Encinitas is a large and populous coastal city in northern San Diego. It received its name (Spanish for “Little Oaks”) for the oaks that once populated its hilltops, but today the area is better known for the towering eucalyptus trees in its Leucadia neighborhood. The area’s rich history is encapsulated in landmarks like La Paloma Theatre and carefully documented at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum.
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The beaches of Encinitas offer the locals diverse options: the sandy Moonlight Beach is perfect for sunbathers, Swami’s is crowded but has unrivaled swells for surfers, and the rocky seclusion of Leucadia Beach makes it great for romantic walks. The city is also bordered by two lagoons—Batiquitos to the north and San Elijo to the south—where natives can go to hike, fish, and observe hundreds of bird species, many of them unique to the region. For those more interested in flora than fauna, the San Diego Botanic Garden is home to a variety of plant life, both local and exotic. Shopping and restaurants are densely populated around South Coast Highway 101 and El Camino Real. The area also hosts a Fall Festival street fair each November, and during the summer enthusiasts come from all over the county to show off their classic cars.
Interstate 5 runs directly through Encinitas, making it simple to access Carlsbad to the north and central San Diego to the south. In general the residents are married with 2 to 3-bedroom houses, but home types and demographics often vary quite a bit between the area’s distinctive neighborhoods. From the rural tranquility of Olivenhain to the bustling excitement of New Encinitas, this town has an atmosphere to suit every taste. By Gary Kent
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