The City of Encinitas is located in North San Diego County . The city was incorporated in 1986 and is now home to almost 82,000 residents. With a median household income of $93,500 it’s also one of the wealthier areas in San Diego County. In 2021, House Values listed Encinitas as the #1 place to live in “America’s Best Places To Live”.
The first people to settle in Encinitas were the Kumeyaay. Gaspar de Portolá, governor of Baja California, visited the area in 1769 during the Portolá expedition and met residents from the nearby Kumeyaay village of Jeyal or Heyal, near the San Elijo Lagoon. Portolá named the valley Los Encinos for the oak forest along El Camino Real, where there was also a village that was likely known as Hakutl in New Encinitas.
After Mexican Independence, land was granted to Andrés Ybarra in 1842 to build Rancho Las Encinitas in what is now Olivenhain and New Encinitas, from which Encinitas got its namesake. Encinitas is a Spanish name meaning “little oaks”.
The city was incorporated by 69.3% of the voters in 1986 from the communities of historic Encinitas, New Encinitas (Village Park, etc.), Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Olivenhain. The communities retain their identities and distinctive flavors.
Encinitas can be divided into five areas:
- Old Encinitas: a small beachside area featuring a mix of businesses and housing styles. Sitting along Coast Highway 101 (Historic US 101), the Encinitas welcome arch, the famous surf break Swamis, and the early 20th century La Paloma Theater are located here. Old Encinitas is divided from New Encinitas by a low coastal ridge.
- New Encinitas: a newer region which features a golf course, many shopping centers, and is composed of larger tract homes.
- Olivenhain: a semi-rural region in eastern Encinitas, composed of mostly single family homes, an active 4-H Club, and several private equestrian facilities. Olivenhain connects to Rancho Santa Fe via Encinitas Boulevard.
- Leucadia: a coastal community of the city. Leucadia features tree-lined streets and boulevards. The community features art galleries, unusual stores, and restaurants, along with single family homes. This also contains beaches such as Beacons and Grandview.
- Cardiff-by-the-Sea: Encinitas’ southernmost oceanfront community, which features streets named after British cities and classical composers, the Lux Art Institute, and the San Elijo Campus of Mira Costa College.
- April Street Fair: annual two-day street fair, held every April in downtown Encinitas
- Encinitas Bazaar Marketplace: a colorful, outdoor shopping experience
- Deep Pit BBQ: held the end of May at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum
- Encinitas Environment Day: held on the 2nd Sunday of June- environmentally-themed games and entertainment for families.
- Lima Bean Faire and Battle of the Beans Cook-off: held each September at the San Dieguito Heritage Museum, 450 Quail Gardens Drive
- Fall Festival: annual one-day street fair, held each November in downtown Encinitas
- OktoberFest: held on the last Sunday in September to coincide with the Oktoberfest celebrations in Germany.
- Classic Car Cruise Nights: classic cars line Coast Highway 101 in downtown Encinitas on the 3rd Thursday of each month, May–September
- The Wavecrest Woodie Meet: takes place once a year on the third Saturday of September at Moonlight State Beach. It is the largest rally of wooden-bodied vehicles in the world and it is free to the public and to participants.
- Wellness Week: annual week-long program of events and special offers designed to help people learn about and experience ways to improve their well-being
- Salute to Education: Encinitas Chamber of Commerce Salute to Education event that is held each year in June honoring local teachers and students for their outstanding efforts during the current school year. This event is hosted each year by Rancho Santa Fe Security Systems.
- Switchfoot Bro-Am: annual free surf competition and outdoor music festival usually held in early July at Moonlight State Beach, home of the world’s only Surf Jousting competition, along with several other competitive surfing events. All proceeds from the event go to local charities.
Education in Encinitas
Encinitas School districts
Visual Art schools
- California Institute for Human Science
- Mira Costa College District
- Mira Costa College, San Elijo Campus
- St. Katherine College
Encinitas High schools
- Grauer School (Private, college preparatory)
- San Dieguito Academy
- Pacific Academy
- Sunset Continuation High School
Encinitas Middle schools
- Diegueño Middle School
- Encinitas Country Day School (private Middle School)
- Grauer School (private)
- Oak Crest Middle School
- The Rhoades School (private)
Encinitas Elementary schools
- Ada Harris Elementary School
- Cardiff Elementary School
- Capri Elementary School
- Encinitas Country Day School (private)
- Flora Vista Elementary School
- Ocean Knoll Elementary School
- Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School
- Park Dale Lane Elementary School
- Paul Ecke Central Elementary School
- Rancho Encinitas Academy (private)
- The Rhoades School (private)
- Saint John The Evangelist School (private)
- Sanderling Waldorf School (private)