Green City: Encinitas, CA

by Leesa Raab

We, the editors at, have decided to chronicle our travels and highlight some of the green aspects in various cities. Please feel free to submit city ideas and information for upcoming Green City features.

Encinitas is a coastal town just north of San Diego that seems to ooze a green lifestyle. Thanks to my best friend moving there a few years ago, I usually make it out there once a year to hang out for a couple days. And that’s just what you do when you’re there: hang out. It’s a super chill place where everyone seems to know everyone else. A decently small town with a population of almost 60,000, Encinitas is a popular destination for surfers and skaters–and with the paradise-like feel that the gorgeous weather combined with the sandy beaches and hovering palm trees offers, who can blame them.

One thing that really sticks out to me when there is how much everyone loves all things local. Other than a Starbucks, you won’t really find too many chain restaurants or shops in the downtown area. Everyone is happy to support the local restaurants–and great restaurants they are. Most of the restaurants tout local ingredients, from the authentic Mexican restaurant El Callejon (the BEST margaritas) to the Zenbu that serves up the freshest sushi (I still dream about the tuna sashimi drizzled in truffle oil), the cuisine is not to be missed. And if you’re a coffee lover like me, you have to try Surf Dog’s Java Hut.

When I’m in town, I usually crash with my friend and his roommate at their apartment. But for those of you without a group of moustached-man-friends to stay with, there are a couple of great spots to stay. I think this is the kind of town where a bed and breakfast is the way to go. According to the locals, The Black Orchid is one to consider, or Inn at Moonlight Beach, which lets you be right on the beach.

The weather in Encinitas makes it easy to want to be outside and active. Everyone there seems to be in to biking and surfing. In fact, Encinitas is home to Swami’s, one of the top five ranked places to surf in the world. Another point of interest is San Diego Botanic Garden, which is 32 acres of greenery and includes rare bamboo groves, desert gardens and a subtropical fruit garden. It’s the perfect spot to walk around and gain some peace of mind.

There seems to be a lot of local festivals and activities around town throughout the year. This includes the annual Poinsettias Festival that is held each November. And while a Poinstettias Festival may seem a bit random, ornamental flower growth, especially poinsettias, is the largest industry in town.

So if you find yourself in Southern California, Encinitas is definitely worth going to hang out in for a while. It’ll just make you feel a little greener.

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