Guide to Carlsbad California: Here are Awesome Things to Do
The Carlsbad Flower Fields hosted us. All opinions are my own.
Last weekend, we headed to Carlsbad California. We’ve visited a few times in the past, so I thought it was time that I shared a guide to Carlsbad.
Carlsbad Flower Fields
I’ve already visited the Carlsbad Flower Fields. However, it is definitely something I wouldn’t mind doing every year. The flowers are so stunning and who doesn’t love those photo ops! Each March-May, the flower fields are open for visitors. Over 300,000 people visit each spring. The flowers featured are called ranunculus flowers and there are 90 million flowers each year. Our tour guide told us that 1 million are picked and sold all over, and the others are enjoyed by the visitors.
The other great thing about the Flower Fields is that it is definitely kid-friendly. They offer wagon rides, there is a dedicated playground, and my kids really enjoyed going around the garden getting the stamps for their passports. I honestly thought my kids would be so bored, but they really enjoyed themselves. There is so much open space, so they could run around and enjoy nature. Their favorite part was definitely the ride around the fields. If you want to visit the flower fields and want to snag some great photos, here are some tips.
Attend on a Cloudy Day
Although you can get lovely photographs on sunny days, it’s really hard to capture people in photographs on sunny days because there are so many shadows that can fall on your face and really affect the quality of the photo. If you can shoot on a partly cloudy or overcast day, you can shoot at any time of the day and still get decent photos.
Wear Neutral Colors
You want the flower to be the star of your shoot, so you don’t want to wear prints, or too bright of colors. I would suggest white, black or other neutral colors. I love the photo my son took of me in a black dress overlooking the Carlsbad flower fields. the flowers are definitely the star of the shot and the black goes so well with the bold colors.
Arrive at Golden Hour
If you do choose a sunny day, I’d encourage you to try to shoot first thing when the fields open (9am) or right before they close (6pm) to get the least direct light. Going around 5 pm in March would actually be ideal because that is around the golden hour at that time of year. Even while we were there, I took the best photos around 5pm because the sun was low enough so the light was diffuse and didn’t blow out faces or create too harsh of shadows.
Best Hotels in Carlsbad
I’ve only stayed at two hotels in Carlsbad (so far). The Cassara Carlsbad, which I would highly recommend, and the Legoland hotel, which I would not recommend. The Cassara was great. We had a gorgeous room overlooking the flower fields and they had several pools that my kids really loved. It’s also conveniently located right near Legoland and the flower fields. The Grand Pacific Palisades is right next to the Cassara, so they actually share the same views and pool. That would also be a great choice.
There are a few other hotels I’d definitely like to try. The Westin looks really lovely. The Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort also looks great. I haven’t stayed at either of these hotels, so I can’t vouch for them. However, they have fantastic reviews and the location is ideal.
Guide to LEGOLAND California
If you want to know more about Legoland California, you can read more about our experiences here. Legoland is a ton of fun and my kids definitely enjoyed the two trips we’ve made there. They also often have special events, like during Christmas and Halloween. We’ve always enjoyed our time at those events too.
The one thing that’s a bit different about Legoland vs. Disneyland, for example, is that Legoland is better for little kids. My kids are nearly too old to go back to Legoland, although the waterpark would be the exception. The last time we went to Legoland, most of the rides were still closed, due to Covid. However, the waterpark was open. The kids absolutely loved it and I think they would enjoy this for several more years. The rides though, I would say, generally skew a bit younger. So if your kids are nearing middle school, I don’t think they’ll love Legoland as much as Disneyland. I’m only comparing to Disneyland since we visit there a lot more often.
Other Things to Do
Carlsbad Strawberry Company
In the spring, you can visit the Carlsbad Strawberry Company, as we did. You can pick strawberries, play in the jumping castle area, or explore the sunflower maze. We had so much fun at the Strawberry field! The strawberry season runs from January – July, so you should be able to visit during your trip to the Carlsbad flower fields.
If you’re into museums, there are a few unique ones in Carlsbad. You could visit the Green Dragon Museum or the Museum of Making Music. The Aqua Hedionda Discovery Center would also be a great choice if you’re into ecology and wildlife.
Carlsbad is right along the coast, so there are tons of great Carlsbad beach options. Here is a resource for some of the best beaches in Carlsbad.
As in most of southern California near the coast, Carlsbad is temperate all year long. In the summers, the weather is warm, arid, and mostly clear. In the winters, it will be a bit cooler and partly cloudy. The average temperatures range from 45-76°F. Rarely, do the temperatures deviate from that, although you can get warmer temperatures in the spring-fall. The best time for warm-weather activities is June – October, but you can be outdoors year-round.
I hope you found this visitor’s guide helpful. If you have other questions or thoughts on visiting southern California, leave comments below. If you are looking for more stories about California, click here.