10 Things You Need To Know About Moonlight Beach, Encinitas

Moonlight Beach Encinitas-1

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Planning a trip to the West Coast and wondering whether Moonlight Beach in Encinitas is worth checking out?

Well, we got you covered.

We put together a list of ten things you need to know about Moonlight Beach before heading over.


Moonlight Beach Address


Moonlight Beach is a public beach located in Encinitas, California.

This beach name “moonlight” was inspired by locals who used to get together and come to this beach for midnight picnics in the early 1900s.

Out of all 9 beaches found in Encinitas, Moonlight Beach ranks as one of the most popular touristic places besides Cardiff by the Sea.

This beach is situated on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and is known for its beautiful views, great surfing, and laid-back atmosphere.

Moonlight Beach is located at 400 B Street, Encinitas, CA 92024.

This beach is open from sunrise to sunset every day.

10 Things to Know about Moonlight Beach, Encinitas

Moonlight Beach Encinitas Swimming

Before visiting this place, there are a few things you should know:

1. Beach is Accessible

person with disabilities

For those persons who are mobility challenged, it sometimes can be hard to find a beach that offers boardwalks, ramps, or any type of assistive equipment that helps enjoy the sand and waves.

Moonlight Beach, Encinitas definitely is one of the few beaches in Encinitas that is accessible for those who are mobility challenged.

The beach has special mats that are nonslip and easy to roll out to allow you to ride over the sand and rocks to the beach in your wheelchair.

In addition, this beach offers beach wheelchairs for those who need them free of charge.

So, if you use a wheelchair, know that this beach has you covered and you can still enjoy the Moonlight Beach experience!

2.  Lifeguards All Year Round

Moonlight Beach Encinitas Life Guard Tower

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas has lifeguards all year long.

They are present from sunrise to sunset every day.

So, if you are planning on swimming during your visit, know that there will always be someone there to help in case of an emergency.

The lifeguards not only provide a sense of safety but can help answer any questions you may have as well.

3. First Aid Department

This is quite uncommon, and you don’t really see this much on beaches (would be nice if more beaches had these), but Moonlight Beach, Encinitas features a small first aid department on site.

So, if you get a cut or bruise and don’t carry any first aid kit with you rest assured you’re covered!

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The first aid department carries basic medicines such as band-aids, alcohol, or even ointments.

They are open during the hours that the lifeguards are on duty as well.

If you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask one of the lifeguards for help.

4.   Not Dog-Friendly

dog at the beach

For those who love traveling with their furry ones, unfortunately, Moonlight Beach doesn’t allow dogs on the sand or in the water.

The only beach that allows dogs in Encinitas are Seaside Beach at Cardiff State Beach and

San Elijoh State Beach.

If you’re hoping to take your furry friend out for a beach day, look no further than our list of the 5 best dog-friendly beaches in San Diego!

5.   Free Parking

Moonlight Beach Parking

Moonlight Beach, Encinitas offers free parking for those who are planning on visiting.

Parking can be found on B and C streets.

This parking lot is considerably bigger than other beach parking lots.

One thing to note though is during the summertime season expect the parking lot to fill up quickly.

Therefore, arrive early to get a spot or be prepared to walk a little bit further from the beach.

There is also residential parking nearby if the Moonlight Beach parking lot is full.

However, even this gets chaotic during the summer and weekends as well.

6.   Concession Stand

Moonlight Beach Concession Stand

The nice thing about this beach is that they offer a concession stand.

For those who didn’t get a chance to pack for the beach or enjoy munching on the beach then you’re in luck!

Moonlight Beach, Encinitas has a concession stand.

They pretty much sell snacks mostly, not really whole meals.

Some of the items you can purchase here are coffee, tea, shaved ice, and cold drinks.

They also feature a breakfast menu (which is supposed to be all day), however, when I went there the guy stated that his boss wasn’t there and he didn’t know how to turn on the grill.

Therefore, all he could make was avocado toast from the breakfast menu.

Their breakfast menu features breakfast tacos, breakfast sandwiches, as well as Belgian waffles.

7.   Rentals

Moonlight Beach Encinitas Rentals

For those outdoor lovers that enjoy doing outdoor water activities Moonlight Beach, Encinitas offers rentals.

You can rent boogie boards, and surfboards, as well as even wetsuits.

The rates vary from $25 for a surfboard for 2 hours to $50 for all day (as of October 2022 writing this post -however, prices can change in the future so just keep that in mind).

For those who forgot to pack beach umbrellas and chairs, or would like to have a beach tent at the beach then you can also rent those as well.

The rates for renting an umbrella start at $15 for half a day or $25 for all day.

Lastly, if you forgot your sunscreen or need a beach towel, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas sells these items.

You can purchase beach towels anywhere from $20 to $30.

You find these items on the side of the concession stand and must pay at the concession stand.

8.   A Variety of Amenities

Moonlight Beach Encinitas Playground

Moonlight Beach, Encinitas offers a variety of activities that the whole family can enjoy.

They have volleyball nets, a playground for the kids, and even fire pits (but no grills)!

The fire pits are first-come, first-serve basis and you’ll have to bring your own wood.

For they don’t sell wood here.

For those wanting to get some exercise beach volleyball nets are available.

