Written by K. Hart at www.casago.comn
Stonesteps sign
Stonesteps Pacific view
steps and rock
beach area


A trip to North County San Diego is incomplete without visiting iconic Stonesteps

This beautiful location is steeped in history and charm that captivates locals and tourists. The Stonesteps are located at the western end of South El Portal Street and have been a significant part of the community for many years.

The upper section of the stairs is constructed of concrete, while the lower portion is wood. The steps enable visitors to safely reach the narrow beach 70' below.  

Recently, Stonesteps was closed due to engineering issues caused by stormy winter weather. The staircase underwent reconstruction to make it structurally sound, and the well-loved beach access was reopened in the summer of 2023.

Stonesteps is more than an access to a small beach. The staircase has a rich history that binds the community and tourists together. Stonesteps has been a passage for fishermen and surfers who have made this their favorite spot.

Fun Facts & Cool Features 

Stonesteps is not only a historical site and means to the marvelous beach, but a place full of fun and unique features. 

One of the most noteworthy aspects of Stonesteps is its surfing culture. In the summer of 1975, a memorable surfing contest took place at the beach, with the winner, Tommy Lewis, taking two days to bring home his trophy.

The staircase is an engineering marvel, covering a 70-foot stretch from the bluffs. The two-part structure has stood the test of time and sees approximately 200,000 visitors yearly. 

Stonesteps reflects the resilience and determination of the community to preserve its history and provide access to one of the most beautiful beaches in California.

Stonesteps is a great place to witness stunning sunsets on a North County San Diego vacation. The golden hues of the setting sun against the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean create a mesmerizing moment. 

Guests may also walk to nearby beaches from Stonesteps Beach. Head north for 4-5 miles, and you'll reach Beacon's Beach. Going south at Stonesteps Beach for about half a mile gets you to family-friendly Moonlight Beach. 

Stonesteps grants access to a stunning beach where history, community, and natural beauty create a unique and unforgettable experience. 

Visiting Stonesteps will leave you enriched and inspired.

Getting There 

Here are step-by-step directions from North County San Diego:

  • Drive west on El Portal Street from Highway 101.
  • Veer left onto S El Portal St.
  • Look for the "Stonesteps Beach Access" sign. 
  • Address: 340 S El Portal St, Encinitas, CA 92024


Visiting Stonesteps Beach is absolutely free! 

Local Tips

  • The beach gets crowded during the peak summer months.
  • If you're interested in surfing, the south side of the beach offers better wave conditions. 
  • High tide covers most of the thin beach. Plan accordingly.
  • The stairs may be challenging for some. Wear comfortable shoes and consider your fitness level before descending.
  • Lastly, remember to respect the beach and its environment by keeping it clean and leaving no trace behind.


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