Sometimes you find a space that just speaks straight to your heart, and Ponto Beach on the cusp of Carlsbad and Leucadia totally checks all the boxes! This gorgeous little piece of heaven in north San Diego County had us totally swooning from daybreak to sunset and, even better, we had the great fortune of doing a photo and video shoot there last week!
One of the best things for us about owning Beachmate is knowing that you can truly use our product anywhere… so with that in mind, we’re excited to launch our newest blog series, Beachmate Beach Features, where we’ll take you through the pros and cons of beaches around the U.S and introduce you to the surrounding towns. And so, without further ado… introducing Ponto!
South Ponto Beach
- Open Hours - 6am-10pm
- Public Showers - Yes
- Public Restrooms - Yes
- Lifeguards - Yes
- Surfing - Yes (popular!)
- Volleyball - Yes (bring your own net)
- Alcohol - No
- Glass Bottles - No
- Dogs - No
- CLEAN! This beach is gorgeously clean, making it the perfect place for kids! The locals are great about packing trash out, so the long stretches of sand are pristine!
- SOFT! The sands of San Diego are amazingly smooth and even! This is not a rough-shell sand, or overburdened with rocks - whether you are just here to build sand castles or you want to take a run in the surf barefoot, rest assured that your feet will be equally happy! There are some polished rocks that wash up in the winter, but they add to the beauty of the scenery. :)
- Street parking is along a stretch of Hwy 101, and while there is a small pay lot ($8), parking can get a bit busy on summer weekend days.
- This is a pretty isolated beach; don’t expect a boardwalk! Make sure that you pack in everything that you’ll need for a day of play, or you’ll have to abandon your parking spot to venture into Leucadia.
Local Community: Leucadia
Tea & Coffee:
- Coffee Coffee has been described as a hip coffeehouse offering hand-roasted beans, locally sourced teas, and delicious pastries, and it has the cutest little outdoor seating patio. The cute local vibe is immediately apparent in the slogan: Keeping Leucadia Funky since 2011. Oh, and the owners also run the awesome surf shop next door, Surfy Surfy. Naturally.
- Pannikin, in the heart of Leucadia, is known for its nostalgic location (it’s in the historic Santa Fe Railroad Station, which was built in 1888!), coffees from around the world, and delicious pastries. No matter what your flavor of choice, Pannikin has something for everyone, roasted and brewed right on the premises.
- Better Buzz - the Encinitas coffee and juice bar location for this popular San Diego-based chain is always busy. The decor is adorable, from incorporated bicycles and exposed fixtures, and the iconic But First, Coffee motto on the wall sets the perfect backdrop for an afternoon pick-me-up. Try the Best Drink Ever… you won’t regret it!
- Fish 101 Restaurant if you want fresh seafood, you won’t find better than at Fish 101. Terming itself a traditional West Coast fish house, this unique restaurant brings fresh fish in daily and pairs it with seasonal veggies, and then serves it alongside on-tap kombucha and great beer. Try the Grilled Romaine Salad or anything from the daily chalkboard!
- Le Papagayo Restaurant looking for something special? Le Papagayo, sitting right on Hwy 101, fuses Mediterranean and Latin American flavors, throws in a hearty serving of live music daily, and offers an open air dining experience that encapsulates all that is good about this little beach town. Looking for something new to try? The Spicy Macadamia Nut Calamari Strips are fantastic, and the Pear & Brie Flatbread will have your toes tapping with joy.
- Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream is made fresh every single day on the premises and is known for a distinctively smooth and creamy texture paired with delicious flavors. Handel’s is a local favorite for a reason and is just a short walk from Encinitas’ main drag… win win!
- V.G. Donut & Bakery is a full-service bakery located in Cardiff-by-the-Sea specializing in the old-fashioned style of baking. The V.G. stands for “very good” and it’s the most apt descriptor. If you love classic donuts, you won’t want to miss these!
- La Paloma - Although the beaches are definitely top billing when it comes to entertainment, check out the La Paloma if you want to catch a flick - This historical Spanish Colonial style revival theater is a fun way to beat the midday heat, and it’s full of history, having first opened in 1928!
- Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens - Strolling through the SRF’s meditation gardens is a lovely way to spend an afternoon - with a wide diversity of plants, koi ponds, and views of the ocean, finding the perfect space for meditating, praying, or simply self-reflecting is easy.
- San Diego Botanic Garden - looking to connect with plants and nature? The San Diego Botanic Garden is a beautiful way to get out there and do just that! Whether you want to relax while the kiddos play in the Hamilton Children’s Garden, or you want to do a walking tour of the grounds, you’ll be enchanted by the bright plants and wonderful bird watching there is to be had at the site.
- Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park - take it up a notch over at Leo Carrillo. This 27-acre canyon historic park includes antique windmills, hand-crafted adobe, and lush and vibrant wildlife from Birds of Paradise and bouganvillea to dozens of brightly colored peacocks. Catch one of the free guided tours to see the interiors of the buildings on site as well as to get the full history - 90 minutes of learning and fun!