Credit: The Cassara

12 Reasons We’re Spending Our Summer Days in Carlsbad

From Strawberry-Picking to Oyster-Shucking and Movies Under the Stars, Carlsbad Is the Ultimate Summer Destination

Perfectly positioned between LEGOLAND and the famous Flower Fields, Carlsbad sets the stage for an endless summer of Insta-worthy memories you’ll look back on for years to come. Pack your bags and set your GPS to the beautiful Cassara Carlsbad—a European-style resort situated in the heart of this coastal community. Given its prime location, this family-friendly San Diego hotel will serve as your home base this summer so you can easily explore all that Carlsbad has in store. From cruising the streets in a Moke and catching flicks under the stars to oyster-shucking and strawberry-picking, consider this your complete guide to an epic summer in the city of Carlsbad. Best Summer Activities Carlsbad

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Summer Eats at Park 101’s The Trap Shack

Credit: Ryne Ramos and Huy Hoang

Located at Carlsbad’s Park 101, The Trap Shack is a counterserve hotspot with a menu chock-full of fresh seafood and chicken-fried delights. This summer, guests can mosey up to the window and order everything from lobster rolls and seafood tacos to chicken tender sandwiches and sno cones. The best part? Park 101 provides the perfect setting to enjoy these dishes! This two-story venue features more than 8,000 square feet of space, along with a courtyard patio, rooftop deck, picnic tables, an outdoor bar and fire pits. And on Padres game days, this Carlsbad restaurant turns into a buzzy destination for fans. Come catch a ballgame on the big outdoor screen and take advantage of game-day specials like $5-7 select beers and $5 shots of Jameson, Altos and Skrewball.

Local Insight: Park 101 is also dog-friendly, so feel free to bring your pup along for a day of summer fun!

 

1 | Book a Vacation at The Cassara Carlsbad 

Best Summer Activities Carlsbad
Credit: The Cassara

With 180-degree coastline views and proximity to some of San Diego’s best attractions, The Cassara Carlsbad draws all kinds of travelers—from wellness enthusiasts to parents with kids in tow. Artfully styled with coastal European touches, rooms and sophisticated suites provide the ultimate comfort. Each one boasts a coastal-themed color palette and modern amenities. All traditional rooms are equipped with a balcony, and there are pet-friendly suites as well. Their Suites & Eats package is a self-care treat that comes with a nightly $50 food and beverage credit, premium WiFiand extended check-in and checkout times. Toast to slow mornings in paradise with the Coast-al Toast from The Cassara Kitchen & Bar, the hotel’s Mediterranean restaurant that sources fresh, local ingredients for their dishes. 

Credit: The Cassara

Few things are better than sipping cocktails on the pool deck underneath the shade of a cabana, especially when frozés are involved! Crafted with Murphy Goode California Rosé, orange juice, agave and mixed berries, this is the perfect beverage for a warm summer day spent poolside. But if you’d rather be active on the water, skim the surface of next-door neighbor Carlsbad Lagoon’s picturesque waters with a $50 voucher for the watersports rental of your choice with the hotel’s premium Lagoon Package.

 

2 | Tee Off at The Crossings at Carlsbad

Best Summer Activities Carlsbad
Credit: The Westin Carlsbad

Whether you’re a pro or not, the views alone make a round of golf at The Crossings at Carlsbad a worthwhile trip. This manicured 18-hole championship golf course is perched on 400 acres of verdant coastal landscape that overlooks the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Newbies to this sport can wrangle some lessons from their PGA professionals, while everyone has an impressive 28,000-square-foot clubhouse at their fingertips that’s perfect for a little post-game revelry.

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3 | Rent a Moke and Cruise the Coast

Newport Beach Moke - Holidays Newport Beach
Credit: Timothy Kwon

Caravaning down PCH along Carlsbad’s coastline with your crew requires just the right cruiser—that’s why renting a Moke is a summer essential. You’ve likely seen these cute little cars on your social media feed; they are the ultimate beach-chic sensation! Originally designed as a 1950s British military vehicle, they’ve since been repurposed into an aesthetic ride perfect for cruising the coast. These vintage-looking, four-seater convertibles are fully electric. They also come in a variety of bright colors, complete with Bluetooth stereos and back-up cameras. 

