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Looking south along Moonlight State Beach

Coordinates: 33°2′51″N 117°17′51″W / 33.0475°N 117.2975°W / 33.0475; -117.2975

Moonlight State Beach is a state beach in Encinitas, California. Located at the terminus of Encinitas Boulevard, it has been called the epicenter of recreation and social life in the town.[1 ] It is appropriate for both children's and adults' recreation.[2] It is popular with both tourists and residents, and it is one of the most visited beaches in Encinitas.[3 ] This sand beach is used for surfing, swimming, surf fishing, beach volleyball, and bonfires.[4]



Early female settlers washed clothing in nearby Cottonwood Creek, then provided picnics for their families while the laundry dried.[3 ] Land prospector J. S. Pitcher, who owned much of Encinitas, built a bathhouse, playground, boardwalk, dance hall, and several picnic areas.[1 ] Between 1915 and 1925 Moonlight Beach began to attract North County residents for social outings.[1 ] Popular events included horse races.[5] At low tide one could drive a Model T down the beach to Oceanside.[1 ]


“Moonlight Beach is not a great longboard wave anymore. It's changed and it's pretty much a shortboard wave now. It really breaks hard and fast now. It wasn't like that. It was a fun beach break.” - Linda Benson, five-time women's world surfing champion. Benson learned to surf at Moonlight Beach in the late 1950s.[1 ]

Water quality

Water quality has been an issue at Moonlight Beach, which earned a D grade in 2001 and 2002 from Heal the Bay, a Santa Monica based nonprofit organization that monitors water quality along the California coast.[6] Water quality has improved in recent years, with the beach earning five As and one B from Heal the Bay from April 2005 through March 2007.


The beach is open for use all day except between 2 and 4 am. There is a parking lot above the beach which is open from 5 am to 10 pm. No dogs, alcohol, or glass is allowed on the beach. The lifeguard towers are open 10 am to 6 pm during summer months. Provisions at the beach include handicapped access, picnic facilities, restrooms, telephone, concessions daily Easter through Thanksgiving, fire rings, playground equipment, and tennis and volleyball courts.


  1. ^ a b c d e Irons 2007, online article
  2. ^ Mellin & Onstott 2007, 250
  3. ^ a b Holtzclaw & Welch 2006, 119
  4. ^ Osborne Jr. 2003, 20
  5. ^ Hartley 1999, 137
  6. ^ Puterbaugh & Bisbort 2007, 83


  • Annual Report Cards. 17th Annual Beach Report Card for 2006 - 2007 & 16th Annual Beach Report Card for 2005 - 2006. (May 23, 2007 & May 24, 2006). Accessed April 24, 2008.
  • Beaches in Encinitas. Parks and Recreation. 2005. Accessed April 30, 2008.
  • Hartley, Mac. Encinitas – History & Heritage. The Donning Company / Publishers, Virginia Beach VA. 1999.
  • Holzclaw, Kenneth & Welch Diane. Images of America - Encinitas. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston SC. 2006.
  • Irons, Destiny. (September 17, 2007). Moonlight Beach – The Changing Tide and Times. Accessed March 3, 2008.
  • Mellin, Maribeth & Onstott, Jane. Insiders Guide – San Diego – Fifth Edition. Morris Book Publishing, LLC. 2007.
  • Osborne Jr., John. The California Coast – A Traveler’s Companion – Second Edition. The Countrymen Press, Woodstock VT. 2003.
  • Puterbaugh, Parke & Bisbort, Alan. California Beaches – The Best Places to Swim, Play, Eat, and Stay on the Coast – Third Edition. Avalon Travel Publishing, Emeryville CA. 2003.

External links

See also



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