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Savannah, 5, left, and Daisy Alexander, 3, both of Encinitas, try their hand at sand castle building during the Moonlight Beach Bash on Oct. 7. Behind them artists create a sand sculpture. Photo by Promise Yee
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Encinitas named one of top 15 ‘under the radar’ cities

ENCINITAS — Sandy beaches, world-class surfing, a burgeoning culinary scene and a renowned botanic garden are all in Encinitas residents’ backyards every day.

Locals might take these amenities for granted. But one publication pointed to these as the reason Encinitas is one of the 15 “under the radar cities you need to visit.” published the article by Southern California-based travel writer Lily Rogers in its Viewfinder travel blog in September. Encinitas was named alongside cities like Amarillo, Texas; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Mystic, Connecticut; Sandpoint, Idaho; and Hampton, Virginia; each city being spotlighted for a certain type of visitor.

According to the article, Encinitas is the prime location for the “coastal curious.”

“This North County San Diego beach town is as picturesque as it gets,” the article states. “The locals are friendly, smile-and-wave types, and why wouldn’t they be? They live in paradise. We’ll be preaching to the converted once you get a glimpse of Moonlight State Beach, where surfing, swimming, and picnicking never looked so good, and sunsets are super vivid (tip: don’t forget to look for the elusive green flash).

“For more coastal charm, San Diego Botanic Garden introduces visitors to native and exotic plants in over 30 unique spaces,” the article continues. “Do not miss the Overlook Natural Area for telescopic ocean views from the top. For a taste of the sea, dine at Lobster West, one of the best seafood joints around, and wash it all down at Bier Garden of Encinitas, an utterly charming area favorite.”

Rogers said that Encinitas is under the radar nationally as people often pass it along I-5 headed south toward San Diego.

“Encinitas is a beachside gem that travelers may overlook for better-known San Diego to the south. But they shouldn’t,” Rogers said. “Cool boutiques, casual cafes, delicious restaurants, quintessential Southern California vibes, and, of course, great beaches, make this a place everyone should put on their list.”

Encinitas residents and stakeholders said they aren’t surprised by the recognition, but call it an honor nonetheless.

Angie Gallo of the Encinitas 101 MainStreet Association said the city’s low-key lifestyle is a major reason why people love it, yet it stays below the national radar.

“It is a quiet, artsy town filled with eclectic spaces and places to visit,” Gallo said. “We embrace our culture and lifestyle by living the dream here in Encinitas.

“The community has always been a surf town full of sunshine, beautiful beaches, specialty shops, fine dining and old school pubs that bring residents and visitors together,” Gallo said.

Mayor Catherine Blakespear said the recognition reinforces what most residents know — they live in paradise.

“It’s always interesting to see the national media’s take on our city,” Mayor Catherine Blakespear said. “Obviously, we are one of the best cities to live in; they are just saying what people here know. I am daily stunned by how picturesque Encinitas is.”

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