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25 Fun Things to Do in Carlsbad, California: A Complete Guide

There’s much to love about Carlsbad – it’s one of those idyllic seaside villages that has much to offer. At first, it’s got that small town vibe, but there is so much to do in Carlsbad, no matter what you’re looking for!

Nicknamed “the village by the sea,” Carlsbad is best known for its famous Flower Fields and Legoland, but there is so much more that it has to offer.

Located about 35 miles north of downtown San Diego, Carlsbad offers visitors seven miles of stunning coastline, unique local businesses, a thriving foodie scene, a fascinating history, and much more.

It’s one of the most picturesque destinations in San Diego, and has always been one of my favorite So-Cal beach towns for the chill beach town vibes and quaint downtown village. 

Living in Orange County, I’ve visited for day trips many times, but was so excited to go on a fun little staycation with my friends over at Visit Carlsbad. It was so lovely to explore many more of the best Carlsbad attractions and activities!

There are so many fun Carlsbad activities to suit any kind of visit, whether you are looking for some beach time, outdoor activities, R&R, food & drink experiences, and much more. While you can experience a bit of what the town has to offer on a day trip, I recommend spending at least a weekend here to fully take advantage of it.

If you are looking for ideas on what to do in Carlsbad, keep on reading! Here’s a complete guide on all the best things to do in Carlsbad, plus tips on where to stay + eat.

**Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Visit Carlsbad. As always, all opinions are my own.

This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase or booking, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Pictures & Words is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites at no cost to you.

About Carlsbad, CA

Terramar Beach in Carlsbad, CA with cliff and sunset sky

Where is Carlsbad, CA?

Carlsbad is located on the coast of North San Diego County, sandwiched between a handful of other beach towns in the area. It is located about 35 miles from downtown. 

It is an ideal destination for a day trip or weekend getaway from LA, Orange County, or San Diego.

woman standing in front of yellow Carlsbad visitor's center building, near train station

Getting there and around

With its proximity to San Diego, getting to Carlsbad is a breeze – it is about a 35 minute drive up the coast from downtown San Diego.

The nearest airport is San Diego International Airport (which is located right downtown), followed by John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County is located less than an hour (52 miles) away. You can also choose to fly into Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), which is about 90 miles away, but I’d avoid it because the traffic is miserable more often than not.

You can also choose to take the train here – Amtrak offers train service on the Pacific Surfliner line to nearby Oceanside from Los Angeles, Orange County, and destinations as far north as Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. From here, it is a 10 minute Uber ride into Carlsbad. 

There are also two stops in town (Carlsbad Village and Carlsbad Poinsettia) on the Coaster line, which offers commuter rail service from downtown San Diego.

woman standing front of Carlsbad best vacation photo mural at Senor Grubby's

While you can find plenty of fun Carlsbad attractions in and around the walkable downtown village, I’d suggest having a car during your visit in order to fully experience what the town has to offer. Carlsbad may seem small at first glance, but it is relatively spread out, and having a vehicle will help you take advantage of the activities located outside of the Village, including some of the more remote beaches, hiking trails, lagoons, and more.

If you choose not to have a car, both Uber and Lyft are available in Carlsbad, although I’ve found that the wait times can be a bit higher in this part of San Diego county. Bus service is also available from the North County Transit District – see here for more information about routes, schedules, and fares.

woman sitting in front of Victorian storefront in Carlsbad, CA

Best time to visit Carlsbad

There really is no bad time to visit Carlsbad – the area enjoys plentiful sunshine and relatively warm days year-round. 

That said, do note that Carlsbad (and really, Southern California in general) does experience “May Grey” and “June Gloom,” when overcast days are common. However, the clouds generally burn off in the afternoon, so it’s still not a bad time to visit.

Palm street lined street in Carlsbad with blue sky

The summer months are the high season in Carlsbad, with plenty of visitors flocking to the town to take advantage of the beautiful beaches and the warm weather. Do note that this is when crowds and accommodation prices are at their highest.

