Lovely beaches, a favorite amusement park and activities galore are just a few reasons to visit Carlsbad, California.
Earlier this fall our family took a big trip to Southern California. We packed so much fun into our 10-day vacation but one of my favorite memories was the time we spent in Carlsbad.
Carlsbad is a small town on the scenic north shore of San Diego, known as “The Village by the Sea.” It boasts 7 miles of beaches and nearly perfect weather year round. Activities and adventures abound providing a mix of tranquility for adults and entertainment for the kids. Carlsbad is a fantastic place to spend a few days. I can’t recommend it enough.
While in Carlsbad, we stayed at West Inn & Suites. It was lovely – the perfect blend of boutique luxury, first class service and affordability. I can’t imagine staying anywhere else next time we come. And there will be a next time. All of four of us really enjoyed our time in Carlsbad and can’t wait to return.
#1 | LEGOLAND California
The main attraction for kids in Carlsbad is LEGOLAND California. Since our boys are LEGO obsessed this was a must-do. LEGOLAND has roller coasters and other rides that look as though they are constructed of LEGOs. There are workshops and building opportunities. They have entire US cityscapes replicated in miniature, completely made from LEGOs. You can watch minifigures in action at one of the shows. They even have a waterpark that’s open in the summer. Where else can you play with oversized LEGOs that float in the water!? It’s heaven for LEGO fans.
Since Carlsbad is so small we rode the West Inn & Suites shuttle over to LEGOLAND in the morning and back in the evening. It took 5 minutes, gave us door-to-door service and we skipped the $15 LEGOLAND parking fee!
#2 | The Beach
Carlsbad is known as “The Village by the Sea” thanks to it’s 7 miles of beaches. No matter what activity you enjoy, you’ll find a beach that’s perfect for it. Carlsbad State Beach is one of the most popular because it’s ideal for families. The state beach offers swimming, scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing and beach combing. The Carlsbad Seawall is a paved 4-mile path following the state beach that’s perfect for walking, jogging, and cycling. If you want something a little quieter, try Terramar. It’s kind of a hidden spot where local surfers go. And if surfing is your thing, try South Ponto Beach. They often host surfing competitions.
In you stay at West Inn & Suites, you can take advantage of their awesome Pop-Up Beach Party experience. (pictured) This includes complimentary round-trip transportation to any of Carlsbad’s beaches and a fully packed van with boogie boards, chairs, umbrellas, towels and beach toys. It’s the perfect beach experience without having to bring all the gear.
#3 | The Food
No matter your taste or budget, there is something for everyone in Carlsbad! From award-winning restaurants to street food classics, eating out in Carlsbad is a yummy adventure! We found plenty of kid friendly options and were impressed every time we ventured out.
West Inn and Suites boasts their own duo of superb restaurants, Bistro West and West Steak and Seafood. Both menus feature dishes created using vegetables and herbs harvested from their own three-acre farm. These farm-to-table selections offer guests a seasonal menu experience each time they dine.
#4 | The Outdoor Activities
The beach isn’t the only outdoor activity in Carlsbad! There is so much to explore. If you’re up for a hike, try the Aviara Trails or the Veterans Park Trails. For nature lovers, the Buena Vista Lagoon (pictured) is the only freshwater lagoon in California. And there’s also the Batiquitos Lagoon, a coastal salt marsh. Both are excellent locations for birdwatching. If you are visiting in the spring definitely visit The Flower Fields. It’s only open for 6-8 weeks in the Spring and is one of the area’s most beloved traditions.
If you are looking to stay close to the hotel, West Inn & Suites has outdoor activities of their own! Relax in their gorgeous pool. Take a short walk about their beautiful grounds or try your hand at a game of ping pong. You can spend time outdoors without even leaving the hotel.
#5 | The Museums
Forget traditional museums. Carlsbad is home to some unique, quirky collections you have to see. The Museum of Making Music shares music history and collections of vintage, unusual and interactive instruments. The Gemological Institute Of America showcases some of the world’s rarest gemstones and jewels. And learn all about California’s famous surf culture and history at the California Surf Museum in neighboring Oceanside.
West Inn & Suites has the inside scoop on all the local museums. Mention your favorites when you book and they will advise you on free kids admission days, as well as any available discounts or promotions at these local attractions.
