6 Reasons This Coastal California Town Is The Perfect Winter Escape

Well-known for stunning seashores, Legoland, and the colourful flower fields, the seaside city of Carlsbad is busiest in the course of the spring and summer time. Nonetheless, it’s an equally stunning spot to go to within the winter. Whereas temperatures dip a bit, out of doors actions are nonetheless ample and the chance of sunshine is all the time excessive. Higher but, there aren’t any crowds.

Carlsbad is situated an hour and a half south of Los Angeles and simply thirty minutes north of San Diego. Whereas its seven miles of shoreline is a defining characteristic, there are numerous lesser-known sights price exploring.

After years of creating day journeys to this city, my husband, Jason, and I lastly had an opportunity to spend an evening right here and discover it extra carefully. We found a spot deeply linked to nature with a powerful eating scene and a relaxed tempo of life good for a relaxed getaway.

Our journey was partially hosted by Go to Carlsbad, however all opinions are my very own.

Kayaking Agua Hedionda Lagoon

Picture credit score: Wendy Lee

1. Agua Hedionda Lagoon

For many years we’ve zipped alongside the freeway from our house in Orange County to San Diego and sometimes admired the lagoons we glimpse briefly whereas passing by way of Carlsbad. Lastly, we had the prospect to get off the freeway, get right into a kayak, and discover the Agua Hedionda Lagoon

This 400-acre lagoon is a crucial a part of the native watershed, defending lots of of fowl species together with plant and marine life. Seen from a distance it seems uneventful, however up shut it’s teeming with birds and fish. We watched as a blue heron patiently waited for fish to swim near shore and sandpipers pecked within the sand for worms. We noticed fish gliding by way of seagrass whereas above a lone pelican flew by. The water was calm making the paddling straightforward and pleasurable. Of the three lagoons in Carlsbad, that is the one one that allows leisure boating, so it’s a novel alternative to see the colourful lagoon ecosystem from the water.

Kayaks will be reserved by way of California Watersports. A guided eco-tour will be organized by way of the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Basis.

Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Heart

Our subsequent cease was on the Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Heart. Perched on a hilltop simply above the lagoon, that is the right place to be taught concerning the historical past of the realm and see a few of the native vegetation and animals up shut.

Contained in the Discovery Heart are tanks crammed with fish, snakes, and lizards. Outdoors are cages with rescued raptors, an indication beehive, and a local plant backyard. Jason and I had the chance to fulfill a rescued Western Screech Owl named Tecolote. All of the displays are meant to assist guests higher perceive the native natural world and wish to take part of their safety.

Batiquitos Lagoon

Strolling on the paths alongside Batiquitos Lagoon

Picture credit score: Wendy Lee

2. Batiquitos Lagoon

The three lagoons in Carlsbad cowl over 1,000 acres providing dozens of straightforward and scenic mountain climbing trails. We opted to take a hike alongside the shores of the Batiquitos Lagoon. This 3.4-mile straightforward path is frequented by locals pushing strollers and strolling their canines, however it’s additionally a terrific place for guests to be taught extra about this ecosystem. Signage alongside the path factors out breeding grounds for migratory birds, a trash pile from Native American tribes, in addition to native and invasive plant species. If you happen to’re not within the temper for train, however want to loosen up, there are numerous benches alongside the way in which to take pleasure in a terrific view.

On the finish of the path is a small nature middle with instructional shows concerning the ecosystem. On weekends you’ll discover docents blissful to reply questions. 

Wendy playing the banjo at the Museum of Making Music

Wendy enjoying the banjo on the Museum of Making Music

Picture credit score: Wendy Lee

3. Museum Of Making Music

Hidden in a enterprise park in Carlsbad is the Museum of Making Music (MoMM), probably the most underrated museums in California. Based by NAMM, the Nationwide Affiliation of Music Makers, that is the place you come to geek out on musical devices. 

The pressured closure of museums in the course of the pandemic allowed the MoMM to revamp its displays and the result’s spectacular. Shows of instrument teams are interspersed with hands-on play stations. Contact screens at every show give guests an opportunity to take heed to music or learn associated tales. Alongside the way in which, guests be taught the story of musical devices in the USA.

After a brief and informative tour, Jason and I instantly headed to the play stations. We tried our hand at guitar, banjo, hammered dulcimer, drums, and keyboard. Sometimes a volunteer docent would cease by to reply our questions or provide some attention-grabbing details. This expertise rekindled my curiosity in enjoying an instrument, one thing I haven’t finished in over thirty years.

