10 Things to Do on an Adventurous Getaway in Carlsbad, California

Near-perfect weather and white, sandy beaches make this seaside California village the perfect outdoor destination for adventure.

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October 31, 2019

Photo By: Visit Carlsbad

Photo By: Visit Carlsbad

Photo By: Visit Carlsbad

Photo By: Visit Carlsbad

Photo By: Visit Carlsbad

Photo By: Visit Carlsbad

Photo By: Visit Carlsbad

Photo By: Erin Gifford

Photo By: Garrett Patz

Photo By: Visit Carlsbad

Photo By: Visit Carlsbad

A Seaside Town Primed for Adventure

San Diego has long been a popular tourist destination. But just 35 miles north you'll find a seaside treasure in Carlsbad. Made for more than lazy days on the beach, this breezy shore town is ripe for outdoor adventures, like surfing, biking, paddling and hiking. Even wandering around acres of vibrantly-colored flower fields is an adventure in this pretty coastal town. Here's what to do on a getaway filled with fun and recreation in Carlsbad.

SEE MORE : Things to Do in Carlsbad | Expedia.com

Learn to Surf at South Ponto Beach

You can't spend time on Carlsbad's five white, sandy beaches without getting up on a longboard. At Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, rent a board and wetsuit, book a private lesson, even sign up for a five-day surf camp on South Ponto Beach in Carlsbad. Evaluate the swells ahead of time on a coastal "surf check" from the sky with Waverider Helicopter Tours. In nearby Oceanside, up your knowledge of surfing legends, the science behind surf and adaptive surfing at the California Surf Museum.

Go on a Beer Safari Tour

It's not everyday you get to ride in a six-wheel off-road military transport vehicle, much less one that takes you on an open-air exploration of Carlsbad's flourishing craft beer scene. Buckle up and prepare to stop at three local breweries, like Northern Pine Brewing and Burgeon Beer Company, with San Diego Beer & Adventure Tours. As a bonus, this ale-focused adventure includes a behind-the-scenes look at one brewery and a stop for BBQ.

Chase Sunsets on an Electric Bike

Rent a colorful cruiser bike or electric pedal assist bike from Pedego Carlsbad in Carlsbad Village to bike along Carlsbad's scenic seawall at Tamarack State Beach. The paved four-mile path extends along the coastline from Carlsbad Village Drive to Cannon Drive and is uber-popular with cyclists, runners and rollerbladers. Go in the early evening when you can settle in on the bluff or the beach to watch a vibrantly-hued (and very Instagram-worthy) sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

Go Stand Up Paddleboarding in a Lagoon

The sun shines 263 days each year in Carlsbad making it an absolute must to live life on the water in this coastal village. See the town from a new perspective, balanced atop a stand-up paddleboard in Carlsbad Lagoon with local water sports outfitter, Blue Paddle SUP. Keep your eyes open for native wildlife, like pelicans and sea turtles, even sea lions. Starter adventures last 75 minutes and include a brief lesson on land to help ensure more time standing tall on the board (and less time in the flatwater lagoon tributary).

Take a Drive on the “Hops Highway”


For craft beer lovers who prefer more of a DIY adventure, take a ride on the "Hops Highway," a 60-mile stretch between Julian and Carlsbad. Home to more than 150 brewing companies and taprooms, there are plenty of ales, ambers, goldens and sours to sample along the way. Explore SoCal's beer culture and go deep into the brewing process, even ship home a case to your home state. Pair your craft beer adventure with a walking food tour for a generous sampling of Carlsbad's thriving culinary scene.

Walk Carlsbad Cliffs

One of the most spectacularly scenic hikes in Carlsbad takes you along the rugged Carlsbad Cliffs. While many people know of Sunset Cliffs in San Diego's Ocean Beach, Carlsbad Cliffs remains a secret (shhh), unknown to many visitors and even some locals. The ocean views and pristine coastline are unparalleled. Once you've tackled the cliffs, set out on foot for Carlsbad's Mount Calavera, a dormant volcano along the five-mile Lake Calavera Loop Trail.

Get Up Close with Sharks at SEA LIFE Aquarium

At Carlsbad's SEA LIFE Aquarium, experience bioluminescence in the waters as part of the Sea at Night exhibit, then go on a shark mission on giant touch screens. More than 6,000 sea creatures call this aquarium home, like octopus, seahorses, clownfish, sharks and rays. At the rock pool, touch starfish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers, before learning from a scuba diving scientist through the aquarium glass. Situated adjacent to LEGOLAND California, it's easy to make a day of both the aquarium and super-fun theme park.

BOOK NOW: LEGOLAND California Resort | Expedia.com, Starting at $100/per adult

Savor Aerial Coastline Views on a Helicopter Tour

There's nothing like reveling in Southern California's pristine coastline from the sky. Book a 30 to 90 minute helicopter tour with Icon Helicopter Tours to take in the beauty of delightful seaside villages up and down the coast as the birds do. On the Iconic Tour, guests land in a secret spot high in the mountains. Talk about adventure. The Sunset Tour allows guests a new vantage point to catch a vivid sunset in the evening.

Wander the Colorful Flower Fields

When the flower fields begin to bloom, it's an explosion of reds, yellows, magentas and violets across 50 acres at the aptly named Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch. Starting in March, Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers burst with vibrant hues, making the Flower Fields the place to be for two months in the spring. Take a guided wagon tour across the fields to learn the history of the fields and all there is to know about the flower varieties in bloom. Beyond the fields, look for a sweet pea maze, a demonstration garden and an orchid greenhouse.

Hike at Batiquitos Lagoon

The Batiquitos Lagoon State Marine Conservation Area in sunny Carlsbad is one of the few remaining coastal wetland areas situated along the Southern California coastline. Home to endangered birds, like snowy plovers and clapper rails, as well as their nesting areas, Batiquitos Lagoon is an ecological gem. A dedicated three-mile walking trail allows visitors to meander the lagoon at their own pace, all the while keeping their eyes open for rare birds that call this lagoon home. This treasure is a true bird watcher's paradise.

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