#6 | The Festivals & Events
There’s almost always something fun happening in Carlsbad. They have lots of fun festivals and activities throughout the year. One of the most famous is the Carlsbad Music Festival. It’s 3 days of music by the beach at the end of the summer. The village also has a Farmer’s Market every Wednesday from 3-6pm and in the summertime you can check out Flicks by the Fountain. ANd don’t forget the holidays! There is a Halloween festival every year in downtown Carlsbad with trick or treating at all the shops. And the Christmas decorations are wonderful!
West Inn & Suites doesn’t disappoint for the holidays. You can’t miss their beautiful decorations complete with a huge Christmas tree in the lobby. They also get festive for other holidays like Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. And if you just need an idea for your evening, stop by the concierge and they will let you know the best events happening around town.
#7 | The Walkability
Carlsbad is a small-coastal town and many of the attractions are within walking distance of one another. When we arrived in Carlsbad we parked our car and didn’t move it until it was time to leave! The Village of Carlsbad is full of restaurants and shops. From there it’s a 2-minute walk to the beach. You can also hop aboard Amtrak Pacific Surfliner, which takes a scenic trip along the coastline into Downtown San Diego.
Making it even easier, guests of West Inn & Suites can use their complimentary shuttle service within a 5-mile radius of the hotel. You can easily explore the seaside village and its many attractions and let the West Inn staff do all the driving!
About West Inn & Suites
During our time in Carlsbad, we stayed at West Inn & Suites, an 84-room boutique hotel. Everything about our stay was fabulous. From the moment we walked in until we were leaving, the staff was cheerful, helpful and went the extra mile to ensure our stay was perfect. Here just a few reasons why we loved this hotel so much.
We stayed in a fabulous Double King Suite. Have you ever stayed in a room with 2 king beds!? It was heaven! My husband and I have a king bed at home. When we travel, sleeping in a queen is a bit of an adjustment. Imagine my surprise when we walked in to find TWO King Beds in our room. My husband and I slept perfectly on the luxury linens and I didn’t have to listen to any, “He touched me!” “He’s on my side of the bed!” from the boys. I also loved that the room was large enough that two king beds looked natural and didn’t overpower the room.
The suite had a separate living space which was wonderful. It was far enough away from the bedroom portion that we could have both TVs going. My husband got a little work done in the morning and watched his news program while the kids stayed in bed watching cartoons until breakfast. I understand why the Double King Suites are West Inn’s most popular rooms!
Kid Friendly Amenities
West Inn & Suites has some great amenities for kids. In addition to the Pop-Up Beach Party, they offer LEGOLAND packages that are really cute and fun for kids. However my kids’ favorite amenity was the cookies and milk. Every evening from 8pm-9pm the hotel set out fresh-baked cookies and milk. Getting cookies right before bed is a win for any kid.
Of course you can sit in the lobby or in their beautiful dining room or library to have your cookies. My boys were already in their PJs and tired from our long day so we took ours upstairs.
I mentioned some fun outdoor activities above and here they are. We weren’t able to check out the West Inn & Suites pool because my wimpy Texas kids don’t really like swimming in “cold” 80 degree weather. But for most people the pool would be the perfect place to wind down after a fun day in Carlsbad.
I wish I had discovered their ping pong table sooner. It’s down next to the pool and would have been a great way to get the kids out of my hair while I was packing to leave. Give it a try for a fun morning activity with the kids or have an evening tournament poolside!
The grounds themselves at West Inn & Suites are simply gorgeous. There are beautiful flowers like these Birds of Paradise. All the foliage is lush and green. Even my boys remarked on how pretty it was there.
Last but not least I can’t forget to mention the breakfast at West Inn & Suites! I am the queen of free breakfast. With a husband and two always hungry boys staying in a hotel with free breakfast really helps cut down on our travel expenses. West Inn & Suites breakfast offerings are similar to other free breakfast hotels but what sets them apart is the quality! The food was wonderful. My husband was surprised that it was free. I also loved that they were constantly bussing tables ensuring that guests always had a fresh, clean place to sit.
There’s a reason why West Inn & Suites is the #1 Hotel on Trip Advisor and consistently wins Top Choice awards. Their customer service is superb. The accommodations are impeccable. The location is prime and the rates are surprisingly affordable. What more could you ask for?
*Disclosure: Although West Inn & Suites hosted our family for our stay, the thoughts and opinions in this post are 100% mine.