With winter temperatures in Carlsbad, California hovering around the mid-sixties a family retreat to this sunny shore is a welcome respite from our frequent artic blasts. Just 25 minutes north of San Diego, this gem of a town sits along the Pacific coast. Whether you choose to jaunt off for a fun long weekend or stay for an entire week, there is plenty for the whole family to do.
Perhaps the most widely known attraction in Carlsbad is Legoland California. The 128-acre beautifully landscaped park is designed specifically to appeal to families with children ages 3 to 12. You’ll find roller coasters (both tame and adventurous), interactive rides, building areas, the awe-inspiring Miniland (see the entire Las Vegas strip, Washington DC, New York City and other landmarks built entirely out of Legos), and more. If you have younger children, put it on your must-do list.
Designed with families in mind, the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort is within walking distance to Legoland California and boasts a waterpark style swimming pool, spacious condo-sized rooms with fully equipped kitchens and a stocked game room where you can challenge your offspring to a friendly game of air hockey. This hilltop oasis overlooks Carlsbad’s Flower Fields and the Pacific Ocean. On-site dining is available at the award-winning Karl Strauss Brewery Restaurant, featuring breakfast, lunch, dinner, and showcasing ten handcrafted beers on tap. Guests also enjoy a complimentary shuttle and preferred green fees at the Crossings at Carlsbad Golf Course located one mile from the resort.
Voted by Golf Magazine as one of the “Top 10 New Courses You Can Play,” The Crossings at Carlsbad offers magnificent views of the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean to the west and the Southern California Peninsular Mountain Ranges to the east. Golfers are challenged by its the rugged canyon terrain while enjoying sweeping emerald green fairways and memorable vistas framed by protected native flora and fauna.
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If you want to be closer to the beach, consider staying at the Carlsbad Seapointe Resort. Located just across the street from Carlsbad State Beach, the property is surrounded by lush tropical greenery and offers unobstructed views of the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Beachgoers enjoy a complimentary beach gear program including use of beach chairs, shade umbrella, towel, boogie boards, and toys—all in a convenient wagon ready for the short stroll to the sand.
One of five beaches in town, Carlsbad State Beach, also known as Tamarack Beach, is ideal for the family and kids. Recreation activities available at the beach include swimming, surfing, scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, fishing and beachcombing.
And you won’t find more amazing views of the sunset! Every night people gather on the nearby bluff to watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean.
Choosing to stay in Carlsbad not only gives you more space, and puts you near lovely beaches and fun family activities, but also is significantly more affordable than staying in San Diego proper. And it’s an easy drive to the city where you can tour the USS Midway (the most-visited naval ship museum in the world), stroll along the bay, or enjoy dinner in the Gaslamp Quarter. Just north of downtown, Balboa Park isn’t to be missed. Seventeen museums are housed in breathtaking architecture surrounded by lush gardens and centuries-old trees. It’s also the home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo.
So, if you need a short respite from the chilly wind and icy weather of Texas this winter, remember that warm, sunny days filled with long hours of happy memory making are only a short flight away.
By Abby Hoeffner