Jacques Cousteau once said, “The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” The sea captured me many years ago, the first time I laid eyes on the Pacific Ocean. I have vacationed in many spots in Southern California, but Carlsbad, California, is my new favorite.
We were fortunate enough to spend a week with extended family in Carlsbad at a large, oceanfront rental house. My idea of a great time is parking the car and not getting in it again until I’m ready to head home. That’s exactly what we did in Carlsbad.
Carlsbad is a coastal town 35 minutes north of San Diego. Over 100,000 people call it home. Forty percent of its nearly 43 square miles is dedicated to open space, lagoons, hiking trails and coastline. It is clean and inviting.
There are plenty of hotels and resorts in Carlsbad, but we stayed in a house on the sand, rented through Beachfront Only Rentals. The home had 3 separate floors. Since it was the off-season, the prices were lower, $100 per bedroom per night. The floors are rented separately, but with our large group, we needed the entire house. Each floor had its own living and dining area, kitchen, washer, dryer and fireplace. Linens, towels, dishes and cooking utensils were provided. The owners thought of everything — right down to the garlic press, spices and coffee grinder. The best part was the large patio and separate gazebo area and decks, equipped with BBQ grills, hot tubs and umbrella tables and chairs. We could throw a stone off the patio into the ocean. Who wouldn’t enjoy this beautiful setting?
We enjoyed our portion of the seven miles of beach in Carlsbad. The beaches are wide and sandy, perfect for long walks. The sunsets are truly spellbinding. If you are looking for rest and relaxation, you won’t go wrong in Carlsbad, California. Since we stayed at a house rather than a hotel, the beaches were not open to the public, so we avoided crowds. It’s a great spot for building sandcastles, surfing and taking part in just about any other water sport imaginable.
Carlsbad’s downtown area was less than a block away. It is an enchanting village atmosphere dotted with plenty of boutiques, cafes and shops. Although we primarily chose to use the BBQ grills and enjoy meals from our deck, there were seemingly endless restaurant choices in the area. We could sip cocktails at the local establishments and walk back to the house — no drinking and driving. Grocery stores, medical services, golfing, fitness centers and outlet shopping were all in close proximity.
Southern California is known for its many attractions, including Sea World and Disneyland. The west coast version of LEGOLAND opened in Carlsbad in 1999. It is the only LEGOLAND to boast a water park. We spent a day at LEGOLAND, and it was enjoyable, especially for the children. If you go there expecting a Disneyland experience, you will be disappointed — it is not that elaborate. Everything in the park is made of LEGO’s, and the creativity is impressive. Rides dot the park, but they are the slower-moving type designed to accommodate younger children; they often require effort such as pedaling from the participants. Visitors can even build their own water raft from soft LEGO’s and float down a lazy river.
Whether you’re looking for action and water sports or simply yearning for rest and relaxation on a beautiful beach, Carlsbad, California, is worth a look.
City of Carlsbad, California