Spring is also an excellent time to visit, as you’ll be able to visit the Flower Fields, one of the best Carlsbad attractions! Fall is also a lovely time to visit, as you’ll still find warm days and seasonal events.

Carlsbad also makes the perfect destination for a winter getaway – you’ll still find mostly sunny days and mild temperatures. We did our staycation in December, and loved being able to escape to the beach and soak up that Southern California sunshine!

Where to stay in Carlsbad

Woman in white bathrobe overlooking pool area at Cape Rey Carlsbad hotel, with ocean views and sunset sky

We stayed at Cape Rey Carlsbad and really enjoyed it! This four-star hotel is steps away from the beach, which is as good as it gets! It’s the perfect location for when you want to go for a walk on the beach (or a quick run, like we did), or enjoy some fresh ocean air.

Cape Rey is located about a 10 minute drive south from Carlsbad Village, which gives it a more peaceful, secluded feel – but you’re still close enough to all the action and all the best things to do in Carlsbad.

View of pool area at Cape Rey Carlsbad hotel with ocean in background

The resort-style property has a beachy vibe, with spacious, comfortable rooms. I highly recommend booking a room that has a balcony, as you can’t go wrong with the beautiful views of the beach and pool area. We really loved watching the sunset from here!

And speaking of the pool area, it is gorgeous! There’s a spacious pool, along with a hot tub, lounge chairs, and cabanas. I really wish that I brought my swimsuit to soak in the hot tub, but alas, I forgot!

There’s also some fire pits, which are perfect for hanging out and enjoying some evening cocktails. [COMPARE RATES AND BOOK HERE]

Things to Do in Carlsbad, California

Woman in front of Carlsbad sign in Carlsbad Village

Hang out in Carlsbad Village

Carlsbad Village is the city’s charming downtown area, full of shops, restaurants, bars, cafes, and more. It’s a fantastic place to center your explorations, as you’ll find plenty of fun Carlsbad activities here!

I suggest spending at least an afternoon here, wandering around, as you’ll find plenty to do. Grab a coffee, have a meal at one of the many restaurants here, stop in at one of the local breweries, wander through the unique boutiques, snap photos of the vibrant murals, and check out some of the historical points of interest. 

You’ll also be right next to the beach!

I love that Carlsbad Village has a small town downtown feel, full of cool local businesses and independent shops. It really makes you see why Carlsbad is nicknamed “the village by the sea.” and you’ll get to see why it’s so special!

Woman at Terramar Beach at sunset

Hit the beach

Carlsbad is a beach town after all, with seven miles of coastline that stretch through town. So obviously, one of the best things to do in Carlsbad is to take advantage of it and spend some time at the beach!

You’ll find several beaches in the area, considered to be some of the best in San Diego county. Whether you’re looking to swim, surf, walk in the sand, have a picnic, or just lay out in the sun, you’ll find the perfect beach for you.

Teal Lifeguard Tower at South Carlsbad State Beach

Here are some of the beaches to check out in Carlsbad:

  • Carlsbad State Beach: Runs along a three-mile stretch that technically comprised of several smaller beaches, bordering Carlsbad Village. You can do a variety of activities here, from swimming, surfing, fishing, diving, or just relaxing and soaking up the sunshine.
  • Robert Frazee State Beach: Technically part of Carlsbad State Beach but has a quieter and more secluded feel.
  • Tamarack State Beach: Mostly known as a surfing spot. 
  • Terramar Beach: Somewhat of a hidden gem, this quaint beach is surrounded by gorgeous bluffs. It is also popular with local surfers, but doesn’t have much room for lounging on the sand. Also, the view from the top of the bluffs is stunning!
  • South Carlsbad State Beach: This beach is more rugged and remote than its neighbor to the north. It is best known for its blufftop campground, but you can take part in a variety of activities here.
  • North Ponto and South Ponto: These two beaches are located on the southern end of Carlsbad, separated by the outlet from Batiquitos Lagoon. North Ponto Beach is known as a surf spot, and South Ponto Beach is characterized by its wide stretch of sand.
Man carrying yellow surfboard on sand at Terramar Beach, with cliff in backgrounf

Catch some waves

As a beach town, it may come as no surprise that one of the top Carlsbad activities is surfing! Surfing is a big part of the Southern California lifestyle, and it’s no different in Carlsbad.

