San Diego has long been a popular tourist destination; the near-perfect weather and beautiful beaches make it a no-brainer. But you may want to set your sights just 35 miles north -- on Carlsbad -- a city that's made a name for itself thanks to Legoland California. Surprisingly, there's a lot more to do in this seaside village, including touring funky museums and exploring the food scene. Here are five things you must do on a getaway to Carlsbad.
San Diego may be home to Mission Beach and La Jolla Cove, but Carlsbad has five of its own white sandy beaches, including Tamarack-State Beach. Pack a picnic lunch and walk or bike along the four-mile paved Carlsbad Seawall to the water. Spend the day splashing in the surf, then head over to the north end to watch the sun set into the Pacific Ocean.
When the flowers begin to bloom in early spring, there’s no place like The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. Across 50 acres, Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers explode with color starting in early March. Take a guided tour to learn all about the history of the fields and the various flower varieties that bloom.
Walking food tours are a fun way to get a taste of a city’s restaurant scene, and Carlsbad Food Tours showcases the best of the town's culinary offering. Over two miles, you’ll enjoy at least eight different food and wine samples, like baked artichoke hearts at Caldo Pomodoro and eggplant sliders at Gregorio’s Italian Restaurant. As you stroll across town, you’ll also fill up on the history of Carlsbad.
Craft beer lovers, take a ride on the Hops Highway, a 60-mile stretch between Carlsbad and Julian where more than 150 breweries and taprooms make their home. Leave the driving to someone else when you book the Hops Highway Retreat package at the West Inn & Suites in Carlsbad, which includes a four-hour tour and tastings at three breweries, as well as a chauffeured luxury vehicle, and a snack basket.
Carlsbad is home to a variety of museums you won’t find anywhere else, like the Museum of Making Music. You’ll also find the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), which offers guided tours to learn about rare gems, minerals, and jewels. Or, hop in the car for a short drive to the California Surf Museum in nearby Oceanside.