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Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a classic southern California beach town along two miles of pristine beaches on the Pacific coastline. Residents take great pride in this community of breathtaking ocean views, gorgeous cliffs, a 900-acre ecological reserve and world-class surfing. Cardiff is located in Encinitas, bordering Solana Beach to the south and extending north to Swami’s Point in Encinitas. Locals and tourists alike enjoy this charming, beach town with quaint shops, delicious cuisine, an arts community, yoga studios, ocean sports, parks, a walkable downtown area complete with a linear organic community park and plenty of biking opportunities.
In 1911, the community was named “Cardiff” by a native of Cardiff, Wales. An English-born landowner who migrated to Cardiff named many of the streets after his native UK including Birmingham, Oxford, Chesterfield and Manchester. Cardiff became a destination for people seeking a tight-knit community to raise children, start a business, and live in close proximity to the ocean. As the community grew, infrastructure was shored up to diminish the eroding coastline and a state campground was built, taking a large swath of cliffs and sand dunes from the backdrop of Cardiff. More housing and office buildings came to Cardiff in the 1980’s and 1990’s and continued to shape the community. Seaside Market opened its doors in 1985 and became the local, family-owned market that has been a mainstay in the community ever since. Today, Cardiff is an eclectic mix of long-time residents, beach bums, business professionals (who spend their lunch-breaks surfing), young families and food enthusiasts. George's, the Chart House and the Beach House are all popular dining spots found on Cardiff’s Restaurant Row, located right above the beach on Highway 101. VG Donut & Bakery, a third-generation family bakery, is practically a religion for many Cardiff residents.
Cardiff has become a sought-after destination on the map, as surf spots from Seaside to Swami’s have received world-wide attention. Cardiff State beach has some of the best San Diego surf breaks around. Cardiff Reef and Suck-Outs on the north side of Cardiff State beach are the home breaks of professional local surfer, Rob Machado, and the favorite spot to many local surfers. Cardiff State Beach is a great place to try out stand-up paddle boarding with easy access parking and the beautiful San Elijo Lagoon just around the corner. Seaside Beach is located at the south end of Cardiff Beach and is home to great tide pools. Happy locals wander the pools at low-tide looking for starfish, sea cucumbers and other wonders of the San Diego tide-pool eco-system. Adjacent to Cardiff State Beach is the family-friendly San Elijo State Beach, located on a bluff right above the beach with sweeping ocean views. At the entrance of San Elijo State Beach is home to the Cardiff Kook - a surfer statue which has been much criticized as a parody of California’s iconic sport.