Beautiful Encinitas, in northern San Diego county, is perched on the coastline about 30 miles from downtown San Diego. To get there by car, you would take the Interstate 5 north, or you could hop on the Coaster, a train that runs between San Diego's main train station and Oceanside (about 10 miles north of Encinitas). The Coaster only runs on weekdays with a limited schedule on Saturdays and no service on Sunday.

Encinitas has long been known as the "surfing mecca" of southern California. Today, it still retains some of that laid-back surfing ambiance, although this charming beach neighborhood is also equally well-known as a "training base" for many professional athletes, particularly triathletes who can run, cycle and swim year-round, thanks to the region's temperate climate. 

A good way to get in touch with the "flavor" of Encintas is to stroll along it's downtown thoroughfare, South Coast Highway. Here, you'll encounter a variety of novelty boutiques, antique stores, sporting good stores, surf shops and a wonderful variety of restaurants, ranging from upscale bistros to down-home diners. If you like vegetarian fare, be sure to visit "The Roxy". For under $10 you'll get  fresh, tasty salads and imaginative dishes that are hard to beat at twice the price. Another favorite is "The Siamese Basil", a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant that is big on taste.

A visit to Moonlight Beach is another highlight. This wide, sandy beach, at the bottom of a hill that gently rolls towards the Pacific Ocean, offers swimming, surfing and sand volleyball courts. The "moonlight" in the name of the beach comes from the fact that residents used to come to the area for  midnight picnics in the early 1900s.  On a sunny California day (and there are many!), a walk along Moonlight Beach, with it's palm-fringed cliffs is a wonderful way to enjoy the beauty of this region of the world.

Gardening enthusiasts will want to pay a visit to Quail Botanical Gardens, which features over 35 acres of exhibits, including rare bamboo groves, desert gardens, a tropical rainforest, California native plants, Mediterranean climate landscapes, the Undersea Succulent Garden, and a subtropical fruit garden.

A day-trip to Encinitas is well worth your time if you're visiting San Diego or surrounding areas. This coastal town's relaxed, friendly charm,  beautiful ocean vistas, and peaceful ambiance will stay with you for a long time to come.