Cardiff-by-the-Sea beach in California: A Gem in San Diego County


Welcome to Cardiff-by-the-Sea beach in California!

The name itself sounds right out of a fairy tale. Only this beach is more than a fairy tale. It is a popular beach vacation destination that attracts tourists from all over the world.

Cardiff-by-the-Sea is one of the very well-known beach vacation destinations of San Diego County. It has ranked in the top 10 beaches to visit along with other beaches in California.

Taking advantage of the gorgeous panoramas for families and photographers has become the norm here. Especially during those sunset hours.

It is no-wonder that many photographers decide to schedule wedding photo shoots. No words can describe this amazing place.

After reading what this beach is all about, I decided to do some detective work and find out a little bit more of this beach called Cardiff-by-the-Sea beach.

Location of Cardiff-by-the-Sea beach

Drone Photographer: Mikela Garza

Cardiff-by-the-Sea is one of the most purely gorgeous beaches found in Southern California. The city is called Encinitas, an upscale city with also a lot of cool things to check out.

If you are traveling from San Diego International Airport then you can find this beach about 25-28 miles away. Of course it can also take an hour to get there depending how heavy the traffic is. The main freeway tends to have heavier traffic right around rush hour. So just be prepared.

But the freeway 5 is the main way to all beaches in San Diego County.

If you add Cardiff-by-the-Sea into your google GPS or maps app you will definitely find a more accurate time and distance.

Best time to travel to Cardiff-by-the-Sea

Drone Photographer: Mikela Garza

Cardiff-by-the-sea in California becomes very popular in the summer months. It is during summer that most people flock to this beach because of the warmer weather and water temperatures.

The days are much clearer.

The sun is shining brighter.

If you are planning to go to Cardiff-by-the-Sea, make sure you plan to do it in the summer though the beaches are definitely more crowded.

July tends to be the busier month of all year with the weather at an all time high. So it’s best you prepare with plenty of sunscreen. Check out our article of all the beach-ready must-haves for the beach to make your day much better!

Things to do near Cardiff-by-the-Sea Beach area

Drone Photographer: Mikela Garza

Cardiff-by-the-Sea is an absolutely amazing beach to spend a vacation at. Although, like many of you, i also want to explore its surrounding areas to find other places to visit.

One of the top three things you can do in Cardiff-by-the-Sea Beach:

Visit the statue of Cardiff Kook

Also known as the “ Magic Carpet Ride” this 6 foot statue is made of a surfer boy by Matthew Antichevich and has been around for quite some time. It is a bronze statue that has endured many pranks by people dressing it up with clothes and putting all kinds of costumes.

When I visited Cardiff Kook for the first time, it did not surprise me that he had on a bikini top. According to other stories, there are lots of other creative costumes it has worn in the past including a clown outfit and a Hawaiian attire. It has become an iconic symbol in the Encinitas Beach area.

Camping near Cardiff-by-the-Sea

It has become more and more popular over the years. Summer being the busiest of them all. So plan on making reservations earlier in the year or in advance to really take advantage of a good spot while camping. San Elijo State Park is the campground found north of Cardiff so you can most definitely see a lot of things while visiting

Surfing Cardiff-by-the-Sea

Cardiff-by-the-Sea along with many other beaches have become super popular for surfing. You can only imagine how many surfers you will find here at the beach. After all, it is one of the most popular sports in California!

Especially with the weather getting warming, you can most definitely start planning your surf lessons early. There are plenty of places you can buy the stuff you need before you venture out.

Parking near Cardiff-by-Sea beach

There are plenty of places to park in Cardiff-by-Sea! One of the most common places is the main entrance to Cardiff-by-the-Sea. So it is literally on the Coast Highway 101. Though you must pay for parking it is one of the places that parking is more readily available.

If you do have a car and want to see if you can park in a free parking lot, it does exist but it is very limited. Just be prepared since most of the street parking tends to fill up rather quickly.

Sunset at Cardiff-by-the-Sea beach

If you really want to see a sunset, then you better stay for the sunset! It is one of the most gorgeous sky colors you can find. If your photographer or amateur photographer bring your camera, your phone, or whatever you can to capture the gorgeous colors of the sky! Highly recommended!


Drone Photographer: Mikela Garza

Cardiff-by-the-Sea beach in San Diego County is gorgeous in every possible way. After learning a little bit more about Cardiff-by-the-Sea, I soon realized what makes this beach so popular.

Though Cardiff-by-the-Sea is considered a laid back and quiet beach town area, there is still so much you can do. Besides the cliffs which has made it a popular beach area, its quiet beach vibe has been the winner.

If you plan on visiting Cardiff-by-the-Sea then do not forget to check out the iconic statue of Cardiff kook. It stands over 6 feet tall with a number of different costumes placed on him throughout the year by pranksters.

If you’re lucky you’ll be very surprised to see a pretty creative costume in place. Some of the costumes almost make it look too good.

It is kind of funny what to expect next.

If you can, try out some surf lessons nearby. It is a very popular sport in San Diego so really get the California vibe when you immerse yourself into a good surf lesson.

If you are planning on staying here a couple days longer, then be sure you to check out the San Elijo State Beach Camping grounds. If you plan in advance you can definitely secure a good spot and a nice camping area near the beach.

Who wouldn’t want to camp near a gorgeous beach?

After seeing Cardiff-by-the-Sea I soon realized that this beach is gorgeous as it is unique. There are a lot more things I did not mention that you can do besides the beach. But more on that in another article later.

If your here for a couple days or planning to spend some time here, then be sure to plan ahead. With summer right around the corner, what are your summer beach plans?

If your here looking for other cool beach vacations then be sure to check out the amazing seawall to workout and exercise at?

Looking for a place to bring fluffy then definitely check out this article right here, where this beach allows your fur-ball in!

If your looking for the best beaches of San Diego then do not hesitant to find our top picks here

unseenbeaches about us pic

Hi! This is Jess and Jeanette. Two sisters & beach travelers. We built this blog to share our travels in hopes of helping you plan your next beach vacation. Cheers! ❤️



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