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Moonlight State Beach

Moonlight beach is Encinitas’s city beach. It is located off of Highway 101 and Encinitas Blvd. This beach has it all but in a limited supply. There are picnic tables, fire rings BBQs, a playground, volleyball courts, plenty of free parking on the bluff, showers, restrooms, lifeguards year round and a long and spacious coastline, there is even a trail that leads to the water from the parking lot (made especially for people in wheelchairs and for strollers).

The only problem is the beach is really small and popular with the kids and large families. So you have to share in the beach fun with many others. This is a flat and sandy beach, which is perfect for sunbathing and picnicking.

Supposedly the name Moonlight beach came from moonlight picnics held here in the early 1900s. Every weekend in Encinitas there is a small street market off the Highway 101, where you can load up on picnic items before you head off to the beach for lunch or dinner. This is one of the seagulls favorite beaches, because the amount of food that lingers. They tend to keep their distance, but are known to snatch abandoned food items. The beach is also close to downtown, so there are many facilities and restaurants available.

The surf is usually small but fun. There is surfing towards the north and south end of the beach but surfing is restricted in the center of the beach during most of the year because of the large amount of people traffic in the water (keep an eye out for the black ball flags). Most people skim and boogie board or swim. When the tide is out you can run or walk from Moonlight beach all the way south to Swamis (about 3 miles) on the sand.

Volleyball is definitely the dominant sport at this beach. The sand courts are never empty. People of all ages come to the courts to play. There are three sand courts towards the north end of the beach. If you want to play in the summer time, you have to arrive early or else be very patient.

Moonlight beach hosts an annual Woody car show festival around mid-September. The Moonlight beach parking lot is reserved for owners of old Woodies to come and show off their cool cars to other owners and the town of Encinitas. Not only is it a car show, but somewhat of a fair as well. It’s a lot of fun.

Open 5am-10pm
No dogs
No camping
No alcohol/glass containers
No smoking
No fires (in fire rings only)
No vehicles on the beach