Del Mar is a lovely, affluent beach community located mid-way in San Diego County. The small, incorporated town consists of approximately 5,000 homes. Besides boasting some of the prettiest, flat, easily-accessible sandy beaches, Del Mar is also noted for the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds and the lovely L’Auberge Resort. Historically there has always been a connection and history between Del Mar and the inland community of Rancho Santa Fe. In fact, many wealthy homeowners have residences in both communities. Del Mar is a popular beach destination, with tourists coming from all over the world to enjoy in its small-town quaintness and high-Summer frolicking during the horse race season.
Also known as the “Ranch,” Rancho Santa Fe is an affluent inland community of San Diego County, Rancho Santa Fe was created originally by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway in the 1920’s as a plantation to grow eucalyptus trees for use as railroad ties. It was found that the trees were not adequate for this purpose, so the land was later developed by the Santa Fe Land & Improvement Company. A village plan was developed and the individual properties were plotted and sold off. At the heart of Rancho Santa Fe is the quaint little village, centered around the historic Inn of Rancho Santa Fe. The nearby Rancho Santa Fe Golf Club is located within walking distance of the village, too. Located inland from the coast about 5 miles, Rancho Santa Fe has historic ties with nearby Del Mar and the Del Mar Racetrack. Many Rancho residents also own homes in the neighboring coastal community.
The coastal community of Solana Beach is a vibrant small town beach community, located just north of Del Mar. Its coastline is renowned for its dramatic sandstone cliffs dropping dramatically to the sandy beaches below. Solana Beach has recently been enjoying a dramatic renaissance, with extensive reworking of the main thoroughfare, Highway 101, along the beach corridor. A lovely little train station is also conveniently located in Solana Beach, and locals catch commuter trains to downtown San Diego, or north to Orange County and Los Angeles. Further inland, Solana Beach offers beautiful communities and the Lomas Santa Fe Country club, with its great tennis courts and lovely golf course. Solana Beach provides its residents with easy access to all parts of the county, including to its more well-known neighbor, Del Mar, to the south…but remains a quieter solace from the hectic summer months of tourism and summer activities.
Although technically both are part of Encinitas, Encinitas and Leucadia are definitely two distinct communities. Encinitas, which is Spanish for “little oaks” is the larger community which includes the lovely coastal villages of Encinitas and Leucadia, as well as a larger inland area. Encinitas is a very popular community, with excellent schools and lots of shopping, dining and outdoor activities. Leucadia is the northern-most part of Encinitas along Highway 101 and is known as a great beach area to live and play. A little more “funky” than Encinitas, Leucadia looks almost undisturbed from its earlier days and is still a largely overlooked beach town in San Diego County.
Cardiff By The Sea is a lovely beach community located just to the north of Solana Beach. Although technically part of Encinitas, Cardiff, as it is known locally, has its own separate zip code apart from Encinitas. The quaint little village area is located just a block from the beach and its Cardiff Reef (The Reef) is a popular water sports location and very popular with surfers. Another hot spot in Cardiff is the San Elijo State Beach, which stretches for about two miles and offers wonderful camping and RV sites right on the bluff above the ocean. Cardiff is a laid-back environment and locals can often be found enjoying the several small restaurants and pubs, such as Pipes Café, the Seaside Market, and Besta-Wan Pizza. Evenings are fun and informal, and punctuated by the occasional train passing through.
Carmel Valley is one of the newer neighborhoods in the City of San Diego. Created in 1975, Carmel Valley gets its name from the Carmelite Sisters of Mercy, who established a dairy farm and monastery in the valley in 1905. Carmel Valley is an affluent, car-dependent planned, near-coastal community, bordering Del Mar and Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve on its west, Rancho Bernardo on its east, the San Dieguito River Valley on its north, and Sorrento Valley on its south. Its 92130 zip code is considered one of the most popular in the county, due in large part to its sought-after schools, central location in San Diego County, and its close proximity to the beaches. Local realtors are very much aware of the upward mobility of Carmel Valley residents and their desire to move west to the coast.