We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Encintas or Laguna for a 5 day beach vacation?

Portland, Oregon
3 posts
Encintas or Laguna for a 5 day beach vacation?

We are a family with a 5 yr old kid and are planning a 5 day vacation to the San Diego/SoCal area. We were going to stay in the Mission Bay area but after some research we would rather have a smaller beach town vacation and do a couple of day trips to the SD attractions. We want to hire a beach house that is either on the beach or a short walk and would also like access to restaurants, also within walking distance if possible.

We are torn between Laguna beach and Encinitas. I like the look of Laguna beach but its further from San Diego. In reality i think we'll only do a couple of day trips to SD so this may not be a problem. Can anyone tell me what Encinitas is like? I know Moonlight beach looks nice but what does the rest of the town have to offer in terms of hanging out, eating/drinking, local attractions?

Cardiff-by-the-Sea...
Level Contributor
8 posts
2 reviews
1. Re: Encintas or Laguna for a 5 day beach vacation?

Hi!

Having lived in Southern California in several beach towns since 1984 I have found that, in my opinion, the only true beach towns with that laid back, low key, Classic California ambiance are Encinitas and Cardiff. Both are set up so that all is within walking distance: beautiful kid-friendly beaches, groceries, restaurants, bike/boogie board/surf board/beach equipment rentals, playgrounds, bars, galleries, boutiques, yoga, spas, etc. Laguna has the inconvenience of a super busy, high volume traffic highway (the 101) between the beach and all of these things. In comparison, Encinitas does not have this; there is the 101 also but it is not high volume traffic as that mess is all handled by interstate 5 one mile east. If you can look at a map that shows these towns' layouts in comparison to the 5 you will understand. Thus, it is way more pedestrian-friendly and this lends itself to that beach vibe, cool buzz that you are looking for!

Btw Cardiff has Cardiff State Beach -- very groovy.

Level Contributor
39,337 posts
1,019 reviews
2. Re: Encintas or Laguna for a 5 day beach vacation?

We love Laguna Beach! Lots of great restaurants there also. :).

Anaheim, California
Level Contributor
25,711 posts
13 reviews
3. Re: Encintas or Laguna for a 5 day beach vacation?

I agree with Barbie, my choice would be Encinitas, I have stayed there multiple times and enjoyed it, also drive through the area on a regular basis.

sandiego.org/articles/north-county/encinitas…

Corona del Mar...
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
59,643 posts
440 reviews
4. Re: Encintas or Laguna for a 5 day beach vacation?

Having lived in many So Cal beach towns since the 1950's I think there are far more than just two towns that have the quintessential California beach town feel to them. I am not even sure Cardiff by the Sea is one. I think Solana Beach is one and that is the place I talked about in the other thread.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28926-i29-k736780…

I also think that Laguna Beach is very much a quintessential CA beach town.

Cardiff-by-the-Sea...
Level Contributor
8 posts
2 reviews
5. Re: Encintas or Laguna for a 5 day beach vacation?

We are all splitting hairs here! These are all great towns....

....just a matter of how important it is to you to not have a railroad or a really busy 6 lane road split the location of where you stay from the activities (restaurants, shops, groceries, bars, boutiques, yoga, galleries). In Encinitas it's all encompassing and not divided. Nicest ambiance, conformity, and cohesiveness as it relates to the this. It's the Sayulita,, Mexico of the States :)

Corona del Mar...
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
59,643 posts
440 reviews
6. Re: Encintas or Laguna for a 5 day beach vacation?

Mmmm in both Solana Beach and Encinitas, Coast Highway is four lanes and the train tracks are east of Coast Highway so all the shops and restaurants of Coast Highway are not effected by the train tracks in either city.

But if you were staying by Fletcher Cove in Solana and wanted to visit the Cedros Design District the train doesn't effect you since it is below street level there.

Now in Encinitas if you are staying in a place like Haciendas de la Playa which is east of the train tracks, you could be cut off from the main part of town when the train goes through, but since they are mostly passenger trains, they don't take that long.

Edited: 18 April 2014, 04:04
Portland, Oregon
3 posts
7. Re: Encintas or Laguna for a 5 day beach vacation?

Thanks for all your advice. Its been really helpful. In the end we went for Encinitas. But i'm sure any of the them would've been better than rainy Portland.

S P
San Diego...
Level Contributor
31 posts
10 reviews
8. Re: Encintas or Laguna for a 5 day beach vacation?

I lived in Encinitas for most of my life, so I may be biased. And as lovely as Laguna is, there's not much to do there besides the beach. Encinitas is close to Carlsbad, which is where Legoland is, and it's great for kids!

9. Re: Encintas or Laguna for a 5 day beach vacation?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 31 May 2016, 03:17
Get answers to your questions about Encinitas