Leucadia is an artsy beachside community within the picturesque South California beach community of Encinitas. At one time it was a mecca for surfers and hippies alike; remnants of the 1960′s era are still very much in evidence. Where else can you see tie-dye T-shirts, eclectic lawn art, cigar store Indians, hippie love beads and surfboard mailboxes?
Settled by English spiritualists in 1870, Leucadia was named after some Greek islands and its streets were named for mythological figures. You won’t find a Home Depot, McDonald’s or shopping mall in Leucadia, but you will still find some of the flower farms that made it the Poinsettia capitol of the world.
Leucadia is home to phenomenal restaurants, goofy shops, palm readers, coffee shops and hip galleries. Popular hangouts include Pannikin Coffee, housed in a former train station (very artsy); the iconic Lou’s Records (national recording artists have played in Lou’s parking lot) with an enormous collection of CDs and records; and Juanita’s Taco Shop, home of the best Breakfast Burritos on earth.
Most of Leucadia’s residents will tell you that the best thing that ever happened to Leucadia is that nothing ever happened to it; it’s beaches are locked in time with the 1960s – true neighborhood surf breaks where many locals have been surfing for decades. Very much off the beaten path, there are three popular spots – Grandview, Beacon’s and Stone Steps – that are hidden gems, tucked away at the bottom of steep staircases.
Fitness enthusiasts will get a great workout at Stone Steps Beach. These killer stairs lead down from the bluffs to the ocean offer incredible views while you huff and puff. At high tide the ocean beats at the bottom of the stairs, at low tide, the beach is wide and sandy.
You can learn to surf by taking a class at Beacon’s Beach from world-famous Kahuna Bob, a Leucadian celebrity. Dolphins and whales are regularly seen, especially from the “high-bluff” beach entrances at Stone Steps and Beacon’s. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the famous “green flash” as the sun takes its final dip into the vast Pacific Ocean.
Moonlight Beach is a Leucadian treasure – often called “the beach with everything” because it has lifeguard stations all year long, a big new playground for children, multiple spacious parking lots, fire-rings, restrooms with clean showers, beach rentals and a wide sandy beach.