20 Things to do in Encinitas

Nestled in the coastal north county area, just 25 miles north of San Diego lies Encinitas, a laidback beach town that draws surfers and beach bums from all over the world.

Once you set foot in Encinitas, you’ll never want to leave. I have found myself back in Encinitas for multiple extended visits after falling in love with the area a little over a year ago. The town exudes a unique energy and the residents of the close-knit community are some of the nicest, most welcoming people I’ve ever met.

Fun can be had in Encinitas year round but the best times to visit are July-October for the best weather or March/April (hello wildflowers!). No matter when you choose to visit there is a wide variety of adventures you can have in the area whether you’re looking to be active or just relax and enjoy the sunshine.

Below I’m sharing a round-up of the best things you can do to experience the best of Encinitas:

20+ Things to Do in Encinitas

1. Catch some waves

Encinitas is a well-known surf destination and offers many spots suitable for all levels of surfing experience. If you’re looking for a lesson check out Surf Skate 101 for expert guidance and a good time!

2. Watch a Sunset

West Coast sunsets are absolutely stunning. Post up on the Grandview Beach staircase or at Beacons for some of my favorite spots to watch the sun go down. Try to spot the elusive green flash before the sun falls below the water.

3. Have a fire at Moonlight Beach

Moonlight Beach is equipped with public fire pits, making it the perfect spot for a cozy evening. Bring a picnic, some chairs, and enjoy the beach even after the sun goes down.

4. Go for a hike

San Diego County boasts numerous great hiking trails. A few of the best ones in/ around Encinitas are:
— Annie’s Canyon Trail in Cardiff
— Wildflower Trail in Rancho Santa Fe
— Torrey Pines in La Jolla

5. Leucadia Farmers Market

Experience the way the locals live by checking out the local farmers market from 10-2 on Sundays located behind the Paul Ecke Elementary School.  You can find everything from fresh produce, eggs and meat to clothing, soups, breads, and all kinds of fun products you may have never heard of. Come hungry because there are plenty of food vendors serving up hot food to enjoy on the spot as well!

6. Stroll the 101

There are some great spots along the 101 to go for a walk and check out the views and different neighborhoods that make up Encinitas. One of my personal favorite spots is the stretch from Swami’s Beach to San Elijo State Beach where you have perfect views of the pacific. San Elijo also has picnic tables to stop and enjoy watching the surf.

7. Get a Coffee

There is no shortage of good coffee in town! Some of the best ones to check out include:
— Pannikin Coffee & Tea
— Lofty Coffee
— Bump Coffee
— Coffee Coffee
— French Corner

8. Go for a walk on Neptune

Most mornings you can find me strolling on Neptune, stopping off to look at the different beach overlooks and admiring the stunning houses that line the street. It’s a one lane, one way street so all kinds of people come out to walk, bike and skate the street throughout the day.

9. Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens

These gardens offer paths lined with colorful plants and greenery, meditation nooks, koi ponds, and spectacular ocean views. It’s free to enter and anyone can walk around, pray, meditate or just sit quietly and enjoy the peaceful setting.

10. Hit the Beach

Encinitas is well known for its incredible beaches that stretch from Cardiff to Leucadia. Moonlight beach has the most amenities such as restrooms, concessions, fire pits and volleyball nets that make it easy to spend the day there. I also love Cardiff state beach and Beacons but each beach has it’s own charm and is worth checking out.

11. Get Tacos

You can go to San Diego without enjoying some tacos! Two spots stand out to me in town:

12. The Taco Stand:

This place is known for having a line out the door but the tacos live up to the hype

13. Haggos Organic Taco:

This is easily one of my favorite spots in Encinitas and you can often find me there multiple days a week. Everything is organic and you can taste the quality. My favorite items are the special burrito bowl, any of the tacos and the vegan caesar salad.  To top it off, the owners are the nicest people you will meet.

14. Get fresh juice at Choice Juicery

Choice is a local chain that makes delicious juices, smoothies, bowls and superfood snacks. Everything is organic and of the best quality. Grab a smoothie from the Leucadia location and walk over to Moonlight to enjoy it on the beach!

15. Enjoy Gluten-Free Paradise at Nectarine Grove

This is one of the best eateries in Encinitas, even if you don’t have a sensitivity to gluten. Everything on the menu is organic and gluten-free but you can’t tell by tasting the food. The menu includes familiar comfort foods like cinnamon rolls, pancakes, fried chicken, and pizza alongside healthier scrambles, salads and sandwiches and an extensive coffee menu. This is my favorite spot to bring a book or my laptop and sit outside for a few hours.

16. Shopping in downtown Encinitas:

There are plenty of fun shops and boutiques around town for clothing and souvenirs. You can walk the main strip on the 101 downtown and spend an afternoon in all of the unique stores.

17. See live music at the Roxy:

Stop by the Roxy for dinner and stay for the live music and nightlife. This spot on the 101 in downtown Encinitas has a 1920’s ambiance, small plates, cocktails, and live music 7 days a week.

18. Catch a movie at La Paloma Theater

You can’t miss San Diego’s oldest movie theater when you drive through town. This theater opened in 1928 and is often playing some classic films.

19. Trivia night at the Regal Seagal

Tuesday night is Trivia night at the Regal Seagal. Pull up a bar stool and have a beet with the locals while you test your trivia knowledge.

20. Have a beer at one of the local tasting rooms

Modern Times, Culture Brewing and Duck Foot Brewing have all opened tasting rooms in Encinitas! They all have a chill vibe and are a great way to hang out for an afternoon or evening. Duck Foot even has trivia nights, bingo and serves up Haggo’s Tacos!

21. Golf at Encinitas Ranch Golf Course

For golf enthusiasts that don’t want to drive to Torrey Pines, Encinitas is home to the 18-hole Encinitas Ranch Golf Course that is open to the public

22. Slow Down

Honestly, one of the best things to do in Encinitas is nothing. Just immerse yourself in the town and chill out. Life moves slower in Encinitas and gives you plenty of time to just enjoy yourself and the beautiful scenery around you.

Things to do in Encinitas


Lauren Mason

Lauren lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts but spends as much time as she can exploring the wonders of rest of the world with a more recent focus on destinations where she can explore the outdoors. She’s very passionate about health and wellness and how to maintain health while traveling. When not traveling she love to spend time at the beach with her two black labs.

latest post

Stomach Massage for Stress