While you’ll find plenty of surfers hitting the waves at any of the local beaches in town, some of the most well-known surf breaks are at Tamarack State Beach, Terramar Beach, and North Ponto Beach.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to surf, Carlsbad is the perfect place to do it! There are a number of surf schools located in town. Some highly rated ones included Pacific Surf School and So Cal Surf School.

Colorful field of ranunculus flowers at The Flower Fields of Carlsbad

Frolic through the Flower Fields

The Flower Fields are one of the most famous attractions in Carlsbad – for good reason! If you are visiting sometime during March through mid-May, it is an absolute must-visit and usually tops peoples’ lists of what to do in Carlsbad.

Every spring, over 70 million (!!!) ranunculus flowers bloom across 50 acres, in a spectacular explosion of color. It is an absolute sight to behold – you’ll see rows and rows of colorful flowers, as far as the eye can see. It is one of the most famous Carlsbad attractions for a reason!

Visiting the Flower Fields is a beloved Southern California springtime tradition, and I recommend that you see it at least once in your life! While there are always plenty of flowers blooming throughout the season, I’ve found that the best time to go is at the end of March/beginning of April, as this is when they are at peak bloom and the most impressive.

In addition to the ranunculus flowers, the Flower Fields also offers an array of other activities, such as a sweet pea maze, U-Pick blueberries, tractor rides, gardening demonstrations, and much more, that are perfect for a day of family fun! There are special events that are put on as well, including yoga, musical performances, and more.

Be sure to check out my complete guide for more information and tips for visiting the Flower Fields!

overhead view of al pastor tacos from Senor Grubby's

Go on a food tour

I’ve come to really enjoy going on food tours on my travels, and I was excited to see that Carlsbad has one of their own! 

We went on the Taste of Carlsbad tour offered by Carlsbad Food Tours, and it ended up being one of my favorite things to do in Carlsbad! The three hour tour takes you to some of the best and most iconic eateries around Carlsbad Village, to help you eat like a local. 

You’ll get to eat a variety of yummy things on the tour, from donuts, to tacos, Italian food, and even a wine tasting.

This is obviously one of the best ideas for foodies looking for what to do in Carlsbad, but also for those looking to experience it like a local and learn more about it. I loved that in addition to the tastings, the tour also swings by some notable murals and historical points of interest around town, so we also got to learn more about Carlsbad’s history and culture.

The tour makes six stops and they don’t skimp on the portions so be sure to come hungry! 

woman clinking beer glasses

Sample some local beers

The San Diego area is considered to be the craft beer capital of America, so it’s no surprise that Carlsbad has its own share of renowned craft breweries.

Some recommended spots I’ve tried and enjoyed:

  • Barrel Republic: While technically not a brewery, its unique pour-your-own model makes it one of my favorite stops in Carlsbad. You get a wristband, and you can pour however little or as much as you want from over 50 taps. They feature a lot of local brews (+ have a focus on California breweries). It’s a fun way to sample a bunch of different ones!
  • Pure Project: They produce beers with a focus on sustainably sourced ingredients, and inspired by the tropical vibe and jungles of Costa Rica. Really enjoyed the smoothie beer here!
  • Pizza Port: Pizza Port is an institution in the San Diego brewing scene, and offers both their award-winning beers + guest pours on tap. As the name implies, they also serve pizza as well. Next door is a bottle shop, which sells over 600 bottles of beer sourced from all around the world, and a must for any craft beer enthusiasts.
  • Karl Strauss: One of the OG craft breweries in San Diego – they’ve been around since the 1980s. 

Check out this list for even more craft breweries!

Patio area with sunset view at Chandler's Restaurant

Enjoy an oceanfront meal

You really can’t go wrong with enjoying a delicious meal, while taking in beautiful ocean views – it really doesn’t get much better than that!

