8 Things to Do in Encinitas, California / Carmen Varner // Travel Influencer, Blogging Coach, Social Media Consultant


8 Things to Do in Encinitas, California

San Diego is an enormous county. In fact, it's around 4,500 mi.². I just Googled that. I definitely didn't know that off the top of my head. In North County San Diego alone, there's  Del Mar, Escondido, Oceanside, Solana Beach, & more cities. 

I enjoy international travel as much as the next person. I visited Spain, Germany, Mexico, & Norway, which proved more than ever that small moments matter, no matter where you are. You have to supplement those getaways with something budget-friendly, something local. At the end of the day, I'm a San Diego lifestyle blogger at heart!

Whether you like coffee drinks or walks by the beach, there are plenty of things to do in the city of Downtown Encinitas, California. Read this guide for Encinitas points of interest whether you're a North County San Diego local or an out-of-town visitor!

Hanging out at the Moonlight Beach overlook with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean

1. Head to Encinitas Beaches

Encinitas is a beachside town, there are a lot of beaches! Moonlight State Beach is one of my favorite places to relax. Play volleyball with your friends or dip your toes in the water. Moonlight Beach is beautiful & I've seen some of the best sunsets of my life there. Want other beach options? Check out Cardiff State Beach, San Elijo State Beach, or Swami's State Beach. Again, heaps of beaches & things to do in Encinitas.

2. Grab a cup of coffee

The city of Encinitas has no shortage of coffee shops. Head to Pannikin Coffee & Tea for a coffee & a muffin. Their muffins are enormous & perfect for sharing. I love the Aztec Mocha from Lofty Coffee Co.; it has a spicy kick thanks to the cayenne. There's also Better Buzz Coffee Roasters, Ironsmith Coffee Roasters, Coffee Coffee, Philz Coffee, & a few other spots.

In awe of the view from the Self-Realization Fellowship Encinitas Temple

3. Spend Time in a Garden

The Self-Realization Fellowship Encinitas Temple is one of my favorite spots in North County San Diego because it has some remarkable views. Relax in the peaceful meditation gardens. Stare at the majestic koi swimming in their ponds. Look out at the vast Pacific Ocean. It's free to enter but donations are welcome. If you want to spend some time in nature with over 4,000 types of plants, visit the San Diego Botanic Garden.

4. Support Local & Buy Souvenirs

Stroll Downtown Encinitas Main Street for all the cool retail stores & businesses. Caravan West is a bohemian paradise with baskets, blankets, books, & more. Check out Moon Shadow Boutique for bohemian fashion & vintage home accessories. Crystals, hair salons, home decor, kids boutiques, men's clothing, stationery, swimwear, women's clothing, there are local Encinitas options for any gift or souvenir need. Downtown Encinitas has a lot of spunky shops!

A coffee & giant muffin from Pannikin Coffee & Tea is one of my favorite things to do in Encinitas

5. Drive Historic Highway 101

U.S. Highway 101 runs through the states of California, Oregon, & Washington. Highway 101 is the longest highway in California. Drive down a piece of history in Encinitas. Downtown Encinitas Main Street is conveniently located on Highway 101; park your car then shop some of the local boutiques & stores.

6. Eat Delicious Food at Encinitas Restaurants

Fresh fish, tasty vegetarian food, gluten-free options, raw & organic desserts, Downtown Encinitas has restaurants food for all your needs! My other personal favorite restaurants in the city of Encinitas: pastries from St. Tropez Bakery & Bistro ♥ hot & prepared foods from Lazy Acres Natural Market ♥ Machacha Breakfast Burrito from Mozy Cafe (two eggs, jack cheese, & soy chorizo instead of turkey) ♥organic, fresh options from GOODONYA like the Breakfast Veggie Bowl ♥ EVE Encinitas for all things vegan

7. Drink Craft Beer at Encinitas Breweries

San Diego County has over 150+ breweries, so it's no surprise that the city of Encinitas has a few craft beer options.  Saint Archer Brewing Co. has happy hour from 4-6 pm Monday through Friday - get $2 off a pint. Enjoy plant-based food & a full food menu (in addition to a full craft beer list, obviously) Modern Times Far West LoungeCulture Brewing Co. always features artists on their walls, so they're kind of like an art gallery with beer.

8. How About Cocktails?

Sip on a sexy cocktail at any number of cool Downtown Encinitas spots. In addition to a full food & craft beer menu, Bread & Barley has a number of signature cocktails (like the Leucadia Sunrise made with vodka, lemon, lavender, elderflower, cucumber), brunch cocktails, & classics. The Roxy is another classic go-to on Encinitas Main Street.

Did I miss something? Leave a comment with your 3 favorite things to do in Encinitas.

Have you visited Encinitas or North County San Diego? Do you like to explore your own city? :]


  1. I've never been! I'll have to go!


  2. That was such an insightful post, thanks for all the travel tips here xx

  3. This post could be useful as I'm flying to San Diego in April to see my boyfriend! I'm totally craving one of those muffins now haha... And I love the beach, so I'll totally want to visit some new ones. Last time I went I fell in love with Coronado Beach!

    Julia x

  4. Radostina BlagoevaMarch 2, 2019 at 12:16 AM

    I've been to Oceanside two times. Loved it for a nice summer vacay!


  5. The Exclusive Beauty DiaryMarch 2, 2019 at 1:37 AM

    Thank you for this great to do list! I'm sure that you enjoy in all of these activities!

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  6. Never been to California, but very much want to!


  7. Honestly I wish I was bored, lately I've just been so tired because I've had a lot going on. Definitely going to take one of these suggestions in particular though. I've started meditating so hopefully it helps calm my mind a little.

    Julia // The Sunday Mode

  8. It's beautiful!! :] Do you like exploring your local area?

  9. Thanks Candice. Do you like exploring your local area?

  10. You're welcome! Do you like exploring your local area? :]

  11. Hope you had fun!! San Diego is always a good choice. :] Coronado is cool, I often forget about it!!

  12. Oceanside is one of my favorites!! Do you have any favorite spots?? :]

  13. Thanks!! Do you like exploring your local area?? :]

  14. California is huge, so there's lots to do! Do you like exploring your local area? :]

  15. The first thing I would do there is go to the beach! They coastline there is so gorgeous. I love finding out about new coffee shops too - a coffee with a hint of cayenne sounds just so good!

    Julia x
    Last Post: Exploring Manhattan & Brooklyn | https://juliaspeaksbeauty.blogspot.com/2019/10/exploring-nyc-manhattan-brooklyn.html

  16. This looks so amazing!


Thanks for reading & writing. :] // ▲


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