Our Guide To Visiting San Diego & Carlsbad! (Four Day Itinerary!)

May 15, 2018

Disclosure: We are so grateful to the brands who hosted us in exchange for collecting the information we needed for our posts and reviews. All opinions expressed are my own!

This is going to be the first of a couple different posts, this one is a big jumbo overview! Before anything else, I wanted to share you can take your kids to San Diego and Carlsbad in October and take advantage of several kids visit free deals!

So our recent travels took us down to California in the San Diego/Carlsbad areas. Flights from Portland to San Diego are very reasonable, especially when Alaska or Southwest offer flash sales. As much as I love to throw big elaborate birthday parties for my sons, this year I made the decision I didn’t want to, but I wanted to do a special trip instead. I knew my husband wouldn’t be able to take time off again since we’d been gone for nearly two weeks on our Disney adventure back in February, so I phoned a friend. Our friends met us at the airport in San Diego and our adventure began!

We arrived at the San Diego airport at 9:00 am, got our rental car (check this out if you’re looking for options for your own trips), bags, and got on the road by 9:30. We spent the day at SeaWorld, which is minutes from the airport. We were all pretty beat having been up since 4 am, so we stayed a few hours to explore and then got on the road to Carlsbad. Carlsbad is a beautiful little beach town about 35-45 minutes from San Diego. Most importantly, it’s where LEGOLAND is located. We got quite lucky with the journey because we did it in 35 minutes then when we arrived, our friend looked on http://accidentnewsnow.com/ and saw that there had been an accident on the route we had been driving on. Thankfully, we had missed the traffic it caused and managed to get the tired kids fed!

We had an early dinner at a local restaurant, Rubio’s. Now, I’ll be doing a full feature on them, but I want to urge you to check them out on your visit. They were just what we needed after a lengthy travel day, light and delicious. I also wanted to point out how affordable they are, specifically because of the amount of food you get.
I’m also going to be doing a full length post about our resort experience, but I thought it was crucial to add it into this overview to give you some advice on where to stay. So, our trip fell during Spring Break for a lot of places on the West Coast so we weren’t able to stay at the LEGOLAND Hotel. I was beyond crushed, because I thought my boys would have such a special time staying there. We did a little research and stumbled upon this place (that while it looks beautiful online, photos just do not do it justice. IT WAS EVERYTHING. ABSOLUTE PERFECTION AND I WANT TO GO BACK EVERY YEAR.) Go learn about the packages and accommodations offered at Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort.

Let me give you a quick overview of why we loved it:
-Ambiance: It was located walking distance to soooo much. Everything was very serene, but also piled high with fun for every season of life.
Free Rentals: They have an activity center, where you can rent strollers, wagons, beach toys, beach chairs, and get fresh towels.
Adults Only Areas: So, me and my girlfriend swapped going over to the adults only hot tub while the kids slept. It was perfect!
Fenced In Pools: I love when people fence in their pools.
Lots of space to relax: They have this gorgeous yard with fire tables and relaxing chairs. Everything screamed, “sit down. be present. savor this time.”
Located Right Across From The Ocean: I’m not sure I can even say across from? You actually just walk down stairs and you’re on the beach.
Spacious Rooms: Okay, ya’ll know I tend to be someone who says a hotel room is just a place to sleep, so don’t go crazy with space. However, that was before we stayed in a spacious, breathable room. It was heavenly. Plenty of room for the kids to run around and act crazy.

the boys approved the comfortness and size of the bed!
Gorgeous pool area
wouldn’t you love to snuggle up around this with your friends and family year after year?
how cute are these?
Adults only hot tub and lounge area. I’d love to go back with my husband soon!
We took advantage of all the nooks for relaxation!
The face of a child who realized they don’t only have mac n cheese, but if 100% came from that coveted blue box.

Day 2: We devoted to LEGOLAND.
Go check out the post for all my hacks and tips.

Day 3: We wanted to be very relaxing and filled with opportunities for rest. This was a mandatory beach and pool day. We also ate wanted to try some local restaurants. Island’s was one of those for us. They are a fine burger and drinks joint in Carlsbad (located pretty close to LEGOLAND and super close to our hotel!) At first, I was like “fine burger” what is that? I got it as soon as I saw their menu, it was SO NEAT. So, their burgers are curated with unique toppings (like sriracha CREAM CHEESE.) or if you’re like me, slathered in queso.
My kids were very impressed with their kid meal selection as well (and they were very reasonably priced. I liked they separated the meals by kid’s ages so you aren’t paying for your two year old to eat a third of a burger or feeding your teen a slider and still be hungry.)

Day 4: Since we had flights out at different times, we rolled out of bed quite early and had breakfast at The Daily News. (this is located within the resort, and we ate their every morning. Can I suggest their burrito?) We got on the road to San Diego before traffic picked up, and spent the morning exploring Balboa park.
We let the boys play at the park, we hit up the Museum of Man. Three little boys were very pleased with the Monsters exhibit, while I was happiest with the diversity exhibit. (It was maybe a little cruel of me to send my husband pictures from the beer exhibit while he drudged away at work with a broken leg?) Balboa park is absolutely stunning, and we got to see tiny baby ducks roaming around. From there, we hit up the airport and watched Coco once before boarding our plan.

I loved that we could rent beach equipment from the activities center and then pop over to the beach. (right on the water accommodations, that’s what I’m talking about!)

More about This Messy Season

This Messy Season is a blog serving families through practical tips for nurturing their families, emphasizing quality time and adventure. Helping young families bloom where they're planted, embrace their mess, and thrive through a series of honest, blog posts highlighting realistic travel tips, favorite products that simplify the work load of families, and family entertainment.

    1. Wow!! This sounds amazing!! I want to go stay at that hotel now. It looks sooooo relaxing. Maybe when my kids get bigger we’ll get out to Carlsbad for Legoland!

    1. This looked like such an amazing giveaway! The food and that beach resort= goals! I wanna come visit!

    1. that Resort looks great! And, I LOVE Islands, we haven’t been there since we lived in California!

      1. Hahhha they were thrilled the whole time. I love this age, everything is just MAGICAL.

    1. What a fun family getaway! It looks like you had a blast and I am totally craving a burrito now, that one you took a photo of looks epic!

    1. We’ve actually talked about taking our tween & teen there because there’s so much to do, and I’ve heard Legoland is great for all ages. The Carlsbad beach resort you stayed at looks AMAZING! Looks like you all had such a fantastic trip!

    1. San Diego is such a great city! There is just so much to do and see. Plus, the weather is always great! Looks like y’all had an awesome time.

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