Cardiff-by-the-Sea, usually referred to as Cardiff, is a beach community located in Encinitas, bordering Solana Beach to the south in San Diego County, California. The Pacific Ocean is to the west of Cardiff, Encinitas on its east and north, and a beach and lagoon on its south. With a population of under 12,000, Cardiff-by-the-Sea operates as part of the city of Encinitas, but unlike the other communities that comprise Encinitas, has its own ZIP code (92007).
In 1911, this former farming community began to develop Cardiff, when developer J. Frank Cullen broke ground to build new homes. It is reported by the Cardiff Chamber of Commerce that it was Frank Cullen’s wife, a native of the area, Wales, who persuaded him to name the community, “Cardiff”. Many streets in Cardiff bear names this English-born landowner grew up with in his native UK. The names “Birmingham”, “Oxford”, “Chesterfield” and “Manchester” are major streets in this city. The community is also home to a few well-known surf spots, such as Swami’s and Cardiff Reef.
Cardiff Reef (“The Reef”) is a popular surf spot in the community that produces waves both professional and novice surfers enjoy year round. Surfing at The Reef has progressed from just a few surfers in the 1950s to become one of the most popular surfing spots in San Diego County. Cardiff Reef and nearby surf spot, Pipes, are famous for their smooth and consistent wave shape. When the tide is low, a flat rock reef is revealed that extends 50 yards from shore. Exploring these tide pools is a popular activity for visitors of the community.