Moonlight State Beach

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Located at the end of C St in Encinitas. There is a good size parking lot and no stairs to get to the beach.
Don't miss gorgeous Moonlight Beach State Beach. This beach playground has everything and more for an idyllic day in the sand.
Why you'll love this beach
Why you'll love this beach
Spend the Day with Family at One of Encinitas Best Beaches - Moonlight State Beach
Moonlight State Beach
Overview
Explore & Save
Things to Do
Popular Activities
Get There & Parking
Featured Activity
Know Before You Go
Stay Nearby
Similar Beaches

Highlights

Things to Do
Tips
How to get there
Parking
Things to Do
Tips
How to get there
Parking

Overview

Beachgoers and Lifeguard Tower at Moonlight BeachBeachgoers Enjoying the Water at Moonlight Beach

Looking for a beautiful, family-friendly San Diego beach that has plenty of fun activities for people of all ages? Moonlight Beach State Beach, part of the Encinitas beaches, is the perfect place to take off your shoes and step into the warm, golden sand.

This beach is one of the best in Southern California. The water and sand are some of the cleanest in the state and there are lots of things to do in and out of the water. Here are some details about this pristine, gorgeous sandy beach playground.

Moonlight State Beach is part of the California State Parks system. This beach is the top beach in the Encinitas neighborhood. The beach got its name from the fact that it was the spot for people to have midnight picnics back in the early 20th century.

It's one of the top-rated beaches in the San Diego area. Throughout the year, the beach is home to gorgeous surf and beautiful sunshine. In the summer, the beach comes alive with visitors swimming, playing, surfing and running along the waves.

This beach offers swimming, with lifeguards on duty during the high season. It also has designated spots for surfing, outside of the swimming zones.

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Things to Do

Beach Volleyball
Beach Volleyball
Running
Running
Sunbathing
Sunbathing
Surfing
Surfing

Why Beachgoers Flock Here

Many Things to Do

The reason why this beach is such a popular destination is because of its ideal geography and multitude of activities for beachgoers. Spending the day at Moonlight State Beach guarantees fun or relaxation.

Wide Beach

The beach is a wide, sandy beach with plenty of space for frolicking along the water's edge or laying out under an umbrella. It offers a lot of space for the large number of visitors who come here each day at the height of the summer season.

Good Swimming & Surfing

Swimming and surfing at this beach are ideal because of the gradual, gentle slope of the beach as it meets the water and waves. This makes it a great spot for children and families because of the calmer water and wide beach.

Another big draw of this beach is the availability of other activities. There are three volleyball nets set up in the sand for games throughout the year. Additionally, children can enjoy the playground right on the sand.

Local Tips
Arrive Early
If it is a hot summer day or just a summer weekend make sure to arrive early to get parking and a less crowded beach.

Have Lunch at Moonlight State Beach

In the summer, the city opens a snack bar for beachgoers to get drinks and food options. Picnic tables are located throughout the area for a convenient spot to have lunch right in front of the waves. Beach chairs and umbrella rentals are also available during the busy summer months for visitors.

Facilities Available

Restrooms are available for even more convenience. Tennis courts are located nearby for some additional fun. There are also a few fire pits for roasting hot dogs or making s'mores.

Stay Nearby

The Best Western Encinitas Inn & Suites at Moonlight Beach is the best hotel to stay at while visiting Moonlight State Beach. This spacious hotel is located only one-half mile from Moonlight State Beach and it includes free breakfast and free wifi.

How to Get There & Parking

Lot Parking
Lot Parking
Street Parking
Street Parking

Getting to Moonlight State Beach

Moonlight State Beach is located on B Street in Encinitas. To find the beach, visitors can get on I-5 and then take Encinitas Boulevard west until it ends and turns into B Street. From there, they should look for signs for parking and the beach.

Parking at Moonlight State Beach

Free parking lots are available right next to the beach, but they may fill up during the summer months. Drivers will need to look around the side streets to find additional free spots if the main lot is full. There are also some paid parking lots within walking distance guests can look to if the free spots are full.

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Know Before You Go & Tips

Firepits
Firepits
Lifeguards
Lifeguards
No Alcohol
No Alcohol
No Camping
No Camping
No Glass Containers
No Glass Containers
No Motorized Vehicles
No Motorized Vehicles
No Smoking
No Smoking
Picnic Tables
Picnic Tables
Playground
Playground
Public Transportation
Public Transportation
Restrooms
Restrooms
Shade
Shade
Trash Cans Available
Trash Cans Available

Things to Know About Moonlight State Beach

Here are some things to know about Moonlight State Beach before you go:

Best Time to Visit

One of the best times to visit the beach is during the offseason because it's so popular during the summer. There is plenty of parking, few crowds and lots of California sunshine and fun available during the spring, winter and fall months.

Sunsets

Check out the amazing views of the sun setting from the cliffs above the beach for a truly unforgettable experience. Get here an hour or so before the official sunset time for the show.

Mica Deposits

This beach also may appear to sparkle at times because of the mica deposits that wash into the water from the mountains nearby. If you see a little glitter in the water, it's not your imagination!

Picnic & Bonfire at Moonlight Beach

For a memorable birthday party, claim a picnic table and a bonfire pit for a great celebration. Be sure to get here early because there is no official reservation system.

Beach Lovers Paradise

Moonlight State Beach is a beachgoer's paradise in the Encinitas area. Discover this part of San Diego during your next trip to Southern California.

Moonlight State Beach
is Known For:
Swimming
Swimming
Know This:
Fire Pits
Fire Pits
Lifeguards
Lifeguards
Restrooms Available
Restrooms Available
Trash Cans Available
Trash Cans Available
This Month's Forecast
51°F / 68°F
Sunny in December
Jan
51°F / 67°F
Sunny in January
Feb
53°F / 68°F
Sunny in February
Mar
56°F / 69°F
Sunny in March

Stay Nearby

Hampton by Hilton Encinitas - Cardiff
Family Friendly
3 Star Rating3 Star Rating3 Star Rating
Hampton by Hilton Encinitas - Cardiff
from $158 / night
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Econo Lodge Encinitas Moonlight Beach
Budget Hotel
2 Star Rating2 Star Rating
Econo Lodge Encinitas Moonlight Beach
from $89 / 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
View Hotel
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