Cardiff State Beach


Just over 25 miles from the San Diego Natural History Museum, Cardiff State Beach is open year-round for terrestrial and marine recreation. Nestled between Encinitas (to the north) and Solana Beach (to the south), Cardiff State Beach is the long sandy strip along the Pacific Ocean bordering the west end of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, a 721-acre reserve providing important habitat for migrating and nesting bird species, plants, and marine life.

During low tide, visit Seaside Beach at the south end of Cardiff State Beach and explore the tide pools where you might find sea cucumbers and starfish. The north end of Cardiff State Beach is considered one of the best surf spots in San Diego and is a favorite to many local surfers. Beachcombing, surfing, and swimming along with its proximity to shops and restaurants makes the town of Cardiff-by-the-Sea and its beach a local favorite. Rip currents are common at Cardiff State Beach so be careful while swimming there.

Learn more about Cardiff State Beach and its neighbor the San Elijo Ecological Reserve by visiting the San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center in Cardiff-by-the-Sea where admission is free.

PHOTO CREDIT: George M. Fattell