If you head north along the Pacific coastline towards Encinitas, you will travel through a picture perfect little coastal town called Cardiff-by-the-Sea.  Referred to as Cardiff by the locals, this is a quintessential beach town that is home to some of the nicest people and best surfers around.  With a population of just under 12,000 people, Cardiff went from being a farming area to a full community in 1911 by a developer, Frank Cullen, who began to build new homes.  Historians say he named the community after his wife’s hometown of Cardiff, Wales.  Another little tidbit that is interesting to note is that Cardiff is part of Encinitas even though it has its own zip code.

Highlights of Cardiff

The beaches around Cardiff are always the first point of conversation.  These are undoubtedly some of the best beaches for families. Residents and visitors love spending time on San Elijo Beach and Cardiff State Beach. 

Like most “beach towns,” life in Cardiff revolves around the ocean, perfect year round weather, and outdoor activities.  This is a very popular surfing spot for the professionals AND “newbies.”  No matter what time of year, two things is certain in Cardiff….there are surfers in the water and sunbathers on the beach.   A favorite surfing spot is out from Cardiff Reef which pops up at extreme low tide and extends out about 50 yards.  From there, the waves are perfect for all surfers.  Another surfing hot spot is Swami where there are perfect waves over and over again.

Another popular area around Cardiff is the San Elijo Lagoon which is one of the few remaining coastal wetlands in the San Diego area.  Here, people can hike through trails, visit the Nature Center and get a firsthand look at various plants, animals and cool birds that are indigenous to the area.

Not only do the residents and visitors in Cardiff enjoy outdoor activities, they enjoy venturing through the downtown area’s quaint shops and cafes.  A very popular area is Restaurant Row which is located on Hwy 101 just above the beach and just south of the San Elijo Lagoon river mouth. 

There are several annual events in Cardiff that are very popular with residents.  Some of the most popular are the Taste of Cardiff which is held in May, The Cardiff School’s Rummage Sale and the Cardiff Ice Cream Social.

The People of Cardiff

Cardiff is home to some of the utterly nicest people in the world.  But if you think about it, when living in such a cool town, why would anyone not be nice!?   The population is about 10,000 with a median age of about 37 years old.  As for income, the average household income is about 63,000.  While many of the residents work in the professional sector, they enjoy the beach lifestyle and when they get home, they are quick to don shorts and flip flops. 

Neighborhoods in Cardiff

While Cardiff by the Sea is technically a community within Encinitas, it still has neighborhoods within it.  There is a good mix of single family homes and condominiums and townhomes which appeal to several types of buyers.  Most of the homes have beautiful, panoramic views of the Pacific coastline or the San Elijo Lagoon.   Park Place Bluffs and Cardiff Cove feature condos that start in the high $200s.  As for single family homes, neighborhoods like the Composer and Walking District have list prices starting in the upper $400s. Oceanfront homes are priced from over $1 million. 

A New Lifestyle

The best thing about living in a beach town is how your whole lifestyle changes…for the better.  That laid back attitude takes over and your whole demeanor changes.  It is like nothing you can explain until you live this life.  We like to call it a flip flop lifestyle because everyone is a little more laid back once they put on flip flops!