Just half an hour's drive north of San Diego, Encinitas's shores draw surfers and sunset beachcombers.
Staff Tip: When visiting the beaches of Encinitas, make time to swing by Pannikin Coffee & Tea. Delicious coffee (and coffee-related beverages), oversize gluten-free muffins, a yummy breakfast burrito, and local art are just some of its perks. Started in 1970s at this location, it's a mainstay of San Diego coffee culture. Another delicious local joint is Swami's Cafe on Hwy 101. Enjoy a fresh juice and a hearty brunch surrounded by Encinitas residents in flip-flops and board shorts. —Carolyn Fox, Digital Director, National Geographic Travel
Read more of "In Praise of the American Beach Town" in the June/July 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here).