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A Colorful Spring Getaway in Carlsbad, CA

If you’re looking for the perfect Southern California spring getaway, you can’t do much better than Carlsbad. While beautiful at any time of year, Carlsbad in the spring is especially stunning.

The quaint coastal village comes alive in the spring, boasting sunny days, pristine beaches, and the world famous Flower Fields. Here, millions of ranunculus flowers bloom across 50 acres, creating a spectacular display of color that is a sight to behold.

Carlsbad is a destination that offers something for everyone. There’s plenty to see and do in Carlsbad, from outdoor activities, a thriving food and drink scene, unique local businesses, and much more. It’s also home of Legoland, one of the area’s top family attractions. 

Located about 35 miles north of downtown San Diego, it’s an ideal weekend getaway or staycation destination from Los Angeles, Orange County, or other parts of California.

Here’s how to plan the best Carlsbad spring getaway, from what to do, where to stay, where to eat, and more!

**Disclosure: I was hosted by the Cassara Carlsbad to experience their Stay and See package. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Why Visit Carlsbad This Spring?

While there’s really no *bad* time to go to Carlsbad, spring is my absolute favorite time to visit. Planning a Carlsbad getaway in spring is the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the best of what the town has to offer.

You’ll enjoy sunny days and mild temperatures, perfect for enjoying Carlsbad’s coastline and its plethora of outdoor activities.

Perhaps the best reason for visiting Carlsbad during the spring season is to visit the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch, arguably the most famous attraction. Every year, the rainbow display of ranunculus flowers bloom from March to May and this alone makes for the perfect reason to visit in the spring season.

Where to Stay in Carlsbad

There are many options for places to stay in Carlsbad, but the Cassara Carlsbad makes an excellent choice when visiting for a spring getaway.

You can’t beat the location of the Cassara – directly across and above the Flower Fields. If you’re planning to visit the Flower Fields as part of your Carlsbad itinerary (as you very much should!), then it doesn’t get much more convenient than this. 

We just walked there and it was so easy (and so nice to bypass the madness of the crowded parking lot)! If you don’t feel like walking there, the hotel also offers a shuttle there (as well as anywhere within a 5 mile radius).

It’s also amazing to be able to get a birds eye view of the fields right from the property – you’ll get a sense of how expansive they are, and how colorful it is. Some of the rooms also have a balcony that overlooks the fields, so I highly recommend booking one of them if you can!

The 4 star boutique hotel is part of the Hilton Tapestry collection and is absolutely stunning! It is decorated like a Mediterranean villa. I loved all the modern, elegant furnishings and the tile details that were seen throughout the entire property.

It’s got a gorgeous lobby and bar area, lush gardens, along with sparkling pools. I loved the fact that it felt like a quiet, hidden-away sanctuary, yet you were just minutes away from Carlsbad’s downtown, beaches, and other attractions.

Stay and See Package: The spring months are also the best months to stay at the Cassara Carlsbad, as they offer a special Stay and See package during the Flower Fields season, which runs March 1 through May 12. If you’re planning to visit the Flower Fields, then I highly recommend that you stay at the property and take advantage of this package!

In addition to a stay at the hotel, the package includes free parking, 2 admission tickets to the Flower Fields, 2 flower-inspired welcome cocktails, and a beautiful box of handcrafted floral chocolates from local chocolatier Seabreeze Chocolates. 

It’s the perfect way to plan a relaxing spring getaway to Carlsbad and to take advantage of the hotel, the Flower Fields, and the best of what the area has to offer!

What to Do on Your Carlsbad Spring Getaway

The Flower Fields

This is absolutely *the* highlight of visiting Carlsbad in the spring season! The Flower Fields are open every year from March 1 until Mother’s Day, and are an absolute must-visit during this time.

Every year, over 70 million ranunculus flowers bloom across 50 acres at Carlsbad Ranch, creating a colorful spectacle. You’ll see flowers blooming in every color of the rainbow, stretching as far as the eye can see, with the Pacific Ocean making a beautiful backdrop.

It’s absolutely spectacular – I’ve visited several times now, and it still never fails to take my breath away every time I see it. It’s become a beloved springtime tradition for me and many others in Southern California.

In addition to the flowers, there are numerous other activities and attractions at the Flower Fields, including a tractor ride, sweet pea maze, U-Pick Blueberries, and more. They put on a number of special events as well, from tea parties, yoga classes, wine tastings, and more.

