Carlsbad is like a mini San Diego with a small town feel. Located in North County and just 3 miles away from the closest beach, Carlsbad has a lot to offer if you want to experience a different, more intimate side of San Diego. It can be overwhelming finding things to do for your first time in a new town, so we are here to help narrow down your options so you can have an easy and fun trip under the sun.
is finding a place to stay. One of the best places to stay is in Carlsbad Village, where you have walking access to hundreds of boutiques, eateries, and other attractions. The Village is also only two blocks away from the beach if you want to explore your options by the water. There are plenty of hotels, villas, and affordable Airbnbs to choose from, either centrally located in the Village or on the waterfront on Carlsbad Blvd. Pet friendly options are also available if you would like to bring your beloved companion. Carlsbad Inn is a popular and great option that offers amenities like beach chairs, bikes, and boogie boards for when you walk across the street to the beach. Carlsbad Village Inn is another beautiful option that allows up to two pets at no additional cost. It is in close proximity to the 5 freeway so you can easily and quickly get to where you need to go. The Village is a must-see and a conveniently beautiful stay when you’re visiting Carlsbad.
is figuring out where to go! One of the first attractions that comes to mind is Carlsbad’s only amusement park: LEGOLAND. LEGOLAND resort includes a theme park, water park, hotels, and an aquarium, and is fun for all families. Because there is so much to do there, it is a full day trip so it is recommended to reserve a whole day just to explore the park. Reservations can be easily made online to visit the park, and it is a cashless venue so remember to bring your debit and credit card. There are several places to eat in the park for when you need to take a break, sit down, and refuel. The food is made fresh, so while wait times may be longer than regular restaurants, the quality makes up for the wait time. In LEGOLAND, you’ll find places to build legos at your heart’s desire and Instagram-worthy photos with more than 30,000 LEGO models. That’s more than 60 million LEGO bricks used throughout the entire theme park!
Another great destination is the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. It is over 50 acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that have flourished for more than 60 years. The flowers are in full bloom from March through May, and attract locals and tourists from afar to visit the fields during prime time. These buttercups have been carefully bred so they produce a wide variety of colors apart from the typical red and yellow. It is a stunning sight to see so many flowers in bloom at one time, and you will be sure to get amazing photos and wonderful memories. Not only does Carlsbad Ranch offer these beautiful flowers, but during March and April you have the opportunity to pick fresh blueberries as well. There is also an orchid greenhouse and a fun maze to visit. Be sure to visit in the Spring while you can!
there is Carlsbad Lagoon. If you want to try a fresh water experience, the lagoon is an excellent place to try watersports you can’t do at the beach. They offer kayak, boat, aquacycle, and paddleboard rentals, and the lagoon is a great, safe place to try out any of these activities if you are a beginner. Whatever your speed, whether you want to zoom on a speedboat or chill on a floating lounge chair, the 350 acre lagoon has enough room for everyone to enjoy their time how they want on the water. It is only a $10 launch fee to hang out at the lagoon, and that includes your whole party. Summer camps are also fun and available and a great option for your kids to enjoy. Make sure to bring sunscreen!
in Carlsbad is an awesome way to spend your time, whether you are a San Diego native looking for a staycation, or an out of town tourist wanting to experience a beachside gem of North County. Some of the best attractions are seasonal, but make for the perfect outing if you are in town for spring break or summer vacation. With lovely sunny weather year round, you can visit downtown Carlsbad at any time and immerse yourself in San Diego’s beach town culture. Enjoy a cocktail, have an oceanfront dinner, explore the arts, or have fun in the water. However, you want to spend your vacation, you will be doing it right by being in Carlsbad.
Jordyn Reardon | UCLA alum English Major | San Diego native with an affinity for adventure. Loves discovering hidden gems across Southern California and writing about them for the greater community.