Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort

27 miles (30 minute drive) north of San Diego, tucked in next to the Pacific Ocean is the wonderful, retro beach coastal city of Carlsbad. Its healing mineral waters brought it fame back in the 1800s. Over the decades Carlsbad developed into a charming community with many small individually owned shops, upscale (2020), romantic, value and budget eateries, hotels and resorts. No glitz, just good old fashioned simple pleasures delivered in a spectacular setting, to be had year round. The environment is relaxing and dress down. Beach and ocean sports dominate the action but there's also biking, walking, golf, as well as good food, excellent theatre, art and music scenes (Belly Up Tavern for music or Jazz in the Park) and friendly locals. Koko's serves dinner until midnight.

There is always something going on - many festivals throughout the year - including an annual 5K running marathon to which people come from all over the world to participate and a Rock and Roll Marathon! The Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa (which started it all) continues to supply mineral water. You can fill up a gallon jug for 50 cents at a sidewalk kiosk or take a spa treatment in elegant surroundings. Legoland, the Museum of Making Music, Gemological Institute located within minutes of each other, are good family stops. When Spring comes, head for The Flower Fields go, growing hills ablaze with color from thousands of flowering plants. From May through November enjoy a street fair on the first Sunday of each month.

Carlsbad is located on a rail line enabling easy access, via Amtrak and COASTER trains, to entertainment and attractions up and down the coast, from San Diego (and Tijuana) to Los Angeles. Nearby is Temecula where 30 valley wineries offer tastings of their artisinal libations. Temecula is also the site of an annual Hot Air Balloon Festival.

Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort
Much about the Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort here

day 1 photos

4 pm - arrive Carlsbad
check into Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort go
Great location! Built in 1985 as a combination hotel and time share, this beach beauty is committed to maintaining its loveliness, and this year celebrated its 25th birthday with a facelift. 61 hotel rooms, corridors, and outdoor furnishings have been tastefully modernized. Our 3rd floor Premier Level spacious room had two queen size Signature beds, a sitting area, plantation shutters, small refrigerator, microwave, coffee brewer, iHome, flat screen TV, DVD player and plush robes. The bathroom with marble walk-in shower included a towel sculpture of a bunny rabbit.

5 pm - tour Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort
We familiarize ourselves with the resort on an informal walking tour with Carlsbad Inn's Joli Hatch. See many multigenerational families, with children of all ages, who surf, swim or hang at the beach, play ping pong, have their faces painted by the visiting clown, sip cool drinks while lounging on the lawn. Through the ocean gate Beach lovers access the water by descending beach walk steps. go

Others work out in the gym or check their e-mail in the lobby where a couple is making arrangements for their on site wedding. The pool is closed for cleaning but the hot tub is going full steam (pun). The Activities Staff creates a weekly schedule of fun events for all who wish to participate. Lots to do here, for everyone!

Staying in a suite (condo, 1-3 bedroooms) where you can spread out and get a complete kitchen is a great value proposition - helps to get more out of a vacation. This is the "never leave" kind of place. Those who discovered the benefits return year after year - sometimes several times a year. see

6 pm - cocktails Norte Mexican Restaurant & Bar go
Continue our orientation over margaritas, chips and salsa at this friendly spot, very conveniently located right at the resort. Originally a private hacienda built in 1925 it historically anchors the property. Families with young children are ordering early dinners but the crowd at this time of day is mostly young adults; guys inside the bar area watching soccer on big screen TVs; gals outdoors - seated at round tables under umbrellas chat, joke and howl. menu

7 pm - watch Sunset
Stroll over to the upper ocean promenade and State Beach where locals and visitors gather to await the setting of the sun. This a big deal here. While waiting people visit, chat, hoop dance, stroll along the beach or just sit and watch. Told it happens "most every evening". go

8 pm - dinner Caldo Pomodoro Restaurant go
Hungry for Italian food, we luckily happen upon a Sicilian restaurant whose chef has been cooking here for 19 years. Because the evening is balmy, we choose an outdoor table at which to feast on well prepared traditional dishes. Great find!

stay - Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort go

day 2 photos

8 am - breakfast Daily News Café right next to Hotel go
Very convenient, go for a dip in the ocean or pool, then head right over to re-energize with brunch, breakfast drinks and read the newspaper. Everything fresh, very casual.

10 am - walking tour Carlsbad
Took an extended walking tour through central downtown Carlsbad Village . Passed by the Spa, Military Academy, playing fields, local shops, train depot, upscale restaurants, into the industrial area where a theatre, art galleries and music clubs are housed. Noted the picturesque, huge old Eucalyptus trees lining the main street, hand painted themed fire plugs, blooming trees: heard the train whistles as they came through town several times during the day.

1 pm - lunch Twenty/20 Grill & Wine Bar go
Drove (10 minutes) to this highly recommended restaurant in the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa. Spacious, comfortable, with a menu that changes frequently to utilize local seasonal ingredients. A relaxed and pleasant lunch.
Sherri Weeks, General Manager of briefed us on the many developments at this still developing resort and conference center with large pool, public golf course next door and private entrance to Legoland.

4 pm - drive by attractions nearby
Legoland go and the Museum of Making Music go both located only 5 minutes away. We didn't have time to visit/enjoy in depth but you can easily do so on a visit.

6 pm - dinner Senor Grubby's Restaurant go
To sample some local flavor, we had light mexican food at this local favorite. Nothing fancy here, but we enjoyed the food, swift service and beach-basic atmosphere.

8 pm - see The Seven Year Itch play New Village Arts Theatre go
The surprise of the trip and one of the highlights of our visit! A very professional and entertaining performance -- definitely make time to see one of their shows.

stay - Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort go

day 3 photos

8 am - breakfast and laze in room
We sleep late and move even more slowly; finally getting used to the Carlsbad pace. Breakfast in our room, read paper and pack up to move on. Watch Art Show setting up on the front entrance.

10 am - Visit Art Show, take a swim and lounge at bit. Check out at noon.

12:30 pm - Carlsbad Mineral Water Spa go
Drop in for a tour of the building and facilities. No time for a treatment.

afternoon - drove up coast to Oceanside go
Just 3 miles north along the ocean, Oceanside is another old-timey California beach town. Beach was full of families despite an unusual overcast day. Pedal carts a fun way to get around. More beachy than charming Carlsbad but picturesque and well worth a visit for the beach and a bite before going on your way.

Thanks to all who helped create this fine experience.

Georgi Gordon
GBG & Associates
who organized the visit and acted as facilitator

Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort
Joli Hatch
Corporate Sales Manager
Sherri Weeks
General Manager
Ernestini Dela Peña
Marketing Communications Coordinator
Joseph Cillo
Publisher & Editor in Chief
design and text
Mary Buttaro
Creative & Photo Editor
photographs and narrative
who together created this story and photo journal
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