A big attraction for Carlsbad are its beaches. However, I'm often asked what can you do there? Well, I'm always amazed by the variety of activities I find there. Offshore you'll almost always find surfers paddling out to where the waves break (check out the tide chart) and sometimes skin divers. A little further you'll occasionally see small boats or kayaks. Closer in, on warm days, there's swimmers and boogie boarders. (If you're swimming or surfing, carefully observe the zones set aside to separate the two groups. You won't want to smack or be smacked on the head with a board.)
Onshore in the wet zone, you'll see plenty of beachcombers, kids making sand castles, frizbees, soccer, and on quiet days, fishermen. On dry sand you'll see volleyball, horseshoes, picnicing, and sunbathing.
All over you see groups of people under the shade of umbrellas or tarps barbequeing, picnicing, or just relaxing.
On the walkway, you'll see skaters, roller-bladers, runners, joggers, and walkers, with or without their children, dogs, or friends.
My favorite time is around sunset. The golden sun reflecting on the shimmering waves over the Pacific Ocean is always pretty to photograph or to watch. If you're lucky you'll see the "green flash" just after the sun sets. It's a rare sight to see. Your best luck is on a clear, windy day.
Carlsbad State Beach (aka Tamarack State Beach), with its four mile beach and jogging trails (one high on the bluffs and another and down at the beach), is popular for day use and BBQs. It's also close Carlsbad Village (the downtown area) on the top of the bluffs where you can grab something to eat. The beach is at the foot of Tamarack Avenue (head west from the I-5 exit).
South Carlsbad State Beach has campsites on a cliff overlooking the beach. There's no day-use facilities, and it's more isolated than Tamarack State Beach, but anyone can use the beach for the day. Park on one of the nearby streets to the east. South Carlsbad State Beach is at 7201 Carlsbad, Blvd., Carlsbad. To get there, head west on Palomar Airport Road from I-5, then south on Carlsbad Blvd. for 1.5 miles.
For campground reservations, see ReserveCalifornia.
is the best way to be near the beach and hear the waves at night.
Camping is available on bluffs overlooking the beach and ocean at
South Carlsbad State Beach.
Reserve early--the campground is usually full (and crowded) on weekends
and in summer.
There's no picnicing or day-use facilities in the campground.
For campground reservations, see
Back to Carlsbad, California
This website is not authorized or sponsored by any government agency. The bear fetish is the 7000-year-old Official State Prehistoric Artifact from Carlsbad. Last updated 19 April 2020.
If you have problems or comments concerning our web service, send a message to Dan Anderson.