Chandler’s, the on-site restaurant at the Cape Rey hotel, offers oceanfront dining with a coastally inspired menu. The seafood dishes are some of the standouts here – we ordered the oyster appetizer special, crab cakes, and seared ahi tuna and enjoyed all of the above!

Be sure to ask for a table on the oceanfront patio. We ate around sunset time and it was such a stunning view!

Oyster special at Chandler's Restuarant

Visit Southern California’s only oyster farm

Did you know that Carlsbad is home to Southern California’s only oyster farm?

I LOVE oysters and used to love taking day trips to the local oyster farms back when I lived in San Francisco, so I was excited to hear that there was one in Carlsbad as well!

The Carlsbad AquaFarm offers a unique farm tour and tasting experience, during which you’ll learn more about the farming process, sustainability practices, and the natural ecosystems in the area. You’ll then get a shucking demonstration and then, last but not least, taste some oysters!

Sadly, the tours were sold out when I was there, but I’ve heard from several people who have done it and said it’s a really fun and unique experience, so it is high on my list for things to do in Carlsbad next time I’m there!

We did get to enjoy some of their oysters at dinner and I will say that they were some of the freshest and most delicious oysters I’ve ever had!

Carlsbad Mineral Spa building
The site where Carlsbad Alkaline Water is welled

Drink Carlsbad Alkaline Water

You may be reading this and thinking – “Why is she telling me to go drink water on this list of what to do in Carlsbad? What’s so special about it?”

Well, my friends, Carlsbad Alkaline Water isn’t your average water. And, it’s how the town got its name!

Back in 1882, Captain John Frazier, a local businessman who was looking for a source of water for his farm, dug up a well in what is now Carlsbad Village, near the train station. Frazier noticed that his health ailments (which included stomach ulcers, among other things) were magically cured when he drank the water.

After sending it for lab testing, it was discovered that the water had the same healing mineral properties as a famous spa in Karlsbad, Bohemia (now Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic). The town was then named Carlsbad, and the water was marketed as “the most healthful water,” with people coming all over to try it for themselves.

Today, you can buy the water by the gallon at the site of the well. You can also find the water bottled and sold in basically any grocery store or convenience store around town and it is worth trying once – we found it to be super pure and refreshing!

Treat yourself to a spa day

Carlsbad is the perfect place to enjoy some R&R and treat yourself to a spa day.

Experience the healing properties of Carlsbad’s mineral waters for yourself with a treatment at the Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa. The spa offers a variety of treatments, including massages, facials, and more that incorporate the healthful water and leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

You can also book a spa treatment at one of the the high-end hotels in town – some of the best hotel spas include the Omni La Costa, Ocean Crest Spa at Cape Rey, and Cassara Carlsbad

Woman standing in front of colorful Sleeping Tiger mural, with tigers covered in dripping rainbow colored paint

Hunt for some murals

I always love hunting for cool murals wherever I visit, so I loved the fact that there were so many around Carlsbad, especially in the Village! 

The city has a thriving street art scene, and supports a number of projects and initiatives, several of which are led by local artist Bryan Snyder. One such project is the Carlsbad Alley Art Wall, located at 550 Grand Ave., which is divided into 17 sections, each featuring the work of different local artists. There is also a recreational mural wall, in which aspiring muralists can come and paint over and practice their work.

Here are some other murals to check out around Carlsbad:

  • Sleeping Tiger (by Michael Summers) at Sleeping Tiger Coffee: 2906 Carlsbad Blvd.
  • Carlsbad Vacation at Senor Grubby’s: 377 Carlsbad Village Dr.
  • Carlsbad Art Wall at Senor Grubby’s: 377 Carlsbad Village Dr. (this one changes every 2 months)
  • Face mural at Pig Liquor: 305 Carlsbad Village Dr.
  • Triangular Mural by Mark Warren Jacques: 2739 State St. (in the parking lot of Carlsbad Animal Hospital/behind Baba Coffee)
  • Robot Faucet (by Phraze) at Crackheads, 430 Carlsbad Village Dr.
Row of artisanal donuts at The Goods

Indulge in some artisanal doughnuts

If you are looking for something to satiate your sweet tooth, then look no further than the Goods Doughnuts

They have an insane variety of crave-worthy flavors, such as maple bacon, Nutella buttercream, banana toffee, lemon curd, and tons of unique seasonal flavors! They offer vegan and gluten-free options as well.