You can rent a volleyball or even a football here as well!

There are also restrooms and showers available on-site as well.

Moreover, one of the unique things about is place is that there are beach huts here.

Not a lot, but a few.

You can relax under the beach hut by reading a book or taking a nap.

While you relax in your tropical oasis.

They are free to sit on a first-come, first-serve basis.

And located on the beach!

9. Rocks and Seashells


Moonlight Beach, Encinitas has hardly any rocks in the water or on the shore.

That makes it a plus for those worrying about stubbing their feet on rocks while swimming.

For the most part, the sand is brown and you hardly see any seashells as well here.

For those seashell collectors out there, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas probably isn’t the best beach to go to.

However, you shouldn’t be collecting seashells, to begin with!

Collecting seashells actually harms sponges, algae, seagrass, as well crabs from their homes. These organisms rely on these seashells.

Several scientists from the University of Barcelona, along with the University of Florida in Gainesville analyzed the impact of shell collecting (from tourism) along the Iberian Peninsula (beaches in Spain and Portugal).

What they analyzed from more than 30 years in the making is that collecting seashells and sand harms the natural environment on the beach.

Therefore, if you’re visiting Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, and come across any seashells – please don’t take them!

Let them be for the sea creatures that need them.

But, if you really like that one seashell then take a picture of it instead of taking it with you.

10. Type of People You’ll Encounter: Families

dad with daughters

For the most part, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas has a lot of families.

Be prepared to see a lot of young children running around and playing in the sand.

You’ll also see parents chasing after their kids, trying to keep an eye on them while also enjoying the beach themselves.

There are locals, as well as surfers here, but not as many families here.

If you don’t mind the sometimes chaotic beach setting with a lot of people then Moonlight Beach, Encinitas is the place for you!

Weekends and summertimes do tend to get chaotic, but you were warned, ha!

Moonlight Beach Events

Moonlight Beach Encinitas 2

For those who enjoy attending social gatherings or meeting people then you should check out Moonlight Beach events.

There are a few events worth mentioning that happen here.

If you love yoga then why not attend beach yoga here?

There is a class that teaches yoga on the beach on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays in the mornings.

It costs about $15 to attend.

You can learn more at Allevents.in to view the upcoming days and costs. 

Another popular event worth mentioning is the Moonlight Beach Fun Run.

This will be taking place on October 23rd, 2022.

This features a 5k or 10k course.

Where you will be running out and back through the sand.

You will have to pay to participate here.

There is also a Sandcastle Contest that helps raise funds for the Lifeguard Association.

You can check out their homepage to learn more.


Moonlight Beach Picnic Tables

Why is Moonlight Beach famous?

Moonlight Beach is a more popular beach in Encinitas due to its amenities, family-friendly environment, and location.

Here you can find a variety of amenities as previously mentioned such as a concession stand, rentals, and even fire pits!

It’s also located right in the heart of Encinitas which makes it easy to get to.

Lastly, Moonlight Beach is great for families.

They have a playground on-site as well as beach huts that offer some shade.

Do you have to pay for parking at Moonlight Beach?

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas is one of the few beaches in San Diego that offers free parking!

So, take advantage of it while you still can.

The parking lot is located right next to the beach and can get full during peak times.

So, make sure to come early if you want to guarantee a spot in the parking lot.

Is Moonlight Beach good for swimming?

Girl in the water

Moonlight Beach is a great beach for swimming.

Especially, in summer times you can spot many people swimming here.

There are times, though when visiting you can encounter low, high tide, or even rip currents during your visit.

So just use your best judgment whether you would like to swim during these types of conditions or not.

The nice thing about this beach is that there are lifeguards present during the day.

So if anything happens rest assured you have help in case you can’t swim back to shore. 

Just use your best judgment when deciding. 

Does Moonlight Beach have bathrooms?

Yes, Moonlight Beach, Encinitas has bathrooms.

There are public restrooms both for men and women.

They are located near the concession stand and in front of the showers.


Moonlight Beach Bird

Moonlight Beach, Encinitas offers a variety of amenities, and outdoor activities making it an ideal go-to place among locals and tourists.

And the best part of it all is that it offers free parking! You can’t go wrong when visiting this place!

Let us know in the comments below if you have been to Moonlight Beach or planning to visit.

We hope this post gave you an overview of what to expect when visiting. 

Happy beach travels!



Jess & Jeanette

Jess and Jeanette, two sisters who founded Unseen Beaches, were inspired by their family’s beach vacations while growing up.

Their passion lies in guiding you toward the most remarkable beach destinations across the U.S., while also protecting and preserving these beautiful coastal treasures! 🌊❤️

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Don’t be caught off-guard like many others. Equip yourself with our Top Favorite 5 Essential Beach Must-Haves and avoid common beach pitfalls! 🏖️🌞🌊

1. YETI Wheeled Cooler: Keep your drinks and snacks chilled under the sun.

2. Kelty Tent: Seek refuge from the sun with a lightweight, easy-to-set-up beach tent.

3. BeachBub Umbrella: Stay cool and protected with a durable, stylish UPF beach umbrella.

4. Trailhead Chair: Sit back and relax with a comfortable and sturdy beach chair.

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