Plan on spending at least 2 hours here to walk through the entire fields, admire the flowers, take photos, and enjoy some of the other activities offered.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when visiting the Flower Fields:

  • Buy tickets in advance: You must purchase your tickets online in advance of your visit. If you plan to visit weekends or on a holiday, I would be sure to book your ticket at least a few days in advance to ensure your desired day/time are available. (Note: This is not necessary if you booked the Stay and See package from the Cassara Carlsbad, as they will give you a ticket that is valid at any time that the fields are open)
  • Walk to the back of the fields: I’ve found that most people are congregated towards the front of the fields, but it clears out towards the back. You’ll encounter less lines and people when trying to take photos.
  • Don’t walk into the fields!  Seriously, please please PLEASE don’t trample the flowers! There are plenty of photo spots that will allow you to get that Instagram-worthy shot without damaging any flowers. Make use of them!
  • Get creative with photo angles: If you stand in one of the cutout photo spots, have your photographer stand on the opposite side of the path of flowers in front of you. Ask them to shoot upwards towards you from a lower angle. This will create the illusion that you’re immersed in the middle of the fields – without trampling any flowers!

Explore Carlsbad Village 

Carlsbad Village is Carlsbad’s charming downtown area, filled with eclectic shops, restaurants, cafes, and more. 

I recommend spending at least an afternoon wandering around Carlsbad Village, and seeing all that it has to offer. It’s such a cute area of town, and I love that it’s got a small town downtown feel. It’s also right next to the beach, so you’ll see exactly why Carlsbad is nicknamed the “village by the sea.”

Here are some things to check out in Carlsbad Village:

  • Snap a photo with the Carlsbad sign: One of the most iconic sights in town!
  • Go shopping: I love the independent boutiques and shops that dot the streets here. They’re so fun to browse! I especially loved Rebel Villa, a boho plants and home decor store. Carlsbad Village is also home to Village Faire, a quaint outdoor shopping center with businesses housed in cute pastel colored storefronts.
  • Hunt for some murals: Carlsbad has a thriving arts scene, and you’ll find plenty of public art and murals around town, especially in the village. One of my favorites is the Carlsbad Alley Art Wall, located at 550 Grand Ave., which is divided into 17 sections with each showcasing the work of a different local artist. The mural behind Sleeping Tiger Coffee is also iconic.
  • The Goods Doughnuts: This is one of those spots that I have to stop at every time I’m in Carlsbad. You’ll find drool-worthy artisanal doughnuts, which come in varieties such as maple bacon, Nutella buttercream, lemon curd, and an array of seasonal flavors.
  • Take a food tour: This is the best way to sample all of the area’s best eats. The tour not only stops at some of the best and most iconic eateries in the Village, but also takes you to some notable historic sites and colorful murals. It’s a fun way to see and learn more about the history of Carlsbad!
  • Sample some local beers: San Diego is known as the capital of craft breweries, and that carries on up north into Carlsbad. You can sample some of the region’s best beers within Carlsbad Village. Some spots to hit up include Pizza Port, Barrel Republic, and Pure Project.
  • Carlsbad Alkaline Water + Mineral Spa: Did you know that Carlsbad was named thanks tothe “world’s most healthful water” being dug up there? Back in 1882, a local businessman named Captain John Frazier, who was looking for a water source for his farm, built a well in what is now Carlsbad Village, near the train station.

    After drinking the water himself, he found that it magically cured his health ailments and sent it for lab testing. This revealed that the water had the same healing properties as in Karlsbad, Bohemia (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic).

    You can try the water (it’s sold all over town), see the site where it was discovered (there’s a cute historic building there), or book a spa treatment that uses the magical water.

Hit the Beach

Surrounded by 7 miles of pristine coastline, Carlsbad is a beach town at heart. The town is home to some of San Diego County’s best beaches. There’s a strong surf culture here as well. 

Therefore, one of the top things to do in Carlsbad is to spend some time at the beach! Whether you’re looking to lay out in the sun, walk in the sand, have a picnic, or hit the surf, there’s a beach for everyone here.

Some beaches to check out in Carlsbad:

  • Carlsbad State Beach: This beach borders Carlsbad Villages and stretches for 3 miles. It’s technically comprised of a number of smaller beaches, and you can do a variety of activities here, from swimming, surfing, fishing, diving, or just lounging in the sun.
  • Terramar Beach: This quaint beach is somewhat of a hidden gem. It’s popular with surfers, so it doesn’t have much sand to lounge around. However, it’s surrounded by bluffs and the view from the top of the cliffside is absolutely gorgeous!
  • Tamarack State Beach: If you’re a surfer, you’ll definitely want to head to Tamarack – it’s a favorite surf spot for local surfers.
  • South Carlsbad State Beach: This beach has a quieter and more remote feel than its neighbor to the north. It’s best known for its blufftop campground, but you don’t have to camp here to take advantage of its beauty. If you come here, I highly recommend stopping at the Camp Store. They sell delicious pizzas and have live music on the weekends, which makes it the perfect spot to hang out and watch the sunset.