This is one of my favorite stops in Carlsbad and I can’t resist coming by every time I’m in town. Everything here is SO GOOD!

Storefront view of Pedego Electric Bikes, with bikes parked outside

Go for a bike ride

One of the best ways to see Carlsbad is on a bike! You can cruise along the coast, bike through the Village, see the local neighborhoods, or explore some of the local trails. To cover a lot of ground with minimal effort, you can rent an electric bike. This is the most fun way to explore Carlsbad and will make cruising around town a breeze.

Pedego offers hourly, 3-hour, and full day e-bike rentals. Pricing starts at $20/hour. They offer a number of fun tours as well, helping you experience some of the best of what Carlsbad has to offer on a bike.

Go for a hike

Carlsbad is an outdoor lover’s dream, offering visitors a number of different outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking. Hiking enthusiasts looking for ideas for what to do in Carlsbad will find miles of trails that cover a variety of terrain and difficulty, and with some stunning views!

Here are some of the best places to hike in Carlsbad:

  • Lake Calavera (4.8 miles, moderate difficulty): Did you know that there once used to be a volcano in Carlsbad? There are a number of trails here, from which you can explore an old volcano, walk around the lake, and experience ample wildlife sightings.
  • Batiquitos Lagoon (3.4 miles, easy): This ecological preserve and habitat protection area is one of the last remaining tidal wetlands in Southern California. You’ll find a popular loop trail here, which is one of the most beautiful hikes in town.
  • Rancho La Costa Ridgeline Trail (3.8 miles, moderate to difficult): This hike is best for those looking for more of a challenge. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the San Marcos Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.  
View of South Carlsbad Beach with surfers in the water

Walk or run along the beach

Going for a walk or run along the beach is one of the best Carlsbad activities for soaking up the sun, getting some fresh air, and taking in the ocean views.

The Carlsbad Sea Wall is the perfect place to go for a beachfront walk or run, stretching for 1.4 miles along Carlsbad Boulevard, stretching from Carlsbad State Beach to Tamarack Beach. The path is completely paved and has multiple access points to the beach.

Or, you can walk or run on the path along the coast, bordering the southern end of Carlsbad Boulevard at South Carlsbad State Beach. This was just steps away from Cape Rey, where we were staying, and it was so easy to squeeze in a quick 3 mile run in the morning. The views above the bluffs were stunning as well!

View of Carlsbad Lagoon

Explore a lagoon

Carlsbad is home to three lagoons, which all offer an array of outdoor recreation opportunities. Each of the lagoons have their own unique ecosystems, and offer different activity options, making these some of the top Carlsbad attractions.

Here are the lagoons to explore in Carlsbad, and what to do at each of them:

  • Agua Hedionda Lagoon: Also known as Carlsbad Lagoon, the Agua Hedionda Lagoon is located just minutes away from Carlsbad Village and is *the* spot for partaking in some water sports. It’s a popular spot to go kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding (which *ahem* you may know is not my forte). You can rent from California Watersports, which also has motorized boats and aqua cycles too. 

