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Encinitas

Encinitas
Head north of downtown San Diego to experience one of the best surfing cities in the world

Encinitas isn’t just a city; it’s a vibe. Visit the coastal community 25 miles north of downtown San Diego and you’ll instantly get a sense of surfer-cool. To grab coffee in the morning is to witness legions of customers with hair still sandy from the surf. Regardless of whether you like to shred, Encinitas exudes a laid-back attitude that is sure to charm your tensions away.

Home to surf pros like Rob Machado and Tia Blanco, Encinitas is known as one of the best surfing cities in the world. Highway 101, the main coastal road, is perpetually dotted with wetsuits and boards. Some of the best spots to test your skills include Cardiff Reef, marked by the famous Kook statue, and Moonlight Beach, which features beach fire pits, volleyball nets, and a playground for kids. Rent a board from Progression Surf or Concept Surf Shop, which offer lessons for newbies, too.

All that time in the water makes for a hungry community. Burritos (of the breakfast, lunch, or dinner variety) make up some of the area’s most popular fare—and every resident has her own opinion on who makes the best. Pipes Cafe for eggs and sausage, The Taco Stand for hefty carne asada, and La Especial Norte for sit-down style are some of the top contenders. Encinitas is also home to exceptional health-conscious options. Lotus Cafe and GoodOnYa specialize in vegetarian-friendly meals, while Fish 101 and The Fish Shop serve freshly-caught poke and seared seafood.

Thanks to three distinct coastal neighborhoods (Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Leucadia, and Encinitas), the city is easy to explore by foot or cruiser bike. Grab an espresso at local roaster Zumbar Coffee & Tea and a doughnut from VG Donut & Bakery in Cardiff before checking Patagonia’s puffy vests and strolling through the free gardens at the Self-Realization Fellowship. Head north to Downtown Encinitas to browse eclectic boutiques like Grounded and Salt Culture or to catch a movie at the historic La Paloma Theatre, one of the first to show “talkies.” Farther north, Leucadia has an authentically hippie style. Stop by Fully Loaded for cold-pressed juice and The Garden for a massage in a tropical landscape. 

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Myles McGuinness

Discover San Diego County

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October
Average (°F)
Sept - Nov
73°
High
60°
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Dec - Feb
65°
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49°
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Mar - May
67°
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56°
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June - Aug
74°
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65°
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Imagine 70 miles of sun-drenched coast, an inviting ocean, and a year-round daily forecast of 70°F, and you’ll understand why this southernmost stretch of the state is all about outdoor fun. Discover top theme parks and attractions like SeaWorld San Diego, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and LEGOLAND California.

The first European explorer to land in California, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, came ashore in San Diego in 1542.

Relax at legendary retreats like Hotel del Coronado, find art and culture in San Diego and surrounding cities like luxurious La Jolla, and enjoy world-class golf at Torrey Pines, and enjoy culture and diversity, all at the edge of a sparkling blue sea.

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Journeys: San Diego

Reward yourself with a relaxing weekend getaway in “California’s Beach City”
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Your fourth and final day in San Diego should be all about pampering. Start the morning with brunch in the Hotel del Coronado’s Crown Room, one of the oldest parts of the resort. The brunch boasts a chilled seafood bar, a gourmet Bloody Mary bar, and made-to-order mimosas. It is regarded as one...

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Spotlight: San Diego

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California dreamers, endless coastline & sunshine

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L’Auberge Del Mar

Beachy vibes meet high-end elegance at this luxury resort just north of San Diego

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Carlsbad

This family-friendly coastal town has feel-good appeal

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Oceanside

Find exceptional restaurants, inventive breweries, and a thriving local art scene in Northern San Diego County

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Del Mar

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Despite Del Mar’s idyllic oceanfront setting, this little town just north of San Diego was, in many ways, born around horses. The...

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Chula Vista

San Diego County’s second largest city boasts authentic Mexican food, a burgeoning craft beer scene, and outdoor activities galore

About seven miles from downtown San Diego in one direction and the Mexican border in another, Chula Vista is quickly developing its own strong...

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Escondido

Explore the craft breweries, culinary scene, and adventurous outdoors of this unique San Diego city

About 30 miles northeast of downtown San Diego, Escondido is the best little...

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California Questionnaire: Annie Lawless

The Suja Juice co-founder, yoga instructor, and wellness aficionado is passionate about her Southern California home

As one of the founders of the nation’s leading organic juice brand, Annie Lawless knows a thing or two about living a healthy lifestyle. She...

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Coasterra

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Book a table at this San Diego waterfront knockout

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Where to Watch a La Jolla Sunset

Want to nail your sunset shot? Our expert has six sensational recommendations to match any mood

As a San Diego concierge for more than a decade, Brett Hamblen is well versed in sunset recommendations. For his role as the chief concierge at...

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Stretching 1,942 feet, the historic Oceanside Pier is the longest wooden pier on the Pacific Ocean.
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You don’t need a high tolerance for open fields, concession-stand dining, or possibly mud to enjoy K...

KAABOO Del Mar
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Spotlight: San Diego Zoo

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See rare and endangered species

Visiting this expansive zoo in San Diego’s Balboa Park is more than a chance to see animals from all over the world: it’s a chance to see one of...

Too darned pretty. Everywhere you look out there, everything's just too danged pretty! I'm usually the prettiest thing!
musician Little Richard on San Diego
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Trip 8-10 days 10 stops

Ultimate Southern California

Beach Towns & Big Thrills
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Your trip begins in California’s largest city. L.A. has nonstop action and things to do, but it can be a challenge to navigate, so planning your trip in advance is a big plus. Start in the coastal city of Santa Monica, with a wide, uncrowded beach, a signature pier topped by carnival rides and...

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Discover quintessential sun and fun at these coastal charmers

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Gwynne Spann

Where to eat, what to drink

Endless Sun, Oceanfront Dining & Craft Breweries

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Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

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Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind-the-scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of worth-the-...

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Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate playgrounds

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour movie back lots at Universal Studios...

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The historic 101 Café in Oceanside is the oldest continuously-operating restaurant on historic Highway 101.
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Alexa Miller

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

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Find out where the wild things are

Like a journey to Africa, a day at this spectacular park lets you see some of the world’s most magnificent—and endangered—animals at close range...

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Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

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Laura Flippen
Thanks be to God, I arrived here...at this Port of San Diego. It is beautiful to behold, and does not belie its reputation.
Father Junipero Serra
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Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

Sand, water, and kids—it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. This sandy dozen offers appealing, family-friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for intrepid...

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Alex Farnum
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World-class accommodations in world-class locations

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Dave Lauridsen

Mission & San Diego Bays

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Visit waterfront parks for boating, biking, and coaster rides

Mission Bay and San Diego Bay trim the edge of the city like sparkling gems. Dozens of outfitters can get you out amidst the blue via every...

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Trip 5-7 days 10 stops

Highway One Classic

Take the trip that captures the heart and soul of the Golden State
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Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

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Dave Lauridsen

San Diego Golf

Get your daily dose of greens at oceanfront courses

Perfect weather, challenging course, and incredible settings make San Diego County a golfer’s dream destination. It’s not surprising that many of...

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Dave Lauridsen

Julian

Visit a surprising mountain town that’s as American as apple pie

Poised between the desert and the coast, a little more than an hour’s drive east of San Diego, this surprising mountain town makes a great day...

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
Jacques Yves Cousteau