Credit: Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa

How to Spend an Action-Packed 24 Hours in Carlsbad With Your Kids This Spring Break

Whether It’s at Legoland, Playing Golf or a Day on the Water, the Entire Family Can Enjoy Carlsbad

If ever there was a town that perfectly encapsulated the essence of the SoCal lifestyle, it’s Carlsbad. Located in the North County region of San Diego, all the colors of California come together vibrantly here—through fields of flowers, a vast coastline and flavorful eateries. Home to LEGOLAND, nine breweries and activities to keep you busy for days, the town is perfect for practically any getaway—and family-friendly is its specialty. It’s low-key enough to keep the adults relaxed while offering  enough buzz-worthy activities for the kids to get excited about! From golfing to watersports and all of the dining experiences in between, here’s how to spend an ideal 24 hours in Carlsbad with your kids this spring break.

 

Stay at the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa 

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Carlsbad Spring
Credit: Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa

“Where should we stay?” might just be the most important question you ask yourself this spring break. The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort & Spa is every bit a family hotel that doesn’t compromise on luxury perks and amenities. Set along the Carlsbad coastline—seven miles of golden sand banks—this resort is nothing short of a picturesque gem in San Diego’s North County. Can we talk about the palm-lined swimming pool (with a waterslide!), coastal kitchen and ocean-view golf course? As golden hour settles over the landscape, retreat to your private sun-drenched patio for some family time. The Deluxe Ponto Suite is curated for family getaways with adjoining bedrooms, a living area and designer amenities. When traveling with kiddos, one thing in particular should be on your radar: location, location, location. Of course, a Carlsbad hotel with a private entrance to LEGOLAND never hurts. This stunning property is also less than a mile away from several iconic SoCal leisure activities, including the Carlsbad Lagoon and Flower Fields (because nothing screams “springtime” like a field of blooming wildflowers). 

 

DAY 1

9 a.m.

Breakfast at Cafe Topes

If the scent of Mom’s Famous Cinny Rolls didn’t tickle your senses as you walked in the door to Cafe Topes, let’s circle back for a moment, shall we? These rolls are kind of a legend in the Carlsbad community, coated in a thick layer of rich and creamy frosting, and you’ll usually find nothing but a pile of crumbs remaining by 11 a.m. Tucked a block away from Carlsbad Village, run (don’t walk) to snag your place in line at this neighborhood hotspot. A hyper-local Carlsbad gem, they’ve got all the goods for breakfast and brunch, from their savory T-scramble to griddled buttermilk pancakes. 

 

10 a.m.

Take Golf Lessons at The Crossings at Carlsbad

Credit: The Westin Carlsbad

Get the day going with some golf at The Crossings at Carlsbad, a gorgeous course offering stunning views from every angle—whether you’re playing on the green, chillin’ at the clubhouse or grabbing a bite at the on-site restaurant. Be strong enough to admit you weren’t born a golf pro and book everyone a golf lesson in advance: if you’ve never golfed a day in your life, it’s nothing their PGA pros can’t fix. Junior clinics (ages 6-17) are also available Tuesdays through Thursdays with morning and afternoon sessions!

 

Noon

Watersports on the Carlsbad Lagoon

Carlsbad Spring
Credit: Delainy Reyes

No spring day in Carlsbad would be complete without a dedicated portion spent on the water. Head to the picturesque Carlsbad Lagoon and rent whatever mode of transportation you and your family are into! Go the relaxing route with kayaks, stand-up paddleboards or swan pedal boats, or kick it up a notch with a WaveRunner or mini speed boat! Another great option for family fun is a pontoon boat rental, which can fit up to 10 people and has lounge seating and a bimini shade to keep your whole crew comfortable.

 

1 p.m.

Lunch at Park 101

Carlsbad Spring
Credit: Briley Pizzelanti

An active morning has earned you and your crew some good old-fashioned BBQ. Start the afternoon with lunch at Park 101, an 8,000-square-foot, multi-level space with indoor and outdoor seating—and plenty of room for the kiddos to roam. Share a little and satisfy everyone’s cravings with the surf ‘n’ turf fries, then move on to your own plate with the St. Louis ribs. The kids can grab their favorite chicken dino nuggets or grilled cheese before they head over to the game area filled with cornhole, foosball, shuffleboard, life-size Connect Four and Giant Jenga.

 

2 p.m.

