We thought it might be fun to test out one of the many beach campgrounds in CA to see what they were like.  We chose San Elijo State Beach because of the lower prices (compared to RV parks) and because of the great walk-ability in the area.  

Cardiff by the Sea

From the campground, there are only a couple of places to cross the railroad tracks over from the beach to the strip of shops and eateries on the other side, but one of those crossings was fairly close to our campsite. 

Surfer statue at Elijo State Beach

Within a 10 minute walk we could get to a bakery (too sweet for our liking but looked cute), a grocery store, a great thrift store and a really tasty pizza place.  This state beach was particularly strict about check in and check out times therefore even though most of the campground was empty, including our assigned site, because we arrived a couple of hours before check-in we needed to kill time before actually setting up camp.  They asked us to park on the street while we were waiting.  This was a little overboard since they had a ton of parking spaces open.  They were rule followers for sure!  

While we were waiting to check in we walked to the cluster of shops nearby.  Rancho Coastal Humane Society Thrift Shop was great!  It was large and had some good finds including a great kids Cranium game the girls love playing.  The prices were mid-range for thrift stores and clothing was sorted by color instead of size.  I think this forces people to look through everything in the store’s hopes that you will buy more than you came for.  

Rancho Coastal Humane Society Thrift Shop

We also ate at a wonderful pizza place called Best Pizza & Brew.  Totally generic name but the pizza was phenomenal, the beer was great (we got a peanut butter chocolate stout) and they were very friendly.  Great atmosphere too with indoor and outdoor seating.  

“Best Pizza & Brew”, Cardiff by the Sea


It was also a short mile and a half walk to Encinitas from our campsite.  This was a cute little town with a fairly built up strip of shops.  It is here that we found one of our favorite restaurants, Eve.  Eve serves all delicious vegan food with lots of variety and had kombucha on tap.  The atmosphere is beyond amazing!  It was such a tranquil relaxing space that just made my creative juices start flowing.  You know those places that just radiate creativity?  We all LOVED it and the food was delicious!

The girls tried to ride bikes back to Wobbles but for some reason they didn’t get very far.  😉

San Elijo State Beach

Our campsite at San Elijo State Beach

For dinner that night our little one and I made sushi for the family.  We successfully made “sticky rice” from brown rice making the sushi a bit more healthy.

We then ended the evening a sunset over the beach which our oldest “walked” to.  The look out spot was only about 150 feet from our campsite but she used Rosita (her walker) to get all the way there and back which is a great improvement.  She’s very cautious and sets the bar high for herself so recovery from her broken leg has been tricky.  

The beach where we were camped was mainly a rocky beach with some sand showing during low tide.  The girls loved hunting for shells, neat rocks and sea glass.

The girls found some amazing treasures!  Sadly, we later found out that the beach is a protected area therefore nothing native to the beach can be taken.  They said “There is no signage right now but we’re working on it.”  So, after a bit of sad crying we all had to throw our treasures back into the sea.  The girls did make a rock nest on the beach that we were able to leave intact when we left.  

The coast, and in particular the campground beach that we were staying at, was swamped with surfers.  There were always surfers all times of the day but most of the big crowds were before work, at lunch break and after work hours.  It was fun to watch and was about 50/50 men and women.  

The little black dots in the water are surfers


We were also lucky to visit more friends while in Carlsbad which is where we headed next.  Our friends had had their first baby since we saw them last year so it was great to catch up and meet the little cute!  They also have two dogs which our youngest was loving.  She even got the walk the little one which was like a dream come true for her.  

We had a great time walking around the neighborhood and even looked around a place with an open house.  I always think its fun to look at open houses to get ideas of layouts and to get an idea of what property goes for in different areas.  The prices actually weren’t as crazy as I thought they would be.  So far we’ve hit great weather in CA!  Highs in the high 60’s and lows in the mid-40’s.  No complaints here!