Outdoor Activities

With sunshine and mild temperatures, spring is the perfect time to take advantage of the myriad of outdoor recreation opportunities that Carlsbad has to offer. 

Here are some of the outdoor activities available in Carlsbad: 

  • Hiking: Carlsbad is home to miles of trails that offer a variety of difficulty and terrain, along with some amazing views. You can hike to an extinct volcano (Lake Calavera), hike around a lagoon (Batiquitos Lagoon), or tackle a challenging climb to a ridgeline with stunning views of the San Marcos Mountains and Pacific Ocean (Rancho La Costa Ridgeline Trail).
  • Biking: Biking is one of the best ways to explore the area. Cruise along the coast, bike through local neighborhoods, or explore the local trails. You can rent a bike from Pedego in the Village, which offers hourly, 3-hour, and full day e-bike rentals starting at $20/hour.
  • Agua Hedionda Lagoon: Also known as Carlsbad Lagoon, this is the place to go if you’re looking to do some water activities. It’s a popular spot to go kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding, and rentals are available from California Watersports. They have motor boats and aqua cycles as well. 

Carlsbad Strawberry Company

Another fun Carlsbad spring activity is to pick your own strawberries at the Carlsbad Strawberry Company.

Admission is $5 and for $12, you can fill up your bucket and pick fresh strawberries right off the patch. The strawberries are super sweet and juicy, and it’s so fun to pick them yourself!

In addition to strawberry picking, there are a variety of other activities here, such as corn hole, sunflower maze, tractor rides, and a bounce house.


Legoland is another one of Carlsbad’s most well-known attractions. Opened in 1999, it was the first Lego-themed theme park in the United States.

The park has over 60 rides and attractions, including interactive shows and plenty of Lego displays. The property also includes the Sea Life aquarium.

I haven’t been as I don’t have kids and I’ve heard it’s very kid-oriented, but is a must if you’re looking for family-friendly activities during your Carlsbad spring getaway.

Where to Eat in Carlsbad

Carlsbad is home to a world-class dining scene, offering plenty of options for places to eat during your spring getaway to Carlsbad. Whether you’re looking for Michelin-starred fine dining, casual options, or anything in between, you’ll be sure to find something delicious.

Here are some recommended options for where to eat in Carlsbad:

  • Campfire: Arguably the most well-known restaurant in Carlsbad, the Michelin-starred Campfire has been consistently ranked among the best restaurants in San Diego year after year. Everything here is inspired by the campfire theme, and they serve wood-fired New American cuisine. Even if you don’t dine here, I highly recommend coming for some cocktails and s’mores for dessert.
  • Le Papagayo: This is a favorite amongst the locals, and when the locals recommend it, you go there! They have Mediterranean, coastal, and Mexican influenced cuisine, and is the ideal spot for brunch. You’ll find everything here, from salads, sandwiches, tacos, and brunch dishes. The short rib tamales here were delicious, as was the birria benedict!
  • Harumama Noodles and Buns: You’ll find Asian noodle dishes and buns here, including some unique ramen dishes. The buns here come in the cutest animal shapes, and it’s so fun to try a variety of them!
  • Windmill Food Hall: This hip food hall is housed in a windmill shaped building, and located near the Cassara Carlsbad. You’ll find something for everyone here, and it’s fun to sample a variety of cuisines all under one roof. We had some Thai food, Vietnamese food, and mini donuts. You’ll also find sushi burritos, lobster rolls, tacos, pizza, a cocktail bar, and more.
  • Senor Grubby’s: Find California Mexican street food at Senor Grubby’s, which is a Carlsbad icon. There’s also a fun Carlsbad mural on the side of the building!

A Few Things to Know About Visiting Carlsbad in Spring

Where is Carlsbad?

Carlsbad is located on the coast of North San Diego county, about 35 miles from downtown San Diego. It is the perfect spot for a getaway from San Diego, Los Angeles, or Orange County.

What is the Weather Like in Carlsbad in the Spring?

Carlsbad experiences mild coastal climate, with temperatures in the spring months averaging in the mid to high 60s Fahrenheit. 

Do note that it can be overcast in the mornings, and breezy in the evenings, so be sure to pack a jacket. The clouds usually burn off by afternoon though, and you’ll enjoy sunny, pleasant weather.

Getting Around in Carlsbad

While the main downtown area of Carlsbad is fairly compact and walkable, some of its other attractions (i.e. the Flower Fields) sit further away. Because of this, it may be best to have a car when planning your spring getaway to Carlsbad.

However, some hotels (like the Cassara Carlsbad) also offer complimentary shuttle service.

Have you ever been to Carlsbad? What are some of your favorite things to do in Carlsbad in the spring?

You might also like:
25 Fun Things to Do in Carlsbad, CA
A Complete Guide to the Carlsbad Flower Fields

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