Carlsbad, nestled in North County San Diego, is the quintessential laid-back beach town, boasting 7 miles of pristine coastline. But don’t let its beachy vibe fool you—Carlsbad is a treasure trove of family-friendly activities, attractions, and culinary delights. Here are 10 fun things to do in Carlsbad with the family, ensuring a memorable vacation for everyone.

The Fun Cat rental at California Watersports

1. Carlsbad Lagoon

Located on Aqua Hedionda Lagoon, the Carlsbad Lagoon offers exciting activities on calm, uncrowded water. California Watersports offers rentals of all kinds like stand-up paddle boards, canoes, jet skis, speed boats, aquabikes, and more. They also offer summer camps and private party areas to rent. This summer be sure to check out the Row in The Dark Event! A $49 ticket grants you a three hour glow in the dark themed adventure on a paddleboard, kayak or aquacycle. This unique experience gives you the opportunity to be on the water after the sun goes down in a safe environment. Enjoy music, hot dogs, and S’mores around the campfire, beach games and memories that will last a lifetime! Designed for all ages, Row in the Dark ensures that every member of your family can partake in the wonder of an after-hours lagoon adventure. All while having some fun with glow sticks and other glowing fun. Alcohol is allowed, but cannot be in a glass container. If you prefer to stay on the sand, for $20 you get admittance to the event and can enjoy all the fun. Kids 8 and under are free.

2. Legoland

LEGOLAND California, located in Carlsbad is 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. Join the party this Summer as they celebrate their 25th anniversary! There will be shows starring your favorite LEGO characters, extra special birthday festivities, and end the day watching the LEGO World Parade!​

Cruise the coast in style

3. Take A Ride On The Moke

Surf’s up, sun’s out, means it time for a cruise in the Moke. Whether it’s catching waves, indulging in local eats, or simply kicking back with a sunset view, catch every coastal moment in a Moke! Embarking on family adventures and coastal cruising in a Moke promises an unforgettable experience for the entire family. Kids and Dog friendly. Mention that you are a Haustay guest and receive 15% off your rental.  

Some of the amazing options at Gelatolove

4. Cool down with some gelato

Gelatolove is completely handmade and is created with organic/natural ingredients. One small cup of this amazing Italian ice cream (4 oz) contains less than 5 grams of added sugar. They also serve vegan and gluten free ice cream. Mention Haustay10 for 10% off!

The Alley Art Wall by Bryan Snyder

5. Murals in the Village

The Carlsbad Village is filled with art of all kinds scattered throughout the Village. Take a visual journey of the Village’s rich culture and artistic talent as nearly every street is adorned with art of some sort.

6. Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center

Learn about Carlsbad’s local ecology at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center. With interactive exhibits and touch tanks, kids can get up close with marine life and learn about the importance of preserving our natural environment.

The walk path along Carlsbad State Beach

7. Head to the beach

Beach activities are so diverse, and beaches aren’t just for laying out or surfing. Discover the best beaches in Carlsbad, whether you’re looking for families and off-leash dogs and the best spots for bonfires, bike rides, tide pooling and more.

Cute character buns at Harumama

8. Lunch at Harumama

Lunch at Harumama is a must for cute character buns and amazing ramen. The buns are fun for the kids and there are a number of animals to choose from.

The Carlsbad sign at Carlsbad Boulevard near Carlsbad Village Drive.

9. Walk Around Carlsbad Village

Wander through Carlsbad Village, the heart of the town, filled with charming boutiques, art galleries, and cafes. It’s a great place for a family stroll, and you might find unique souvenirs to take home.

10. Attend A Free Concert In The Park

Since 1986, the City of Carlsbad’s Cultural Arts Office has been presenting free concerts in the city’s parks during the summer. Concerts take place on Friday evenings, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and begin in late June and run through the summer. Click here for locations and schedule.

Vacation Rental home in Carlsbad – Terramar

9. Where to Stay – Close to Beach

This Spanish-style home just two blocks from the beach in Carlsbad that we call “Hacienda Terramar” is a 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home and will accommodate up to 6 people and is pet friendly. With sunny interior spaces, unique architectural features, cozy bedrooms and large, private backyard, you won’t want to leave! Spend your days relaxing at the beach, or by taking a quick day trip to San Diego. 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!

The back patio at Shore Drive with private beach access

10. Where to stay – Ocean Front

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, CA. This 3 bedroom, 3 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. Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beaches, exploring interactive museums, or enjoying thrilling attractions, Carlsbad has something for every family member. Plan your trip today and discover why this charming beach town is a favorite family destination!

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