Cardiff, Encinitas, CA 92007, USA
Photo by George Ostertag/age fotostock
Cardiff-by-the-SeaLocated north of Solana Beach, this laid-back community is home to picturesque beaches backed by steep sandstone cliffs. San Elijo State Beach offers a peaky surf break and campground overlooking the bluff. Just north, at Swami’s, the world-famous break is named for the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram perched above the reef. Also worth seeing is Cardiff State Beach, a long stretch of sand south of Elijo that hosts frequent surf competitions. When looking for parking along Highway 101, keep your eyes peeled for The Cardiff Kook, a bronze sculpture of a surfer next to the San Elijo State Beach campground. Much maligned by local surfers for being unrealistic, it regularly attracts pranksters, who have dressed it in everything from a lucha libre wrestling mask to a Santa costume.