Spend the Afternoon at LEGOLAND

Credit: LEGOLAND

As if Carlsbad weren’t magical enough, enter a world of fantasy at LEGOLAND! This family-friendly amusement park in Carlsbad is known for its expansive collection of rides and interactive experiences for kids of all ages. Soar on classic roller coasters like The Dragon in Castle Hill, or let your crew become master of the ship on rides like the pirate battleship-themed Splash Battle. Plenty of 4D show experiences happen around the park all day long along with a real sea-life aquarium that features hands-on feeding times. The newest addition to the park is The LEGO Movie World experience, based off of the blockbuster “LEGO Movie,” featuring three brand new rides: Emmet’s Flying Adventure, Unikitty’s Disco Drop and Queen Watevra’s Carousel! If you’re planning your stay in July, catch the fireworks in action at their Red, White and BOOM Fourth of July event, complete with all-American family activities throughout the park during the day and a dazzling patriotic fireworks show at night.

 

6:30 p.m.

Dinner at Pizza Port

Escape the park and grab a bite at what is possibly San Diego’s most locally loved pizza place, Pizza Port! Your kids will be stoked on the restaurant’s arcade games, while you’ll be hyped about the craft beer selection. For the family that can agree, grab one or two of their signature “anti-wimpy” pizzas for the table—or for those with a pickier palate, build-your-own pies are available from personal-sized to a shareable large. Not sure what’s on tap? They’ve got a live look at their on-tap beers at every location!

 

8:30 p.m.

Grab a Scoop at GelatoLove in Carlsbad Village

Carlsbad Spring
Credit: Tomoko Matsubayashi

You’ve been telling the kids there won’t be ice cream later if they misbehave, but we all know you wouldn’t skip it for yourself. A stop at GelatoLove in Carlsbad Village was inevitable, and we don’t blame you! Their artfully crafted, handmade gelato looks as good on Instagram as it does in your hands, and it tastes even better. You can get an extra scoop of their Bacio (chocolate hazelnut) or organic lemon custard and feel good about it, too—all of their flavors are made from organic, natural ingredients with lower sugar content than your typical gelato.

 

DAY 2

Doughnuts at The Goods 

Doughnuts! Everyone needs one, specifically these deep-fried dough balls that could very well come directly from heaven. Ask any San Diego local what the best doughnut shop in town is, and odds are they’ll point you straight to The Goods! Still not convinced? We bet you’ve never heard of this local shop’s flavors—think Chocolate Ganache, Vermont Maple Bacon, Nutella Buttercream and more. They even have an amazing selection of gluten-free and vegan doughnuts!

 

Dance + Music Classes at The Lullabar

Credit: Stephanie Issa

Sometimes you just need a little “me time”—a place for your introverted side to flourish over a bougie cup of iced coffee. The Lullabar understands this concept all too well, making it their mission to cultivate a sacred space for self-care. This hybrid espresso bar and nail salon is your home-away-from-home during spring break, catering to all your personal wellness needs. Their childcare services make it easy for moms to pause and unwind with mommy-and-me dance lessons and meditative solo sound baths.

 

Tractor Wagon Ride at The Flower Fields

Credit: Bhadri Kubendran

A kid’s dream come true or a fun family photo op? You don’t have to choose between the two with a tractor ride at the iconic Carlsbad Flower Fields, which reopened on March 1. What better way to celebrate spring break than in the midst of San Diego’s largest floral display? Their tractor wagon ride circles the entire property, offering panoramic views of the lush, colorful montage of blooms. Tickets begin at $8 for adults and $4 for children. Little ones under three can ride for free!

 

Explore the Carlsbad Tide Pools

Credit: Parker Sturdivant

Tidepooling may not be an official hobby to the rest of the world, but San Diegans are proud of the coastal tide pools that dot our coastlines. Carlsbad, in particular, is a mecca for spotting intricate sea creatures in the chiseled rocks, from sea stars and sea anemones to small lobsters and shrimp. Just five minutes from Carlsbad Village, Terra Mar Beach is the local’s pick when searching for marine life. Backed by towering bluffs and sheltered coves, the Carlsbad Tide Pools are also a picturesque sunset point.

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Jaclyn is a sunshine chasing San Diego native with an extensive writing background. When she isn’t word-smithing, you can find her playing beach volleyball, skating the boardwalk, or on a rooftop enjoying a drink in the sunshine with her pals.

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