10 Amazing Places To Visit In The South

<10 Amazing Places To Visit In The South>

Lounging on the beach, catching an early morning wave and watching the sunset from your coastal hotel room... it’s pretty unlikely you’re going to be doing any of those things here in Cardiff any time soon.

While the Welsh capital has some beautiful coastline, I most definitely wouldn’t recommend going surfing on Splott Beach.

Read more: Cardiff’s hidden coastal path is one of the prettiest walks in the city

However, if you travel 5,000 miles west to Cardiff-by-the-Sea in California, you can have an altogether different experience of what it means to be by the sea in Cardiff.

The welcome to Cardiff sign on the Pacific Coast Highway 101

This beachside community of less than 12,000 people, which is part of the city of Encinitas in San Diego County, is located slap bang on the Pacific coast.

It was founded in 1911 by J. Frank Cullen, a painter and developer from Boston, whose wife was originally from Cardiff in Wales (explaining how the community got its name).

If you're planning on making the pilgrimage to Cardiff-by-the-Sea, here are 10 awesome things you must do when you visit.

1. Have your photo taken by one of the Cardiff-by-the-Sea signs

One of Cardiff's signs you need to make sure you have your photo taken with

You can’t travel all the way to Cardiff-by-the-Sea and not get a souvenir photo. The best place to pose is by one of the iconic signs dotted around the community.

One sign on the corner of Birmingham Drive and MacKinnon Avenue features a retro sunset design, another one on Coast Highway 101 has a surfer on it, and the sign on Chesterfield Drive is decorated with a dragon and tropical flowers.

2. Visit the beautiful beaches

Cardiff State Beach and San Elijo State Beach are the two beaches you can visit

Two wide sandy beaches, Cardiff State Beach and San Elijo State Beach, span the whole length of Cardiff-by-the-Sea. So, you’re not short of places to catch some rays.

San Elijo Beach is ideal for family visitors whilst Cardiff State Beach is known for its reefs, making it ideal for diving and snorkeling. When the tide is low, the reefs are revealed and you can explore the plants and sea creatures which live in them.

3. Catch a wave at one of the best surf spots in San Diego

Cardiff Reef is sometimes known as "Crowdiff" because of its popularity

Previously named one of the 10 best surf spots in San Diego, Cardiff Reef is popular with both novice and experienced surfers and bodyboarders. Known for its consistent waves which are a result of the offshore reefs, it’s popularity means that it’s sometimes known as “Crowdiff”.

4. Hike around a beautiful nature reserve

There are over seven miles of walking trails around San Elijo Lagoon

A shallow water estuary formed by two creeks that meet the Pacific Ocean, San Elijo Lagoon ecological reserve is one of the largest coastal wetlands in San Diego County. Whether you’re a runner, walker, bird watcher or photographer, it’s a beautiful place to explore. There are over seven miles of walking trails to hike around and when the tide goes out, the exposed mudflats make it a great place to spot feeding birds.

5. Spot the Cardiff Kook in fancy dress

If you're lucky then you'll see the Kook in fancy dress

The official name for this 6ft bronze sculpture of a surfer is the Magic Carpet Ride. But, it’s more popularly known as the “Cardiff Kook”, a derogatory term for a wannabe surfer, because it apparently resembles someone about to fall off their board.

The Kook is frequently dressed up by pranksters and his outfits have included a pumpkin head for Halloween, Santa Claus hat and Uncle Sam costume for Independence Day. So, if you’re lucky, you might see the Kook in fancy dress.

6. Drink some of the best craft beer in the USA

Lost Abbey is one of the most highly-rated craft breweries in the USA

One of the most highly-regarded craft breweries in the USA, Lost Abbey has won multiple awards including Best Small Brewery at the international World Beer Cup.

Specialising in Belgian-inspired beers, barrel-aged beers, and sours, Lost Abbey is based in the nearby city of San Marcos. Handily, Cardiff-by-the-Sea has its very own Lost Abbey taproom called The Confessional with over 20 different lines of craft beer on draft.

7. Watch the sunset from your beachside campsite

You can watch the sunset over the beach

Situated on a towering bank right behind the beach, San Elijo State Beach Campground is popular with campers all year round.

It’s just a few minutes' walk into the centre of Cardiff where you’ll be able to enjoy the community’s restaurants and bars. Or you could pick up some chipotle marinated tri-tip steak from the nearby Seaside Market to cook on the barbecue and enjoy whilst watching the sunset.

8. Eat incredible doughnuts from VG Donut & Bakery

There's always a queue outside VG Donuts

Owned by the same family since 1969, VG Donuts is a Cardiff institution. Doughnuts are baked twice daily at 4am and 4pm and there’s a constant queue outside, which must be a good sign.

Flavours on offer include cherry iced with chocolate sprinkles, blueberry buttermilk bites, and pine cone shaped glazed cinnamon rolls. Make sure you grab a latte from nearby Bump Coffee to go with it too.

9. Wake up in a tropical paradise-themed room

Each room at Cardiff-by-the-Sea Lodge has a different inspiration

With its beautiful ocean views and uniquely-decorated rooms, Cardiff-by-the-Sea Lodge is a truly unique beachside retreat. Opened by an architect and an interior designer in 1991, each room has a different quirky inspiration, from a French country house to a tropical paradise.

10. Have a meal on Restaurant Row

Enjoy the sea views from the dining room at Pacific Coast Grill

There are plenty of places to eat in Cardiff, and many of the best are clustered on Restaurant Row on Highway 101 with views out over the ocean. The Pacific Coast Grill serves seafood and small plates in an upmarket setting, Las Olas serves fresh Mexican food including shrimp tacos, and Ki’s serves wholesome food made with locally-sourced organic ingredients such as seared ahi with Asian slaw and roasted beetroot with burrata.

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Source : https://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/travel/10-amazing-things-you-can-22582754

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