Our accommodation for our Encinitas adventure was a retro renovated Avion trailer. We’ve long been intrigued by the “cool” factor of retro trailers—but not enough to undertake one of those projects ourselves. (Been there, done that with our ‘mid-century’ cottage in Ashland.) Just a block from the ocean in a quiet neighborhood, the Avion was excellently located for strolling the beach and walking to town. The trailer was beautifully renovated and made for a unique adventure—but neither of us would trade our new Arctic Fox for it. The outdoor private patio and gas fire pit were our favorite part of our accommodations, and we spent many evenings relaxing by the fire after a day of exploring.
We first visited Encinitas a dozen years ago while staying at nearby San Elijo State Beach (a good option for RV’ers). This time, with a longer visit, we had the luxury of discovering more of the charms of this bohemian beach town.
Here, the highlights of our stay in lovely Encinitas:
• The Beach: At low tide, you can walk for miles in the sand to beaches with inviting names like Moonlight Beach and Swami’s Beach. Spiraling up the cliffs, you’ll find steep stairways that lead to expansive views of the ocean and sunsets. (The easiest access point for Encinitas beaches is at Moonlight State Beach, where there’s also plenty of parking.)
• Self-Realization Fellowship Meditation Gardens: A peaceful sanctuary in the midst of Encinitas, this little gem is perched high on a cliff overlooking Swami’s Beach, with winding pathways through tropical foliage leading to gorgeous views. The gardens were created in 1937 on the grounds of the hermitage of the Indian yogi Paramahansa Yogananda, who introduced millions of Westerners to the spiritual practices of yoga and meditation. (The gardens are free and open to the public most days.)
• Yoga: Encinitas is a mecca for yoga aficionados—there are at least a dozen yoga studios within walking distance of downtown. One of the things I miss most in our traveling lifestyle is my twice-weekly yoga class. I bought a week’s pass for classes at Anahata Yoga Studio—it was the perfect complement to our laid-back time in Encinitas. The bakery across the street—Darshan—is pretty sweet, as well, with all organic offerings. Their motto: “Pastries To Reincarnate For.”
• Farmers’ Market: It’s a good one; lots of local produce, pastured eggs, and most everything we needed for cooking in the Avion’s little kitchen. The market is also a gathering place for the community, with music, local food vendors (sea urchin ceviche, anyone?), and just hanging out on the lawn. The farmers’ market takes place every Sunday, 10:00 am-2:00 pm at the elementary school.
• Downtown Encinitas: The lively, walkable downtown is lined with interesting small independent shops, galleries, cool street art (don’t miss the mosaic surfing Madonna) and good restaurants and cafes. We had excellent meals at both Solace and Q’ero Peruvian Kitchen. Solace is the sister restaurant to Urban Solace, one of our favorites we discovered during our stay in North Park.
• Belly Up Tavern: Not your regular bar, the Belly Up is a terrific music venue with awesome lineups and reasonable ticket prices (it has the reputation as San Diego’s best live music venue). Elephant Revival, one of our favorite indie-folk bands, happened to be playing while we were there and we managed to score the last two reserved tickets. (One caveat: Get there early and stake out a spot near the stage, or fork over the extra money for a reserved seat in the balcony so that you can see the performers. It gets crowded!)
• San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve: The largest coastal wetland in North San Diego County, San Elijo Lagoon has several miles of hiking trails and is home to more than 300 species of birds. The star attraction of the refuge is the light-footed clapper rail, a shy chicken-sized bird that has been on the federal endangered species list since the 1970’s. The birds have been successfully reintroduced to the salt marsh, and the trail through the marsh is a great place to spot them in the early mornings.
• The Coaster: The Coaster commuter train is an easy way to get around coastal California—it runs north and south through San Diego County, with eight stations between Oceanside and downtown San Diego. There’s a convenient station in the midst of downtown Encinitas.
We hopped on the Coaster one morning and enjoyed a relaxing ride along the coast to downtown San Diego—no driving, no traffic, no stress. It’s a short walk from the train station to the ferry landing, where we caught the ferry to Coronado Island for a day of exploring.
Coronado is a quaint village with absurdly expensive real estate, pristine beaches of crushed mica that sparkle in the sun, and the historic Hotel del Coronado, built in 1888 and designated a National Historic Landmark. The hotel has a colorful past that includes ghosts, scandals, royalty, and celebrities—according to local legend, the hotel was the inspiration for the Emerald City in L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz.
Next up: Ten Days In Palm Desert[portfolio_slideshow]