When you choose to go on a vacation, you want to go somewhere that’s going to wow you and make you feel like you’re the first ever visitor. It’s why people head into unknown corners of the word; they want to see somewhere untouched and unused by the masses. They want to feel like they’ve discovered a hidden secret, one that no one else knows about.
Nestled by the coast in North County San Diego is a small town called Carlsbad, and it’s one such place that’s tucked away from the rest of the state – the perfect escape for a beach vacation. Known as “The Village by the Sea”, this town spans 7 miles along the Pacific Ocean and as San Diego is home to some of the best US weather, Carlsbad itself receives over 250 sunshine days every year. When you want a vacation that’s warm, interesting and on the beach, Carlsbad gives you everything that you want – plus more.
Finding the hidden gems in Carlsbad isn’t hard, but it’s interesting, and there are so many things to do in Carlsbad that you won’t have anticipated when you first visit. Below, you’ll find some of the most unusual gems that Carlsbad can offer you, from property to places to visit. Let’s take a look at some of those unusual places below.
- Paradise Shores. You can rent any house you like on Airbnb, or settle for a hotel to stay in for the duration of your vacation. Paradise Shores is a 5,800 square foot beachfront property that sits on half an acre of land. The Agua Hedionda Lagoon is where to go and Paradise Shores has a private sandy beach, a pool and jacuzzi for guests to enjoy. You can find a full array of water sports equipment available to use and the private beach even has its own sound system to enjoy.
- Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Carlsbad has several lagoons to enjoy and Agua Hedionda, where Paradise Shores is located, is the most popular to visit. It’s so good for watersports, including paddleboarding, kayaking, wakeboarding, jet skiing and waterskiing. It’s visited throughout the summer but because San Diego is blessed with sunshine most of the year, there really isn’t a bad time to visit this lagoon.
- Calavera Lake’s Cave, Volcano & Labyrinth. A 110 acre preserve, you get around four miles of biking trails and hiking trails to explore in detail. There is a 400 acre reservoir that is a home to hundreds of different species of plant and animal, and most of these are considered to be endangered due to the development of the area destroying the natural habitat. The cave that you can visit was used as a rock quarry in the past, and Mount Calavera itself is a 22 million year old volcanic plug. It’s extinct, don’t worry, but the plug formed when magma hardened on the vent on an active volcano, so it was once a rumbling force of natural energy. Did you know that there are only 3 volcanic plugs in Southern California? Well, now you do and this is one of them! The labyrinth is a must-see, as it’s man-made and you can find out more about it here.
- Batiquitos Lagoon. Those who love the natural world and hiking will love the picturesque area of hiking trails and wildlife that add to the Batiquitos Lagoon. The trails are 3 miles long and while it’s not the place to do water sports, it is somewhere you can walk peacefully and just drink in the views.
- Flower Fields. If you’re going to visit Carlsbad at any point in the year, make sure you’re here when the Spring months roll in. the Flower Fields are simply incredible to enjoy when in full bloom, between March and May particularly. You can admire the rows of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus that fill the field and you can buy tickets online here. You can even go on a tour of the Fields and learn a little about the history of it. You are also allowed to take a wander on your own but bring your camera; those close up shots of the flowers in bloom aren’t to be missed. They have been a staple for the county since 1965 and over the years, there have been thirteen colours cultivated to bring you this natural beauty that you see today.
- U-Pick Carlsbad Strawberry Company. It’s one of those summer activities that families love to get involved in, and picking your own strawberries is delicious fun for all. You pay a little more than you would at a grocery store, but the strawberries have a freshness that you won’t find in your average produce aisle. You are right next door to the Flower Fields, so you can make a whole day of being in nature with your family. Sure, LEGOLAND is something to be visited, but there’s something wonderful about going away from the regular attractions and getting involved in the natural world.
- Antique Shops. The Carlsbad Village has more than enough to stroll and grab a bite to eat, with tons of boutiques to choose from and visit. However, the antique shops off of State Street in the Village is where you want to be to discover some of the best hidden gems in the town.
- Lhooq/Exrealism Rare Bookstore. Alongside the antique shops is the quirky rare bookstore, where you can sip an espresso with your new (old) books that you buy. It’s definitely not what you would expect to be in a commercialized area of town, but browsing the rare books can mean you find something of a keepsake.
All of these hidden areas may well be something to be seen in Carlsbad, but it’s also the place to go for some major attractions. LEGOLAND and the aquarium, the K1 Speed racing course and even hot air balloon rides are all on offer in Carlsbad. There’s something for everyone and you need to consider it for your next vacation.