> Moonlight Beach – Encinitas

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Moonlight Beach, well, technically Moonlight State Beach, is a state beach (surprise) in Encinitas, California – but it is managed by the city.

You can find Moonlight, by exiting I5 at Encinitas Blvd, and driving west until you hit the Pacific Ocean (about 1 mile). You can find maps and tourist information here: Encinitas Travel Books

Moonlight Beach aerial view

Please visit the Moonlight Beach Facebook page or you can view the Moonlight Beach Facebook Page feed here on our site.

For locals, Moonlight is the secret beach of North San Diego County. It is big enough to hold events like surfing contests, but not so big that it can cater to large crowds like at Pacific Beach in San Diego.


It is popular

with both tourists, the annual Woody Car Meet,


Moonlight Beach volleyball

volleyball players (3 courts)

and the typical local, funky resident – below, with Moonlight Beach in the distance, singing the good-bye song to the Surfing Madonna. Yep, only in Encinitas.

It is one of the few beaches that has a bonfire pit. Oh, did I mention funky locals?

Some say that Moonlight Beach got its name because it is one of the few beaches in North County that has level (car) access, and not the 100’+ sand bluffs that make most beaches, like Beacon’s Beach, Stone Steps and Grandview, only accessible via a long steep stairway.

Moonlight Beach - D Street - Swamis

Legend has it that the level access was used by moonshiners to deliver their goods under the cover of night… thus, Moonlight Beach. Regardless, you can still find quite an array of alcoholic beverages on those hot summer days.

A Little More About Encinitas

At The Edge Of A Continent

At the edge of a continent, along the Southern California coastline, sits a town, Encinitas, that mixes “California Cool” with “California Hip.” When people outside of San Diego County envision a “real” Southern California town, they are seeing Encinitas. With an area of less than 20 square miles, Encinitas is the last hope and sanctuary for many “locals” who remember the avocado farms, funky Leucadia, surfing Swamis all alone and a friendly laid back attitude, dude.

How’s The Weather?

One more quick fact (or two) about Encinitas weather, since you asked… Temperature seldom falls below 40° or exceeds 85°. Average annual high temperature is 72 degrees. Yearly rainfall is 9-11 inches. Yeah, paradise in America.

What Does The City of Encinitas Say?

Located along six miles of Pacific coastline in northern San Diego County, Encinitas has an approximate population of 60,000+ and is characterized by coastal beaches, cliffs, flat-topped coastal areas, steep mesa bluffs and rolling hills. Our city was incorporated in 1986, drawing together the communities of New Encinitas, Old Encinitas, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Olivenhain and Leucadia.

There is a significant flower growing industry in the City and many people claim that Encinitas is the Flower Growing Capital. As the City has developed, it has grown up around the pre-existing flower growers. Quail Botanical Gardens is a beautiful oasis to visit with an Amazon Rainforest and the largest display of bamboo in the world. The gardens of the Self Realization Center are beautiful and sit overlooking the ocean in a serene garden-like setting.

Thanks to Kylie Reiter for the photo.

Got Golf?

Golf enthusiasts will enjoy our new Encinitas Ranch Golf Course, a championship 18 hole par 72 course with panoramic ocean views. This public facility has five tees available and can be enjoyed by golfers of all abilities.

Got Surf?

The beaches in Encinitas are outstanding. There are many stretches of beach that lie between Cardiff-by-the-Sea and La Costa. The surfing is unbeatable and many surf contests are held throughout the year in Encinitas.

Stonesteps Beach

Beacon’s Beach

 Just how did Beacons get its’ name?

Grandview Beach


Moonlight Beach

There Is A Downtown?

Downtown 101 is a coastal shopping district over 100 years old featuring historic architecture, quaint shops, sidewalk cafes, and restaurants framed by beautiful flower baskets. The organization Downtown Encinitas Merchants Association (DEMA) is a great resource for information on business in Encinitas.

Even Our Lagoons Are Great!

This place called Encinitas sits on the coastline of the Pacific Ocean and is embraced by the Batiquitos Lagoon to the north and the San Elijo Lagoon to the south. The San Elijo Lagoon Reserve is the largest coastal wetland in San Diego County and is home to nearly 300 different bird species throughout the year.

The Encinitas Chamber of Commerce is an informational site promoting Encinitas. The center directs visitors to local landmarks, restaurants, lodging and provides information on area demographics. Maps, publications, brochures, and souvenirs are available, as well as discounted tickets to Legoland, Wild Animal Park, and the San Diego Zoo.

History of Encinitas


Just What Makes Up Encinitas?

The City of Encinitas is now made up of five communities that take pride in their own distinct personalities. “Historic (Old) Encinitas” fills the Highway 101 Corridor that parallels the beautiful beaches and ocean. “New Encinitas” centers on El Camino Real (“The Kings Highway” founded by the early missionaries from Spain). “Cardiff-by-the-Sea” is made up of quaint homes dotting the hillsides overlooking the sea. “Leucadia” is famous for its giant eucalyptus trees that line the main thoroughfare on the Coast Highway. “Olivenhain” (which means “olive grove” in German) boasts plenty of open horse country, pastures, and a rural way of life.

Hey, We Are A ‘Big City’ Too

Paris has the Eiffel Tower, London has their bridge, but we have the Surfing Madonna…

Here are some recent postings about Moonlight Beach:

More Moonlight Beach postings.
You can also visit nearby Stone Steps Beach

Many tourists visit Encinitas and they buy a T shirt. You can buy an Encinitas t-shirt so you let the tourists know you were here first.

There are more Moonlight Beach videos here.

Visit the Moonlight Beach Facebook page.

Visit the other local Encinitas and Leucadia beaches:

Beacon’s Beach
Beacon’s Beach Facebook Page

Stone Steps Beach
Stone Steps Beach Facebook Page

Grandview Beach
Grandview Beach Facebook Page

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