Stone Steps Beach

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Located in an oceanside neighborhood in Encinitas on South El Portal St & Neptune Ave. There is a long set of stairs down to the beach but worth the journey.
Stone Steps Beach is just a quarter-mile from Moonlight State Beach but offers a remote feel. Surfers love Stone Steps, although the waves are unpredictable at times.
Why you'll love this beach
Why you'll love this beach
Take the Stairs, Explore the Beach and Surf the Waves at Stone Steps Beach
Stone Steps Beach
Overview
Save on Gear
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

Looking South at Stone Steps BeachBottom of Stairs at Stone Steps Beach

Want to avoid the crowds? Head to Stone Steps Beach in Encinitas for surfing, walking and beachcombing. Stone Steps is between Beacon's Beach and Moonlight State Beach, and you can walk for miles roundtrip when you combine all three beaches.

Stone Steps Beach sometimes gets crowded on weekends, so come during the week for guaranteed seclusion. Check the tides online first (the high tides are sneaky and overwhelm the beach).

Locals call the beach Stone Steps Beach even though Encinitas spells it, "Stonesteps Beach," on the beach access sign. Either spelling is fine.

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Local Tips
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There’s a variety of activities included with the Go San Diego Pass such as: The San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, Hiking Tours, Whale Watching, Snorkel Rentals, Museum Tours, Speed Boat Adventures and more!

For the most popular attractions and water-sport rentals as well as the biggest discounts, consider the All-Inclusive Pass.

Things to Do

Beach Volleyball
Beach Volleyball
Paddle Boarding
Paddle Boarding
Running
Running
Sunbathing
Sunbathing

Why People Love Stone Steps Beach

Surfing at Stone Steps

Surfers should commit to Stone Steps Beach surfing for a month. Yep, every day for an entire month. You'll experience plenty of "boring" times but more than enough exhilaration to make up for it.

Surfers have a love-hate relationship with Stone Steps Beach because the surf here is extremely unpredictable. Surfers who live in the San Diego area and who are therefore able to visit Stone Steps often love it. Those from out of town fall more on the "hate" side unless they luck out with the timing of their visit.

  • About 80% of the time, the waves are choppy, mushy or closeout.
  • Mushy waves are great for beginners since they break gently and roll slowly.
  • About 20% of the time, the waves get awesome.
  • Summer is the best time to catch these awesome waves.
  • Check the surf reports before you visit.
  • Much of the time, only a few locals are out surfing, so the water probably won't be crowded for you.
  • Try to visit with a buddy so you have help if necessary.

Local Tips
Going for a Walk?
If you are going to be walking along the beach make sure to check the tides as a high tide can make some if not most of the beach disapear, making it hard to get back to the stairs.

So, 20% of the time, surfers can shred the waves here in flamboyant style. Expect hollow lefts and peeling rights, with the left slightly south of the beach access stairs. Look for the right about 50 yards north of these stairs.

Not a Surfer?

No problem. Stone Steps is still worth checking out for walking. You can keep your walk short or go longer, starting at Moonlight State Beach and ending at Beacon's Beach (or vice versa). Just remember that the tides can sneak up on you at Stone Steps.

One more thing: Some folks love Stone Steps Beach for its stairs (many more people hate the stairs!). They're steep and necessary for beach access. Fitness buffs even use them to work out.

Need a Place to Stay for a Month?

Trying the Stone Steps Surf 30 Day Challenge? If so the Best Western Encinitas Inn & Suites at Moonlight Beach is a great place to stay while you try the challenge. It includes free breakfast, free parking and even free Wi-Fi.

How to Get There & Parking

Free Parking
Free Parking
Street Parking
Street Parking

Getting to Stone Steps

The address for Stone Steps Beach is 350 South El Portal, Encinitas, CA 92024, if you prefer to input it into a maps app. Otherwise, travel west on El Portal from Highway 101. Take a left on South El Portal and continue to the end.

Another approach is to head to Moonlight State Beach (hard to get lost on your way to Moonlight). When you arrive, continue driving on Neptune a mile north until you reach South El Portal. Stone Steps Beach is on your left.

Parking at Stone Steps Beach

You may have to search for off-street parking, but return to 350 South El Portal for the stairs down to the beach. Parking is limited but free. Hopefully, your search for a space won't take too long.

If you have trouble navigating staircases, head to Moonlight State Beach instead. There's a lined wheelchair path to the beach, and you can request beach wheelchairs from the lifeguards.

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Know Before You Go & Tips

Firepits
Firepits
Lifeguards
Lifeguards
No Alcohol
No Alcohol
No Camping
No Camping
No Dogs
No Dogs
No Glass Containers
No Glass Containers
No Motorized Vehicles
No Motorized Vehicles
No Smoking
No Smoking
Picnic Tables
Picnic Tables
Shade
Shade

Know Before Going to Stone Steps Beach

It's good to know a few things before you head to Stone Steps Beach. Some have been touched on earlier, while other tips are new.

Tips for Surfing at Stone Steps

If you're a surfer visiting the San Diego area from out of town, Stone Steps Beach might disappoint you unless you're able to spend weeks here or get lucky on your one visit. Come in the summer to tilt the odds a bit more in your favor.

Pack Light

Pack light since the staircase really can be brutal. Don't let heavy loads tip you over!

Official Beach Rules

Dogs, alcohol, glass containers and smoking are not allowed.

No Facilities

No public restrooms are available, but they're close at Moonlight State Beach.

Sunset at Stone Steps on the Steps

If you visit Stone Steps Beach at sunset, you get the best view at the top of the staircase.

Limited Lifeguards

Lifeguard service is limited, although there may be patrols checking on Stone Steps from adjacent beaches.

Check the Tides

High tides usually wash out the beach, so check the reports before you visit.

Things to Do at Stone Steps

Stone Steps Beach is a great site for paddle boarding, surfing, sunbathing, strolling and reading on the beach.

Be Careful of the Cliffs

There might be signs warning you to stay a safe distance from the bluffs since failures are frequent. Heed them, but don't let them scare you from enjoying the beach.

Less People

Stone Steps Beach probably will not be crowded during your visit. People come here because it feels so private and remote (although surfers come for the waves).

Point is, other beaches such as Moonlight State offer lots of amenities such as a kids' play area, lifeguards, sand volleyball courts, bathrooms, fire pits, picnic tables, a snack bar and gear rental. Stone Steps Beach does not, but as the tradeoff, it is much less crowded. Stone Steps is not a "touristy" beach.

Interesting fact: Stone Steps Beach gets its name from the steep concrete and stone steps. They help guests descend the crumbly bluff to the beach.

Try Walking from Moonlight Beach

Stone Steps is great for folks who want to escape the crowds at Moonlight State Beach. To get the best of both worlds, park at one beach and wander over to the other since they're so close (about a quarter of a mile or a walk of five minutes).

Stone Steps Beach
is Known For:
Surfing
Surfing
Know This:
Lifeguards
Lifeguards
This Month's Forecast
67℉ / 79℉
Sunny in September
Oct
63℉ / 78℉
Sunny in October
Nov
56℉ / 73℉
Sunny in November
Dec
51℉ / 68℉
Sunny in December

Stay Nearby

Hampton by Hilton Encinitas - Cardiff
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Inn at Moonlight Beach
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Days Inn by Wyndham Encinitas Moonlight Beach
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Days Inn by Wyndham Encinitas Moonlight Beach
from $65 / night
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Best Western Encinitas Inn & Suites
Family Friendly
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Best Western Encinitas Inn & Suites
from $131 / night
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