Checking In: Surfhouse Motel puts the surf retreat you need within reach

ASN’s Checking In series delivers first-hand reviews of amazing boutique hotels, Airbnbs, yurts, treehouses and more for the active traveler. Because adventure doesn’t always have to mean roughing it in a tent. Happy Travels!

If you’re craving a surf retreat (or want to learn how to surf) but don’t have the time or cash to go on a tropical vacation, a new boutique motel in Encinitas, California, may be the solution for you.

The little motel on the corner: Surfhouse. Photo: Polarized Studios

Surfhouse opened in February 2017 in Encinitas’ Leucadia neighborhood, about 25 miles north of San Diego. The eight-room boutique motel is more than just a place to stay; it’s an opportunity to immerse oneself in the culture of one of the most vibrant surf communities in California.

Founders Sander and Nikki Harth, brothers who grew up surfing in Leucadia, want visitors to experience the ultimate “stokecation,” with customized trips that are tailored to guests’ interests.

“Surf Camp” packages are targeted at adults who want a local experience. Photo: Polarized Studios

Guests can borrow Firewire surfboards free of charge, and Beacon’s Beach, a mellow reefbreak that welcomes surfers of all abilities, is a five-minute walk from the motel. If guests want to fit in a yoga class or a standup paddle lesson, the staff will arrange it with local Leucadia businesses, typically at a discounted price.

Board selection abounds at Surfhouse. Photo: Polarized Studios

For those who really want to go all out, Surfhouse offers adult “surf camps,” week-long clinics that include five two-hour surf lessons, breakfasts, dinners and sunset yoga. Rooms with bunk beds can accommodate families or groups of friends, while a party of one or two might opt for one of the queen or two-twin-bed options.

Bunk up with your friends for a week-long adult surf camp. Photo: Polarized Studios

Each room is decorated in a surf-inspired motif, with sea hues throughout and wall pieces from surf artists like painter Andy Davis and photographer Billy Watts.

Each room is decorated differently but shares a surf-inspired motif. Photo: Polarized Studios

The town of Encinitas is a haven for active people and ocean lovers, less crowded than beach towns in Orange County or LA, but still full of restaurants, bars, bike and walking paths, yoga studios and miles of beaches with various reef-, point- and beachbreaks. You won’t have to travel farther than a couple of miles for any activity, and the motel provides Electra beach cruisers for getting around town.

Leucadia, which encompasses the northern end of Encinitas, is still home to plant nurseries and the occasional dirt road. The neighborhood attracts artists and surfers looking for a slower pace.

Guests are encouraged to enjoy morning coffees at the cafe across the street, Coffee Coffee, located next to Surfy Surfy, an iconic Leucadia surf shop that offers Surfhouse guests a special discount.

If you’re seeking fresh poke, or are on a mission to find the perfect breakfast burrito, Surfhouse staff will steer you in the right direction and might even join you for a meal.

Beacon’s Beach is a five-minute walk from Surfhouse and hosts surfers of all ability levels. Photo: Polarized Studios

For those guests looking for a more private vacation, Surfhouse is set up so that visitors can be completely self-sufficient: Booking is available on Airbnb, and a code is texted to you before check-in so that you can access your room without reporting to a front desk.

While anonymity is an option, the best part of Surfhouse is feeling like you’re a part of the community. Drop your bags, grab a coffee and check the surf. You’ll be living like a local before you know it.

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