Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer
Back to Blog

15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with Kids – Carlsbad California is a Great Place for Kids

Carlsbad Coast view

Carlsbad, California is called “The Village by the Sea.” It is small, affluent seaside resort community about half way between San Diego and Orange County. Carlsbad has the charm of an old European city and the atmosphere of a typical Californian coastal community. With seven miles of fine white sandy beaches and the near perfect climate, the village is a popular weekend destination and a great place to live. Here are 15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with Kids include Legoland California, Sea Life Aquarium and South Carlsbad State Beach.

South Carlsbad Beach

South Carlsbad State Beach is a beautiful stretch of protected coastline with white sand, coastal bluffs, and warm water.  The beach offers an array of outdoor activities to enjoy –  swimming, surfing, stand-up paddle boarding, scuba diving and snorkeling, fishing, shelling, and of course just hanging out. South Carlsbad State Beach is one of the top Carlsbad attractions.Carlsbad Village
The bluffs above the beach offer excellent camping, and the 220-site South Carlsbad State Beach Campground is very popular with easy access to the beach and amenities such as bathrooms with showers, electricity, and water and Wi-Fi.

Carlsbad Village  

Carlsbad Village is the heart of Carlsbad. Located in the downtown village area of Carlsbad and is easily accessible on foot, which is, in fact, the best way to explore the area and all it has to offer. Carlsbad Village offers old world charms with new world conveniences. The Carlsbad Village Antique Mall boasts over 100 vendors selling countless treasures. Boasting an array of shops, restaurants, hotels, and many other services Carlsbad Village is the place to start your exploring. Yes shopping is included in the 15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with kids.

The Museum of Making Music

The Museum of Making Music is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the music products industry. The museum was established in 2000 and features an array of special exhibitions and it hosts innovative concerts and educational programs, features that focus on providing cultural enrichment as well as preserving musical heritage. Music is definitely one of the 15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with kids.
5790 Armada Drive, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-438-5996

LEGOLAND California

LEGOLAND California Resort promises fun for all ages, especially kids. Located in Carlsbad, CA the theme park is home to over 60 rides, attractions and shows.  And don’t forget about the fantastic themed LEGOLAND Hotel, a great place to stay while you are in town. Need I say LEGOLAND is also one of the 15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with kids.
One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-918-5346

Sea Life Aquarium

Sea Life Aquarium is a family-friendly interactive sea aquarium located on Legoland Drive in Carlsbad. The aquarium is home to more than 5,000 sea creatures, including clown-fish, octopus, rays, sea horses, and sharks. Children are given the opportunity to touch some of the animals, including crabs and sea stars. Kids love sea life: 15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with kids
Legoland California Resort, One Legoland Drive, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-918-5346

Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park

Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park is a municipal park that sits in a 27-acre canyon and one of the best things to do in Carlsbad, California. Opened in 2003 and designated as a Historic National Landmark, the park is a former working ranch that was at one time owned by actor Leo Carrillo. In addition to the beautiful natural landscape, the park includes a reflecting pool, old windmills, adobe buildings, and other historic buildings.
The park is home to many plants such as birds of paradise, bougainvillea, and agave as well as various kinds of trees. There are also many peacocks that walk around the park and add to the unique ambiance. History does not always entertain kids, but running around the park would. Which makes it one of the 15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with kids .

Carlsbad Village Farmers’ Market

Carlsbad Village Farmers’ Market is a weekly Wednesday farmers’ market that offers fresh organic produce, flowers, handmade arts and crafts, locally prepared hot and cold food, and plants.
Farmers’ market allows consumers to buy directly from farmers and helps to support the many small farming operations in the area. Carlsbad Village Farmers’ Market also free concerts performed by local musicians. Food and entertainment are always fun for kids – 15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with kids.
2788 State Street, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-453-7076

Carlsbad Food Tours 

Take a culinary and history tour of the village of Carlsbad with Carlsbad Food Tours. Facilitated by gourmand tour guides with a love and passion for Carlsbad and its best eateries, tours wind their way through Carlsbad’s most scenic and historic neighborhoods where you will learn about the history of the village and get to taste some of the best food on offer.
Tours take you to locally owned and operated specialty food shops as well as ethnic and local eateries where you can meet the chefs and artisans and sample their wares. Visit Carlsbad’s Urban Wineries to sip award-winning wines grown in California and stop in at favorites such as Gregorio’s Italian Restaurant, Caldo Pomodoro Italian Restaurant, Café Topes, Witch Creek Winery, Gaia Gelato, and Chocolate Bar (always a winner!). Tours are available 1:30am – 3:00pm, ticket prices include all food and wine tastings. Maybe not wine but food, kids love food, some are even foodies, who knew. That is why Carlsbad Food Tours is included in our list of 15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with kids.
1778 Callisia Court, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-990-0690  Photo: Carlsbad Food Tours

