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Explore Charming Cardiff-by-the-Sea

The Cardiff coastline is known for its wide-open sandy beaches, gorgeous cliffs, great surfing, swimming camping, and beachcombing. Flanked by San Elijo State Beach and Cardiff State Beach, the quaint town extends north to Swami’s Point. But there is much more to Cardiff than the beach! San Elijo Avenue is Cardiff’s business hub with many unique local shops and restaurants.
Pipes Café has been serving up hearty breakfasts and lunches since 1995. Known for their large portions, this funky beach café has some of the best breakfast burritos around and is a great place to chat up the locals about surf conditions and hidden gems.
Craving something sweet? Stroll a block to grab a treat from VG Donut & Bakery. VG (short for “Very Good”), is a local’s favorite bakery guaranteed to satisfy a sweet tooth. The quick-moving line that extends out the doors daily is proof that VGs is more than a bakery– it’s an institution. With donuts in hand, head across the parking lot to grab a cup of steaming goodness at Bump Coffee, a locally-based, community-driven coffee company with a focus on organic, shade-grown coffee.
Now that you’re fueled up, you can get your steps in at the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve & Nature Center and explore this beautiful intersection of land and ocean, a 979-acre reserve that is one of San Diego’s largest wetlands. Interactive exhibits interpret the history and development of the ecological reserve, as well as the plants and animals that thrive in this estuarine environment.  Twice daily, incoming tides cover much of the landscape with salt water, as it ebbs, mudflats are exposed and rich with invertebrates, providing food for shorebirds and ducks. The environment creates a haven for bird life, making San Elijo Lagoon one of the best bird-watching locations in the coastal region of the county.
There are also 7 miles of easy-to-moderate trails to explore including the slots of Annie’s Canyon. Trails connect wetland habitats of coastal strands, salt marsh, freshwater/brackish marsh, riparian, and coastal sage scrub which is a habitat to some of Southern California’s most endangered species. After exploring the Reserve, for an extra special experience and before heading back to Cardiff, you can walk under the
the span of Interstate 5 on the newly built pedestrian bridge for a panoramic view of the wetlands to the ocean. 

Enjoy your day in charming Cardiff-by-the-Sea, one of nature’s unique hidden gems!

Laura Charlton
Author: Laura Charlton

Laura is the owner of Laura Charlton PR, a boutique public relations firm based in the San Diego area. With extensive experience working within the music, travel, entertainment, non-profit, education and consumer lifestyle industries, and for companies such as Disney, Make-A-Wish and the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, Laura brings more than 25 years of experience in corporate and consumer public relations, media relations and public affairs to her clients.

Picture of Laura Charlton

Laura Charlton

Laura is the owner of Laura Charlton PR, a boutique public relations firm based in the San Diego area. With extensive experience working within the music, travel, entertainment, non-profit, education and consumer lifestyle industries, and for companies such as Disney, Make-A-Wish and the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, Laura brings more than 25 years of experience in corporate and consumer public relations, media relations and public affairs to her clients.

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