Beachy Carlsbad Offers Up Much More than Awesome Theme Parks

Carlsbad is likely on the bucket list of LEGO enthusiasts around the country, but there is much more to do aside from visiting LEGOLAND California and soak up rays at the beach.

If you are headed to the beach, Carlsbad has seven miles to choose from including the widest beach in the county. Though it can be rustic in spots, these beaches have plenty of white sand and opportunities for boogie boarding, surfing and other family fun. 

Did you know that you can take a private tour of The Gemological Institute of America to learn about the grading of gems all over the world? Well, the truth is that most San Diegans don't know this either. You will need to make a reservation in advance and don't forget to bring a camera.

Love music? Consider the Museum of Making Music just east of the freeway, also near LEGOLAND. Here, music enthusiasts can get their fill of music trivia and history from the ever-so-helpful docents and informative exhibits. A big room of fancy and unique instruments that guests, including kids, can actually play awaits at the end of the museum.

Without further ado, here is the list of 10 best Carlsbad attractions to consider for your vacation.



The GIA is the world's leading authority and educator on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls. Even most San Diegans don't know that you can actually tour The Gemological Institute of American by appointment, which has locations around the...  Read More



It's not stunning skyline views you'll find here at Bartiquitos Lagoon, but great views of a different sort: endangered birds that occupy the tranquil lagoons situated near the hustle and bustle of San Diego. Located between Carlsbad and...  Read More



A seasonal attraction, The Carlsbad Flower Fields provide an amazing seaside show of color between March and May of each year, showcasing the Giant Tecolote Ranunculus. It's one of the only working ranunculus farms in the world that allows the...  Read More

Museum of Making Music


This is a fun and interesting museum where you can not only look at exhibits of musical instruments but you can try your hand at playing some of them. Each gallery represents 20 years, with vintage instruments as well as audio and video clips of...  Read More

Carlsbad State Beach


This is actually two separate beaches: Carlsbad State Beach and South Carlsbad State Beach. Situated at the foot of the bluffs, access in spots is a tad inconvenient, which makes them a bit less crowded. Surfing, swimming, boogie boarding and...  Read More



Carlsbad Lagoon is a more relaxed hub of watersports activities ranging from paddleboarding on peaceful waters to wakeboarding to jet skiing. It's technically called Agua Hedionda Lagoon, located just east of the freeway and utilized by...  Read More



Located right next door to LEGOLAND, SEALIFE Aquarium is the perfect place to start or end a theme park-filled day. Kids will love seeing LEGO people woven into the aquarium displays as well as a handful of hands-on interaction opportunities....  Read More



This state beach is known by locals as both South Carlsbad State Beach and South Ponto Beach. The beach is rustic, considered a rare gem and boasts some of the widest sand in the county. Its one of the few beaches in the area with public...  Read More



This park was once part of the original 2,538 acre working ranch and vacation retreat of Leo Carrillo (who acted in almost 100 films from 1927 to 1950 and co-starred in the TV series The Cisco Kid). Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park's 27 acres...  Read More

LEGOLAND California
Photo courtesy of Joanne DiBona


This is the place for kids and the kid in you. LEGOLAND California is perched on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Carlsbad, a 40-minute drive north from Downtown San Diego. Everything looks like it was built with LEGOs. Miniland USA, with...  Read More


Meet Katie Dillon

Katie Dillon originally moved to the seaside community of La Jolla to attend UC San Diego. When the opportunity presented itself, she and her husband set off for a 7 year stint overseas as...  More About Katie