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About Carlsbad CA

The Village by the Sea


Carlsbad is a seaside resort city occupying a 7-mile (11 km) stretch of Pacific coastline in northern San Diego CountyCalifornia. The city is 87 miles (140 km) south of Los Angeles and 35 miles (56 km) north of downtown San Diego and is part of the San Diego-Carlsbad, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is bordered by Oceanside to the north, Vista and San Marcos to the east and Encinitas to the south. Referred to as “The Village by the Sea” by locals, it is most definitely a tourist destination. The city’s estimated 2014 population was 112,299. Among the nation’s top 20 wealthiest communities, it is the 5th richest city in the state of California with a median household income close to $105,000 Carlsbad’s history began with the Luiseño people (the Spanish name given to them because of their proximity to Mission San Luis Rey). Nearly every reliable fresh water creek had at least one native village, including one called Palamai. The site is located just south of today’s Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

The first European land exploration of Alta California, the Spanish Portolà expedition of 1769, met native villagers while camped on Buena Vista Creek. During the Mexican period, in 1842, the southern portion of Carlsbad, was granted as Rancho Agua Hedionda to Juan María Marrón.

In the 1880s a former sailor named John Frazier dug a well in the area. He began offering his water at the train station and soon the whistle-stop became known as Frazier’s Station. A test done on a second fresh-water well discovered the water to be chemically similar to that found in some of the most renowned spas in the world, and the town was named after the famed spa in the Bohemian town of Karlsbad (now Karlovy VaryCzech Republic).

To take advantage of the find, the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Company was formed by a German-born merchant from the Midwest named Gerhard Schutte together with Samuel Church Smith, D. D. Wadsworth and Henry Nelson. The naming of the town followed soon after, along with a major marketing campaign to attract visitors. The area experienced a period of growth, with homes and businesses sprouting up in the 1880s. Agricultural development of citrus fruits, avocados and olives soon changed the landscape. By the end of 1887, land prices fell throughout San Diego County. However, the community survived on the back of its fertile agricultural lands.

The site of John Frazier’s original well can still be found at Alt Karlsbad, a replica of a German Hanseatic house, located on Carlsbad Boulevard.

In 1952, it was incorporated to avoid annexation by its neighbor, Oceanside.

The single-runway Palomar Airport opened in 1959 after County of San Diego officials decided to replace the Del Mar Airport. The airport was annexed to the City of Carlsbad in 1978 and renamed McClellan-Palomar Airport in 1982 after a local civic leader, Gerald McClellan.

The first modern skateboard park, was built in March 1976. It was located on the grounds of Carlsbad Raceway and was designed and built by inventors Jack Graham and John O’Malley. The site of the original Skatepark and Carlsbad Raceway was demolished in 2005 and is now an Industrial Park. However, two skateparks have since been developed.

In March 1999, Legoland California was opened. It was the first Legoland theme park outside of Europe and is currently operated by Merlin Entertainments. Merlin Entertainments owns 70 percent of the shares, and the remaining 30 percent is owned by the LEGO group and Kirkbi A/S.

The city is also home to the nation’s largest desalination plant. Construction of the $1 billion Carlsbad Desalination Plant at the Encina Power Plant was completed in December 2015.

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10 Reasons to Love Carlsbad

Carlsbad, California is located in North County San Diego, about 40 minutes north of downtown San Diego. It is a prime vacation spot for families due to its laid back beaches, community feel and kid-friendly attractions. It also has its own little downtown area called Carlsbad Village, which has a wide range of shops, restaurants and bars – all in walking distance of Carlsbad’s gorgeous beaches.

1. Beaches

The beaches of Carlsbad are clean and family-friendly. Head to Tamarack Beach for big waves if you want to try surfing. The beach north of Tamarack west of Carlsbad Village Drive is behind a bluff, shielding it from the often blowing ocean breezes and making it a relaxing stretch of sand.

2. Nightlife

Carlsbad may be located 35 miles north of downtown San Diego, but that doesn’t mean it has a lack of activity once the sun goes down. Wine bars, Irish pubs and dance clubs adorn the streets of Carlsbad Village, with most bars off of Carlsbad Village Drive and Grand Avenue.

3. Legoland

This popular amusement park is fun for both kids and adults. Marvel at the giant statues made completely from Legos, scream on the adventurous rides the park has and pretend you’re a giant in the miniature land made from Legos that you can walk through.

Legoland California — Photo courtesy of MGrannetia

4. Shopping

Carlsbad has a large outlet mall that boasts brands such as Coach, Barney’s, Nine West and Juicy Couture. If you’re spending time in Carlsbad Village, you’ll find many surfer-inspired shops plus a variety of boutiques.

5.  Restaurants

Carlsbad Village has many delicious and acclaimed restaurants. Try Mexican at Norte’s, Seafood at Jay’s or Italian at Vigilucci’s. Or just wander up and down the pretty streets of Carlsbad Village and see what strikes your fancy.

6. Walking

Carlsbad is a great town for walking around. The streets of Carlsbad Village have wide, safe sidewalks. The beachfront also has a long boardwalk stretching from the Village all the way down to Tamarack Beach and is great for walking at sunset.

7. Activities

Carlsbad offers a multitude of activities from everything from running to rock climbing. The most popular activity for visitors, however, involves the water. Carlsbad has a lagoon that is ideal for water sports such as paddle boarding, kayaking or jet skiing.

8. Beef!

Carlsbad boasts one of the famous In-N-Out Burgers – a must eat for any non-vegetarian visitors to Carlsbad. Another off the beaten path local favorite to visit is Tip Top Meats in south Carlsbad for a huge and cheap steak dinner. If you need a snack while at the beach, head to Knockout Burger off of Carlsbad Boulevard in the Village for some burgers to go.

9. Camping

Carlsbad has a state campground called South Carlsbad State Beach, which is right on the ocean. You’ll fall asleep in your tent to the sound of the waves crashing and if you’re lucky, you’ll wake up to the view of dolphins swimming along the coastline. The campground also has laundry, toilet and shower facilities.

Dolphins swimming in the ocean off of South Carlsbad State Beach — Photo courtesy of Gina Douglas Tarnacki

10. The Ocean

Yes, the beach was already mentioned, but the ocean needs to have its own category for Carlsbad. Why? Because Carlsbad offers its waves to visitors unpretentiously. Want to try surfing? Head just north of Tamarack for good beginner waves. If you’re not quite ready to give surfing a go, but still want to ride the waves, rent a boogie board; you can take advantage of the fact that the waves of Carlsbad’s beaches break far enough away for a good ride in, but still shallow enough that you can stand up – an ideal mix for novice ocean dwellers.