Pedego Carlsbad

Pedego Carlsbad offers a unique and fun way to see and experience the coastal town – on an electric bike! Bikes a very popular way to check out the town. Simply call to book your tour, hop on your bike, and go.  Bike riding – kids love bikes.
355 Carlsbad Village Dr, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-729-2453
“Must See Places to Visit in Carlsbad, CA & Destination

The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch

For over sixty years, Mother Nature has transformed the rolling hills of north San Diego County into one of the most spectacular and coordinated displays of natural color and beauty anywhere in the world. The nearly fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers that make up The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch® in Carlsbad, California, are in bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year – from early March through early May – literally bringing the famous fields back to life. This annual burst of color, which has become part of the area’s local heritage, also is one of nature’s official ways of announcing the arrival of spring here in southern California.

The Flower Fields History

Today, the fields are a direct result of over 85 years of floral cultivation that began when Luther Gage, an early settler and grower settled in the area in the early 1920’s. Mr. Gage brought Ranunculus seeds to the area and began growing them in his fields next to Frank Frazee’s small vegetable farm in South Oceanside. This started a business called “Luther Gage Giant Tecolote Ranunculus bulbs”. The name “Tecolote” came from the owls that nested on his property.
Carlsbad Flower Fields are noted for being one of the most beloved spring traditions in the area, the ranch opens annually in March for six to eight weeks showcasing the Giant Tecolote Ranunculus
Carlsbad Flower Fields.  Kids always enjoy seeing the beautiful flower fields in Carlsbad. Another one of the 15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with kids
5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-431-0352  Photo: The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch
“New cool stuff to do Carlsbad with kids”

Carlsbad Village Art

Carlsbad Village Art: Street Murals
Carlsbad, California

Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation Nature Center

Batiquitos Lagoon is a 526-acre coastal salt marsh with tidal mud.
The Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation Nature Center is dedicated to preserving and educating the public about the Batiquitos Lagoon. This lagoon, a coastal wetland and nature reserve maintained by the California Department of Fish and Game, has been designated as the Batiquitos Lagoon State Marine Conservation Area and is one of the few remaining tidal wetlands along the southern coast of California. Exploring nature is always a hit with kids, which is why the lagoon is on the list of 15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with kids.
7380 Gabbiano Lane, Carlsbad, California, Phone: 760-931-0800
“Bucket List in Carlsbad”

Carlsbad Lagoon

The Carlsbad Lagoon is a water sports center that offers a variety of activities and equipment rentals, including canoes, kayaks, paddle-boats, stand up paddle-boards, and wave runners. There are also speedboats available for rent. The center has trained instructors who can teach visitors how to do a variety of fun water activities including water skiing and wake boarding.
The center offers several programs such as Camp H2O, which is a summer youth camp. Here children learn about many kinds of water activities as well as educational topics such as oceanography. The camp also includes games and barbecues on the beach.  Water sports, swimming, stand-up paddle-boarding and just hanging out on the beach is another fun thing to do with kids.
4215 Harrison Street, Carlsbad, CA, Phone: 760-434-3089

Alga Norte Community Park

Alga Norte Community Park consists of 32 acres and is San Diego County’s largest state park. It features shaded picnic areas with barbecues, several basketball courts, three ball fields, a shaded playground, and an off-leash dog park.
The park’s aquatic center includes a 56-meter competition pool, several diving boards, a 25-yard instruction pool with 12 lanes, a children’s splash pool, and a fitness room.  This is a great place for swimming lessons for the kids. Did we mention swimming with kids, yes they love to swim, so check out this great place for the kids to hang out. Just in case you don’t already know, they also have a skateboard area in the park which is just another reason for making the list of 15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with kids.
6565 Alicante Road, Carlsbad, CA, Phone: 760-268-4777

Carlsbad Premium Outlets

Carlsbad Premium Outlets is a shopping destination that features more than 90 high-end designer stores such as Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Cole Haan Outlet, and Calvin Klein, among others. The mall was designed around a central courtyard with fountains that have an Italian style. Ending your day at the mall is a great way to get your shopping done with the kids coming along.  There is pizza, ice cream and candy, what’s not to like. The kids will not complain about the shopping if you tell them they are having pizza after, which is why shopping did again make the list of 15 Best Things to Do in Carlsbad with kids.
5620 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, CA, Phone: 760-804-9000  Photo: Carlsbad Premium Outlets.

Trip map created with Wanderlog, an itinerary planner on iOS and Android