fresh twist on a California mainstay: the taco.
- Check out the “Boat Houses” – a quick visit to be sure, the Encinitas Boat Houses are literally houses that look like boats. They are quirky but fun to check out as you explore Encinitas (just be respectful of the owners and stay off the property).
- Vintage Car Nights – from May to September, Encinitas hosts vintage car nights every Thursday. Come see some classic rides, many of which are reflective of the surf-rock roots this relaxed town is known for.
- San Diego Botannical Garden – located in Encinitas, this garden is home to the largest collection of Bamboo not to mention an amazing array of other botannicals. TripAdvisor ranks this attraction was one of the top 5 things to do in Encinitas!
- Moonlight State Beach – an easier beach to access, Moonlight State Beach is a large beach with great waves, sand and sun. It’s an easy place to get in and out of – most of the time – and is a perfect place to spend a day at the beach.
See more ideas for your Encinitas trip on TripAdvisor here!
Haggos Tacos. The. Best. pic.twitter.com/u0lSErsqWp— CBoardingGroup: Travel | Remote Work | Gear (@CBoardinggroup) July 3, 2021
Final thoughts on visiting Encinitas
San Diego County offers a lot to guests and locals but don’t miss Encinitas. Sure, the town has grown up a bit from its original chilled-out surf rock vibe but the bones of that bygone era are still there. There’s plenty to see, do and enjoy on an Encinitas vacation – even if it’s just for a weekend trip. And the surf’s still fantastic. So, strap your board to the top of your 66 VW Bug and stop in. You won’t be disappointed.
Be sure to check out all the great destinations in our “Unique Things to Do” Series and take a step out of the ordinary on your next trip.
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It’s articles like these that are ruining my great town. Imagine if you lived in a small town and people that have probably never even been there wrote some article pushing more and more people to visit, driving up prices, making traffic a nightmare on the scale of LA rush hour and bringing people that don’t respect or understand the culture of the area. Places like Encintas are great because they’re hidden gems. Stop taking that away from the people that grew up here and everywhere else like it.