Leucadia is a community on the north side of Encinitas, bordering on Carlsbad, and for many is the most appealing area of this seaside town.
Reminders of its surfing roots are obvious in Leucadia, yet at the same time this community is realizing a renaissance of sorts, with many new and expensive homes for sale, nurseries that have been there for years but are now disappearing and being replaced by expensive housing, and more upscale dining and shopping.
Despite these changes Leucadia retains much of the rustic, quaint seaside charm that has attracted so many residents and vacationers over the years, and that suits many residents and visitors just fine. Indeed, the often-seen bumper stickers touting “Keep Leucadia Funky” say it all!
Leucadia is one of the 5 major communities within Encinitas, located about 25 miles north of downtown San Diego. The community was named after one of the Greek Isles by English spiritualists who settled in the area in the 1870s.
Leucadia is known for the many Eucalyptus trees that line the main road running north and south, the Coast Highway (a.k.a. historic Route 101) and along the railroad tracks that parallel the coastal route. Know that this area has been undergoing dramatic changes, with the recently approved Streetscape 101 plan that will add hundreds of trees, reduced the northbound coast road to 1 lane, added a bicycle lane and more parking, with other changes still in the works.
Leucadia is bordered on the north by the Batiquitos Lagoon, the east by the 5 freeway and the west by, of course, the ocean. And Carlsbad is just around the corner to the north. The commuter rail and Amtrak trains run through the heart of town on the tracks which run parallel to historic Route 101 but there is no train stop – head to neighboring Carlsbad or the downtown area of Encinitas to the south.
Leucadia has a lot of appeal for visitors and residents, the least of which are the beautiful beaches and dramatic views from the ocean bluffs. The main street is lined with a myriad of shops – surf, tattoo, quaint old restaurants, charming newer eateries, liquor stores, the Leucadia Donut Shoppe, hair salons, a drug store, the Leucadia post office, bike rental places, pizza shops, a few art galleries, clothing stores, the 7-11, and a number of yoga studios (Encinitas has a worldwide reputation as a center for yoga).
The town is a popular vacation destination because of its beaches (Grandview, Beacon’s, Stone Steps), surfing, and terrific weather, and there are many vacation rentals in the area, mixed in among larger homes, some smallish hotels, apartment buildings, a few trailer parks, nurseries, and oceanfront luxury homes on Neptune Avenue on the bluff – some of the most expensive in the area (starting at around $3 million).
Leucadia real estate covers a broad spectrum, apart from the vacation rentals, apartments, and mobile home parks. You might be interested in a quaint beach cottage, sandwiched in between rental properties. Some of these are not much more than bungalows, while others have been expanded and upgraded. Or perhaps a condo, within walking distance to the beach or along the bluff above the ocean.
Just east of the Coast Highway you will find several recently built subdivisions with homes starting in the low $1 millions – one features Caribbean style colonials while another is more reminiscent of Nantucket in New England (and indeed, carries that name).
Unlike the planned community of Encinitas Ranch, Leucadia homes exhibit a very broad range of styles – one surely must call it eclectic – and many of the older homes defy classification as to a particular style; on many of the streets you will find a host of styles and types of housing all chockablock down the road.
So what is there to do in Leucadia?
Well, there are the beaches (Beacon’s, Grandview, and Stone Steps being the best known for surfing). Walking, sunning, sunset watching and surfing are probably the most popular activities. You can even learn to surf at the Leucadia Surf School. You will see a good number of bicyclists as well. The Streetscape 101 plan resulted in a number of changes including more sidewalks to make it easier to stroll along the coast road, and more parking, and perhaps more changes in the future.
The shopping and business area of Leucadia is fairly small and almost exclusively west of the Coast Highway. The town is really a beach town…and people like it just as it is. But downtown Encinitas is just down the street, with more than 50 restaurants, lots of shopping, movie theaters and much more to keep you busy. There is a good farmer’s market every Sunday in Leucadia at the elementary school on Vulcan Avenue offering local produce, and wares from a variety of artisans.
The school districts are the Encinitas Union School District and the San Dieguito Union High School District which service students from Encinitas (including Leucadia), as well as Solana Beach and Del Mar, and some nearby unincorporated areas. There are 9 elementary schools in the area along with several private schools.
If living in a charming yet rustic and casual beach town brimming with an obvious surfing culture, providing easy access to San Diego and Los Angeles, with a wide range of housing and prices, suits your style, then Leucadia may be just right. Be sure to bring your surfboard!
MY FAVORITE RESTAURANT – Le Papagayo, on the 101
MY FAVORITE BEACH – Grandview Beach at the north end of town (stairs to the beach are at the north end of Neptune)