Encinitas Beaches

The more secluded beaches in Encinitas are less typical for tourists, but they’re well worth the trip. Enjoy swimming, surfing, scenery, and midnight strolls.
Encinitas Beaches
Overview
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The Neighborhood
Known For
Surfing
Swimming
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Visiting the Beaches in Encinitas

Encinitas is heavily associated with surfing culture, making it a sort of surfer’s paradise where the town has adopted a laid-back personality to match. You can find both beginner-friendly waves and beaches with tides that will challenge even the most experienced surfers to stay on their boards. The ocean floor tends to be rocky which can make surfing more dangerous here, so exercise caution and look for lifeguards no matter your level of experience.

The area is also known for swimming, with the Moonlight State Beach being the most popular swimming destination in the area.

The Encinitas beaches are wide and provide ample space for setting out beach chairs or walking along the shore. Be aware that all of the Encinitas beaches, with the exception of Moonlight State Beach are protected by large cliffs. The beaches can be accessed via large flights of stairs which can be challenging especially if you are planning to bring a lot of gear or a wagon.

It’s worth noting that Moonlight State Beach tends to draw larger crowds of sunbathers and swimmers than the other Encinitas beach likely due to its ease of access and lack of stairs.

You can also explore Encinitas’ historical district, which includes over a hundred years’ worth of culture downtown. Here, you’ll find a historic coastal highway and a traditionally-styled Main Street with plenty of buildings that have been preserved from the early days of the town.

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USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum
Explore the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum with your All-Inclusive Go Pass! Check out the hangar deck and flight deck, plus over 60 exhibits, displays and interactive experiences. Enjoy an authentic tour narrated by Midway sailors!
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What attractions are included with a Go Pass?

Attractions that you can visit with a Go San Diego Pass include:

The San Diego Zoo, Birch Aquarium, SeaWorld, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, Harbor Cruise, USS Midway Museum, the NAT Museum, Whaley House, PETCO Park Tour, iFLY San Diego and many, many more!

The Encinitas Neighborhood

Encinitas is about 25 miles to the north of Downtown San Diego and the San Diego International airport, which makes it around 30 minutes away by car. You can easily drive up to Encinitas during your vacation, or stay at a hotel near the Encinitas beaches and head down to Downtown San Diego to visit some fun attractions.

Some Encinitas hotels are just blocks away from a beach. This is true for the Best Western Encinitas Inn & Suites at Moonlight Beach, which also offers a family-friendly experience with breakfast included and free WiFi in the lobby and rooms. The same is true for the Inn at Moonlight Beach, a fantastic boutique hotel with a luxury bed-and-breakfast feel.

If you’re planning on getting some swimming or surfing in, don’t forget to rent a surfboard and any other gear you’ll need. If you’re a beginner, you can check out the surf schools in the area to find your footing for a perfect day in the sun!

Among the many coastal beaches in Encinitas, you’ll also find multiple large botanical gardens with breathtaking plants, koi ponds, and landscaping. If beautiful gardens are something you enjoy, consider the Japanese Friendship Garden. As part of the Go San Diego Pass, you can save big when you combine tickets to the garden with other popular area attractions like the world-famous San Diego Zoo, which is only about 30 minutes away by car.

Encinitas truly has a suburban atmosphere, making it feel like a small town right in San Diego!

Swimming and Surfing Popularity at the Encinitas Beaches

Beach Volleyball
Beach Volleyball
Paddle Boarding
Paddle Boarding
Running
Running
Sunbathing
Sunbathing
Surfing
Surfing
Swimming
Swimming
Tide Pooling
Tide Pooling

Swimming and surfing are common hobbies all throughout San Diego, and that holds true for the Encinitas beaches. Many of the beaches have stronger, larger waves, which makes them best suited to intermediate or expert-level surfers. If surfing isn’t your thing, you can head for calmer waters and enjoy a secluded swim.

Surfing

Beautiful Beach at Boneyards
Boneyards is a secluded beach known for its surfing scene. Many beginners frequent the waters in the summer when the waves are smaller and calmer, while more advanced surfers come for the larger winter waves. Boneyards beach is one of just two clothing optional beaches in San Diego.
Longboarders Walking to Boneyards at D Street Beach
Despite the legendary waves D Street Beach is known for, it is relatively less crowded than many other San Diego beaches. The waves here can be very challenging, and while there are lifeguards, it’s not recommended for beginners. D Street Beach also has a small cliffside park and outdoor showers.
Fun Day at Stone Steps Beach
Stone Steps Beach has some fairly unpredictable waves, which can be a mixed bag for the surfers that frequent it. Though there are some less exciting days, in perfect conditions the waves are a satisfying surf for even the most experienced of surfboarders. The beach has lifeguards for safety.
Surfers Riding Waves at Swamis
Swami’s beach features world-class surfing. The waves are fairly difficult and best suited for experienced surfers, though there are lifeguards to keep everything safe. Swami’s beach is named after the founder of the nearby Self-Realization Fellowship, which includes a large meditation garden with impressive local and exotic flora.

Swimming

Moonlight Beach and Waves
Moonlight State Beach got its name from its popularity as a spot for midnight picnics in the early 20th century. While plenty of couples still use it as a romantic getaway, making use of the fire pits once the sun goes down, it’s also a well-known swimming location.

Featured Activity

Kids next to gorilla statue at the San Diego Zoo
The World Famous San Diego Zoo
Spend the day at the iconic San Diego Zoo! Featuring over 3,500 animals and 650 species, this zoo is the heart of Balboa Park. There are multiple exhibits & experiences for all ages to learn about animals and their habitats.
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Encinitas Beaches
are Known For:
Surfing
Surfing
This Month's Forecast
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Sunny in September
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63℉ / 78℉
Sunny in October
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56℉ / 73℉
Sunny in November
Dec
51℉ / 68℉
Sunny in December

Stay Nearby

Econo Lodge Encinitas Moonlight Beach
Budget Hotel
2 Star Rating2 Star Rating
Econo Lodge Encinitas Moonlight Beach
from $89 / night
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Inn at Moonlight Beach
Boutique Hotel
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Inn at Moonlight Beach
from $297 / night
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Days Inn by Wyndham Encinitas Moonlight Beach
Family Friendly
2 Star Rating2 Star Rating
Days Inn by Wyndham Encinitas Moonlight Beach
from $65 / night
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Best Western Encinitas Inn & Suites
Family Friendly
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Best Western Encinitas Inn & Suites
from $131 / night
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