The city of Solana Beach offers nearly 2 miles of beaches, plus eclectic shops and a vibrant nightlife.
History: The area began to develop after Lake Hodges Dam was built in 1918, ensuring water for the region. In 1922, developer Ed Fletcher purchased 201 acres at $200 per acre from farmer George H. Jones to develop the town of Solana Beach.
To provide access to the beach, a fire hose was used to break up the sandstone, eventually creating Fletcher Cove. The beach opened July 4, 1924, with horse races as part of the celebrations. The population increased slowly until the 1970s. By the time it incorporated in 1986, Solana Beach had more than 14,000 residents.
How it got its name: Originally known as Lockwood Mesa, the name was changed when Fletcher established the town. It means “sunny place” in Spanish.
Landmarks: Fletcher Cove Park overlooks the beach and is a community gathering place.
The park’s community center was a military barracks during World War II. Cedros Avenue, now the Cedros Design District with chic shops and restaurants, was once the city’s industrial center. The venerable Belly Up Tavern music venue was the first establishment to move into one of the empty Quonset huts in 1974.
Things to do: Go for an easy hike and reward yourself with that perfect shot for Instagram at Annie’s Canyon Trail.
Notable locals: Actress Michelle Williams grew up here, and singer Patti Page once lived here.