flower fields sign

 

Headed for the amusement parks of Southern California? Carlsbad, home to Legoland California, is a half hour north of Sea World, an hour south of Disneyland and makes a great home base for your theme park vacation.

 

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We stayed at the luxurious, yet budget-friendly, West Inn & Suites DestinationReviewCarlsbad. West Inn is just five minutes from Legoland California and their complimentary shuttle made visiting the park easy— no need to pay the $15 parking lot fee. The shuttle will also take you to the nearby beach, just a few blocks away.

Our family friendly suite had plenty of space, with its seperate sitting area with pull out sofa, desk and flat screen TV. A bountiful breakfast buffet got our days off to a great start. One morning it was bacon, eggs and hash browns, another day it was french toast and sausage. Fresh juice, cereal, yogurt and bagels were available each morning.  Complimentary cookies and milk were a perfect end to our days.

Carlsbad has a charming oceanfront area, along with a nice selection of restaurants and fun family activities. We visited in the spring, so we were able to visit Southern California’s field of dreams—the unique Flower Fields, where you can ride a tractor through fifty acres of flowers.

flowers

tractor

Other natural forms of amusement include the nearby u-pick-em strawberry fields, open April through July.

Another noteworthy stop is the Museum of Making Music. My daughter and nephew enjoyed trying their hand at the various instruments in this compact museum.

making music

To end the vacation day on a high note, we tapped into the wildly popular Carlsbad hangout, Pizza Port Brewery Company. Not only do they brew their own beer, but they whip up some fantastic specialty pizzas as well.

pizza port 2

My sister-in-law and I enjoyed getting to have pizza with artichoke hearts, while the kids appreciated that the restaurant had an arcade area.

Bistro West is another terrific restaurant, blending high style decor with exceptional farm-to-table cuisine, along with a bounty of unique local seafood dishes. Bistro’s West’s chef not only oversees the kitchen, but the farm where they get most of their ingredients. I recommend the swordfish with farm fresh vegetables.

bistro west

If you want to drink in a great view of the Pacific, head over to Chandler’s Restaurant and Lounge at the Hilton Carlsbad Oceanfront Resort and Spa. Floor to ceiling windows, along with a heated outdoor patio and fire pit overlooking the pool, set the stage for a perfect sunset.

Disclosure: Information for this article was gathered on a trip sponsored, in part, by Visit Carlsbad. The author and her family were hosted by West Inn and Suites.