A Charming, easygoing, and peaceful small surf town.

Welcome to Cardiff

A peaceful and charming surf town with an easy-going vibe
Cardiff by the Sea, called Cardiff by the locals, is a charming, easygoing, and peaceful small surf town where those looking for a less crowded atmosphere may enjoy the isolation. Two beaches, the San Elijo State Beach and the Cardiff State Beach span the entire coast of this community, which is part of the city of Encinitas.

The first settlers to the area, the McKennon Family, came to Cardiff in 1875. In 1910, Boston Developer Frank Cullen visited the area and purchased land to divide into lots to sell for building homes. His wife persuaded him to name the town Cardiff by the Sea after his native Cardiff in Wales. Largely a farming community at the beginning of the 20th century, Cardiff has remained a small community attracting both professional and novice surfers to its popular beaches. In addition to the less crowded beaches, nature abounds with the lagoon to the south.

Cardiff’s location between Encinitas and San Diego provides plenty of places for residents to visit. It also makes commuting easy and many residents work for private companies in the surrounding cities.

What to Love

  • Beautiful coastal bluffs overlooking the long stretches of white sand
  • An array of outdoor activities available
  • Snorkeling along the 50-foot reef during high tide
  • Wetlands 
  • Peaceful and easy-going community
  • Surfing

Local Lifestyle

While Cardiff is a popular summer destination, residents have plenty to enjoy year-round. Skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating are some of the popular winter activities that are fun for all ages.

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

Restaurants in Cardiff provide a wide variety of dining options to enjoy. Pipes Cafe, with its surfer theme and espresso bar, offers breakfast items like pancakes and burritos and burgers for lunch. Pacific Coast Grill will satisfy seafood lovers with its wide range of seafood while spicy offerings like kung pao and short ribs allow diners to experience new flavors. Italian and fresh seafood is available at Cicciotti's Trattoria Italiana & Seafood where diners enjoy a laid-back and sophisticated atmosphere overlooking the beach. On weekends, Cicciotti's provides live music to complement the dining experience.

Shoppers enjoy the experience at Cardiff Town Center with its unique independent retailers and big-name brands. The Edwardian and Victorian arcades provide a unique shopping experience with a wide variety of cafes and small independent boutiques.

Things to Do

State parks are a popular destination in Cardiff. San Elijo State Beach offers everything a beachgoer would want with convenient access to the reefs for snorkeling and diving. With a nearby campground, beachgoers can stay close by while also enjoying swimming and surfing on this narrow stretch overlooked by the bluffs.

Fletcher Cove Beach Park, in nearby Solana, offers easy public access to its 1.7-mile stretch of beach. Visitors may enjoy body surfing, fishing, swimming, or walking and jogging along the beach. Glen Park is part of the Encinitas Park System and also offers activities for those who enjoy participating in sports. In addition to picnicking facilities, residents have access to non-reservable basketball, tennis, volleyball, and horseshoe courts.

Referred to as part of the "Riviera of the West," Cardiff State Beach offers beachcombers, swimmers, and surfers a chance to enjoy the warm water and a gorgeous sandy beach. Dog lovers also enjoy this pet-friendly area.


Cardiff belongs to the Cardiff School District and contains two award-winning schools:

Overview for Cardiff, CA

11,271 people live in Cardiff, where the median age is 44 and the average individual income is $69,977. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.


Total Population

44 years

Median Age


Population Density Population Density This is the number of people per square mile in a neighborhood.


Average individual Income

Around Cardiff, CA

There's plenty to do around Cardiff, including shopping, dining, nightlife, parks, and more. Data provided by Walk Score and Yelp.

Somewhat Walkable
Walking Score
Somewhat Bikeable
Bike Score

Points of Interest

Explore popular things to do in the area, including A & R Health, The Euphoria Effect, and Pegasus Pilates.

Name Category Distance Reviews
Ratings by Yelp
Active 2.15 miles 5 reviews 5/5 stars
Active 2.15 miles 9 reviews 5/5 stars
Active 1.87 miles 14 reviews 5/5 stars
Active 3.09 miles 25 reviews 5/5 stars
Active 1.98 miles 8 reviews 5/5 stars
Active 2.25 miles 16 reviews 5/5 stars

Schools in Cardiff, CA

All ()
Primary Schools ()
Middle Schools ()
High Schools ()
Mixed Schools ()
The following schools are within or nearby Cardiff. The rating and statistics can serve as a starting point to make baseline comparisons on the right schools for your family. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.
School rating
Ada W. Harris Elementary
3rd - 6th
K - 12th
K - 2nd
No rating available

Demographics and Employment Data for Cardiff, CA

Cardiff has 4,238 households, with an average household size of 3. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. Here’s what the people living in Cardiff do for work — and how long it takes them to get there. Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau. 11,271 people call Cardiff home. The population density is 6,357.34 and the largest age group is Data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau.


Total Population


Population Density Population Density This is the number of people per square mile in a neighborhood.


Median Age

53.68 / 46.33%

Men vs Women

Population by Age Group


0-9 Years


10-17 Years


18-24 Years


25-64 Years


65-74 Years


75+ Years

Education Level

  • Less Than 9th Grade
  • High School Degree
  • Associate Degree
  • Bachelor Degree
  • Graduate Degree

Total Households


Average Household Size


Average individual Income

Households with Children

With Children:

Without Children:

Marital Status


Blue vs White Collar Workers

Blue Collar:

White Collar:

Commute Time

0 to 14 Minutes
15 to 29 Minutes
30 to 59 Minutes
60+ Minutes
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