    In addition to partaking in some water sports, there is also a Discovery Center here that is worth exploring. At this nature discovery center, there are tons of hands-on exhibits where you can learn about the ecosystems of the lagoon, and the wildlife that occupy it.
  • Batiquitos Lagoon: One of the last remaining tidal wetlands in Southern California, Batiquitos Lagoon is a 526 acre coastal salt marsh with tidal mud flats. It’s also an ecological preserve and habitat protection area, and especially known as an excellent place to go bird watching. The loop trail here is also one of the most beautiful hikes in the area.
  • Buena Vista Lagoon: The only freshwater lagoon in California, the Buena Vista Lagoon is an ecological preserve that is home to dozens of migrant and resident species of waterfowl. There are two trails here that allow you to see the lagoon’s inhabitants, as well as a small mature center operated by the Buena Vista Audubon Society. 
Overhead view of meal at Le Papagayo, with breakfast sandwich, short rib tamales, Le Papagayo salad, truffle fries, mahi mahi tacos

Check out the local food scene

Carlsbad has a thriving culinary scene, and one of my favorite things to do in town is eating allll the things and trying out all of its offerings. 

You’ll find a range of restaurant options in town, whether you are looking for casual establishments or Michelin-starred fine dining.

Some places to try:

  • Le Papagayo: When the locals tell you that it’s their favorite, listen to them! Le Papagayo offers an eclectic range of Mediterranean-influenced New American cuisine, offering everything from salads, sandwiches, tacos, brunch dishes, and much more. I had the short rib tamales and they were so good (and came with a side of chilaquiles, which I loved!) It’s an awesome place to go for brunch, but they do dinner as well. 
  • Harumama Noodles and Buns: As is implied in the name, you’ll find some tasty Asian noodle dishes and buns here. They have some unique bowls of ramens, and the cutest animal-shaped buns everrrr.
  • Senor Grubby’s: This casual spot is a Carlsbad icon, and offers Californian Mexican street food. The al pastor tacos here are solid, and I heard that their burritos are super tasty as well!
  • Campfire: Campfire has been consistently ranked as one of the best restaurants in San Diego, and specializes in wood-fired New American cuisine. Everything here revolves around the campfire theme. Be sure to try their cocktails and order the s’mores for dessert!
  • Jeune et Jolie: This is Campfire’s sister restaurant, which recently was awarded a Michelin star! They feature California-inspired French cuisine in a light, airy atmosphere. You choose four courses for $105. It’s high on my list of places to try!
Sunset view of pool area at Cape Rey Carlsbad hotel

Watch the sunset

There’s nothing that beats a Southern California beach sunset. Nothing at all. And Carlsbad has some of the best!

Grab a blanket and head to the beach with some snacks to watch the sunset. Or, if you stay at a beachfront hotel (like we did), you can watch it from there as well (we watched it from our balcony, then from the fire pits in the pool area, and then saw the tail end over dinner while staying at Cape Rey).

We really lucked out during our recent staycation, as we were rewarded with the most magical sunset ever! It was magical to see the colors in the sky transform, from a warm glow during golden hour, to the sun falling below the horizon and then slowly change into a hue of blue.

View of coastline at South Carlsbad State Beach

Camp on the beach

Imagine sleeping on the bluffs overlooking the beach, under hundreds of twinkling stars, and then waking up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore. Well, you can do that right here in Carlsbad!

The South Carlsbad State Beach Campground is located right on the bluffs above South Carlsbad State Beach, with gorgeous views and easy beach access. The campground has 223 sites, and also has hot showers, flush toilets and drinking water.

This is one of the most popular campgrounds in Southern California and they book up QUICK – when I camped here, my friend had to make a reservation six months out! Still, it is worth it for the experience to camp right on the beach, and I highly recommend it!

If you camp here, be sure to also make time to hang out at the Camp Store (more on the below)!

Hang out at the Camp Store

Located at the South Carlsbad Beach Campground, the Camp Store is a fun and unique local hangout, regardless of whether or not you are camping there. 

The Camp Store is San Diego’s only blufftop restaurant, and you’ll find snacks, drinks, beer, wine, and some of the best pizza in town. They also have a shop selling provisions, camping supplies, and unique local souvenirs. They offer equipment rentals as well.

There’s plenty of space to hang out, with picnic tables and adirondack chairs overlooking the beach. They also have live music on Wednesday-Sunday nights, and even special seasonal events, such as a light and music show during the holidays (which was super cool!).

