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Moonlight State Beach



Encinitas' Most Popular Beach for Good Reason!

This wide, sandy beach situated within a natural cove offers swimming, surfing and fishing and is home to many popular beach programs and events. The state of the art facility also includes sand volleyball courts, shade palapas, ADA accessibility on the sand via Mobi Mats and available sand wheelchairs. Moonlight Beach is home to the Encinitas Marine Safety Headquarters, open year round and a concession and beach equipment rentals (concession website here).

The entire Moonlight Beach facility extends from the shore to Coast Highway 101 and includes free parking, a playground and turf area, hiking paths along a watershed, interpretive signage and a tennis court.

The 'moonlight' in the name of this beach comes from the fact that local residents used to come to the area for midnight picnics in the early 1900s.

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department is responsible for the maintenance of Moonlight Beach, in addition to approximately 45 acres of beaches and the many beach access stairways, viewpoints and beach facilities. Moonlight Beach in Encinitas is one of San Diego County's most popular beach destinations, boasting a beautiful sandy beach, plenty of free parking and state of the art facilities. It's no wonder why Moonlight Beach regularly shows up at the top of the list of "Best Beach" rankings.


The beach is located west of I-5 on Encinitas Boulevard in Encinitas.

Good For
Scuba Diving
Rules & Regulations
No Dogs

Additional Information

General Beach Information

  • Beach Parking: 5am - 10pm
  • Beach Use: 4am - 2am
  • Lifeguard Towers Open 10am - 6pm during the Summer Season (late June to Labor Day).

Please no dogs, portable grills, alcohol, smoking or glass allowed on Encinitas beaches.

All beaches are available on a first come, first served basis. Special Event and Special Ceremony Permits are available for select locations. More information on special permits is available here.

City of Encinitas Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department

The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department isresponsible for a wide range of services for the City including recreationprograms, city-wide special events, park, beach and recreational trailmaintenance, management of open space, streetscape maintenance, animalservices, and oversight of the administration of the Encinitas Ranch GolfAuthority.

The Parks, Beaches and Trails Division is responsible for themaintenance and repair of all parks, beach and trail facilities, including 10miles of streetscapes, 82 acres of open space, 153 acres of both developed andundeveloped parks, 45 acres of beaches, and over 40 miles of trails. We hopethat you enjoy getting out and exploring Encinitas’ trails and beautiful openspaces.