The city of Carlsbad is an affluent community located 35 miles north of downtown San Diego on the California coast. The weather is typically mild and warm, with an abundance of sunny days. Whether you are traveling alone or with your family, you will find lots of popular tourist attractions in Carlsbad to keep you busy.
10. The Shipley-Magee House
The Shipley-Magee House, built in 1887, has been home to the Carlsbad Historical Society since 1975. The museum features exhibits that show what life in the area was like at the turn of the nineteenth century. The Magee Park also holds the Shipley Barn, which houses historical farming equipment, the Granary, and Heritage Hall. In addition to the history exhibits, visitors can enjoy the historical gardens of the place, including a nationally registered rose garden. The museum office is located at 258 Beech Street. It is open to the public Fridays through Sundays from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Private tours are offered Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call the office for details.
9. Leo Carrillo Ranch & Historic Park
Located at 6200 Flying LC Lane, this historic ranch was once the vacation home of film actor Leo Carrillo, whose worked spanned the years from 1927 to 1950. The 27 acre ranch has adobe buildings, a hacienda, a reflecting pool, antique windmills, a cabana, a cantina, a stable, and other buildings for maintaining horses. Natural features on the ranch include agave, bougainvillea, and lots of trees. Birds of Paradise and peacocks wander the grounds. The park is open Tuesdays through Sundays, and it’s closed on city-observed holidays. Visitors can follow a self-guided tour brochure. Weekend visitors can take a free guided tour, and gain access to building interiors.
8. Carlsbad Food Tours
This tour takes tourists on a 2 – 2.5 mile walk to 6 – 8 eateries. This tour provides light, healthy fare, in addition to wine and chocolate, and is a fun activity for friends. It includes a few stops of historical interest that don’t involve food. The Village Food Tour package focuses on eateries and buildings of historical interest. The Sweet & Savory package takes guests to Italian and Mexican restaurants with an emphasis on desserts. Tours are offered Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM. You can book up to an hour before, and groups can be up to 12 people. You can purchase tickets online.
7. Scavengers Beer & Adventure Tours
Offering both public and private tours, Scavengers drives tourists to three craft breweries in a vintage 1973 Swiss Military Safari Jeep. Guests get to see behind the scenes production at one of the breweries, get a beer on the ride, sample numerous beers at each brewery, and have a Famous Phil’s BBQ Meal. Guests get a souvenir glass and a brochure about more breweries to take with them. Guests take off from 3138 Roosevelt St #K. Ticket prices vary by number of people and whether the excursion is public or private. Tickets may be purchased online.
6. The Joe Martin Foundation Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum
This unusual museum will appeal to people who appreciate engineering and would like to check out the highly detailed, fine craftsmanship of the more than 200 pieces on display in person. The collection includes clocks, tools, guns, engines, ships, and more, all done in miniature scale. There is a machine shop on site as well that runs demos three times each day. This museum also has an online version. The center is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM, except on holidays, and it’s located at 3190 Lionshead Avenue. Admission is free.
5. Camping at South State Beach
For those who’d enjoy camping just off of the beautiful coastline, South State Beach has a lot to offer. The campground is located on top of a bluff with steps that lead down to the beach. The area is more remote than other beaches in the area, and it’s a popular location for surfing and other water sports. The address is 7106 Carlsbad Blvd. Dogs, alcohol, and glass are prohibited on the beach, and there are no restrooms other than those at the campground. Beach hours are 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM.
4. Stand Up Paddle Board Lessons
If you’re looking for cool things to do in Carlsbad, why not try stand up paddle boarding? Paddle boarding is one of the fastest growing sports today. It’s fun, it’s far easier than surfing, and it can be done on a wide range of bodies of water. This coastal city is a great place to learn. The CPR/AED certified instructors at 2 Stand Up Guys will be happy to teach you. Their shop is located at 4509 Adams Street, just off of Agua Hedionda Lagoon. They offer traditional surfing lessons, too, and rent any equipment you might need. Call for an appointment.
This city, which is only seven miles long, has three large lagoons. Agua Hedionda Lagoon is a great place to take the kids for swimming, wakeboarding, waterskiing, kayaking, fishing, and more. Some activities require a permit, which can be purchased on site. Batiquitos Lagoon has a public trail running alongside it for hiking. This lagoon is a good place for fishing or bird watching, and dogs are permitted on the trail. The Buena Vista Lagoon is an ecological preserve. This one is not open for sport, but it can be viewed from nearby parks. It is a haven for numerous bird species. Bird watching tours at the lagoon are available through the Buena Vista Audubon Society Nature Center.
2. SEA LIFE Aquarium
If you’re traveling with your family, you’ll want to check out SEA LIFE Aquarium. This is a theme park for children as well as an aquarium. The play areas are interactive exhibits with real animals. Kids can pet the stingrays or watch the animals being fed. The park has more than 5000 animals from 200 species in all. Children learn about conservation while they play at exhibits like Kingdom of the Seahorse, and Discovery Zone Touch Pool. The aquarium is located at the LEGOLAND Park, at One LEGOLAND Drive. Tickets can be purchased at the website.
1. The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch are open to the public while they are in bloom, from March into May. The ranch has roughly 50 acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers. It also has roses, orchids, sweet pea blossoms, and petunias on three more acres. During the parks open season, visitors can take wagon rides on an antique tractor. In the off season, the park can be booked for private events in the Paul Ecke Jr. Barn. The barn holds 200 people, and is a great spot for a romantic wedding with a great view of the ocean. Tickets can be purchased online or in person. Parking is free.
This city was the site of the very first Skatepark. It is also a popular destination for surfers, with its beautiful weather and miles of beaches. The area is home to some great spas, as well. Whether you enjoy shopping, adventure sports, or relaxing in nature, these are some of the best places to visit in Carlsbad.