Encinitas Recreation and Parks
Encinitas is the perfect spot to enjoy all types of outdoor activities. Locals and visitors alike come to this coastal town to surf, swim, fish, bike, camp, hike, kayak, and simply just sunbathe on the beach. In fact, most of Encinitas' recreation happens at their gorgeous beaches. Even after the sun goes down, the coastline is a beautiful place to hang out and enjoy the fresh air. For the more adventurous, Encinitas Marine Life Refuge is a dream come true for scuba divers. This underwater park stretches from D Street to Swami's Beach and goes about 600 feet out to sea.
This is the northernmost beach in Encinitas with an entrance framed by palms, making it a picture perfect place to spend an afternoon. Unfortunately, at high tide, the beach is completely covered in ocean. Still, this hidden paradise is worth a visit for the views alone.
This beach is best known to locals because of how difficult it is to find. Only about ½ block wide, and found only by trekking down a 10-story bluff path, surfers come here to get away from crowds and enjoy the waves. Also popular at Beacon's is surf-fishing due to the kelp beds and offshore reefs that are home to a wide variety of fish.
Stonesteps has become somewhat of a forgotten spot in Encinitas. At one time it was a local favorite; now it is relatively empty compared to some of the more popular beaches in the area. While the summer makes for perfect waves, the winter can bring on treacherous conditions. Locals who frequent Stonesteps welcome anyone to join them in the water.
Just a few blocks west of downtown Encinitas sits one of San Diego 's most popular beaches. This spot is perfect for families since the sand is flat, the parking is plentiful, and the playground and snackbar are wonderful conveniences. Another perk of Moonlight is the dolphin spotting – so don't be afraid if you see a fin in the water!
D Street Beach
Also known as Boneyards, this beach is better for surfing rather than sunbathing. It is secluded, accessible by steps down from the bluffs. Locals consider this the most romantic spot in the area.
Swami's is probably the most famous surf spot in North County, considering its mention in The Beach Boys “Surfin USA.” It sits directly below Seacliff Roadside Park and was named after a Swami who founded the Self-Realization Fellowship Retreat, Gardens and Hermitage (a few hundred yards north). The beach's reputation for some of the best waves in San Diego draws surfers by the dozens.
There are plenty of parks to choose from in Encinitas, all with spectacular views and fabulous facilities. Perhaps most exciting is Cottonwood Creek Park on North Vulcan, featuring rock climbing, basketball, tennis courts, and a unique water feature. Leucadia Oaks Park just down the road from Cottonwood Creek also contains volleyball, picnic tables, and a skateboarding park. Kids' play equipment can be found at Orpheus Park, Scott Valley Park, Leo Mullen Sports Park, Hawk View Park, Encinitas Viewpoint Park, Oakcrest Park, Sun Vista Park, Glen Park, and Wiro Park.
Other points of interest:
The Paul Ecke Poinsettia Ranch
Encinitas bears the nickname “Flower Capital” for a reason: there are plenty of nurseries and gardens to be found. This ranch in particular grows 90% of Encinitas' Poinsettias. The Nursery Hoppers tour (through the Encinitas Visitor Center ) provides a wonderful view of all the Flower Capital has to offer.
Quail Botanical Gardens
With a huge assortment of exotic plants on display, Quail Botanical Gardens boasts the largest bamboo collection in the country. Be sure to visit during their annual Bamboo Sale or bring the kids to the children's garden. If you're planning a wedding or other special event, Quail is the perfect backdrop.
The Self-Realization Fellowship
Everyone needs a spot to relax. The Self-Realization Fellowship makes this easy. With unparalleled views of the ocean, beautiful gardens, and colorful fishponds, most come here to meditate or simply sit on a bench and enjoy the scenery. This spiritual retreat welcomes everyone. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9am to 5pm.
San Elijo Lagoon
As the largest coastal wetland in San Diego, this is the best place to get close to nature. With over 300 bird and plant species and covering 900 acres of diverse habitat, San Elijo Lagoon is a great place to spend an afternoon. Take advantage of their 5 miles of public hiking trails.