Cardiff-by-the-Sea, usually referred to as Cardiff, is a beach community located in the incorporated city of Encinitas. The Pacific Ocean is to the west of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, the rest of incorporated Encinitas is to the east and north, and a beach and lagoon to the south. The coastline is renowned for wide open sandy beaches, gorgeous cliffs and great surfing. There’s even camping, in a spectacular oceanfront setting—a favorite spot for many San Diego locals and visitors (who book well in advance!). Cardiff starts at the river mouth, flanked by San Elijo State Beach and Cardiff State Beach, and extends north to Swami’s Point in Encinitas. At extreme low tide, the reef reveals itself with tide pools, where plants and sea creatures reveal themselves for an up-close look. Cardiff is also home to the Cardiff Kook—a surfer statue that’s often criticized, and sometimes revered, as a parody of California’s iconic sport.
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