Wendy's husband and son shucking oysters at Carlsbad Aquafarm

Wendy’s husband and son shucking oysters at Carlsbad Aquafarm

Picture credit score: Wendy Lee

4. Carlsbad Aquafarm

Our household loves oysters, so it was a no brainer after we had the chance to tour Carlsbad Aquafarm and be taught to shuck our favourite shellfish. Positioned within the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, subsequent to a desalination plant, the aquafarm produces and sells each oysters and mussels. 

Thirty-minute farm excursions take friends by way of the method of rising and harvesting the shellfish. Contact tanks present a possibility to see these creatures in any respect phases of improvement. Nonetheless, the spotlight was undoubtedly the shucking class. After a fast demonstration, every visitor headed to their station outfitted with a shucking knife, glove, chopping board, and 6 oysters. We shucked and ate the oysters topped with lemon and sizzling sauce. You possibly can’t presumably eat oysters which might be brisker than these. 

Professional Tip: Whether or not or not you’re within the tour, oysters and mussels will be bought from the farm. Simply make your buy on-line and choose a pick-up time.

S'mores at Campfire

S’mores at Campfire

Picture credit score: Wendy Lee

5. Campfire

I had lengthy heard of the restaurant, Campfire, so I used to be excited to lastly eat right here. As diners enter they instantly discover probably the most outstanding characteristic, a 12-foot wood-burning fireside within the kitchen bursting with flames. It’s these flames that prepare dinner a lot of the meals. Campfire has been awarded a Bib Gourmand by the Michelin Information and deservedly so.

The menu is seasonal, so count on dishes to vary usually. We began with mussels grilled over embers and served atop roasted yams. That was adopted by the preferred dish on the menu, roasted broccoli served with a tangy chermoula. If broccoli was all the time this good, everybody would eat it. Then we loved grilled octopus and smoked brisket. Throughout a latest journey to Santorini, I believed I’d had the most effective octopus of my life. I used to be improper. Campfire serves the most effective octopus anyplace. 

It’s virtually a requirement to order s’mores for dessert, so we did. A small forged iron pot of sizzling coal is delivered to the desk to completely roast the marshmallow, which is then added to a thick slice of darkish chocolate and served between two cookies. It was the right ending to a tremendous meal.

Professional Tip: Campfire is a well-liked spot, so if you wish to dine right here on a weekend make your reservations a number of days upfront.

6. The Coastal Rail Path

We love biking alongside any seashore, so the prospect to roll alongside in Carlsbad was to not be missed. The Coastal Rail Path is 4.7 miles lengthy, beginning south of town in Solana Seaside and terminating in Oceanside. The Carlsbad portion is 3.4 miles, making it a straightforward experience and enjoyable experience. If you happen to’re in search of one thing longer or tougher, try the checklist of motorbike trails on the Go to Carlsbad web site.

If you happen to don’t personal bikes or don’t wish to journey with yours, there are many rental areas close by. We like to lease electrical bikes and the right spot to take action is at Pedego Carlsbad. If you happen to want a guided tour, these can be found as properly.

Sunset at Cassara Carlsbad

Sundown at Cassara Carlsbad

Picture credit score: Wendy Lee

Carlsbad Inns

Carlsbad is well-known for its assortment of fashionable resorts and boutique motels, all providing a big selection of actions and facilities. We had the prospect to remain on the Cassara Carlsbad, a part of the Tapestry Assortment by Hilton. Positioned a bit inland and constructed on a slope, the spotlight of our keep was watching the sundown over the ocean whereas sipping a drink on the pool deck. In Southern California, winter sunsets are a few of the better of the yr, and this one was no exception. Eating choices are restricted on the lodge, however luckily, it’s situated subsequent to Karl Strauss Brewery, which presents a terrific collection of beer and scrumptious meals.

If you happen to’re available in the market for a luxurious resort, you’ll be able to’t go improper with the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort and Golf Membership. Positioned on 200 acres, this resort overlooks the Batiquitos Lagoon. For one thing near the water, think about a keep on the family-owned Seaside Terrace, the one lodge in Carlsbad on the seashore. 

After many fast journeys to Carlsbad, it was a pleasure to lastly spend extra time right here. Regardless of residing simply 45 minutes away, I didn’t recognize all that this seaside city has to supply guests. We will definitely be again. I’m already creating an inventory of what we’ll do subsequent time.

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