The laid-back seaside community of Carlsbad is much quieter now that school is back in session and the summer crowd has slowed. Now is a perfect time to visit San Diego’s neighbor to the north. Offering visitors beaches, a long list of dining options and plenty of outdoor entertainment, Carlsbad has plenty to offer to families. Keep reading for 12 of our recommendations on what to do, what to eat and where to stay in the family friendly town of Carlsbad.
What To Do
LEGOLAND California is probably what Carlsbad is best known for. Specially designed for families with children ages 12 and under, this amusement park offers mellow roller coasters, interactive rides, colorful play areas, hands-on LEGO pits, and other interactive park experiences.
Carlsbad Flower Fields
Every spring, between March and May, you can witness one of the most spectacular and coordinated displays of nearly fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that make up The Flower Fields. Also be sure to check out gem-mining, free concerts, tractor-pulled wagon rides, and a maze made of sweet peas.
Have a Cabana Party
Beach Genie provides everything you need for a care-free day at the beach. They will set up a cabana, beach chairs, oversized beach towels, side tables, a cooler with local bottled water and beach games. This is the perfect scenario for travelers from out of town. You can just show up to the beach and everything you need is set up for you.
LEGOLAND Water Park
Located inside LEGOLAND California, the LEGOLAND Water Park is a must for the warmer months. The 10-acre park features more than seven slides, sandy beaches and the unique Build-A-Raft River plus Pirate Reef and LEGO Legends of CHIMA Water Park. There are special splash areas with fountains and mini waterslides just for toddlers and young children, too.
Located on Agua Hedionda Lagoon, the Carlsbad Lagoon is a change of pace from the beach featuring calm, uncrowded water. There are numerous fun activities and options from California Watersports. Here, you can rent stand-up paddle boards, canoes, jet skis, speed boats, aqua bikes, and more.
If you are looking for a fun and popular springtime activity in Carlsbad, give strawberry picking a try! Located in coastal Carlsbad, the third generation Carlsbad Strawberry Company is a family-run “U-pick” farm. Families can enjoy strawberry picking from January through July. In the fall, look for a pumpkin patch and corn maze at this same location.
Where to Eat
For a Slice & a Beer
For a slice and a beer Pizza Port in Carlsbad Village is a family friendly spot popular with Carlsbad locals. Long picnic tables and video games give it a laid-back vibe. Pizza options range from custom-made creations to gourmet “anti-wimpy” pies like the BBQ bacon cheeseburger, plus salads and their famous beer buddies to round out the menu. As for beer, there is a wide selection of beers on tap to quench your thirst.
If you are craving authentic Mexican cuisine, Norte is a longtime local favorite. There is an outdoor patio adorned with fire pits for cooler nights and an expansive menu featuring something for the whole family.
If you’re looking for an outdoor dining spot in the heart of the Village, look no further than Park 101. There is something for everyone at this 8,000 sq. ft. multi-level, plaza-style complex. They are kid friendly and dog friendly and are centrally located and steps to the beach.
Where to Stay
In the Heart of the Village
Located in the heart of Carlsbad Village and one block to the beach (and right next door to Park 101), guests love the “walkability” of Coastal Casita. The beach, restaurants, and shopping are steps away. Throw your car keys in the corner and enjoy your stay! This one-bedroom, one-bathroom condo sleeps 4 and guests love that the condo comes equipped with beach chairs, an umbrella, boogie boards, a surfboard, and beach toys for the kiddos. Coastal Casita has you covered for the ultimate beach vacation!
Close to the Beach & LEGOLAND
Discover your new favorite getaway at this stunning, Spanish-style home just two blocks from the beach in Carlsbad that we call Hacienda Terramar. This three-bedroom, two-bathroom home features sunny interior spaces, unique architectural features, cozy bedrooms and large private backyard! Spend your days relaxing at the beach or visiting LEGOLAND, less than two miles away. In the evenings, take a short walk to the beach to watch the sun set over the ocean or enjoy a backyard BBQ with a fire pit and test your skill at cornhole!
Wake up to the sounds of the surf at Shore Drive, an oceanfront getaway with a private staircase leading down to the shores of Carlsbad. This three-bedroom, three-bathroom home features wall-to-wall windows on the ocean facing side of the home for an unobstructed, panoramic ocean view.
After spending the day at the beach, guests can enjoy home-cooked meals in the fully stocked kitchen, or a sunset BBQ on the patio, and restful nights in the comfortable bedrooms.