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Carlsbad, San Diego Travel Guide

Carlsbad Summary


  • Great beaches, golf courses and beautiful lagoons
  • Good restaurants in the downtown area
  • Small-town atmosphere
  • Interesting antique shops
  • Legoland amusement park
  • Easy parking


  • Secluded location, a 45-minute drive from San Diego
  • Little nightlife
  • Mainly a residential area
  • Few luxury hotels

What It's Like

Once known for the healing properties of the local mineral water, Carlsbad came in the spotlight once again when Legoland California amusement park opened in 1999. This seaside community, one of the wealthiest in California and in the US, has plenty of antique stores and restaurants, but it’s mostly residential, and there’s little to do after the sun sets. However, there are some interesting historic buildings, excellent golf courses, and wonderful beaches that are great for surfing and sunbathing. The closest urban areas are Encinitas to the south, and Oceanside to the north. San Diego is a 45-minute drive south.

Where To Stay

Since this is mainly a beach destination, the best place to stay is in the downtown area, right next to the beach and within walking distance of restaurants and shops. But if you're after a sprawling megaresort experience, you'll have to stay a short drive away.

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