The San Diego beach town of Cardiff-By-The-Sea is different from other Southern California beach communities. How so? Well, there’s our “Magic Carpet Ride” sculpture, a vast ecological reserve with hundreds of species of birds, the vast Pacific Ocean, incredible warm and sunny sandy beaches, a “restaurant row” with some of the best food in San Diego, hotels in Cardiff lodge bed and breakfasts and great surf breaks.
1. Take A Good Close Look At Our “Magic Carpet Ride”
Surfing is the essence of Cardiff By The Sea. You’ll undoubtedly see our $120,000 surfing statue across Highway 101 from the Cardiff Lodge overlooking Cardiff Reef Surfing Beach – a young surfer boy with his arms stretched out, ostensibly riding a wave, entitled “Magic Carpet Ride.” Surfers have been critical of the statue since it was unveiled in July, 2008 complaining that the pose of the bronze figure does not capture the essence of a true surfing move. Called dorky by some, too feminine by others, pranksters have since been dressing the statue in pink skirts, chains, bikini tops, biking bottoms, flowers, lingerie and fairy wands. What do you think?
2. Watch The Surfers At Cardiff Reef
Cardiff Reef is a popular stretch of sandy beach at the mouth of San Elijo Lagoon, just north of Restaurant Row. It’s popular with long-boarders because it has a soft sand bottom and slow, mushy waves. Spectators line up to enjoy the views from the State Beach parking lots and picnic tables. The rocky reefs along Cardiff sport a great selection of surfer talent from beginners to seasoned pros. If you’re staying at one of the nearby bed and breakfasts in Cardiff, have lunch on the outdoor patios of The Beach House or The Chart House restaurants, and you’ll have the best view in the house.
3. Take A Hike in an Ecological Reserve
San Elijo Lagoon is San Diego County’s largest coastal wetland with a brand new visitor’s center that’s open 7-days-a-week. The visitor’s center is an excellent base from which you can explore the Ecological Reserve and its more than seven miles of hiking and jogging trails. Extensive habitat supports hundreds of species of plants, dozens of species of fish, reptiles, amphibians and mammals and more than 300 species of birds.
4. Go Boogie-Boarding Or Body-Surfing
Cardiff State Beach is a wonderful place to work on that tan, enjoy a picnic, watch surfers, or try your hand at surfing, boogie-boarding or body surfing. It has been called the Riviera of the West because it has a gently sloping sandy beach with warm water. The site offers swimming, surfing and beachcombing, people-watching and relaxing after a night at a Cardiff lodge bed and breakfast.
5. Relax In Your Own Private Hot Tub
The Inn at Moonlight Beach is a Bed and Breakfast Inn just 2 miles north of Cardiff. Trip Advisor calls it “a romantic seaside inn located on a hillside above Moonlight Beach.” The Inn overlooks the Pacific Ocean and the little beach town of Encinitas. Be sure to ask about the Penthouse Suite with it’s own balcony with private hot tub and a phenomenal view of the Pacific Ocean.
The author retired in 2008. He spends months each year at sea. Photographing seabirds is a passion. He and his wife own a B&B in Cardiff By The Sea. Visit: Ocean Hotels in Cardiff or Cardiff Bed & Breakfasts.