Carlsbad is a small, beach town in southern California. It is far less crowded than its neighboring cities, LA and San Diego, and just as beautiful! Most people come to Carlsbad in the spring to see the beautiful Flower Fields, but I want to dive into more things to see!
Being from Las Vegas, this itinerary is easily doable in a short 3-day weekend. Providing a perfect mix of great scenery, touristy spots, and boozy excursions!
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Where to stay?
If you want to soak in the beautiful coastline and ocean views, I couldn’t recommend The Seapointe Resort enough!
The Seapointe is a hotel & timeshare mix, so they have a ton of amenities a standard hotel wouldn’t have. On the property, they have a gift shop, tennis court, gym, fire pits, pool tables, kids water park, mini golf, volley ball court, basketball court, hot tubs, and multiple gardens. Plus, the hotel is designed so every room has an ocean view.
The only downside of this hotel is it’s not walk-able to The Village (where the restaurants and bars are). However, I just takes a quick, 5 minute uber if you want to head down there.
If you want to be closer to the restaurants and bars, there are many hotels located in The Village, any of them would be a prime location. The only downside to these hotels are that most of them do not have a great ocean view because they are set a little further back.
Day 1: Traveling to Carlsbad
If you are driving into Carlsbad, I would recommend stopping at Lake Elsinore to see all the flowers blooming around the lake. This lake is only 1 hour away from Carlsbad, and on the way if you are traveling from somewhere inland. Surrounding the lake are hills filled with colorful poppies and if you search long enough, you will find purple lupine flowers along the lakeside.
For this exact picture spot, head to Lakeshore Drive and Wilson Way. We found the most beautiful lupines, my brain was tricked thinking we were in New Zealand!
After you arrive in Carlsbad, check into your hotel and head to the beach before the sun sets. Beaches in this area are similar to Malibu, being cliff side where you need to hike down to the actual sand. Don’t be expecting long stretches of sand with a boardwalk like Huntington or San Diego beaches. Enjoy the sunset on the beach or head to dinner to enjoy the sunset with an ocean view.
Downtown Carlsbad, also known as “The Village,” is a quaint area with storefront shops, wine bars, tree-lit walkways, and live music blasting in the streets. Start by having dinner and happy hour at Bluewater Grill. If you are in the splurging mood, the fish and chips are to die for!
Up next… head to Campfire for the best cocktails of your life! I rarely like crafted cocktails because I feel they are too sweet and sickening, but these were truly great. Each cocktail is crafted and perfected by the bartenders themselves and have such unique ingredients. I especially liked the A&W cocktail, amazing! Check our their cocktail menu here.
To wind down the night, head over to the wine bar Oak + Elixir. This family owned and operated wine bar is located on state street in the center of town. To soak up some of the alcohol from your cocktail binge moments ago (no judgement here), they have an extravagant charcuterie board that pairs well with any wine.
Day 2: Wine tasting in Temecula
Temecula is beautiful wine country that is known for it’s red blends and beautiful scenery. While the wine is no where near the quality of Napa or Sonoma, it is still a fun day trip from Carlsbad!
Being only 45 minutes inland from Carlsbad, you can choose from over 40 wineries!
Since explaining all the details of this day will be very wordy, I created a separate guide for wine tasting in Temecula. You can read it here.
After your day wine tasting, either have dinner in Temecula (you will need to pay for an extra hour for the driver), or The Village in Carlsbad. I don’t know about you, but after a full day of wine tasting, I am ready for a quick comfort-food dinner and some PJ’s! There are many quick eats around Carlsbad like In N Out, Chick Fil A, Pizza Port and so much more!
Hopefully your hotel has a hot tub like mine did, because there is nothing better than watching the sun set in the hot tub, wine drunk, and a belly full of comfort food!
Day 3: The Flower Fields
The day we’ve all been waiting for…. The Flower Fields! This is usually the main event / reason people head all the way out to Carlsbad for a long weekend.
The Flower Fields are only open 2.5 months out of the entire year (Exact dates change every year, you can look at the exact dates here). This place gets extremely crowded with tour buses and unique events happening daily.
I would recommend getting to the flower fields right when they open to avoid the heat and the large crowds. Don’t worry though, this place is HUGE. Even if it’s extremely crowded, I don’t think you will have a problem getting pictures without people in your backdrop.
Hey, like this photo?! It was edited with my one-click presets! Click here to check them out 🙂
Tickets are $18.00 / person and grant you access for the entire day. Inside, there is a plant/flower shop, souvenirs, food trucks, lemonade stands, and tractor rides. You could easily spend an hour or so inside.
That’s a wrap! I absolutely loved Carlsbad and definitely see myself going back again soon. I almost always go to San Diego when travelling to California, but this city if far less touristy / crowded.
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