Lodging in Carlsbad

by J.D. Chi
Carlsbad is 30 miles north of San Diego.

Carlsbad is 30 miles north of San Diego.

at Carlsbad image by louloua asgaraly from Fotolia.com

Carlsbad, California, is a beachfront town about 30 miles north of San Diego with a funky downtown offering high-end shopping and dining next door to consignment shops and local diner-style restaurants. The Legoland amusement park also is in Carlsbad. Lodging in Carlsbad ranges from boutique beachfront hotels tucked into residential neighborhoods to a resort with a highly-rated spa to affordable properties with minimal amenities. Many accommodations are within a 10-minute walk to Carlsbad Village, which is the downtown area.


The Beach Terrace Inn is a small, upscale property on the Pacific Ocean in a mostly residential neighborhood in north Carlsbad. A good selection for a couples getaway, the hotel was renovated in 2009, giving the guest rooms and lobby clean, simple lines highlighted by views of the ocean. Rooms are generally large -- in some cases up to 600 square feet -- and as of October 2010, oceanfront rooms started at $205 per night. This boutique hotel specializes in personal service and has rooms that open right onto the beach. The Beach Terrace Inn is within walking distance to the shops and restaurants in Carlsbad Village. Amenities include an oceanfront pool, rainfall shower heads, complimentary wireless Internet, plasma TVs, plantation shutters and a work area. Breakfast is the only meal served on site.

Ocean View

Within walking distance of the beach in the Carlsbad Village, the Carlsbad Inn Beach Resort has a little of everything, including upscale hotel-style rooms and condo rentals for family vacations. The inn surrounds a large courtyard with views of the Pacific Ocean, which is accessible down a public ramp across from the property. It is on the edge of the downtown shopping and dining district. As of October 2010, rates for the hotel-style rooms, some of which include kitchenettes, began at $125 per night, while condo rentals began at $189. Condo-style accommodations sleep up to four. While the property offers some ocean views, prices vary depending on the location. More a resort than strictly a hotel, this property has an outdoor pool, fitness center, a parking garage, beach cabanas and a children's play area. The hotel restaurant, Norte Mexican Restaurant, often has nighttime entertainment and is popular with locals.


"Travel + Leisure" rated the spa a La Costa No. 4 in its 2010 “World’s Best Spas” reader poll and the resort itself is rated four of five diamonds by AAA. The resort has a mission-style theme, complete with a central plaza with shops and restaurants. The resort has a kids camp program and a pool with a water slide, as well as a high-end golf course and tennis complex. Both the LPGA and WTA have events on site each year. Though it has a Carlsbad address, be aware that the resort is located inland and does not have beach access. Accommodations at La Costa range from hotel-style rooms to multi-room villas, and as of October 2010 prices began $250 per night, though specials and packages often are available.


Several large chain hotels have Carlsbad locations, including the Ramada by the Sea and La Quinta. Both are convenient to Legoland and Interstate 5 but offer little of the charm of Carlsbad Village. The Ramada is an all-suites property. Guest rooms have small kitchens with a microwave and a refrigerator. The hotel has complimentary wireless Internet, hot breakfast, parking and a pool. As of October 2010, rates started at $65. The La Quinta offers similar amenities, and guest rooms are more modern. The property is rated three diamonds by AAA, and as of October 2010 rates started at $80.

About the Author

J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master's degree in journalism.

Photo Credits

  • at Carlsbad image by louloua asgaraly from Fotolia.com