Recently, my family and I were fortunate enough to spend some serious quality time in the charismatic coastal town of Encinitas, California. Known as an outdoorsperson’s paradise with plenty to see, do and experience, Encinitas is a place that is sure to delight all of your senses and have you eagerly planning your return trip.
Where to Stay
A quick Google search will confirm there is no shortage of RV parks around Encinitas, so you won’t have to worry about finding a place to stay. While we didn’t stay in an RV park this time around, several of the locals mentioned that Pacific By the Sea is a particularly nice resort. Plus, there are two spectacular state parks located directly on the Pacific Ocean--San Elijo State Beach and Cardiff State Beach. Whether you’re into surfing or taking long strolls on the beach, both state parks will amaze you with their location and views.
Where to Eat
Healthy dining establishments abound in Encinitas. These restaurants are sure to please every member of the family--even the finicky ones. A few of my favorites include:
Lotus Café and Juice Bar/ located at 765 South Coast Highway is a darling restaurant with an extensive, eclectic—and mesmerizing--menu. You can get smoothies, salads, soups, wraps, burritos, pasta and burgers, and pretty much everything in between. The restaurant also features a hefty assortment of vegan and gluten-free options, including dessert!
Native Foods located in Encinitas Village at 127 North El Camino Real features casual vegan dining with a gourmet twist. While there is a divine selection of dishes to choose from, I’m in heaven when I’m eating the Native Nachos paired with some refreshing lavender lemonade. Wondering what to get the kiddos? They will gobble up the Freddie’s Mac and Cheese on the kid’s menu.
2Good2Be located at 204 N. El Camino Real in Encinitas is a totally gluten, soy and corn syrup-free bakery that serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts. Their breads are phenomenal; including their gluten-free French baguettes. My favorites are the marvelously decadent cinnamon rolls and brownies.
Swami’s Café located at 1163 South Coast Highway 101 in Encinitas is a local institution. Not only will you enjoy the laid-back atmosphere of this cool, outdoor patio-seating restaurant, you’ll also love their huge menu. From omelets, pancakes and breakfast burritos to pitas, stir-fries and quesadillas, there is something for everyone. The Pitaya Bowl and Mango Madness smoothie really hits the spot.
Healthy Creations Organic Café and Juice Lounge at 376 N. El Camino Real in Encinitas has a super fabulous, gluten-free and vegan-friendly healthy menu. From acai bowls and smoothies to fresh salads, wraps and panini, you’re sure to feel good after eating at this restaurant. They even serve locally-brewed kombucha on tap! Their gluten-free breads are amazing. Favorites include the Veggie and Hummus Sandwich and the Roasted Mediterranean Grilled Vegetable Panini.
Where to Shop
Encinitas is home to two popular healthy grocery store chains: Whole Foods at 687 South Coast Highway 101 and Jimbo’s Naturally located on the outskirts of Encinitas at 1923 Calle Barcelona in Carlsbad. Shopping at either—or both—can ensure your family is eating fresh, organic and local.
What to Do
When in Encinitas, just do what the locals do—head to the beach! Surfing is a huge pastime and so is the relatively new sport of paddle boarding. If getting up on a board isn’t your style, there are miles and miles of beaches for beachcombing, strolling or people watching.
Those looking for a place to meditate will be excited to know that the Self-realization Fellowship, founded by Paramahansa Yogananda, author of the classic book Autobiography of a Yogi is in the area. The meditation garden located on the grounds is a fantastic place to find your Zen.
If boutique shopping is more your speed, there is no shortage of quaint, independently-owned shops and galleries along the main thoroughfares.
Once the kids get tired of playing at the beach, you can always pick up some snacks at Whole Foods and bring your picnic around the corner to Cottonwood Creek Park located at the intersection of Vulcan Avenue and Encinitas Boulevard. This park features great play structures, no shortage of picnic tables, and clean bathrooms. There is also plenty of green space for those looking to throw a Frisbee or a football or just lie in the grass and read a book.
No matter where you stay, play or eat, you’re sure to enjoy your trip to Encinitas!