Scenes From A Weekend / Visit Carlsbad

We spent last weekend 30 miles up the coast (give or take) - San Diego, in partnership with Visit Carlsbad who offered our family the perfect opportunity to do something we've been meaning to since we moved to San Clemente. Start exploring neighboring towns to see what it is they have to offer in way of family friendly activities now that we're so close. 

Turns out, Carlsbad, in particular, has LOTS. 

A major perk of partnering with a travel company is having them as a working guide to direct us where to go, what to see, visit, eat, and explore. Honestly a revelation in itself. I can't stress enough how much it made me regret that fact that I'm never organized enough to prepare such things before our trips and getaways. I was shocked to see how much time is saved when all of your destinations are already mapped out, and how much more relaxed a weekend is when not having to stress over figuring out where it is you're headed next. Without the pressure of finding cool spots and worthy sight seeing we were able to really enjoy our downtime and look forward to each new destination as we crossed each one off the list. All selections proving perfectly suited to us as a family who always appreciate any excuse to be in the water, dine at laid back food joints and bike ride around town, especially seeing how the weather this month has been practically begging for it. 

Our Hotel was the biggest treat. We stayed at the Beach Terrace Inn on a waterfront shore level suite that meant easy access to both the ocean and the pool. It also meant I got to sit on the porch while the boys played on the beach and surfed directly out in front of me. Being able to hop onto the sand and run back and forth from the hotel, to pool, to water, and back again isn't something we're usually lucky enough to snag. So convenience of location was seized by all. As was an air conditioned room with the kind of luxury beds that grant you quality sleep you don't realize you're actually missing, until you finally get it. 

Below, a few places we visited on the trip (all of which I can't wait to revisit now that we're hip to the "good spots")

Legoland - Our first time there. And just in time for some Halloween action that had us digging up old costumes right before we headed out to participate in their annual #brickortreat festivities. Which was great.

Park 101 - Touted as "Carlsbad’s unique answer to community dining, lounging and sipping in style in the heart of the Village." A dog and kid friendly place with casual pub style dining and a variety of 32 local beers on tap. The food was delicious and the environment fun and easy. 

Carlsbad Lagoon - This being our first kayak experience, which took awhile to kick into gear for us only because I was paired with Leon (who worried non stop about every aspect of what's suppose to be a fun and leisurely ride) but we ended up having a blast and the lagoon rounds put Hayes straight to sleep right when he needed it most. So, win win. 

Senor Grubbys - Easy going Mexican with a twist. For us the twist was bacon wrapped hot dogs Mike probably enjoyed even more than the boys. And of course margaritas. After an hour long bike ride it's the best reward I can think of. 

Pedegos Electric Bikes - This place I can't rave enough about. The guys helping us were amazing. And so helpful in encouraging Leon to get on board with a bike ride. He's never confident or even willing to do things he isn't comfortable with but they worked and talked and traded bikes until he felt ready. The winning choice being the Cadillac of electric bikes. An extended double seater that Mike swears rode like a motorbike and hasn't stopped talking about it since. We road all around downtown and the side roads by the train tracks on our way back. Here, a little taste of the glory of that hour. The sweetest sight, the two of them, on that thing with permanent smiles the whole time. If you head down as tourists, do yourself a favor and rent from these guys. And then tell them their friend Leon sent you. 

Pizza Port - Always a good idea. Not much to add on this one because if you've been to one then you know. 

Choice Juicery - A fresh juice stand with the coolest outdoor space that includes an area for chalk drawing, dog mingling and grass lounging being the best way to begin a full Saturday. 

Campfire - This being my favorite stop of the whole trip. First off the interior feels like a moving Pinterest board. Every inch, every corner, dish set, glassware, drink and bar spread brags of design perfection. Camp chic with sleek accents too, casual and inviting. With a string of exotic cocktail concoctions and unique menu options to sort through. We tried all kinds of things thanks to an exceptional staff that delivered entree after entree for us to try, with the kind of fast smiles, kind words and ready suggestions that makes for absolute return customers. 

After seeing how close the train drops you us to this place I'm already planning my next excuse to head back and have the brisket, or the ceviche, or the smoked & cured fish board, or the french toast citrus brioche. Point being, everything on the menu is a fantastic idea and the place is so cute it would be easy to see your brunch turn into lunch or stick it out till dinner because the lighting situation out back looks just as fabulous. Old school camp vibes meets stellar design keys thanks to the brilliant folks behind Bells and Whistle. An L.A based design team who seem to be doing everything right these days. GO. 

Thank you, Visit Carlsbad, for an incredible weekend. On the way home Mike said it was one of his favorite vacations, and the entire backseat agreed.

Which means we'll be back. Hopefully sooner than later.

Till then,
The Kraus family

For more info on events and kid themed activities visit the Kidifornia site here and head over Saturday, October 21st if you're in the area to enjoy the Carlsbad, Kidifornia Beach Party for a day of family fun, games, and chances to win great prizes on the sands of the Beach Terrace Inn.