Welcome To


A classic seaside experience.


Welcome to Cardiff-By-The-Sea

A charming coastal community nestled by the ocean.

Located north of San Diego, this quaint beach town is known for its pristine white beaches, rich history, and friendly residents. Cardiff-by-the-Sea is a community nestled within Encinitas with its own zip code. The town offers residents an authentic and classic seaside experience with strong ties to surfing culture. Swami’s and Cardiff Reef are particularly popular surf spots, attracting both locals and visitors.

Cardiff was founded by J. Frank Cullen, a painter from Boston who later became a developer, who purchased the land in the early 1900s. The land was originally proposed for farmland until Mr. Cullen started selling off building lots. The town was allegedly named “Cardiff” after the Wales city in his wife’s native homeland.

Cardiff is known for its stunning beachfront homes with picturesque ocean views. The inland properties are a quick and easy drive from the beach. Here, you will find a wide assortment of housing styles, including modern, contemporary, and Spanish styles. Houses perched on the hills or with ocean views come with a higher price tag.

What to Love

  • Celebrate special occasions at Restaurant Row’s upscale eateries
  • Enjoy year-round whale watching
  • Top-notch surfing at Swami’s Reef

People & Lifestyle

Like many coastal cities dotted along the California coast, Cardiff is known for its easygoing yet vibrant environment. The town has a population of just under 13,000 residents, making it a place where people know each other and there is an overarching sense of community.

Families and working professionals make up the majority of the population here. If you love the laid-back lifestyle, panoramic ocean views, and mild year-round climate, then this neighborhood might be right for you.

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

There is always something to do and see in Cardiff, including a plethora of dining and entertainment choices. If you’re ready to shop ‘til you drop, then Cardiff is the place for you! Just a five-minute walk from the beach, the Cardiff Town Center is packed with an array of restaurants, boutiques, and high-end shops that have something for everyone. When it comes to dining options, there’s plenty to find here. Trattoria Positano has been serving their authentic Italian menu since first opening its doors in 1997. This family-owned restaurant is beloved by locals. For a date night out, head over to Cicciattis for an unforgettable culinary experience with scenic backdrop views. Fish 101 is another popular spot with locals, where you can enjoy creative California cuisine.

Things to Do

No matter what you enjoy doing, this coastal community has something for you. If you’re looking for an enjoyable night out, try The Kraken. This dive bar has live music, a dance floor, and pool tables. San Elijo Lagoon is a great way to spend the day, especially if you enjoy bird watching. This expansive, 979-acre ecological preserve consists of seven miles of trails. Keep an eye out for herons, ducks, egrets, and hundreds of other species. Cardiff State Beach offers plenty to do, from surfing to boogie boarding and picnicking in the sunshine. If you consider yourself a foodie, then you won’t want to miss Taste of Cardiff. This event celebrates culinary flavors in the community, along with live music and drinks.


Cardiff prioritizes student learning in its highly-ranked schools. Two of Cardiff’s most notable educational institutions include:

  • Cardiff Elementary School, K-3
  • Ada W. Harris Elementary School, 3-6

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