Cardiff-by-the-Sea, occasionally shortened to just Cardiff, is a charming and historic beach town located just north of San Diego. Sometimes considered to be part of Encinitas, this community boasts everything a vacationer needs to have an enjoyable trip. Here are 5 reasons you should stay and play in Cardiff on your next California getaway.
1. You can book a stay at Cardiff Vacations
Finding the perfect Cardiff by the Sea hotel can be difficult as there are many options such as hotels, motels, Airbnbs, Vrbos, and more. We stumbled onto a vacation rental by Cardiff Vacations and definitely recommend booking a stay there. These luxury beachfront rentals are centrally located, offer incredible amenities, and even have been featured in magazines such as San Diego Home/Garden and HGTV magazine. They offer three vacation rentals (the Penthouse, Parkhouse, and the Seacottage). We had the opportunity to stay in the Parkhouse and definitely enjoyed our time. I 100% recommend booking a stay here.
Additional Reading- Best Adventurous Things To Do In Oceanside California (Just north of Cardiff)
2. You can hike Annie’s Canyon
Annie’s Canyon was such a unique hike to find in the San Diego area. This slot canyon is rated as moderate and can be found about 5 minutes outside of Cardiff. Most of the hike is pretty easy besides one small section where the slot canyon shrinks and makes it difficult to shimmy through. Apart from that, I think it is a family-friendly trail that most can do. Here are the trail coordinates and directions.
2. You won’t be disappointed in the food scene
Foodies will rejoice in the food scene that Cardiff has to offer. You’ll be able to find basically any type of cuisine you’re craving while vacationing in this beach community. Here are my top three restaurants that I think you need to make a reservation at:
- Tower 13– This restaurant is a “beach/sports bar, owned by locals with an attitude that “when you’re here, you’re a local too”. I definitely felt that welcoming vibe while visiting and not to mention the food was outstanding! Along with the quality food, you’ll also be treated to a great ocean view.
- Waverly– At Waverly, you’ll find a full-service restaurant with a full bar & specialty cocktails. The atmosphere is fun and upbeat while the menu offers many choices. You won’t regret booking a reservation here!
3. Ki’s restaurant– I really enjoyed our time at Ki’s restaurant because of the laid-back vibe and the incredible ocean view. The breakfast choices were incredible but I was assured by a local that the lunch and dinner menus are just as good. Bring the family to this causal restaurant!
4. You’ll have plenty of beaches to choose from
Visit San Diego put together a phenomenal list of the best beaches in Cardiff that I’ve inserted below. My personal favorite was Cardiff State beach because it was family-friendly, within walking distance from Cardiff Vacations and offered incredible views. It was also great to watch the surfers embracing the ocean despite the cold water temperatures! If you have time, be sure to check out these other beaches while vacationing in Cardiff.
- “Cardiff State Beach and its two reefs create excellent breaks for surfing, while its kelp beds are well-suited for diving.
- San Elijo, the beach in front of the campground, is open for day use and is ideal for families.
- Pipes is a fun peaky surf break north of the campground, popular with swimmers, sunbathers and surfers alike.
- Cardiff Reef is a quaint beach park and surf spot on the south end of the campground where the cliffs end.”
5. You’ll enjoy shopping and locally-owned boutiques
I really loved the shopping scene in Cardiff because many of the stores were owned by locals! I also found out very quickly that everyone you met while shopping was incredibly friendly and welcoming to you as a tourist. You can find a full list of retail shops in Cardiff here. Additionally, if you’re into bringing home souvenirs, Cardiff 101 has their online store with options such as t-shirts, stickers, hats, and bags.
A big thank you to Cardiff Vacations and Cardiff 101 for hosting us. All opinions remain our own.