It’s not the first city in California a tourist might consider when mulling a vacation hot-spot… or even the second, or third. It’s also not the most prolific name in pizza, golf, or amusement parks. Yet, it’s this distinct un-touristic environment that makes Carlsbad, California an ideal place to “get away from it all,” even for the folks who already live there.
Nestled in between metropolitan cities San Diego and Los Angeles, Carlsbad — population 110,972 — still has its small-town charm, including unique locales and attractions. Indeed, it’s safe to say people of all ages can enjoy a relaxing day in Carlsbad they simply couldn’t replicate anywhere else on earth.
But what would a perfect day in this little “big” town look like? There are several fine variations of this agenda, but visitors as well as residents have their favorite, under-touted places to visit.
Morning: There’s a reason golfers keep coming back to The Crossings at Carlsbad… it’s a beautiful championship course set in a natural coastal habitat. Designed by renowned course designer Greg Nash, The Crossings offers challenging but playable golf for all ages and skill levels. The course even offers greens-fee discounts to guests of its “Stay and Play” hotel partners.
Afternoon: With seven miles worth of coastline to choose from, it’s not hard to find a good spot to lounge in the sun and sand in Carlsbad. One of the best spots to catch some rays, though, is South Ponto Beach. The area around it is undeveloped, making it (and the drive there) one of the most scenic in the area. It’s also got the most amenities, including public restrooms. Be sure to catch a sunset at South Ponto Beach as well.
Whether it’s lunch or dinner, you’ve not had pizza until you’ve had pizza at Crust Pizzeria. Master Pizza Chef Charlie Meola has turned pizza and into an art form, underscored by a selection of locally-crafted beers and carefully-selected wines. The vine-ripened tomatoes used on the pizza sauce actually come from the Campania area in Italy, creating a flavor that’s nothing less than amazing. Odds are good you’ll actually see Charlie making your pizza.
Evening: Step back in time with a nightcap at The Charles Kenneth, located at… well, just like any other speakeasy during the prohibition era, hiding in plain sight downtown. Just be sure to get the daily password before heading down there (though it’s not too tough to find). First-time visitors will get the grand tour of the 1920’s throwback bar that – just like its prohibition counterparts – at first looks like an abandoned building but opens up into something glamorous.
These are just a few of the ways to experience the unique amenities that only Carlsbad has to offer, and they’re all interchangeable, of course. No matter which or how many of the above locales you decide to patronize though, there’s no denying the big town/small city will create great memories for all.