I Left My Heart in Solana Beach

“Sit in reverie and watch the changing color of the waves that break upon the idle seashore of the mind.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Every so often, you come across a place that transforms you. Somewhere that changes your very essence.

I had always imagined that I would be struck by places like the Colosseum or the Taj Mahal or the Iguaçu Falls or the Great Barrier Reef. I never imagined I would be altered by somewhere so close to home. And just outside of San Diego, no less.

That is, until I first visited Solana Beach. This tiny, bedroom community is near Encinitas and Carlsbad, north of San Diego. The only reason I discovered it was because I was looking for an inexpensive hotel near Carlsbad. And, boy, did I luck up on a gem.

On my first trip, I was riding down South Coast Highway 101 to get to the area from brunch in Encinitas. I had read on TripAdvisor that Fletcher Cove Beach Park was a cute little place to take some photos, so I was creeping along the 101 to the location as my GPS instructed.

At some point I realized I was driving with my mouth open. The peacefulness, the view… it captured me. The magnificent view of the ocean along the 101 was awe-inspiring. The cute community with the bicyclists and the small-town strip of local shops and oceanfront property had me dumbfounded.

Of course, I have been to San Diego numerous times (that city holds a special place in my heart), along with parts of Carlsbad and Encinitas, but something about this trip was different. It was magical in some way. I tried to take it all in while driving, and I instantly felt myself relaxing.

Fletcher’s Cove didn’t disappoint. The gorgeous view (cover photo, above) and the ocean overlook was so calming. It is my new favorite thinking spot; a perfect quiet place. I was already looking forward to my return. So when I went back this time, I took some time to snap a few shots and just sit and think. People watch. Stare at the waves…in reverie.

Everything about the area is peaceful. Even my hotel, The Courtyard Marriott Solana Beach, was Zen and peaceful, with turquoises and blues consuming the room, and an outdoor fireplace by the pool. Even when doing some work, it was just a relaxing place to work. And that is so much more important than I realized.

While I was down in Solana Beach, Carlsbad, and Encinitas, I enjoyed great food, great fellowship, had an amazing spa, got some work done, and took some dope photos. But nothing can compare to the stretch of highway between Encinitas and Solana Beach and that relaxing spot at Fletcher Cove.  I even took my shoes off and ran my toes through the sand. Even with kids yelling and running at the playground, I didn’t even hear it. All I heard was the waves and my own thoughts.

Sometimes, you need just that.


I am a lawyer. I am a journalist. I am a writer. I am a photographer. And I love to travel.

19 comments on “I Left My Heart in Solana Beach”

  1. How wonderful! I have never been to Solano Beach but I am glad you recommended The Courtyard Marriott Solana Beach. I love the Marriott hotels. I have always preferred them because their beds are so comfy! 🙂

  2. I feel like California completely transformed me the way Solana Beach did for you. It’s so gorgeous there (and of course in Northern California where we now live). It almost feels like I am in a constant state of vacation living there, it’s so much more different than in Canada.

  3. It’s great that you found somewhere you really love and so close to home too! The beach looks absolutely beautiful, I wish we had beaches like that here in Ireland. It’d be so cool to visit California one day 🙂

  4. Wow, all of these pictures are just stunning. I love to watch the clouds with my boys and point out objects we see…looks like Solana Beach would be a perfect place to play the cloud game as well. Hope to visit there one day–it snowed in Chicago today. In April. Boo.

  5. Seeing your beach pictures somehow warms me up. We are having a cold weather at my neck of the woods so it is soothing to see warm pictures. I wish I could]d be in the beach in such a cold day like today. Your photos are gorgeous!

  6. Wow, your pictures are beautiful and makes me want to visit. I LOVE that color of the back wall in your room. That looks amazing. The views were amazing also! I love it, I need to show my husband!

  7. Oh my goodness.this is beautiful. i have never been to solana beach but after seeing this pst i definatly wanna go as soon as i can. i am in love with this place already

  8. My goodness, those views are fabulous! And that accent wall in the hotel room is amazing! I can see why you realized your mouth was open as you were enjoying those views. Beautiful photo’s. I’d love to visit there someday. Pinning to my Travel board. What could be better than finding such a relaxing get away place.

  9. That room looks beautiful, and the view!

    I completely understand how that can be transforming, it reminds me a bit of our family trip to the Ivory Coast, I was 12 but it was a transforming experience for me as well.

  10. Maaaaan, I’d be driving with my mouth open too! Those images are beautiful. Can’t stand looking at posts like this, knowing damn well I won’t have a vacay for a long time. ::sigh::

  11. My heart goes everywhere with me. Sometimes I wish I could leave it behind so I can discover what it’s like to be a cold and heartless son-of-a-gun.

  12. This place looks beautiful. Please tell me you had a full on photo shoot in your room in that dope chair beside the bed. That tranquil wall is everything. I’m so missing the beach.

    I’ve only been to San Diego for business. I clearly need to come there for pleasure.

    1. Mimi, LOL! I did take a couple of shots on the chair, but didn’t take advantage of it as a shoot location as much as I should have! SD and North County (Encinitas, Solana Beach) are such great areas, I love going down for pleasure! You should definitely check it out!

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