TRAVEL: Destination Carlsbad, California




A jewel on the California coast, the picturesque town of Carlsbad has the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean as its most enticing feature. The seascape and temperate weather give visitors a beautiful place to relax, with exciting activities nearby.

The area has become famous for its sandy beaches, which ABC’s Good Morning America’s “Travel Mom” Emily Kaufman called “one of five top family beach destinations.” And there are plenty of luxurious resorts and hotels available for great getaways. To enjoy one of the best views in cozy comfort there’s the Best Western Beach View Lodge, with breathtaking sunsets a standard feature.

Carlsbad seems to offer just about everything. Activities can range from enjoying the shopping district, outstanding restaurants and art galleries in an old town atmosphere, plus spas, swimming and surfing. There are lots of hiking trails and more than a dozen challenging golf courses to keep nature lovers and sports enthusiasts happy.

Located in the north coastal area of San Diego County, 30 miles north of downtown San Diego, and 90 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, it is definitely a place that travelers should stop and see, right off the Interstate 5.

But it’s not just the Old World flavor and hospitality that has travelers taking the Carlsbad freeway exit. It has major attractions to provide a few thrills between your chill-out breaks.

Legoland offers more than 50 thrill rides, shows and attractions for all ages. The theme of the park is “Heroes wanted,” and everyone in the family has a chance to be heroic. You can become a brave knight at the Knights Tournament, or a pirate sailing on a galleon into the new Splash Battle. And you can join the Fun Town Fire Academy as a wannabe Firefighter, and put out fires just like real heroes.

Don’t forget Legoland’s signature attractions, the creatures and iconic sites (such as Las Vegas!), recreated with the popular and durable Lego building blocks. It’s amazing what they can build.

Another place to go if you have the need for speed– “K1 Speed.” It’s an indoor racing venue that lets visitors experience the thrill of racing with high-performance zero-emission European Electric Pro Karts. I’ve been told it puts the old-style sluggish gas karts to shame.

Carlsbad Ocean House

There’s a race-and-lunch package that’s popular, which lets you enjoy a 12 lap race along with a super-cool dining experience at the Pit Café.

The asphalt road-race style track is designed to give you the feel of a real formula race-car driver. It’s an exhilarating experience that will take your breath away in Carlsbad.

For another ride of your life, there’s the “Biplane, Air Combat & Warbird Adventures” company based in town. It’s been featured on PBS’s Weekend Explorer series and for a good price, the adventures allow you to soar like an eagle in vintage planes.

For something more down to earth, how about the Museum of Making Music. A little treasure, the museum explores the fascinating history of the American music products industry from its beginnings in the 1890s to today. Exhibits show off instruments and tell stories of inspiration and pioneering innovation that have become part of the popular music scene.

A holiday treat is the historical Christmas program hosted at the Museum of Making Music, Dec. 15. “A Victorian Christmas with John Doan” is a live version of the Emmy-nominated PBS special which re-enacts what it was like to celebrate Christmas a century ago. It all ties into the wonderful world of music making.

The History of Carlsbad

The history of Carlsbad started with the Luiseno Indians who first camped along the shores in the 1700s. The Spanish explorers and Franciscan missionaries came along later. Then in the 1880s, a retired sea captain found mineral water while drilling a well on his homestead. It was thought to have healing powers like the waters at the Karlsbad Spa in Europe, so the community was named for it. A hotel-resort was then built to accommodate visitors who were seeking the water for cures from their ailments.

During this era, a spacious mansion was built known as one of the old Twin Inns. Now it is the Ocean House Restaurant and is well worth a visit for those who appreciate historical architecture. Indeed the whole Village area of Carlsbad is great for a relaxing trip back in time, after you have enjoyed all the exciting attractions in the area.

Margie Barron has written for a wide variety of outlets including Gannett newspapers, Nickelodeon, Tiger Beat and 16 Magazine, Fresh!, Senior Life, Production Update, airline magazines, etc. Margie is also proud to be half of the husband and wife writing team Frank & Margie Barron, who have written together for various entertainment and travel publications for more than 30 years.