Photo courtesy of Lisa Pawlak
Kid-friendly beaches, spectacular sunsets, idyllic parks, popular eateries and fun-filled annual traditions are just some of the highlights of Encinitas, a family-centric North County community. Spend the day and plan to hit a few of these hotspots!
San Diego Botanic Garden
Experience flora and fauna illuminated by more than 125,000 sparking holiday lights at the annual Garden of Lights event. Fun, winter activities delight the whole family.
Dec. 5–23 & 26–30, 5–9 p.m.
230 Quail Gardens Dr.
Thousands turn out for this neighborhood extravaganza that includes a tree lighting ceremony, local marching bands and dozens of fantastic floats. Consider making reservations for an outdoor table at Via Italia Trattoria—it’s right on the parade route!
Saturday, Dec. 5: 5 pm tree lighting, 5:30 pm parade
Coast Hwy. 101, between D & J Streets
St. Tropez Bakery & Bistro at the Lumberyard
Breakfast out this weekend, anyone? Enjoy good food, friendly service and live music on the patio while your kids splash in the fountain of this popular brunch spot. This is one of many excellent neighborhood brunch spots along the coastal corridor.
947 S. Coast Hwy. 101, Ste 103
Encinitas Public Library
The fantastic coastal views are reason enough to stop in, but there are also plenty of family-friendly events offered monthly. Find everything from infant massage and toddler time to musical performances and movies. Bonus: there’s even an outdoor coffee cart.
540 Cornish Dr.
Some say it’s the heart of the city! Spend the day swimming, surfing or simply lounging on this wide, sandy beach. Facilities include a snack bar, restrooms and a playground. Hosts Encinitas’ Junior Lifeguards programs every summer.
400 B St.
Cottonwood Creek Park
Kids will work up an appetite exploring this park’s unique rock-climbing wall and creekside trail. This quiet gem is away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, but close enough to walk for a slice of pizza at Manhattan Giant or a sit down meal at Leucadia Pizzeria (hint for kids: ask for some dough to play with while you wait!)
95 N. Vulcan
Magdalena Ecke YMCA’s Family Swim
Kids love the popular Splash Pad; the Y also features instructional and competition pools. The retractable roof allows for year-round swimming. Family swim is free to members or available for a day-use fee. Check schedule for hours.
200 Saxony Rd.
Encinitas Community Park
This new park has a 13,000-square-foot skate park, 2-acre dog park, large playground and an abundance of athletic fields, open space and paved walking paths. It’s a great spot for family picnics and fun-filled afternoons.
425 Santa Fe Dr.
San Elijo Lagoon and Nature Center
Discover more than 700 species of plants and animals as you explore these coastal wetlands. Check their schedule for family fun days, storytimes and special events.
2710 Manchester Ave.
San Elijo State Beach Campgrounds
Camp out on the bluffs, right above the beach. This staycation offers unlimited access to sun, sand and surf!
2500 S. Coast Hwy.
VG Donut & Bakery
VG stands for Very Good—and you won’t be disappointed. Get in line early for the best selection of tasty treats. Then, head over to the beach to wash off those sticky, donut-y hands!
106 Aberdeen Dr.
Lisa Pawlak is an Encinitas mom who loves to explore the community's natural beauty, delicious restaurants and fun-filled events with her family.
Published December 2015