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Southern California - part 1 of 2 Cardiff by the Sea, CA + More

Ky and I accepted a pet sit in Cardiff by the Sea, CA. We were excited when we planned it because we would be sitting for a cute Havanese dog, and we knew we would be in close proximity to the Bobby Riggs Racquet & Paddle location in Encinitas. What a great combination! We also found out that there were lots of other courts in the area that we needed to check out. If you’re headed that way, it’s good to know where you can play.


Skipper turned out to be one of our favorite dogs ever (please don’t tell that to our other favorites though!). She is a classic Havanese who wanted to be with us all the time, and she loves playing and lots of pets. She was also quite captivating with a pickleball!


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Havanese dog with pickleball in California
Skipper the Havanese pickleball player!


Encinitas, CA. - Cottonwood Creek Park has 8 lined pickleball courts on two tennis courts. Currently they have no organization at all. Someone told me that it's like the wild west. If a tennis player wants to use a tennis court, they have top priority and they can play for an hour. The pickleball players can stay on their courts for an hour too if they wish and don't have to let anyone on with them. Little groups had formed, and among them,there were some very welcoming people, but for the most part, it’s best and easiest if you know someone, or come with your own group, or at least a partner.


Pickleball Players on tennis courts in Encinitas, CA
Cottonwood Creek Park in Encinitas


Encinitas - Moonlight Beach Pickleball Courts.

This is a little hidden, intermittently used community asset. The courts were a bit messy with leaves, but it's a beautiful walk on a woodland path to get to it.Parking is on the nearest street, South Vulcan Ave.


There are four pickleball court lines painted on two tennis courts, and there are temporary pickleball nets on site. It is hidden away and on the two occasions we went, there were only a couple of other people around. There is a friendly group of people camping/living in the park, and one guy was patiently waiting for players to get off the courts before skateboarding on it.

The surface is not great due to cracks, but for drilling with a partner or maybe teaching friends to play, it was quite good. We were fortunate to get to play with another couple we met there for a few fun competitive games. If/when these courts get resurfaced, they will be awesome. A bonus is that the beach is just a quick stroll away.



Encinitas - Bobby Riggs Racket & Paddle is a pretty famous place as many of you might already know. Steve Dawson and Hall of Fame member, Jennifer Dawson, took the former tennis club and transformed all of the courts in to 21 beautiful dedicated pickleball courts. The history of the place is preserved in the on-site museum. You can find all levels of play there from beginners up to pro. They have fantastic programming so you can find just the right spot to fit in.


Huge number of pickleball courts that used to be tennis courts. All full. Encinitas, CA Bobby Riggs
Bobby Riggs Racket & Paddle, Encinitas, CA

One day I went alone because Ky had tweaked his ankle playing on another day. There are times each day for open play with courts all designated as challenge courts, and everyone is welcome, within certain ability levels. There are different days for different levels. It’s $10 for the 2 hour session. I paid the open play fee, and dropped right in to several games. Fortunately it was only the $10 fee, and not the cost of my eye on top of that.


My (new to me) partner unfortunately hit a high cross court volley. The guy directly across from me at the NVZ, just 14’ away, slammed the ball and it hit the left lens of my glasses directly. It hit hard enough to pop the lens out, put a cut on my nose and gave me a lovely blue bruise just below my eyebrow that was a reminder of the incident for a week. PLEASE, I beseech thee to get thyself some safety glasses. I’m convinced that if I had not been wearing my heavy duty, sight giving, thick glasses, I would be sightless in my left eye. This is not a black eye in any way on Bobby Riggs, just a cautionary tale. I actually finished out the game, so the story had a happy ending.


When Ky’s ankle was better, we reserved a court for a couple of hours for $16 an hour to drill, and to invite people in to play with us. The court reservation system that they use is quite easy to navigate and pay. You can see just how popular this place is by looking at all the reservations. If you want to visit, I suggest that you get on line and do it before you arrive.


Carlsbad, CA Poinsettia Park

This is a crowd pleasing venue with six dedicated courts that people love if judged by the number of people waiting to play. Those courts are adjacent to 10 beautiful and vastly underutilized tennis courts judged by their relative emptiness. Two of the courts are challenge courts where winners stay on. These are the easiest courts to drop in to as a single, but long waits for games are not unusual. The best places with friendly inclusive people usually are! The drone shot below is one I took a couple of years ago. The courts and crowds in the photo are still the same.


People waiting to play pickleball in Encinita, CA at Poinsettia Park
Poinsettia Park, Carlsbad, CA Crowds as seen to the right in the shade are not uncommon

Drone photography by HoverHigher.com of poinsettia Park in Incinitas, CA
Poinsettia Park, Encinitas from the air by HoverHigher.com


All these courts were within 10 minutes of where we were pet sitting! Stay tuned for our day trip pickleball adventure with Skipper! Check out more blog posts if you are interested in other places all around the world to play!


Thanks so much to those of you who follow along and send me such kind words. They really make me enjoy writing even more!


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