Carlsbad California beaches might just contain "healing" waters.
This San Diego North County city of 80,000 got its start in 1887. That's when a retired sea captain discovered water from a nearby irrigation well contained the same mineral content as the famously therapeutic "baths" in the European spa town of Karlsbad.
OK, not interesting. But today visitors come for waters of a different kind:
Carlsbad State Beach
surf breaks form gentle giants, a favorite of body boarders and skim boarders. Surf fishermen compete for wet zone space with surfers, while more fishermen cast off from the jetties.
LAGOONS AND LAGOONS
We should mention the lagoons. Kayakers, jet skiers, kite surfers and canoeists all find their own therapeutic waters here, in Carlbad's Agua Hedionda lagoon.
Two other lagoons, both ecological reserves, anchor the city's north and south. To the north, 260-acre Buena Vista Lagoon, the only freshwater lagoon in the state, is home to the Buena Vista Audubon Society, which operates a nature center and maintains trails.
The southern Batiquitos Lagoon's salt marsh and tidal mudflats draws birders from all over California.
Agua Hedionda Lagoon
draws water skiers, boaters, canoers and sailboarders. The Hubbs/Seaworld White Sea Bass Hatchery is here. Hedionda is an especially popular area for kayakers, who like the area at high tide, when kayak-able waterways emerge from the mud flats.
Onshore, Carlsbad City Beach, Carlsbad State Beach and South Carlsbad State Beach front the main area of town, all within walking distance of Carlsbad Village downtown.
LEGOS AND FLOWERS
The city's also home to
a 128-acre theme park based on the children's construction blocks, "Legos," Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, and The Flower Fields, a springtime ritual in Carlsbad, where visitors can explore 50 acres of spectacularly blooming Tecolote Ranunculus flowers.
Photo Opportunity: Bring your camera to The Flower Fields for band after band of alternating pink, red, orange and yellow flowers.
Carlsbad California is also a minor Mecca for golfers. The city is home to the world headquarters of two of the biggest golf equipment manufacturers: Callaway Golf and TaylorMade-Addidas.
Carlsbad Premium Outlets
has 90 stores. If you're staying in-town,
hark back to the city's upscale spa roots, with La Costa Resort and Spa and the Four Seasons Resort Aviara.
GETTING TO CARLSBAD
Carlsbad, California is about 35 miles north of downtown
and is reachable via Interstate 5 which runs through town; by plane via San Diego International Airport or Carlsbad's McClellan-Palomar Airport or by train via Amtrak.