 

4 | U‑Pick Strawberry Season at Carlsbad Strawberry Company

Strawberries and summer go hand in hand, and there’s no better place to get your berry fix than the Carlsbad Strawberry Company. This family-owned berry farm has been growing strawberries on their pristine acreage for four generations. They offer a berry-picking experience for just $15 per person ($10 if you bring your own bucket). Strawberry season is officially underway, meaning you can now fill a bucket (or two), snap some photos among the sunflowers and hop on a tractor for a ride around the farm!

Location: Carlsbad

 

5 | TGIF Concerts in the Parks

Credit: Israel Palacio

TGIF, indeed! Let’s be honest—every day feels like a Friday when school’s out for summer. Yet, not every day holds the promise of live music under the stars. TGIF Concerts in the Parks is your Friday feel-good mood booster, taking place at rotating parks around the Carlsbad community for nine consecutive weeks. As the longest-running sponsored outdoor concert series in San Diego County, 2024 marks 38 summers of this beloved community event. Can you name a better summer scene than live music, barbecues and dancing underneath a star-lit sky? 

 

6 | Row in the Dark at Carlsbad Lagoon 

Credit: Delainy Reyes

There’s something about summer lake days that just hit different. Let us introduce you to our newest summer obsession at the Carlsbad Lagoon. Skim the water’s surface on a paddleboard, kayak or aqua cycle at Row in the Dark, a three-hour, glow-in-the-dark extravaganza. Launching May 17 and extending through Sept. 14, this unique paddle excursion begins just before sundown and wraps up at 10 p.m. Reminiscent of those sweet summer camp memories, this ongoing Carlsbad event features live music, campfires and beach games for some added family fun.

 

7 | ArtWalk Carlsbad

Credit: ArtWalk San Diego

Perched above the Carlsbad Flower Fields is an outpouring of artistic energy. A kaleidoscope of colors, ArtWalk Carlsbad takes place Sept. 21-22 and is free to attend. The festival highlights the creative work of artists around the globe along with local talent a little closer to home. From colorful canvases and intricate sculptures to eloquent glasswork, photography and more, there’s art for everyone here that speaks to the soul—and more than 150 artists’ work will be featured. The food trucks and live tunes seal the deal at this vibrant art walk.

 

8 | Red, White & BOOM! at LEGOLAND

Credit: LEGOLAND

Carlsbad is home to more than just miles of seashore—it’s also the site of the iconic LEGOLAND theme park. In patriotic fashion, this Lego-themed adventure park takes Fourth-of-July festivities to a whole new level with their annual Red, White & BOOM! DJ dance parties and seasonal treats set the tone for the main event of the evening. Watch the sky erupt into a vivid display of Lego bricks through special viewing glasses for an unique spin on a traditional star-spangled firework display.

 

9 | Flicks at The Fountain

Name a cozier duo than popcorn and a movie. Carlsbad’s annual Flicks at The Fountain is bringing America’s favorite indoor pastime outside under the starlit sky beginning July 11. These free weekly showings feature classic film favorites like “The Little Mermaid,” “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Each movie night is sponsored by local community brands, including Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream. Picnic blanket in hand, make your way to The Fountain at State & Grand on Thursdays at dusk!

 

10 | Brunch at Parakeet Cafe

Best Summer Activities Carlsbad
Credit: @DianaRosePhoto

Parakeet Cafe might just be your new favorite food foraging spot, delivering a soulful spread of clean, organic goods. Their North County outpost at The Forum Carlsbad is the newest nest in this health-conscious chain. Locals couldn’t be happier to peck away at unique farm-fresh specials, like charcoal waffles, green scrambled eggs and an edible floral-topped farro salad. Their sun-drenched patio is the only place you should be thinking about sipping that flat black latte. Speaking of coffee, all their beverages are crafted with organic, housemade syrups and ethically sourced beans. 

 

11 | Oyster Season at Carlsbad Aquafarm

Carlsbad Aquafarm -
Credit: Jackson Fleming

September means oyster season is in full swing in Carlsbad, and we’re here for all the seafood samples! A North County hidden gem, Carlsbad Aquafarm has been raising sustainably farmed mussels and oysters since 1952 and is the only sustainable oyster farm within 300 miles. Their immersive tasting tours aren’t restricted to the dinner table. Guests are invited to learn how to shuck their own oysters. However, if it’s the food you came for, consider their Twilight Tasting Tour. The main event of the evening is a bucket-sized bowl of mussels!

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