Carlsbad: 25 Things To Do with Kids (other than Legoland)

1/7/17 - By Jennifer Fontaine

Legoland? Who said anything about Legoland? Carlsbad may appear at first glance to be a one-trick town, but there are at least 25 reasons for this Southern California excursion, without ever using the word LEGO. The beach community's mild year-round temps, pristine beaches, and slow, laid-back approach to living offer families much more than just a famous amusement park.


Also know as the “Village By the Sea,” Carlsbad is just 87 miles south of Los Angeles, and 35 miles north of San Diego, making it a convenient weekend getaway, with charming, small-town appeal, world class golfing, inspiring cultural arts events, and inventive cuisine. And, yes, there is that amusement park, too.

Kayaking the lagoon feels like a long way from home.

  1. Explore music and rhythm at the Museum of Making Music.
  2. Go with the skateboarding flow at the Alga Norte Skate Park.
  3. Beat your own best time racing at the K1 Speed Go Kart Track.
  4. Enjoy a traditional shepherd’s pie, and some US colonial history, at the Green Dragon Tavern & Museum.
  5. Take in the amazing aerial views in an Icon Helicopter Tour.
  6. Pretend you’re Jack Sparrow at the Aviara Community Park’s pirate-theme play area.
  7. Take an electric bike tour through the village with Pedego Electric Bike Rental.
  8. Fuel passion for engineering at the Miniature Engineering Craftmanship Museum.
  9. Take a bite out of Carlsbad’s culinary best on a Food Tour.
  10. See what life was like in the late 19th century at the Magee House.
  11. Learn to swing like a pro at the Aviara Golf Club.
  12. Take a walk back into Hollywood history at Leo Carrillo’s historic ranch.
  13. Start your own spring tradition at the Carlsbad Flower Fields.

    The famous Flower Fields—taking wildflower walks up a notch
  14. Surf with the pros with So Cal Surf Lessons.
  15. Become a Junior Beach Ranger with Cape Rey Carlsbad.
  16. Practice your sun salutes in a Stand Up Paddleboard yoga class.
  17. Play hide and seek in the Hidden Canyon Community Park.
  18. Enjoy kid-friendly conservation talks at the Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation.
  19. Escape the heat with some figure skating at Icetown Carlsbad.
  20. Taste Carlsbad’s best pizza at the Intergalactic Headquarters for the Pizza Port Empire.
  21. Kayak with the kids at Carlsbad Lagoon.
  22. Join in an immersive adventure at the School of Hard Locks.
  23. Surf while standing up with Two Guys Stand Up Paddleboard​.
  24. Interact with the underwater creatures at the SEA LIFE Aquarium.
  25. Cool down at the LEGOLAND California Water Park.

And if you need somewhere to break up the drive, how about stopping in Laguna Beach or San Juan Capistrano?

All photos by the author

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