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. Looking for best things to do in Encinitas? Drive Coast Highway 101 or head to Swami's Beach, Moonlight State Beach, San Diego Botanic Garden, or Encinitas Historical Society. There's a lot you can do. Keep reading!

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! There's always something exciting to do in San Diego. 

You might also want to read my blog post Encinitas Coffee Shops: Searching for the Best Coffee in Town where I list all the coffee shops in Encinitas all in one place.

Things to Do in Encinitas CA - North County, San Diego

Restaurants, Coffee Shops, What to See: Things to Do in Oceanside, California

Whether you like coffee drinks or walks by the beach, there are plenty of things to do in 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!

8 Things to Do in Encinitas, California: Don't Miss This North County San Diego Gem

8 Things to Do in Encinitas, California: Don't Miss This North County San Diego Gem
Hanging out at the Moonlight Beach overlook with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean

Head to Encinitas Beaches

Encinitas is a beachside town with miles of trails, there are a lot of beaches in this part of North County San Diego! Moonlight State Beach is one of my favorite places to relax, it even has a snack bar. 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 & best things to do in Encinitas. Moonlight Beach is a personal favorite of mine, snack bar is cool, but bathrooms can get messy. You can surf or just stare at the ocean! You'll find one of the best views in Encinitas!

Related reading: Carlsbad Coffee Shops - Searching for the Best Coffee in Carlsbad, California

What is Encinitas famous for? How much does it cost to live in Encinitas?

Go Downtown

The bustling streets of Encinitas await. Watch a film at La Paloma Theater, which opened in 1928. Moonlight Beach is right there too. There are even things to do in Encinitas with kids. Go to any beach! Moonlight Beach or the tide pools. Stroll along the coast & you'll realize why Encinitas is such a great place. It's popular for a reason. 

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.

8 Things to Do in Encinitas, California: Don't Miss This North County San Diego Gem
In awe of the view from the Self-Realization Fellowship Encinitas Temple

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 Self Realization Fellowship 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. The Self Realization Fellowship meditation gardens are certainly worth a visit if you're in Encinitas CA, Southern California!

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, Southern California options for any gift or souvenir need. Downtown Encinitas has a lot of spunky shops!

8 Things to Do in Encinitas, California: Don't Miss This North County San Diego Gem
A coffee & giant muffin from Pannikin Coffee & Tea is one of my favorite things to do in Encinitas

Drive Historic Highway 101

Spend the day along Highway 101 driving along the beach. Go on a drive after spending time at the San Diego Botanic Garden or at the meditation gardens. Drive North County. 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.

Eat Delicious Food at Encinitas Restaurants

Spend a day at the beach savoring the waves then head to a place to eat. Get a burrito or tacos or anything - you're in a beach city after all. Surf by day then visit a taco shop for a great meal. Go to the nature center or Coast Hwy 101 Encinitas.

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 ♥ Home & Away Encinitas has affordable food & a beautiful space with hand-painted art

Drink Craft Beer at Encinitas Breweries

San Diego County has over 150+ breweries; it's one of the best place to find beer, 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). Sip on Thorn Brewing Co. at Home & Away Encinitas. Modern Times Far West LoungeCulture Brewing Co. always features artists on their walls, so they're kind of like an art gallery with beer. North County has dozens of beer options.

How About Cocktails?

Sip on a sexy cocktail at any number of cool Downtown Encinitas CA 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. Home & Away Encinitas has some tasty cocktails. Solterra Winery and Kitchen for wine!

From La Paloma Theater to the farmers market, Encinitas is open to the public with plenty to offer. What are your favorite things to do in Encinitas? Do you like Moonlight Beach & Highway 101? Would you go surfing? Have you been to Self Realization Fellowship gardens?

Other places to visit in San Diego: La Jolla, Solana Beach, San Elijo Lagoon, anywhere on El Camino Real. Diego, California is a large county & it would take a long time to explore the whole place but you can have fun trying. Enjoy your visit & experience the best has to offer.

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

8 Things to Do in Encinitas, California: Don't Miss This North County San Diego Gem

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