Cardiff by the Sea

Stunning white-water views, hip and trendy restaurants, and an abundance of outdoor activities.


Welcome to Cardiff-by-the-Sea

A laid-back beach town with white water views and incredible surf spots
An unincorporated beach community in Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, or Cardiff to the locals, is a small beachfront community of about 12,000 residents. With stunning white-water views, hip and trendy restaurants, and an abundance of outdoor activities, Cardiff is a quiet yet exciting village tucked between Solana Beach and Encinitas.

What to Love

  • Camping opportunities right along the beach
  • Delicious restaurants for all palates and tastes
  • Family-friendly atmosphere with excellent elementary schools and small class sizes

Local Lifestyle

Locals of Cardiff enjoy a laid-back, relaxed lifestyle. From biking along the Cardiff Rail Trail to meandering the tide pools along the beaches with family members, Cardiff is an excellent location for families. The highly walkable town features premier restaurants and local boutiques, and residents can choose from oceanfront villas to larger single-family homes along the dunes. Cardiff-by-the-Sea is an idyllic location for those seeking a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Dining, Entertainment, & Shopping

If you’re feeling nostalgic and longing for your grandmother’s desserts, visit VG Donut & Bakery on Aberdeen Drive. Specializing in old-fashioned treats, VG’s Bakery features mouthwatering desserts made by the Mettee family. Now a third-generation business, locals flock to VG’s to curb their sweet tooth and chat with some of the friendliest bakers in town.
For all of your grocery and meal prep needs, visit SeaSide Market, the premier destination for quality food since 1985. Offering spectacular services, this family-owned grocery store is committed to the community and provides the highest-quality goods to the residents of Cardiff. If you can’t make it to the store, they also offer impeccable online shopping and catering options.
Ki’s Restaurant offers oceanview dining in a casual and fun atmosphere. Originally a juice bar in the ’80s, Ki’s now provides healthy breakfast and lunch meals in addition to awesome smoothies, juices, and desserts. They are also environmentally friendly, follow sustainable practices, and offer vegan and gluten-free menu options.
Indulge in unique Asian and SoCal-inspired American cuisine at the trendy oceanfront Pacific Coast Grill. Its vibrant and artistic atmosphere paired with delicious culinary creations makes for an excellent dining experience — it’s the place to see and be seen in Cardiff! Enjoy menu items like short rib empanadas, sushi rolls, coconut crab-crusted Mahi-mahi, and Hawaiian-style baby back ribs.

Things to Do

Cardiff is an outdoor lover's paradise, bursting with opportunities to enjoy nature. From state parks and preserves to campgrounds, there is something for everyone to explore in the Cardiff neighborhood. Visit the Encinitas Community Sports Park for multi-purpose fields and local sporting events and apply for a permit for a weekend camping trip at Cardiff State Campground along Cardiff State Beach.
One of the largest remaining coastal wetlands in San Diego County, San Elijo Lagoon State Marine Preserve provides natural wonders and recreational opportunities to residents and tourists of Cardiff. The 979-acre preserve is home to seven miles of accessible trails, abundant wildlife and offers the perfect location for tide pool exploration for children and families. Enjoy a stroll through nature and participate in one of their family-friendly nature scavenger hunts.
Open to people of all ages and abilities, the Cardiff Rail Trail connects the residents of San Diego to each other. With plans to link Oceanside to San Diego, the rail trail runs along San Elijo Avenue to Santa Fe Drive and is the spot for biking, running, or casual walks through the San Diego neighborhoods. 


Cardiff is served by the Cardiff School District, home to a few highly-rated schools. Top educational opportunities include:

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