Solana Beach, California

Country Club Meets Eclectic

Fletcher Beach Park
Fletcher Beach Park
Solana Beach Coastline
Solana Beach Coastline
Cedros Design District
Cedros Design District
Cedros Design District
Cedros Design District

The Best Thing About Solana Beach?

It’s #1 For a Reason

Solana Beach is routinely rated one of the best places to live in the San Diego area, and is even rated #1 by Niche.com. It’s easy to see why. This city perfectly blends the charm of a small town with the laid back vibe of coastal living. It’s the kind of place where you know and care about your neighbors. Set atop the pristine Pacific Ocean bluffs, the sense of peace is protected from the fast pace of bigger cities, without losing the diverse cuisine and culturally enriching events that you wouldn’t have if you were truly cut off from the world. This is largely thanks to the city’s inclusive and diverse community.

If you’re looking at cities in SoCal, chances are you love the outdoors. Surfers, cyclists and hikers will not get bored in Solana Beach. Fletcher Cove Park is the star of the city’s four beaches and is also the most centrally located. You can picnic in the grassy area above the beach, take your kids to the playground or play a game of pick-up basketball here. Or venture further when the tide is low to neighboring Tide Beach Park, known for its mesmerizing tidepools, or Seascape Sur, a popular surf spot. Away from the beach, go bird-watching at nearby San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve or earn some stunning ocean views hiking along the rugged cliffs at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.

But all this nature doesn’t mean you’re out in the middle of nowhere. Shoppers and art enthusiasts travel from all over the San Diego area to visit the eclectic and locally-owned galleries, boutiques and design studios that make up the Cedros Avenue Design District. You could go every week and still discover new treasures from the 85 merchants, artisans and one-of-a-kind curators clustered along this 2.5 block stretch. You’ll find every way to indulge here. Practice self-care by booking a spa day or Pilates class. Catch some live music at the world-famous Belly Up Tavern. Or, finally start writing that novel at one of the ambiance-rich sidewalk cafes. And on Sundays, a year-round farmer market boasts an abundance of locally grown produce and artisanal goods that deepen the sense of community pride while supporting local businesses.

The Worst Thing About Solana Beach?

High Costs, Low Inventory

This area is among the most popular in the San Diego area, and the price tag reflects it. Here, the average home value is just over $2.3 million, according to Zillow. For renters, the cost is almost more skewed, with one-bedrooms going for a median price of $3,350 and two-bedrooms hovering just below $5,000 per month. On average, renters pay 92% more to live here than they would in other parts of the country.

Naturally, low inventory does the opposite of mitigating costs. Young professionals, families and retirees can all find something to love about Solana Beach, which means pickings can be slim within this 3.6 square mile town. That said, there’s a decent mix of single-family homes, condominiums, townhouses and luxury estates. Whether you’re in search of a cozy bungalow walking distance to downtown, a modern condo with panoramic ocean views, or a spacious estate with a private pool and manicured yard, it exists here.

Also, before we move on, here’s some career advice. Make sure that the job that’s helping you afford Solana’s high cost of living isn’t based in San Diego, but is instead closer by. Technically downtown San Diego is only 30 minutes away, but that time can triple during rush hour. You don’t want to spend your time outside of work staring at exit signs inching North on the 805 instead of looking at those ocean views you paid a pretty penny for. That’s our opinion at least. Take it or leave it.

Lifestyle of Solana Beach

Small Town Feels with Big City Amenities

Residents here typically rise and rest with the sun. You’ll fit right in if you like to hit the bike path or the gym by 6 a.m. and return home before sunset to unwind with a nice dinner and glass of wine. But if you’re looking for a nightlife hotspot, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

This coastal enclave is rich in opportunities to explore the great outdoors, like hiking, biking and picnicking in its various parks and beaches. For the more urban at heart, you’ll find what you need here too. A beacon to shopping enthusiasts throughout the San Diego area, the Cedros Avenue Design District is a lively and artsy downtown area full of boutiques, bars, restaurants and coffee shops. The live-work lofts and multi-purpose buildings infuse an urban flair into this laid back coastal city.

Solana Beach feels more like a town than the suburbs. You’ll love that you can walk everywhere, like a city, without feeling like you and your neighbors are packed in like sardines. And as an added bonus for families, the high walkability score means the kiddos can enjoy some independence without getting into a car. When wheels are needed for where you’re going, you’ll benefit from the easy access to the highway and public transport options, like the North County Transit District COASTER train, which carries you along the scenic coastline straight into downtown San Diego in just 45 minutes.

Perhaps one of the greatest strengths of Solana Beach is its diversity. It is uncommon for an affluent coastal city in SoCal to receive an “A-” for diversity rating from Niche.com. The diverse backgrounds and cultures intermingling within the community create a vibrant array of international cuisines and annual cultural events. Residents cherish and celebrate the inclusiveness of their city.

Schools in Solana Beach

Great Options for Every Child (and Adult!)

Families are typically really happy with the public school system in Solana Beach. Like most award-winning districts, the Solana Beach School District successfully balances rigorous academics with innovative experiential and social-emotional learning opportunities. It’s earned an “A” rating from Niche.com.

The district serves communities beyond Solana Beach city proper through its seven elementary schools and Child Development Center, with both Solana Vista Elementary (K-3) and Skyline Elementary School (K-6) based within the city limits. For middle school, families can choose between Earl Warren Middle School or Solana Pacific School, both which are well-regarded for preparing students for high school and beyond. For grades 9-12, students once again have a choice to make between Torrey Pines High School, San Dieguito High School Academy and the #1 rated public high school in San Diego, Canyon Crest Academy. All three have achieved high praise at the state and national levels for their well-rounded students who have access to advanced placement courses, community service opportunities and competitive extracurricular activities.

If private school is a priority for your family, you have choices. Check out Sante Fe Christian School (PK-12) or Notre Dame Academy (PK-8th). For more specialized academic disciplines or programs focused on career pathways, charter schools like Classical Academy and High Tech High North County may be the perfect fit for your child. Parents can rest easy in Solana Beach, knowing that no matter which school they choose, their child is going to receive an excellent education.

Reading this section more for yourself than the children you may or may not have? You’re in luck. Solana Beach is very conveniently located near several colleges and universities including San Diego State University, University of California San Diego and California State University San Marcos.

Why You Should Move Here Now

Slim Pickings so Start Looking

If Solana Beach feels like it might be the perfect beachside town to start your career, raise a family or settle into retirement, then we’d suggest you start looking now. Again, it’s a competitive market with notably limited inventory. Families are sometimes forced to find homes in neighboring cities where their children will still qualify for Solana Beach’s great schools, waiting for the right opportunity to find a home within city limits.