Visit USA - America's Best Travel Guide

Carlsbad City Beach and Carlsbad State Beach

Carlsbad is a small little beach town south of Oceanside. The center of Carlsbad is commonly known as “The Village” because of the main street, Carlsbad Village Drive. Carlsbad is separated into North Carlsbad and South Carlsbad. Basically everything south of the campground is South Carlsbad.

All along the coast of Carlsbad, from the popular Tamarack beach (North Carlsbad) all the way to Ponto Beach (South Carlsbad) you'll always find surfers paddling out for their daily fix of ocean adventure. Almost every morning you see surfers of all ages parked along the street with their coffees in hand checking out the surf.

Tamarack Beach is a great place for skim boarding and boogie boarding as it offers a gentle but towering beach break. Windsurfing, swimming and kayaking are also some common activities along the Carlsbad coastline. Fishing is another prevalent Carlsbad sport. Many people fish off the Carlsbad jetties, both near Tamarack beach and the campgrounds. There is also onshore fishing along most of the coast (but is not too popular with the surfers) or in the lagoon across Highway 101.

This is a fantastic beach for the family. There is easy access to the sand at basically all beach access points. Free parking is available all along the coast, in the Tamarack beach parking lot and at the Ponto beach parking lot. The long stretch of sand offers plenty of space for all sorts of family orientated beach activities from making sand castles, Frisbee throwing, kite flying, sunbathing, and playing volleyball. There are courts at the South Carlsbad beach (must bring your own nets).

Batiquitos lagoon, across the highway is also a great place to hike, explore nature and bird watch. If you are looking for less crowded beaches, it is best to head south. There are picnic tables and several benches available on the bluff and at the campgrounds but not on the beach.

Carlsbad city beach offers a paved 4-mile walking path along the coast (from Carlsbad Village drive to Cannon). All throughout the day you see joggers, walkers, cyclists and rollerbladers cruising up and down the path. This is definitely an active city. This beach offers an amazing view of the sunset. Every night people gather at the north end of the beach, on the bluff (towards the village) to watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean.

South Carlsbad State Beach campground is off highway 101 and Poinsettia Lane. The large bluff-top campground is very popular. There are more than 200 campsites but they fill up in summer, so make those reservations early. There are several stairways that lead to the beach from the campground (The beaches are available for day use but there is no day use parking available).

For all of you who can’t escape the world of technology, you’re in luck at this campground. South Carlsbad State Beach offers SBC FreedomLink Service. This service enables park visitors with wireless enabled laptop computers to access the Internet. The Carlsbad Village Faire held in May and November draw big crowds to the small city. Street vendors line the streets with crafts, food and art. The faire is a block from the beach and a fun time to visit this area. Summer crowds flock to Carlsbad beaches, but the winter usually remains quiet.

Open 5am-10pm
NO dogs (must be on 6 ft leash at campground)
NO fires (BBQs available at the campground)
NO alcohol/glass containers
NO vehicles on beach
Restrooms available
Showers available (at the City Beach)