Cardiff, also referred to as Cardiff-by-the-Sea, is a small beach community nestled between Encinitas and Solana Beach along the coast. Because the community is so small, it is actually considered a part of Encinitas. Interstate 5 runs through the center of this neighborhood, which is bordered to the east by Rancho Santa Fe.
The main attraction in Cardiff is Cardiff State Beach, which is frequented by swimmers and surfers. The beach is protected by lifeguards during the day in summer months, when sometimes the ocean is so crowded that swimmers are separated from the kayakers, surfers and other water recreation. When the tide is low, visitors to Cardiff State Beach can walk through the tide pools and explore some marine life.
When a Cardiff restaurant promises ocean views, it’s no joke. Dining venues like Ki’s, Charlie’s By the Sea, and Chat House are located on South Coast Highway 101, just steps from the beach.
Part of the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve falls within Cardiff’s borders. This area is one of only a few protected wetlands in all of San Diego County, and encompasses five miles of walking trails. There are 300 species of plants in the reserve and almost 30 different mammals.
Cardiff utilizes two different public school districts: Cardiff School District and San Dieguito Union High School District. Until grade 6, students attend Cardiff School and Ada Harris School. For middle and high school, students attend school through the San Dieguito Union High School District.
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