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Carlsbad

Carlsbad
This family-friendly coastal town has feel-good appeal

Carlsbad’s legacy as a tourist hotspot dates back to the 1880s, when a local farmer tapped into mineral-rich springs and a spa town was born. Today—thanks to a theme park, golf courses, a nice beach and more—Carlsbad has become a popular family destination.

Thirty-five miles north of central San Diego, Carlsbad offers family-friendly adventure everywhere you look. The biggest presence, no doubt, is LEGOLAND California Resort, which encourages imagination and interactive play for kids—typically for ages 2 to 12, but really for anyone who loves those iconic plastic bricks. It features classic theme park rides, a sprawling Star Wars Miniland, a water park, an aquarium and two themed hotels (the LEGOLAND Hotel and the LEGOLAND Castle Hotel). Older kids, meanwhile, may gravitate to nearby attractions like the Alga Norte Community Park (with a lit skate park for skateboards), the K1 Speed go-kart track or the House of Air trampoline park. Come spring, the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch make for a lovely afternoon for all ages, with 50 acres of colourful ranunculus blooms.

And what about those mineral springs? The site where that farmer uncovered the alkaline waters is now the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa. The Spanish Colonial–style getaway sits on 400 rolling acres equipped with 17 tennis courts, eight separate pools, a stunning spa and two superb golf courses. A few miles away, the Park Hyatt Aviara has its own golf course (designed by Arnold Palmer) plus a huge spa, fine dining and a kids’ club. For a back-to-nature getaway, stay at South Carlsbad State Beach Campgrounds: tucked among the cliffs, the seaside pitches offer ocean and sunset views.

Also close to the water, Carlsbad Village has more than 100 unique shops packed into a few walkable streets. Don’t miss State Street, dotted with trendy boutiques such as Humble Olive Oils and fashionable restaurants, including Campfire, where local ingredients are charred to perfection on a wood grill, and Barrel Republic, with its selection of craft beers.

The city also holds a special place in the hearts of runners. The ocean-front Carlsbad 5000, held at the end of March, is a flat-and-fast all-day event that welcomes everyone from toddlers to Olympians. January’s Carlsbad Marathon and Half is equally popular, thanks to a breezy course and ocean views.

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Southern California

Discover San Diego County

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June - Aug
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Imagine 70 miles of sun-drenched coast, an inviting ocean, and a year-round daily forecast of 70°F, and you’ll understand why this southernmost stretch of the state is all about outdoor fun. Discover top theme parks and attractions like Seaworld San Diego, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and LEGOLAND California.

The first European explorer to land in California, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, came ashore in San Diego in 1542.

Relax at legendary retreats like Hotel del Coronado, find art and culture in San Diego and surrounding cities like luxurious La Jolla, and enjoy world-class golf at Torrey Pines, and enjoy culture and diversity, all at the edge of a sparkling blue sea.

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