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Cardiff-by-the-Sea, or Cardiff, starts at the river mouth, flanked by San Elijo State Beach and Cardiff State Beach, and extends north to Swami’s Point. At extreme low tide, the reef reveals itself with tide pools. What’s more, plants and sea creatures can be spotted for an up-close look.


San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve

Cardiff is also home to the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. The nearly 1,000-acre wetland boasts more than 1,000 species of plants and animals. Additionally, there are seven miles of trails for running, hiking, dog walking, nature photography, and solace. The lagoon system connects with the cities of Encinitas, Solana Beach and Rancho Santa Fe.


Cardiff Reef

Cardiff Reef is a popular surf spot with 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 the county. Cardiff Reef and nearby surf spot, Pipes, are famous for smooth and consistent wave shapes.


Swami’s Beach

The park at Swami’s Beach is a great vantage point for watching surfers with shaded areas to enjoy a picnic as well. When the tide isn’t too high, you can walk south into San Elijo State Beach. Walking north leads into a spot below the steep Encinitas bluffs called Boneyards. Several cafes and other restaurants are just a short walk north on Highway 101. There is a long stairway that descends the steep bluff from the parking lot to the beach.


Meditation Gardens

The gardens of the Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage offer a diversity of colorful plants, meditation nooks, koi ponds, and spectacular ocean vistas. The Meditation Gardens provide a unique inspirational setting to pray, study, meditate, or just sit quietly enjoying the beauty in nature.