The coastal town of Encinitas within San Diego County is known for its small-town spirit and love for surfing. The population reached over 10,000 by 1980, which was double compared with a decade earlier as the tourism industry was ramped up. Today it's home to over 60,000 residents. Here are some of the reasons why locals and visitors embrace this beach town off Highway 101.
The ocean is the main attraction to Encinitas on its west side. The east side is more rural in the Olivenhain areas, one of the city's five main communities. Another community known as Leucadia is home to art galleries and beaches known as Beacons and Grandview. Cardiff-by-the-Sea is the city's most southern community with plenty of breathtaking ocean views. Several streets in this community are named after British cities and classical composers. Encinitas covers about 25 miles along I-5, making it a convenient easy-to-find getaway for visitors. Local parks cover over 150 acres, which includes 19 unique community parks, including an off-leash dog park. Three sports parks include baseball fields.
The neighborhood known as Old Encinitas comprises homes and establishments such as Swamis and the La Paloma Theater, which was built in the early 1900s. A low coastal ridge separates this historic area from New Encinitas, which includes a golf course and several shopping centers. One of the critical reasons why Encinitas is considered a top surf spot in Southern California is its consistent waves.
History of Encinitas
Encinitas was incorporated as a city in 1986 after various communities came together to support the move. The measure won with over 69 percent voter approval. Those communities consisted of Old Encinitas, the new Village Park area, Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the-Sea and Olivenhain. Today each of those communities still retains its unique identity.
The Encinitas Preservation Association is a non-profit organization that traces the history of the region back to the Native American tribes of the San Dieguitos, the La Jollans and the Dieguenos. The Dieguenos worked with Spain to build Spanish Missions. In 1669 the Governor of Baja California named the area Encina Canada, which in Spanish means "hills of live oaks." By the early 19th century the area was called Encinitas, as the government of Mexico issued land grants for Mexican investors to develop as settlements.
The profile of Encinitas began to take shape with the arrival of Jabez Pitcher in 1881. Pitcher is considered the "father of Encinitas" by historians for developing 160 acres that encompass the current location of the Encinitas Civic Center. New railways helped attract new residents, particularly British spiritualists who founded Leucadia in 1870. Five years later the community of Cardiff was founded by the McKinnon family.
Developer J. Frank Cullen bought land in the San Elijo Lagoon area in 1909 to build streets and lots. Five years later Cullen named the town Cardiff-by-the-Sea after the city in Wales, UK. The next area to develop was Olivenhain which began to surface in 1884, overseen by a small group of German immigrants. Prohibition-era underground bars and the opening of Del Mar Racetrack in 1937 brought more interest to the region. For most of its early history, Encinitas remained a rural farming community that didn't have sufficient water until 1961.
One of the most legendary aspects of Encinitas history is that in the sixties it was a frequent getaway for Hollywood celebrities such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Betty Grable.
Schools and Raising a Family
Families looking to move to Encinitas to raise children have several choices of schools. The San Dieguito Union High School District is home to over 12,000 students. Several schools have top ratings for achievement, including San Dieguito High Academy. The school district is well funded compared with most of the state. Two elementary schools in Encinitas won awards in 2019 from the 7th Annual Civic Learning Awards, including Flora Vista Elementary School, where students are taught energy conservation and developing school proposals. Several other schools in the area have won awards for high academic test scores, civic awareness, and other criteria.
The Encinitas Union School District (EUSD) was founded in 1883 and has had a long history of academic achievement and innovative learning programs. The State Department of Education has recognized all nine elementary schools in the district as California Distinguished Schools. Ultimately, quality educators and campus facilities in Encinitas provide excellent educational opportunities for students in a socially conscious community.
Encinitas is a quiet and scenic coastal town well suited for raising a family or visiting as a tourist. Homeowners who want to exhibit more appreciation for nature can help build a stronger and greener community by learning about gardening from Lawn Love. Preserving natural beauty on Southern California's coastline is a worthwhile endeavor for residents and visitors.