The tiny beach community of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, known simply as Cardiff, is located between Encinitas and Solana Beach in the Northern County Coastal region of Southern California’s San Diego County. Cardiff-by-the-Sea is bounded by the Pacific Ocean in the west, Encinitas both to the north and east, and a splendid beach and lagoon to the south. Because Cardiff-by-the-Sea is only home to about 12,000 people, it is operated as part of the city of Encinitas, despite having its own zip code unlike other communities that are part of Encinitas. The community is well-connected to the rest of San Diego County and California via the I-5 interstate and the coastal Route 101.
Cardiff-by-the-Sea was first founded in 1911 as a farming community but was quickly transformed into a residential community for new homes. Frank Cullen, the first developer of the area named the area after his wife’s hometown in Cardiff, Wales. This historical background explains why the streets in Cardiff-by-the-Sea bear names from the United Kingdom, like Birmingham Street, Oxford Street, and Manchester Road.
The Cardiff-by-the-Sea educational system is operated in conjunction with the city of Encinitas and includes the Cardiff Elementary and Ada Harris Elementary Schools located in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Students in grade six and above must make the short commute into Encinitas to attend middle and high school. Mira Costa Community College is located in Cardiff-by-the-Sea and is an affordable option for many residents seeking higher education.
While there is limited shopping in Cardiff-by-the-Sea due to its primary residential set-up, shopping can be done at the Encinitas Ranch Town Center or the Encinitas Marketplace, both of which offer excellent grocery stores as well as other restaurants, coffee shops, and stores. In Cardiff itself, there are a number of fun bars, cafes, and eateries that serve as local gathering places.
San Elijo State Beach that runs up and down the coast in the area. Cardiff State Beach is located just south of the actual town center. The beautiful San Elijo Lagoon and San Elijo Lagoon County Park are also located in Cardiff and are spectacular recreational areas. Ada Harris Park, Cardiff Sports Park, Cardiff Park, and Glen Park round out the community’s immediate recreational areas.