History of Encinitas


Location, location, location.


You’ve heard the mantra for years, but Encinitas residents know they are in the perfect locale. This beach city in the North County area of San Diego County is 25 miles north of San Diego and 95 miles south of Los Angeles. So it is right in the middle of it all! Encinitas was founded a century ago, and nearly 60,000 people call it home.


Five distinct areas make up Encinitas:


  1. “Old Encinitas,” which occupies the Highway 101 Corridor and parallels the gorgeous beaches and ocean: a mix of businesses and housing styles, with the Encinitas welcome arch (shown above) the famous surf break Swamis, and the early 20th century La Paloma Theater
  2. “New Encinitas,” which is centered on El Camino Real, and features a golf course, shopping and larger homes
  3. “Cardiff-by-the-Sea” is the southernmost oceanfront community, which includes the Lux Art Institute, and is made up of delightful, historic homes dotting the hillsides that overlook the sea
  4. “Leucadia” is best known for its huge eucalyptus trees that line the main thoroughfare on the Pacific Coast Highway: the community features art galleries, eclectic shops and restaurants and lovely single family homes
  5. “Olivenhain” (it means ‘olive grove’ in German) is on the eastern side, and as such is the most rural, which plenty of open horse country, green pastures and a slower pace of life


Generally speaking, Encinitas is bisected between a low-lying coastal ridge that splits Old and New Encinitas. It is rugged coastal terrain. In the northern part of the city, the coast rises in elevation and homes have spectacular views due to the many coastal bluffs.

If you are looking for a mild, Mediterranean climate, you can’t beat Encinitas. Our average daily high is a perfect 72 degrees, and the average low is 40 degrees. We get about 10 inches of rainfall a year, with the wet season occurring during the winter and spring.

Coastal North County earned a reputation as a party spot due to Prohibition. Back then, party goers from Los Angeles would drive down the coast and cross the border into Tijuana for their libations. On the way to and fro, they would stop in roadside towns and Encinitas became very popular. The popularity boomed in July of 1937 when the Del Mar Racetrack opened for business. Encinitas quickly became a glamorous hot spot.

The racetrack, and the more laid back lifestyle of Encinitas attracted many Hollywood stars like Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. It was much more rural then, and the stars could shoot on a hunting farm and cook their game over a bonfire that evening.

Another place popular with the locals was a motel complex called Leucadia’s Log Cabin Apartments. They were originally dingy motorcourts but the 4.5-acre property was rehabbed in 1962 and celebrities started to flock to the quirky place, particularly Sammy Davis, Jr., who liked to cook macaroni and cheese for the surfers who lived there and entertain them. Local historians say other notable guests include Desi Arnaz Jr., (who is said to have honeymooned there), Liberace and Bette Davis. It was the mix of glamour and quaintness that became a huge draw for the area, and it experienced a population explosion in the ‘70’s, after El Camino Real became a six-lane road and Highway 5 was built.

Here are a few events that make Encinitas a wonderful place to live.

    • April Spring Street Faire: annual two-day street fair, will be held April 28-29 featuring international food, children’s rides, four live entertainment stages and beer garden, as well as vendors showcasing arts, crafts, antiques and ethnic imports
    • Deep Pit BBQ, held the end of May at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum, 450 Quail Gardens Dr.


  • Classic Car Cruise Nights: Enjoy classic cars as they line Coast Highway 101 the 3rd Thursday of every month from May through September


  • Fall Festival: annual one-day street fair, held each November in downtown Encinitas
  • OktoberFest: held the third Sunday in September to coincide with the start of the Oktoberfest celebrations in Germany
  • Switchfoot Bro-Am: annual free surf competition and outdoor music festival usually held in early July at Moonlight State Beach, home of the world’s only Surf Jousting competition, along with several other competitive surfing events. All proceeds from the event go to local charities.


Encinitas is a fabulous community and at Richard Realty, we would love to show you just the right home to call your own!