Cassara - fall weekend Carlsbad
Credit: The Cassara

From Pumpkin Picking to Fireside Cocktails, Here’s How to Spend a Dreamy Fall Weekend in Carlsbad

There’s a lot to Fall In Love With in This Coastal City

Tucked along the San Diego coastline, the city of Carlsbad offers everything from pristine beaches and charming restaurants to stellar shopping destinations and an abundance of scenic spaces to explore. Whether it’s a family trip, a weekender with the girls or a romantic couple’s getaway, this city has everything you need for a cozy fall escape. Here’s our guide to spending an idyllic fall weekend in Carlsbad.


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4 p.m.
Cozy Up at The Cassara Carlsbad

fall weekend Carlsbad - The Cassara
Credit: The Cassara

Start your fall weekend by taking in stunning ocean views at The Cassara Carlsbad. Check into your spacious guest room or suite and admire the hotel’s coastal-chic accommodations. And this season, The Cassara Carlsbad is offering a few enticing fall deals. The Stay S’more Package includes a s’mores kit, overnight luxury accommodations and waived nightly parking. This package is a nice way to kick back and spend a cozy evening with your family. If you’re looking for a bit of adventure, the Fall Family Fun Package includes complimentary tickets to the local pumpkin patch at The Carlsbad Strawberry Company, overnight luxury accommodations as well waived nightly parking. Plus, The Cassara offers a complimentary hotel shuttle service to and from the pumpkin patch! Once you’re settled in, saunter over to Cassara Kitchen & Bar for small bites and cocktails to toast the start of a wonderful weekend.


9:30 a.m.
Grab a PSL From Lofty Coffee

Credit: Lofty Coffee Co.

Start your Saturday morning with a cup of joe from Lofty Coffee. This charming cafe on State St has a couple of festive beverages for fall. The Pumpkin Pie Cloudy is a nitro cold brew with housemade pumpkin syrup, shaken organic heavy cream and graham cracker dust. They also have the whole wheat harvest muffin with brown sugar, pumpkin, zucchini, carrot, cranberry, pepitas, sunflower seeds and warming spices. Fuel up because you have a beautifully busy weekend ahead!


10:30 a.m.
Lace Up Your Hiking Shoes

Calavera Nature Preserve
Credit Ludwig Theodor von Ruhm on Unsplash

Calavera translates to “skull” in Spanish, which means hiking Calavera Nature Preserve is a perfectly spooky fall activity. Find over four miles of hiking and biking trails at this scenic, 110-acre site on a fall weekend in Carlsbad. Nature nerds: you might like to know that there are 115 plants, 49 birds, 10 mammals and seven amphibian/reptile species identified in the area, and six are classified as threatened or endangered (the California Gnatcatcher, for example). In other words, keep your eyes peeled!


Pick Out a Pumpkin

During the autumn months, the Carlsbad Strawberry Company transforms into a festive pumpkin patch where visitors can enjoy everything from tractor rides to haunted corn mazes! All ages can enjoy the patch, which is open Sept. 18 through Nov. 8. Be sure to take a stroll through the blooming lavender and marigold fields too!



4 p.m.
Shuck Oysters at Carlsbad Aquafarm

Carlsbad Aquafarm - fall weekend Carlsbad
Credit: Jackson Fleming

Round out the day by shucking oysters at Southern California’s only oyster farm! The Farm Tour and Tasting at Carlsbad Aquafarm offers a great value–you can go on a guided farm discovery walk, experience a shucking class and demonstration and do an oyster tasting overlooking the lagoon for only $35 per person. If you’re bringing the whole fam, they have children’s tickets while kids under six are free. Just be sure to buy your tickets online ahead of time.


11:45 a.m.
Pottery Class at Handled Pottery

Rise and shine for a 90-minute morning pottery class at Handled Pottery. Learn the method of handbuilding in the Handbuilding Mugs class or enjoy coffee provided by a local Carlsbad roaster in the Coffee and Clay class. You can create coffee mugs, beer steins and more with the knowledge you accrue during each class. Pick up your masterpiece in two to three weeks after it’s fired. Handled Pottery also offers a Date Night class and Pottery Paint and Sip if you prefer an evening course.


2 p.m.
Shopping at The Forum Carlsbad

After a busy fall weekend in Carlsbad of hiking, oyster shucking and pumpkin patch-ing, it’s time to treat yourself to a bit of shopping at The Forum Carlsbad. Revamp your fall wardrobe or get a headstart on holiday shopping, then have lunch at one of the many restaurants–Casa de Bandini, Urban Plates or Buca di Beppo to name a few. This premier outdoor shopping center also hosts festive events, such as the upcoming Halloween Spooktacular or Candy Buy Back event.



6 p.m.
Dinner and Drinks at Campfire

CAMPFIRE - fall weekend Carlsbad
Credit: Elodie Bost

Foodies and adventurers will thoroughly savor the live-fire cooking and attention to ingredients and quality at Campfire, a 2021 Michelin Bib Gourmand award-winner. Campfire boasts a full menu of wood-fired, charred and hearty delights, plus a vegetarian menu, cocktails, wine, spirits and desserts. Try the El Centro, which is made with mezcal, smoked oats, pepita, chai, cream sherry and lemon. This is the perfect spot to round out the end of a gourd weekend!

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Carmen Varner is a North County San Diego-based writer and social media manager. She writes about food, beverage, lifestyle, and travel. You can find her tending to her patio garden, sipping on Earl Grey tea, or looking up a fun place to visit.




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