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Lavish Resorts And Less Crowded Beaches: This Southern California Beach Town Is A Perfect Summer Escape

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Nobody likes swimming in bacteria-infested waters. It would be hard to find anyone who likes swimming in cold waters either unless you're into the new trendy cold plunges invading your TikTok and Reels algorithms.

Well, San Diego may be widely viewed as the golden child of Southern California, but it's not exactly paradise right now. And take it from me – I live here!

Despite tourist numbers surging, between unsightly homeless encampments, polluted ocean water, and sky-high prices, there are other options that you may like better.

Beach in Carlsbad, CA

One is approximately 30 minutes north, hugging the invisible line in the sand of the halfway point between San Diego and Orange County.

Carlsbad is a beautiful, laid-back beach town home to over 100,000 residents, but tourists will be surprised with all there is to see and do on vacation.

Home to lavish resorts and less crowded beaches, Carlsbad is a perfect summer escape.

A California Two-Fer: Carlsbad Is The Best Of Both Worlds

Can't decide where to go in Southern California this summer? The answer is Carlsbad.

In just 30 minutes you can either be in San Diego visiting the famous zoo, historic Balboa Park, or partying your pants off in the always-lively Gaslamp District.

Outdoor lounge at resort in Carlsbad, CA

The same goes for Orange County. Just 30 minutes north is the quaint beach town of San Clemente, which connects to other delightful seaside gems like Dana Point and, ultimately, Laguna Beach a bit further.

Carlsbad gives vacationers the best of both worlds with easy day trips all while being a fun destination in its own right as well.

Skip The Stank Water! Enjoy Carlsbad's Clean, Less Crowded Beaches

While California's governor recently boasted about tourism making an epic comeback in the Golden State, it's not quite the rosy picture he painted.

Uncrowded beach in Carlsbad, CA

Ever since the pandemic, California has been on the receiving end of judgmental side-eyed stares, and rightfully so.

The massively popular state has had trouble righting the ship in terms of its image, not only affecting locals but now tourists as well.

If there is one common draw luring in tourists it's the gorgeous coastline California has to offer from San Diego all the way to Oregon.

The beach warnings aren't going to deter vacationers from coming here, but it's definitely a downer not being able to get in the water at certain beaches.

LEGOLAND entrance

Due to sewage pouring in from Mexico and some mishaps from the city as well, it's just not wise to swim in San Diego, especially between the border and Coronado, a very popular tourist beach.

Tourists will still flock to Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla, all safe (as of now) for water activities.

Carlsbad is San Diego's best alternative to avoid the crowds. Most tourists come here for cheap shopping at the large outlet mall and for family fun at LEGOLAND California.

Another popular attraction is the vast, colorful flower fields perfect for photo-ops. Unfortunately, the fields will be closed off until March 1, 2025, which isn't so bad since Carlsbad is great for Spring Break.

Flower fields in Carlsbad, CA

Lavish Resorts And Trendy Restaurants

San Diego is a much larger city than it's depicted. Many see it as a “beach town” per se, but it's actually one of the biggest cities in the country.

That being said, space is tight! There is only so far west you can go, obviously, so San Diego is stacked on top of each other.

Expansions are going far east and north, including Carlsbad. Locals of San Diego tend to view Carlsbad as the “soccer mom town”. You get more bang for your buck – you know, a house that actually has a backyard.

Omni La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, CA

It's not only real estate that's more attractive in Carlsbad; this underrated beach city is home to lavish resorts. And no, not just screaming kids at LEGOLAND.

Whether you want to splurge on a beachfront stay, an idyllic golf retreat, or let your worries wash away at a world-class spa, you can do so at a plethora of name-brand 4-star and 5-star resorts:

  • Cape Rey Carlsbad Beach, a Hilton Resort and Spa
  • The Westin Carlsbad Resort & Spa
  • Omni La Costa Resort & Spa
  • Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Golf Club & Spa (5 stars)
Steak from Ember and Rye in Carlsbad, CA

San Diego and Orange County are both great foodie destinations, but more trendy restaurants are opening in and around Carlsbad in addition to such places like the already popular Windmill Food Hall.

The most recent endeavor is the newly revamped Ember and Rye, a culinary masterpiece deriving from celebrity chef Richard Blais – and without a doubt my new favorite date night hang.

Located at the 5-star Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, tucked away from the hustle and bustle overlooking scenic lagoons, this upscale ‘steakhouse of sorts' serves up a unique selection of melt-in-your-mouth steaks and legendary hand-crafted cocktails.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.