California has it all. It’s been blessed with a warm sunny clime, has natural beauty in abundance, including long stretches of beach, and is home to some of the most forward-thinking companies in the world. California exudes uncompromising quality yet does so in an effortless manner and its inhabitants enjoy a lifestyle that’s about as good as it gets. But where in California would be an ideal place to start living the life you’ve always wanted?
Cardiff: done the California way
Cardiff by the Sea, more often referred to simply as Cardiff, is a close-knit beach community that’s nestled on the California coastline and located just twenty-five miles north of San Diego.
Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the rest of Encinitas to the east and north, and Solana Beach to the south, Cardiff by the Sea is technically part of Encinitas, San Diego. However, Cardiff enjoys its own distinct identity and sense of community.
A brief history
The Kumeyaay natives were the first known people to inhabit Cardiff by the Sea. They knew they were onto a good thing because they stayed there for more than 10,000 years. It would later become a farming community for European settlers who recognized the potential of the land.
It was not until 1909, however, that the neighborhood began its transformation into a coastal retreat — a development spurred by Boston-based land developer and artist J. Frank Cullen who bought the land during that same year.
Present-day Cardiff by the Sea serves not just as a home to its approximately 11,500 residents, but also, as a vibrant getaway spot for visitors such as surfers and other beachgoers who wish to experience its laid-back and welcoming atmosphere, its pleasant and warm Mediterranean climate, and its outdoor attractions.
Diverse styles and culture
Perhaps due to its history and the community’s residents themselves, the architecture in Cardiff by the Sea is nothing short of diverse and colorful. This is especially apparent in the beach community’s Walking District, which has iconic row houses and other real estate properties built in different architectural styles, such as Mid-Century Modern, Spanish Mediterranean, Contemporary, Craftsman, and Colonial styles. Cardiff by the Sea’s Composer District features houses and other properties built in the Palladian, Prairie, and Farmhouse styles. The choice is there for any type of house that makes your ideal home.
Exclusive yet still affordable
With so much going for it, it’s not surprising that many prospective homeowners have made Cardiff by the Sea a prime location in their quest to land the perfect seaside home.
This stream of prospective homeowners has caused Cardiff’s real estate market to become competitive, with the median sales price for the community’s real estate properties now pegged at $1,717,551. This does make Cardiff by the Sea’s real estate properties more expensive than many other neighborhoods in California, however, Cardiff remains a viable location for many looking to enjoy a lifestyle in the United States that is unique.
The luxury real estate market in Cardiff is also extremely sought after with many buyers looking to acquire high-value properties, such as well-appointed mansions, lavish luxury condominiums, and beachfront estates and villas, as well as elegant townhouses and apartments.
A real estate hotspot, homes and other properties for sale in Cardiff by the Sea tend to get sold within 41 days after being put on the market. To get that edge over the competition when securing a property in Cardiff, would-be residents would do well to use the community’s local realtors, such as Mickey Booz, Tina Polansky and Associates.
Live comfortably by the seaside in Cardiff by the Sea
Cardiff is an exclusive neighborhood to live in, with Salary.com describing the area’s cost of living as being 34.5% higher than the national average. As noted on their website, area prices increased by 2.6% from last year, with the largest increases found in transportation, food, and housing. This is largely due to the area’s very competitive real estate and housing market. However, there are benefits that counter and even outweigh these increases.
There are plenty of job opportunities in the area, many of which are in the media, marketing, health, and tech industries. Companies such as QUALCOMM, the University of California-San Diego, the US Marine Corps and the US Navy, the Salk Institute, Apple, Nokia, and Sony Electronics are all major employers. These companies not only provide long term stability, some (Apple and Sony), are absolute leaders in their industry, they innovate and create jobs.
Safety, schooling, and getting around
Cardiff is a safe community, with its crime rate at 29.46 per 1,000 residents during a standard year, which is much lower compared to both the California state and national average. This is to be expected in a small affluent but open community. What your hard-earned dollars buy is not just the bricks and mortar of the house but entry into a lifestyle that’s safe, respectful of the environment, and welcoming to those that visit to taste the lifestyle you live every day.
The community of Cardiff is also perfect for families, with several top schools that parents and guardians can choose from. These include Ada Harris Elementary School, Cardiff Elementary School, and San Dieguito High School Academy, all of which are known for having excellent academic and extracurricular programs for their students.
College-age students need not travel far as well, as the San Elijo Campus of Mira Costa College can also be found in Cardiff. An excellent public community college that counts notable individuals such as actor Adam Brody and sportsman Kevin Towers among its alumni, Mira Costa offers associate’s degrees in art, the humanities, accounting and business administration, biotechnology, and computer science, among other fields.
Transportation is also one of Cardiff by the Sea’s draws, with the community boasting efficient railway systems for both passenger and freight trains and a host of other transport services managed by the North County Transit District. These services include fixed-route buses, as well as a new bus rapid transit system. In addition, the neighborhood is very walkable, with many of its attractions mere minutes away from each other.
Where and what can I eat in Cardiff?
California is known for its quality produce and cuisine culture, and some of the best restaurants and casual dining destinations can be found in Cardiff by the Sea.
Pipes Café, for instance, is considered to be one of the best breakfast places in the area, with many longtime residents singing praises for its sausage scrambles, burritos, and breakfast sandwiches.
Another must-visit food spot is Trattoria Positano. Beloved by locals and visitors alike, Trattoria Positano is known for its impressive menu of home-cooked, authentic regional Italian dishes, such as its Ravioli d’Aragosta, Branzino con Polenta, and Carpaccio alla Cipriani.
Find yourself craving street tacos and quesadillas? Head over to Pacific Coast Grill at Highway 101 to get your fill of savory seafood and meat dishes. Want even better news? Most of the ingredients they use are organic, sustainably-sourced, and free range.
