Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Encinitas, California

Coordinates: 33°1′15″N 117°16′45″W / 33.02083°N 117.27917°W / 33.02083; -117.27917
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Beach community of Encinitas
Sunset, Cardiff Beach
Sunset, Cardiff Beach
Coordinates: 33°1′15″N 117°16′45″W / 33.02083°N 117.27917°W / 33.02083; -117.27917
CountryUnited States
CountySan Diego
79 ft (24 m)
 • Total11,537
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area codes442/760
GNIS feature ID1656451[1]

Cardiff-by-the-Sea, usually referred to as Cardiff, is a beach community in the incorporated city of Encinitas in San Diego County, California. The Pacific Ocean is to the west of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, the rest of incorporated Encinitas is to the east and north, and a beach and lagoon to the south. With a population of under 12,000, Cardiff-by-the-Sea operates as part of the city of Encinitas, but unlike the other communities that comprise Encinitas, has its own ZIP code (92007). Cardiff is home to a few well-known surf spots, such as Swami's and Cardiff Reef.


The first inhabitants were the Native Kumeyaay Indians, referred to as the Diegueño by the Spanish. In 1769 the Spanish started colonizing this area with the construction of the Spanish Missions. The First Settlement was by the MacKinnon family in 1875. In 1909 this farming community began to be developed when Boston developer J. Frank Cullen purchased land from the MacKinnons. For $30 a lot, one could buy land and build new homes.[2] Frank Cullen's wife, Esther, a native of Cardiff, Wales (the capital city of Wales), persuaded him to name the community "Cardiff-by-the Sea", as well as naming many streets after other cities in Britain, such as the English "Birmingham", "Oxford", "Chesterfield" and "Manchester", despite heavy Spanish influence in the area.[3] In 1986, "Cardiff" joined with the nearby communities of Leucadia, Olivenhain, and Encinitas to form the incorporated city of Encinitas.[4]

The Cardiff Composer District includes twelve streets named for musicians. It was developed by music publisher turned film producer turned real estate developer Victor Kremer.

Cardiff became a destination for people seeking a tight-knit community to raise children, start a business and live in close proximity to the ocean. With a steady stream of newcomers, the years between the 1920s and 1950s saw a boom of housing and infrastructure development. [5] In 1985, the local family-owned Seaside Market opened its doors and has been a mainstay in the community ever since.


Cardiff is part of the city of Encinitas, which is governed by a five-member city council, elected at-large to staggered four-year terms at two-year intervals.

In the California State Legislature, Cardiff is in the 36th Senate District, represented by Republican Janet Nguyen, and in the 76th Assembly District, represented by Democrat Brian Maienschein.[6]

In the United States House of Representatives, Cardiff is in California's 49th congressional district, represented by Democrat Mike Levin.[7]

Cardiff School District[edit]

Cardiff has a school district consisting of two schools:[8]

Cardiff Reef[edit]

Cardiff Reef ("The Reef") is a popular surf spot in Cardiff that produces waves both professional and novice surfers enjoy year round. Surfing at The Reef has progressed from just a few surfers in the 1950s to become one of the most popular surfing spots in San Diego County.[9] Cardiff Reef and nearby surf spots, Pipes and Seaside Reef, are famous for their smooth and consistent wave shape.

When the tide is low, a flat rock reef is revealed that extends 50 yards from shore. Exploring these tide pools is a popular activity for visitors of Cardiff.


According to the 2010 Census, Cardiff-by-the-Sea is 72% white, 20% Hispanic, 3% Asian, 1% African-American and 4% Other [10]


Stand-Up Paddle surfers at Cardiff Reef in Encinitas, California.

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Cardiff-by-the-Sea". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2009-02-04.
  2. ^ Some Cardiff History Archived 2006-12-06 at the Wayback Machine from the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce
  3. ^ Tucker, Wehtahnah; Bujkovsky, Gus (2009). Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Arcadia Publishing SC. pp. 7, 15. ISBN 9780738569512.
  4. ^ Andreen, Mike (August 16, 2011). "Tale of Incorporation: How Encinitas Became an Entity Onto Itself 25 Years Ago". Encinitas Patch. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  5. ^ History of Cardiff Retrieved March 10, 2023
  6. ^ "Statewide Database". Regents of the University of California. Archived from the original on February 1, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  7. ^ "California's 49th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC.
  8. ^ "Cardiff School District". Archived from the original on April 24, 2010. Retrieved May 20, 2010.
  9. ^ "10 Best Surf Spots in San Diego". Retrieved May 22, 2012.
  10. ^ "Mapping America — Census Bureau's 2005-9 American Community Survey". The New York Times. December 13, 2010.
  11. ^ "IRONMAN TRIATHLON : Mark Allen Wins, Gains Confidence". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. October 8, 1990. Retrieved May 24, 2011.

External links[edit]