Visit a historic ranch

Nestled in a canyon located in the inland part of Carlsbad, Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park once used to be part of a 2538 acre working ranch and vacation estate of the actor Leo Carrillo. The ranch was a childhood dream of the actor, who acted in nearly 100 films (and is best known for his role as Poncho from the Cisco Kid). 

Today, a small part of the ranch has been restored and preserved by the city of Carlsbad as a 27 acre park. There are lots of historic adobe buildings and structures here, along with lush foliage and trails. There is also a visitor’s center, a hacienda, a reflecting pool, cabana, carriage house, cantina, barn, and more.

You can visit for a self-guided tour around the park, or reserve a guided tour, which is free and offered on weekends, which will allow you to see parts of the ranch that are not usually open to the public. 

Do note that there is uneven terrain in the park, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes.

Pastel colored storfronts and courtyard greenery at Village Faire

Shop til you drop

If retail therapy is on your list of Carlsbad activities, then you’re in luck! Whether you want to find the best deals, or browse unique independent boutiques, there is something for everyone wanting to embrace their inner shopaholic.

If shopping at independent boutiques is your thing (as it is mine), there are plenty of those around town! I loved browsing the shops in Carlsbad Village and finding a collection of unique and well-curated merchandise (I especially LOVED Rebel Villa, a boho plants and decor store!).

Also within Carlsbad Village is Village Faire, an outdoor shopping center featuring a collection of boutiques, dining, cafes, and more housed in the cutest pasted-colored storefronts.

If you’re looking for deals, head over to Carlsbad Premium Outlets, which has over 85 brand name outlets, including Nike, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Coach, Banana Republic, and more.

Finally, if you’re looking for more retail therapy, head over to the Forum, an upscale open-air mall featuring some of the trendiest brands, such as Apple, Allbirds, Anthropologie, Free People, Lululemon, Madewell, and more.

Embrace your inner kid at Legoland

Carlsbad is home to Legoland, which was the first Lego-themed theme park in the United States when it was opened in 1999. It is one of the most well-known Carlsbad attractions!

The theme park has over 60 rides, interactive shows, and tons of Lego displays. In addition, the resort also includes the SeaLife Aquarium. There’s also a hotel that features a variety of Lego themed rooms.

I haven’t been as I’ve heard it’s very kid-oriented and I don’t have kids, but my friends who do have kids LOVE it as it’s one of the most family-friendly things to do in Carlsbad!

Woman sitting on hay and surrounded by pumpkin patches at Carlsbad Strawberry Company pumpkin patch

Visit the Carlsbad Strawberry Company

The Carlsbad Strawberry Company has been delighting visitors for generations, with some of the freshest and tastiest strawberries around. 

They are best known for the U-Pick strawberries, for which the season usually runs February through July, depending on weather. Admission is $5, and you can fill up a basket with strawberries that you pick for $12.

However, that’s not all that they offer – they also have a sunflower maze in the spring and summer, and a pumpkin patch in the fall (which is why you see a photo of pumpkins above lol), which is one of my all-time favorites!

Play a round of golf

Carlsbad has a reputation as being a golf mecca, which comes as no surprise as there are several well-known golf brands, such as Callaway and Taylor Made, that are headquartered here.

I’m not much of a golfer myself and have never really golfed (unless you count mini golfing on Catalina Island), but I can see why golfing is such a big thing in Carlsbad – you can’t beat the stunning ocean views that you get while playing a round!

Here are some of the top courses in Carlsbad:

  • Aviara Golf: Designed by the famous golfer Arnold Palmer and consistently ranked as one of the country’s best golf courses by Golf  Digest and Golf Magazine.
  • Omni La Costa: This award-winning resort has hosted some of the greatest names in golf and offers challenging courses with a view.
  • The Crossing Golf Course: Perfect for those looking for a challenging course with a high reward. The course is inspired by the surrounding seaside community and offers sweeping views. 

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

You might also like:
The Carlsbad Flower Fields: A Complete Guide
Fun Things to Do in Pacific Beach

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