Bike to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas

Difficulty: Intermediate

Distance: 24 miles

Road Type: Paved

Topography: Flat / Rolling

Start Location: Oceanside Pier

Route Description

This featured route incorporates the Bike to Carlsbad Village route and extends your coastal exploration South to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas.

Along this route, you will have the opportunity to see the unique personalities of the coastal North County San Diego communities of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Leucadia and Encinitas. The majority of this route takes you along scenic Highway 101 (also referred to as Coast Highway or Pacific Coast Highway) giving you wonderful views of the coast and plenty of opportunities to stop at a local restaurant or shop at one of the funky, beach store-fronts while giving you the opportunity to interact with locals.

If you have too much fun making your way to Encinitas and don’t feel like peddling back to Oceanside, you can always hop on the Coaster (commuter rail) and ride the train back to the Oceanside Transit Center.

The difficulty level is ranked at intermediate due to the distance from Oceanside and the rolling hills that are included on this route.

Interest Points Along the Route

Top Gun House
Located along Pacific Street, just one block south of the pier, is the historical home used in filming the movie Top Gun (1986) starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis. Make sure to stop and take a photo with our piece of local Hollywood history.

Buena Vista Lagoon and Nature Center
As you cross over from Oceanside to Carlsbad, you will pass through the Buena Vista Lagoon. The Lagoon is known as one of the “birdiest” locations in the country, so take a moment to stop and see if you can spot any birds. The Nature Center hosts guided nature walks and educational programs.

Oceanside California

Carlsbad Village
Carlsbad Village is the coastal downtown community of Carlsbad, offering a variety of restaurants, pubs, gift shops to discover. Every Wednesday afternoon there is a farmer’s market on State Street.

Pannikin Coffee and Tea
A wonderful bike-friendly coffee shop located along the route in Leucadia is Pannikin Coffee and Tea.  This local favorite is a family owned business and they pride themselves on roasting fresh coffee daily. Don’t worry about riding past it, it is the big historic yellow house that was once the Santa Fe Railroad Station. (Photo Source)

Downtown Encinitas
Just a couple of short blocks away from Moonlight Beach is where you will find Downtown Encinitas.  This neighborhood runs along Highway 101 and has a host of dining and shopping options for you to choose from.  Downtown Encinitas does host a farmers market every Wednesday evening from 5-8pm.

Step-by-Step Bike Route Directions

  • From the Oceanside Pier, go south on N. Pacific
  • Turn left on Cassidy, over the railroad tracks
  • Turn right on Broadway
  • Continue on Broadway then make a left on Eaton
  • Turn right onto Carlsbad Boulevard (Highway 101)
  • Continue on Highway 101 to Leucadia
  • Make a right on Encinitas Boulevard which leads to Moonlight Beach
  • Return to the Oceanside Pier by retracing your route OR by taking the Coaster commuter train back to the Oceanside Transit Center