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Things to do in Carlsbad, California

woman on a kayak rental at carlsbad lagoon california

Heading to Carlsbad, CA but not really sure what else to check out while you’re there? There are tons of things to do in Carlsbad. From the top Carlsbad attractions such as The Flower Fields and Legoland to the best gems in the city. Keep reading for some of the best Carlsbad things to do!

terramar beach in carlsbad california on a cliff overlooking the beach

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Things to do in Carlsbad, California 

If you’re heading to Carlsbad, California for just The Flower Fields or Legoland and not sure what else to do, keep reading below. Here are some of the best things to do in Carlsbad.

california the flower fields

Kayaking and Paddleboarding 

Did you know you can kayak and paddleboard at one of the lagoons in the city? Agua Hedionda Lagoon is the go-to spot for kayaking, paddleboarding, and more. 

Carlsbad has amazing weather so it’s almost always a perfect day to be on the water. You can rent kayaks (singles and doubles), paddleboards, and even motorized boats from California Watersports.

You can book online to guarantee your reservation or head in. The staff is friendly and ready to help you get on the water. 

Visit The Flower Fields 

The Flower Fields is one of the top Carlsbad attractions. Here you will see 50+ acres of colorful ranunculus flowers. This is a seasonal event that happens each spring season, usually from March to early May.

Strawberry Picking at Carlsbad Strawberry Company 

Pick your own strawberries at Carlsbad Strawberry Company. The Carlsbad Strawberry Company offers u-pick strawberries for the season and other activities throughout the year. Just before Halloween, the grounds turn into a pumpkin patch and corn maze. 

There are various activities throughout the year so be sure to check out their website to see what’s currently happening at the Carlsbad Strawberry Company.

Soak Up the Sun at the Beach 

Carlsbad has some great beaches! Here are just a few of the many.

Terramar Beach

Terramar is a surf beach and has a bit of a hidden feel to it since it’s not visible from the street. This is a popular surfing spot and it’s stunning at sunset. Be sure to check out the bluffs. Terramar is my favorite Carlsbad beach.

Tamarack Beach

Tamarack Beach is closer to Carlsbad Village and quite popular. You’ll see plenty of people swimming, surfing, fishing and more. It’s great for everyone to enjoy.

North Ponto Beach

North Ponto Beach is located at the northern entry point of South Carlsbad State Beach. You’ll find mostly surfers at this beach so if you’re looking to beat the crowds this spot is perfect. Beaches it’s located on a state beach there are parking fees but it’s well worth it.

Shop the Farmers Market 

For fresh produce and other market, goods head to the Carlsbad Farmers Market which happens every Wednesday from 3 pm – 6 pm in the village on State Street. Check out more information about the Carlsbad Farmers Market here including vendors, hours there are winter and summer hours), and more.

Feel Like A Kid Again at Legoland

Who didn’t love Legos as a kid? Carlsbad is home to the first Legoland outside of Europe. The Danish brand came to California and opened in 1999. This is a theme park that anyone can enjoy who is a fan of Legos or once played with them.

Visit One of the Three Lagoons

woman kayaking at carlsbad agua hedionda lagoon

Batiquitos Lagoon 

Batiquitos Lagoon is perfect for nature lovers. The lagoon is home to a variety of wildlife species, including plants, fish, birds, and more. You can run around the lagoon, go for a walk, and more. There is also a swing along the trail.

Buena Vista Lagoon 

Buena Vista Lagoon is an ecological reserve and a sanctuary for many species. it’s popular for birdwatching as it’s located on the annual migration route known as the Pacific Flyway.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon

The Agua Hedionda Lagoon is perfect for water sports from boating and jet skiing to kayaking and paddleboarding. You can rent kayaks and paddleboards and more from California Watersports.

woman kayaking at carlsbad agua hedionda lagoon

Hike On an Extinct Volcano at Lake Calavera

Lake Calavera sits on an extinct volcano. There are trails, diverse plants, and wildlife. If you’re looking to do some hiking or just take a nature walk this is the place to go. It’s a little oasis in Carlsbad.

Shop at the Carlsbad Outlets

The Carlsbad Premium Outlets is an outdoor shopping complex with over 90 stories and most of them being outlets that offer savings up to 65% off. If you’re looking for deals on clothing, accessories, shoes, and more head to the outlets!

Grab a Bite in Carlsbad Village

Feeling hungry? Grab a bite in Carlsbad Village! This is the “downtown” area of the city where you’ll find lots of restaurants, shops, and more. Below are some of my recommendations.

Harumama – Japanese with a modern flair
Campfire – New American with a camp theme
Jeune et Jolie – French nouvelle cuisine
Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream – Historic Ice Cream Shop

Other food options outside of Carlsbad Village:
Windmill Food Hall

Get Your Coffee Fix

Starting your day early? Or just need a good cup of coffee? Head to Steady State Roasting Co. They source their own coffee, brew it, and sell it if you care to make it at home.

two cups of to go coffee at steady state roasting co

Looking for cafe vibes? Check out Succulent Cafe. Yes, this place is as cute as it sounds. You can shop for succulents and sip on a latte.

Visit the Breweries in Carlsbad

San Diego County has tons of breweries and Carlsbad is home to many! Below is a list of some of the Carlsbad breweries. And if your want to try some local Carlsbad beer definitely head to Carlsbad Brewing Company. 

My personal fave is Pure Project. I’m not much of a beer drinker but let me tell you, this beer is so good! The staff really knows their beer well and will help you choose your beer. Opt for a flight and try out five different beers. 

Pure Project
Barrel Republic 
Karl Strauss 
Arcana Brewing Company
Rouleur Brewing Company
Burgeon Beer Company 
Carlsbad Brewing Company

And if this isn’t enough there are a ton more in neighboring Oceanside and Vista.

Where to Stay

Omni La Costa Resort & Spa

book with Agoda | book with Booking.com

The Cassara, Tapestry Collection by Hilton

book with Agoda | book with Booking.com

Grand Pacific Palisades Resort & Hotel

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Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, a Hilton Resort and Spa

book with Agoda | book with Booking.com

Park Hyatt Aviara

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Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort

book with Agoda | Book with Booking

Getting There 

If you’re flying into San Diego (SAN) check out RentalCars.com for affordable rental cars. This is the closest airport but you can also opt to fly into Los Angeles (LAX) which is about two hours away.

Enjoy your visit!


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