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  • Kari Shea


A classic, Southern California beach town, Cardiff by the Sea is located just steps away from two miles of Pacific Coastline and 25 miles away from the city of San Diego. Located in San Diego County, California and nestled between Encinitas and Solana Beach, Cardiff boasts a year-round moderate climate, pristine beaches, an oceanfront campground and, ultimately, a number of breathtaking views.

Originally a small farming community, the development of Cardiff began in 1911 with the construction of new homes, a project led by J. Frank Cullen, a Boston painter turned developer. The land itself was cultivated by Hector MacKinnon, who settled in the area in 1875 and was the only farmer between Oceanside and San Diego along the cost at that time. Now, this laid-back and welcoming community houses a population of about 12,000 residents, and is also home to a number of quaint shops, restaurants serving delicious local cuisine, and a flourishing arts community. This transformation has ultimately fulfilled Cullen's vision of a charming seaside community playground.

The Cardiff community takes pride in its "walkability". Residents will find that the beach, restaurants, markets, post office, library, and commercial areas are all withing easy walking distance to each other. Basketball courts, play areas and picnic grounds are also nearby, while train tracks run alongside Coast Highway 101. Cardiff is also known to offer a wide range of water-related activities, from sunbathing, to swimming, to wind sailing, or just simply strolling along the shore. There are also numerous facilities for activities such as tennis, fishing, hang gliding, golfing, camping, bicycling and jogging. It also boasts a 900-acre ecological reserve in the area, along with a number of notable surfing spots such as Swami’s and Cardiff Reef (also known as “The Reef”), all of which are enjoyed by both professional and novice surfers all year round.

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