Sand, self-realization and Surfin’ U.S.A. hallmarks this North County beach town. The famed Swami’s beach is name-checked in the Beach Boys’ song “Surfin USA”.
History: Encinitas got its start in 1881, when a settler named Jabez Pitcher filed a claim for 160 acres of prime land near what is now the Encinitas Civic Center. in the 1920s, Moonlight Beach became popular with sunbathers and in 1925 Charlie Chaplin bought his mother a house in downtown Encinitas. The city was incorporated in 1986 and brings together with other communities such as Cardiff by the Sea, Leucadia and Olivenhain.
Things to Do: Don’t miss the “surfer crossing” sign on Highway 101 along with the many shops and restaurants. Visit the Surfing Madonna mural (on the north wall of Leucadia Pizzeria) before heading to Swami’s or Moonlight Beach. Check out the Self-Realization Fellowship’s meditation gardens and check out Salt Culture, a lifestyle boutique owned by pro-surfer Rob Machado and his wife, Sophie.