Diners looking for a fine dining experience can book a table at Chart House. Located at Highway 101, this high-end restaurant is best known for its impressive selection of succulent seafood, juicy steaks, and delicious pasta.
Those looking for a delicious bite of authentic Americana should visit 101 Diner. An institution in its own right, 101 Diner boasts a menu filled with American classics such as scrambles, burgers, fried chicken and waffles, grilled sandwiches, and thick milkshakes, making it the perfect spot for some quality comfort food.
How about a sweet treat? Head on down to V.G. Donut & Bakery. Located on Aberdeen Drive, this charming pastry shop is loved for its mouthwatering selection of freshly-made donuts, as well as other pastries and baked goods, such as muffins, cookies, bread, desserts, and cakes.
Which spots should I visit in Cardiff by the Sea?
Given that Cardiff by the Sea is a coastal neighborhood, many of its attractions are geared towards surfing and the beaches. It really doesn’t matter if you’ve never surfed before as most of the surf spots in the area are beginner-friendly.
Cardiff Reef, for instance, is a popular surfing spot for surfers of all skill levels because of its smooth and consistent waves. According to surfing experts, this wave shape is caused by the reef itself: a broad, flat, seagrass-covered structure that extends 50 yards or a quarter-mile out to sea. This structure is often exposed during low tide and adds to the natural beauty of the location.
Another popular surfing spot in Cardiff by the Sea is Swami’s Reef.
Named after the guru Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, whose Self-Realization Fellowship ashram is close to the area, Swami’s is a major surfing spot and is known for having good swells and large waves during the winter months. The slight caveat is that this is a very popular beach, and it can get crowded.
As a testament to the quality of the waves at Cardiff by the Sea, many of surfing’s celebrated community are regulars in the area. Among them are surfer and Jiu-jitsu instructor Joel Tudor, surfboard designer Ryan Burch, and wave rider Mick Rogers.
Not only that, but surfing pioneer and Encinitas native Linda Benson — the first woman to ride the waves at Waimea Bay in Hawaii, as well as youngest contestant ever to enter and win the International Surfing Championship at Makaha 1959 — is also a regular at both Cardiff Reef and Swami’s.
Not quite ready to surf the waves?
Spanning 1000 acres, San Elijo Lagoon is one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands in San Diego, and is a popular destination for those who wish to explore California’s wilderness.
Fed by the Escondido Creek watershed and the Pacific Ocean, San Elijo Lagoon is home to more than 300 species of plants, over 20 species of fish, reptiles, and amphibians, more than 80 species of invertebrates, and some 300 bird species.
Another popular hiking spot is Tecolote Canyon, which is considered to be one of the larger urban canyons in San Diego. Spanning 6.5 miles, Tecolote Canyon is easy to navigate and is accessible all year round. Not only that, the trail is also bike and dog-friendly, making it popular with both bikers and dogwalkers.
A more challenging hiking spot in Cardiff is the Manchester Preserve Hiking Trail. A beautiful oasis in the urban landscape of Encinitas, Manchester Preserve boasts an extensive network of hiking trails filled with native vegetation. First-time visitors are advised to keep to established trails, however, as the Preserve is known for having varied topography. While a trail can start out with gentle slopes, it can lead to steep and very challenging spots.
Events and Socializing
This community likes to come together and everyone is welcome to observe and, of course, take part.
Cardiff by the Sea regularly hosts a variety of annual events such as Cardiff Kook Run, which is a 5k and 10K event. The course couldn’t be more picturesque as it winds its way along the coastline.
Another popular community event is Taste of Cardiff. An annual celebration, the event is known for bringing local food and drink retailers together into one lively festival that celebrates the best in local cuisine.
Some of Cardiff’s other festivals and events include the Cardiff Surf Classic and Green Beach Fair; the Dog Days of Summer event; and the Kringle Mingle, a popular community-sponsored event held by the residents during Christmas.
The city of Encinitas, meanwhile, has its own slate of annual events, such as the Classic Car Cruise nights during which classic cars are driven through Highway 101. It’s incredibly fun and very cool. They also have an Oktoberfest, and in keeping with tradition, it’s a raucous and merry party which is held every third Sunday of September. Expect live music, German food and drink, and a street craft fair, and tons of fun.
Your own place by the sea
Living by the beach has always been many homeowners’ dream, and it’s not surprising that Cardiff by the Sea — with its laid-back nature, rich history, and unrivaled natural attractions — is now one of the most sought-after beachside and coastal communities in Southern California.
That being said, it is a competitive market, paradise doesn’t come to everyone. What will get you much closer to sealing the deal is some help from real estate experts Mickey Booz, Tina Polansky and Associates.
One of the top producing Realtor teams in the United States, Mickey Booz, Tina Polansky and Associates have over 30 years of combined knowledge and experience in the luxury real estate industry, making them masters at navigating the ebb and flow of the housing market. Past clients have nothing but praises for the team with the majority citing the team’s integrity, honesty, and responsiveness as the reason for their successful transactions and dealings.
Affiliated with Coldwell Banker Realty in San Diego County, Mickey Booz, Tina Polansky and Associates have closed countless real estate transactions, making them leading authorities when it comes to selling and buying real estate in California.
In addition, the group has also been cited for its many achievements, such as being among the Top 11% of Coldwell Banker International Realtors, as well as their induction into the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing and the Million Dollar Guild.
Mickey Booz, Tina Polansky and Associates’ office can be found at 1472 Encinitas Blvd., Encinitas, CA 92024. For more information, and to check their updated real estate listings, you can call Mickey Booz, Tina Polansky and Associates at 760.505.5554 and 858.822.9459. You can also visit their website, https://www.mickandtinahomes.com/.