Southern California is a big, beautiful place where you’ll find surfers, snowboarders, international cuisine, history, architecture, you name it.
There’s certainly something for everyone in Southern California, and everyone has their own personal perfect.
Let’s start with the one thing everyone loves: food.
Carlsbad is a laid-back coastal community that takes pride in its beautiful ocean views and local businesses, so it’s no surprise that many of the restaurants Ron frequents are locally owned with killer ocean views and outdoor seating.
Breakfast | Start your day at Al’s Cafe on a positive note. Located in the Village, this mom-and-pop restaurant has an old-time-diner vibe and a relaxed atmosphere that matches its location.
Lunch | Though Compass has brunch, lunch, dinner, and late-night menus, Ron suggests heading here for lunch. Their patio is dog-friendly, they have craft brews on draft, and serve delicious classic American bar foods.
Happy Hour | Coyote Bar & Grill has Happy Hour specials every Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m on wines, beers, margaritas, well drinks, and appetizers. Sunday through Thursday late-night Happy Hour begins at 10 p.m., drinks only.
In the mood for karaoke? Coyote has karaoke every Monday and Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. If you’d rather be entertained, live music can be enjoyed almost any other night.
Dinner | If you’re in the mood for sushi, one of Ron’s favorite places to try is Blue Ocean, a modern Japanese eatery located in Carlsbad Village. If you’re in the mood for something a little less fishy, he suggests 83 Degrees, a bar and restaurant that takes pride in its homemade recipes and wide selection of beers.
A few of Ron and agent Lynnell Honda‘s favorite oceanfront bars include:
Dini’s By The Sea | Be sure to snag an “Iguana,” Dini’s own unique tropical drink.
Vigiluccis | Featuring pastas, veal, seafood, and prime steaks, this local eatery has been in San Diego since 1994. Plus, it boasts some killer sunset views.
Chandler’s | Farm-to-table, local cuisine that is handcrafted and accompanied by ocean views awaits you at Chandler’s. Perfect for brunch, dinner, or even dessert.
Carlsbad is teeming with local businesses, so be sure to stop at one of Lynnell’s favorite gift shops and boutiques:
Mermaids | This women’s boutique features all the coastal home accents, jewelry and accessories, apparel, body products, and more that you could hope for. Most of their vendors are from local companies and artists.
Coyote Bar & Grill | Karaoke, dancing, food, and live music. What more could you want?
Hennessey’s Tavern | Locals, live music, patio seating, and a rooftop bar, plus Irish hospitality.
Boar Cross’n | While listening to live music, challenge your partner to a game of pool.
If you can’t get a sitter, or have children visiting from out of town, there are tons of kid-friendly attractions in Carlsbad. If you don’t have the time or budget for Legoland, head to the strawberry fields, where you can pick your own berries, spend a day outside in the sun getting exercise, and then enjoy your sweet reward.
Agua Hedionda Discovery Center | Learn anything and everything related to water, wildlife, and environmental issues. A great way to get the kids outside and learning about the environment, there are tons of things for them to see, touch, and do.
Lake Calavera Trail | Hiking and bicycle trails, diverse plants and wildlife, and an extinct volcano make this wildlife preserve especially unique. It’s one of the more extensive trails in Carlsbad and connects to other trails.
If you’re only in Carlsbad for 48 hours or less, here are a few things you definitely can’t miss:
Carlsbad Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch | Nearly 50 acres of colorful flowers are fully in bloom and open to the public from March to May every year. Check their website for prices and specific dates.
Fish tacos | If you’re in San Diego, there are few places you can find better fish tacos. You can enjoy them in a sit-down restaurant, at a walk-up street stand, or even while fine dining. Grilled or fried, be sure to grab a few while you’re in town, paired with an ice-cold Pacifico beer.
“Anything near the water! I love to drive along the coast for miles and miles of waves or walk the boardwalk. Stand-up paddle-boarding in the lagoon is always a good time too,” Ron said.