What is it about Cardiff By The Sea that makes it so different from the other beach communities lining the Pacific Ocean north of San Diego? Well, there’s the ocean, an ecological reserve, a lagoon, fantastic beaches, restaurant row, surf breaks, Cardiff-By-The-Sea bed and breakfasts and never-ending sea breezes. To help you capture the flavor of Cardiff, here are Eight Things You Must Do when visiting Cardiff By The Sea.
Take A Magic Carpet Ride
Surfing is the essence of Cardiff By The Sea. You’ll undoubtedly see our $120,000 surfing statue across Highway 101 from the Cardiff Lodge overlooking Cardiff Reef Surfing Beach – a young surfer boy with his arms stretched out, ostensibly riding a wave, entitled “Magic Carpet Ride.” Surfers have been critical of the statue since it was unveiled in July, 2008 complaining that the pose of the bronze figure does not capture the essence of a true surfing move. Called dorky by some, too feminine by others, pranksters have since been dressing the statue in pink skirts, chains, bikini tops, biking bottoms, flowers, lingerie and fairy wands. What do you think?
Watch The Surfers At Cardiff Reef
Cardiff Reef is a popular stretch of sandy beach at the mouth of San Elijo Lagoon, just north of Restaurant Row. It’s popular with long-boarders because it has a soft sand bottom and slow, mushy waves. Spectators line up to enjoy the views from the State Beach parking lots and picnic tables. The rocky reefs along Cardiff sport a great selection of surfer talent from beginners to seasoned pros. If you’re staying at one of the nearby bed and breakfasts in Cardiff, have lunch on the outdoor patios of The Beach House or The Chart House restaurants, you’ll have the best view in the house.
Learn To Surf
Kahuna Bob gives the best surf lessons in San Diego county just up the hill along Historic Highway 101 at Moonlight and Beacons Beaches in Encinitas. Bob’s style is both unique and entertaining, putting first-time surfers at ease for nearly 25 years. He likes giving lessons at Beacons Beach because the waves there often break perfectly for beginners. Bob offers a variety of packages from weeklong surf camps to overnight and three day Baja excursions. If you’re staying at one of the Cardiff bed and breakfasts, Google “Kahuna Bob” to see what’s happening this week.
Watch Professional Surfers At Swami’s
A mile north up Highway 101, just across the border into Encinitas, Swami’s Surf beach draws the finest professional surfers in the world. Situated on the bluffs right next to Swami’s Temple, this busy surf break has a big staircase down to the beach. Picnic tables and benches at the top of the bluffs make for great place to sit and watch the best surfing show in SoCal.
Work On Your Tan
Cardiff State Beach is a wonderful place to work on that tan, enjoy a picnic, watch surfers, or try your hand at surfing, boogie-boarding or body surfing. It has been called the Riviera of the West because it has a gently sloping sandy beach with warm water. The site offers swimming, surfing and beachcombing, people-watching and relaxing after a night at a Cardiff bed and breakfast or lodge.
Witness Amazing Sun Sets
Sunsets are a special tradition for Cardiff-By-The-Sea residents and visitors. No matter what time of year, you’ll find dozens or hundreds of folks line up along the 2 miles of beach for perfect unobstructed views of the sun setting into the Pacific Ocean as joggers jog and bicyclists ride past. Time your dinner at restaurant row to coincide with the sunset.
Take A Hike
San Elijo Lagoon is one of San Diego County’s largest coastal wetlands. It lies along the Pacific coast between Cardiff-By-The-Sea and Solana Beach, extending inland to the community of Rancho Santa Fe. This mosaic of habitats supports more than 310 species of plants, 21 species of fish, 22 species of reptiles and amphibians, 24 species of mammals and more than 300 species of birds. The new visitor’s center is open to the public seven-days-a-week from 9 am to 5 pm, and is an excellent vantage point from which to explore the Ecological Reserve and its more than seven miles of hiking and jogging trails.
Relax In Your Own Private Hot Tub
The Inn at Moonlight Beach just 2 miles up Historic Highway 101 is a romantic seaside inn located on a hillside above Moonlight Beach. The four guest suites overlook the Pacific Ocean and the quaint beach town of Encinitas and recall a French-European Inn with spotless private baths, wi-fi internet, refrigerator and cable TV. Inquire about the Penthouse Suite with it’s own private balcony and private hot tub with a commanding view of sunsets over the Pacific Ocean.