Visitors to Carlsbad, Calif., usually come for the white beaches. The northern portion of San Diego County is picturesque, blessed with near-perfect weather and features gorgeous city-scapes. It is a little known fact that Carlsbad is also a premier destination for travelers in search of spring colors.
Traveling to the Carlsbad Flower Fields from Los Angeles is easy via Interstate 5; just take the Palomar Airport Road exit . If coming in from the Inland Empire, take Intestate 15 to Highway 78 West; from there, connect to the Interstate 5 South. Once again, look for the Palomar Airport Road exit. Parking is free!
The cost of admission is reasonable. Adults pay $10; seniors over the age of 60 (and children between the ages of three and 10) only pay $5. Consider treating the family to a scenic wagon ride for $5 for adults and $3 for children. Remind grandpa that the Carlsbad Flower Fields are a non-smoking environment, which is strictly enforced.
Plan the trip to fall between the early days of March and May, when the blooms are gorgeous. Factor in the weather prior to the excursion, since this may delay blooming. For example, after the recent wet spells that Southern California enjoyed, blooms are at 50 percent (as of early April) and increasing. A handy website monitor lets visitors know when to start coming, when to hightail it on over, and when to wait for a more opportune time.
So what will you see at the Carlsbad Flower Fields? Spring colors include more than 50 acres of Giant Ranunculus with white, red, orange and purple shades. A rose garden, cymbidium greenhouse, the American Flag of Flowers and poinsettia displays round out the experience — season and weather permitting. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a family day at the well-designed picnic areas. A sweet pea maze provides entertainment for the kids. Depending on the season, there are ample strawberries to be had.
After spending some time at the flower fields, why not enter the resort town of Carlsbad itself? The Carlsbad Lagoon is a great locale for water sports. Jet skis, wakeboards and water-skis are on site for rental. While the Carlsbad Flower Fields are a very economical trip idea for enjoying local spring colors, the rates of renting sports equipment at the lagoon are more expensive. Renting wave runners for as little as 30 minutes costs $70.
If money is tight, walk around the neighborhoods and enjoy the gorgeous blooms that are growing in private yards. Well-manicured landscapes are the pride and joy of residents there, and it is not unheard of for neighbors to engage in rivalries to have the most colorful yards possible.
Carlsbad Flower Fields
5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, Calif. 92008
Daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
4215 Harrison Street in Carlsbad, Calif. 92008