The Spanish traveling the El Camino Real named Encinitas for the live oaks that dotted the hills in the area. Today Encinitas, incorporated in 1986, encompasses Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Olivenhain in addition to the original Encinitas area.
Encinitas was officially founded in 1881 when Jabez Pitcher filed a claim along the railroad tracks where the Civic Center stands today. Leucadia began in 1870 when a group of English spiritualists settled a few miles north of the railroad. Cardiff began in 1875 when the McKinnon family homesteaded on the North shore of the San Elijo Lagoon.Each community retains its unique characteristics as neighborhoods of Encinitas.
Situated 25 miles north of San Diego City on the historic Hwy 101, Encinitas is a city with multiple characteristics and identities. The communities of Leucadia, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Olivenhain and old and new Encinitas incorporated together as the City of Encinitas in 1986. Each of them takes pride in their own distinct personalities.
Among all the communities, "New Encinitas" is the fastest growing region. Known as the "El Camino Real Corridor," New Encinitas has witnessed explosive residence growth in the past 10 years. The town has a variety of commercial and service businesses, new homes and large shopping centers. It is a popular region for families who are attracted to the suburban lifestyle, new housing, and highly rated schools. With 62,060 full time residents, the city foresees a steady rise of population in the next few years. Large executive homes are in high demand. Several commercial and residential developers plan to build more residential homes and facilities to respond to the growth.
The city is in the process of executing a $5.2 million Downtown Revitalization project. Supported by the National Association of Main Street Cities, the downtown Encinitas revitalization strategy will improve public safety, provide additional parking, improve traffic flow and greatly enhance the small town pedestrian environment of downtown.