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Crowned the “Village by the Sea”, Carlsbad is about a half hour north of San Diego. The city name originated in the 1880’s when underground water was discovered to contain minerals similar to those found in what was then Karlsbad, Bohemia. This naturally carbonated water is now bottled for drinking and there is an elegant spa on the original site. It has beautiful beaches that are just right for a great swimming or surfing experience.
The Hilton Garden Inn Carlsbad Beach has its own beach access, across the street from the hotel. Request a room with a balcony for an ocean breeze at the Best Western Beach View Lodge . The Motel 6 Carlsbad offers affordable beach lodging. The Courtyard by Marriott - Carlsbad is just a short drive away from the beach. For high-end travelers, check into the world-famous La Costa Resort and Spa or the more recent Four Seasons Resort Aviara.
Harbor Fish South is the local’s choice for clam chowder and fish and chips in a relaxed atmosphere. Go to Dini’s Bistro for a patio view of the sunset. If you’re in the mood for a tropical beverage, ask for their signature drink, the Iguana. If you like surf and turf with an ocean view and an Italian flair, try Vigilucci’s Seafood and Steakhouse.
For a small city, Carlsbad has plenty of shopping options. There are over 100 dealers and artists at Carlsbad Village Art & Antique Mall, near the Carlsbad Village Shopping District. You can also join the bargain hunters at the upscale Carlsbad Premium Outlets.
If historic vehicles are your interest, visit the Antique Gas and Steam Engine Museum, 100 years (1849-1949) of farm equipment. Take the kids to the educational Children’s Discovery Museum. Focusing on the history of American music products, the Museum of Making Music offers tours each Saturday.
The major attraction in Carlsbad is Legoland-California, with rides and shows for all ages. Just two miles from the Pacific, Legoland has added Sea Life, an aquarium that focuses on conservation. If you’re visit takes you to Carlsbad in late March through early May, a can’t miss is The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch with acres of Ranunculus flowers and special events. One of the nearly standard installations of California beach cities is for skateboarders, check it out at the Carlsbad Skateboard Park. Carlsbad could be considered golfing heaven. Not only does it have three public golf courses, Carlsbad is also home to several major golf equipment manufacturing facilities including Calloway, Titleist and Carlsbad Golf. Hike the trails and visit the Nature Center at Batiquitos Lagoon. Walking and jogging is popular on the seaside promenade near the beach bluff. For action in the air, Carlsbad’s Barnstorming Adventures offers biplane rides, air combat and warbird fights. If the ground is a little more your style, there’s K1 Speed for indoor go kart racing.
Discover birds, wildlife and tidepools in Carlsbad’s three lagoons.
The State of California provides lifeguards to Carlsbad State and South Carlsbad State beaches during summer season. Check with lifeguards (760-438-3143) prior to your ocean adventure. Locations for allowable activities (including surfing and diving) can change due to current weather and water conditions and signs aren’t always obvious.
Beaches from the north:
There’s plenty of room for playing and swimming on Carlsbad's beaches, and you can also try Leucadia Surf School for those who want to try out surfing for the first time with year around 2 hour surf lessons and summer surf camps.
The North County Transportation District has ten bus routes throughout Carlsbad. Two stops (Village and Poinsettia stations) are served by Orange County’s Coast Express Rail (the Coaster). The Amtrak station in nearby Oceanside will take you to San Diego or Los Angeles. There are flights to and from Los Angeles International Airport to Carlsbad’s McClellan-Palomar airport.
Carlsbad Annual Events
- April – July