After a great and sorely needed night of sleep in an amazing beachside condo (“Thank you” to Rorie’s brother Jeff and sister-in-law Pam, who let us use their fabulous place in Solano Beach, pop. 12,857).
The town is surrounded by vistas of rocky cliffs and endless ocean. Notice how many steps you need to go down to get to the beach. This is the view from our “backyard”.
With the Pacific Ocean at our back door, shopping and restaurants at the front, and the gorgeous Fletcher Cove Community Park down the street, we couldn’t have found a better home base for our tour of SoCal beach communities. They even put out the welcome sign.
Birds of Paradise taking flight outside our beach condo “roost”.
Solano Beach’s Fletcher Cove Community Park sits high above the Pacific Ocean. Parents…keep a close watch on your kids!
Surfer dudes and dudettes enjoying some fun in the sun.
Cool local restaurants are around every corner. Bart loved this hidden gem.
Right down the road from Solano Beach is the seaside city of Del Mar (pop. approx. 4,311). It has fabulous beaches and a pedestrian-friendly lifestyle. It’s also one of only a few U.S. locations where the rare, endangered Torrey Pine trees grow.
Del Mar is also home to a world-famous thoroughbred racetrack.
When it opened in 1937, crooner and actor Bing Crosby was at the gate to personally greet the fans. He loved the ponies and his association with the racetrack brought it many celebrities during its early years. The races are named Bing Crosby Season.
At the northern end of Del Mar, Scripps Bluff has amazing views of the San Diego coastline. Locals come here to to train by running up and down the endless steep wooden stairs from the beach to the Preserve. We were exhausted just watching them. It’s Mother Nature’s version of the Stairmaster.
Cardiff-by-the-Sea (approx. pop. 11,537) in Encinitas borders Solano Beach but has a completely different “vibe”. Cardiff Reef (“The Reef”) is a surfing hot spot producing waves that excite the pros and newbie surfers. They were out in force the day we were there, riding the waves.
Continuing our ride North on the Pacific Coast Highway (Route 101) we stopped in the town of Carlsbad, a seaside resort city on a 7 mile stretch of the Pacific coastline. Spa-goers have flocked here since the 19th century when it’s mineral spring was discovered. Bart loved the idea of relaxing in soothing mineral water, Rorie…not so much.
Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa
Carlsbad Village is jam packed with shops, galleries and restaurants. Our Visa card is starting to warp from all the use at these great stores.
There was no way we were going to pass by this “everything is chocolate” shop without going in.
Our coastal cruisin’ was a great way to explore the beach towns of Southern CA. Now it’s time to head north on the Pacific Coast Highway and explore what’s going on in small towns and vineyards. But first, the 405 Freeway. Oy.