Carlsbad Family Travel Guide! Where to Stay And What To Do

Carlsbad, CA is such a beautiful coastal, Southern Californian destination that it really should be on your travel bucket list.  From the South Bay area like in the Palos Verdes Penninsula where we live, it’s an easy 1.5 hour drive making it perfect for us to easily drive to for a weekend getaway.  And it has lots of family-friendly attractions that make it totally worth the excursion. Read on for my guide on where to stay, and what to do while there!


The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa proved to be the perfect home away from home.  We were hosted there this past spring break and were quite impressed with their roomy suite.  We couldn’t ask for anything more as a family of 3 but this extra large hotel room could have comfortably accommodated a family of 5.

It included a King sized bed, a separate room with 2 twin beds, a lounge area in between the two, a balcony overlooking sunset every evening, 3 TVs, a bathroom with separate bath/shower/toilet area, and your other typical 4star amenities in the room (fridge, conditioner, coffee station, wifi etc). What surprised us besides the 3 in-room TVs were the complimentary gelato certificates, fun pool slide and the fact that our key could unlock the neighboring Westin hotel’s facilities.  With our one hotel key, we had access to 2 gyms, 2 pools, a beautiful spa, and 2 restaurants and lounge areas.  I loved that!

We found that the 4 star ranking here was well-deserved.  The grounds were immaculate and the grand palm tree lined, floral entrance was wow-worthy and would make any jaded traveler excited upon arrival.  The receptionists were SO friendly and helpful, and our server, Anna at The 7 Mile Kitchen, (the gorgeous indoor/outdoor restaurant on – site) made us feel so at home.  We especially loved the 7 Mile Kitchen.  carlsbad, travel guide, carlsbad hotel, carlsbad things to do, carlsbad restaurantsEverything tasted so good there that we insisted on having two of our family friends come join us for a meal there.  It’s such a beautiful and family – friendly atmosphere with kids’ menus, crayons, heat lamps for the outdoor area, and good old American fare.

I also appreciated that the hotel had a Starbucks on-site too which allowed for a quick grab and go breakfast for our busy days out.  Speaking of…


spa day, carlsbad spa, carlsbad ca, carlsbad travel guide, carlsbad hotelBesides hitting their fabulous restaurant, pool and spa on-site, you might want to venture off property and check out all that Carlsbad has to offer!  Here is our top list for a weekend getaway in Carlsbad:

1).  Legoland.  You can walk to Legoland from The Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa! What a perk! legoland, legoland ca, carlsbad, carlsbad travel guide, carlsbad hotel, socal things to do with kids

2).  The flower fields and the outlets are next to one another and like 6 minutes away from the hotel.  Shopping and flowers?? Yes please!! Plus this flower field is amazingly popular with the kids.

They’ve thought of everything from engaging scavenger hunts, to gem mining, to an insanely Instagramable playground to the most colorful tractor ride the kids will ever take.carlsbad, carlsbad travel guide, carlsbad hotel, flower fields, socal flower fields

3).  The beach and (city highlight) Carlsbad Village are just about a mile away.  And the hotel provides complimentary trolley transportation to/from!  The colorful architecture, and beachside, mom and pop stores and restaurants are really quite charming and worth the visit! carlsbad, travel guide, carlsbad hotel, carlsbad things to doAnd the beach, well it’s as glorious as you’d imagine from a Californian beach!

4).  golfing (The Crossings at Carlsbad Golf Course) is right by the hotel.

5).  San Diego is also just about 35-40 minutes away, so you can also easily access all that San Diego has to offer. balboa park, san diego things to do, balboa park architecture, carlsbad, travel guide, carlsbad hotel (Think the San Diego zoo, the Safari Park, Sesame Place, Balboa Park and museums)

All in all, we highly recommend visiting Carlsbad and the Sheraton Carlsbad Resort and Spa.  carlsbad, travel guide, carlsbad hotelWe hope you enjoy your future trip there and hope that this list gave you some great starting points for planning that trip!  Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment telling me what your favorite place to visit in Carlsbad is if you’ve been or what you’d most look forward to from this list if you’ve never been!

ALL the Disney Tips You Need for 2023

When was the last time YOU went to Disney? Disneyland and Disney World have gone through major technological upgrades and if you haven’t been recently, there’s a lot to learn! Also there is so much planning and research involved in optimizing your experience that people are hiring Disney consultants, joining private Facebook groups and spending hours on forums and chat groups to figure out how to best make their Disney dreams come true. It’s understandable because it’s a costly investment for most families, and you hear of worn out families who vow to never do it again haha but don’t fret! I’ve done the research and with over 25 Disney trips under my belt, have compiled all the best tips, tricks, and links to help ensure you’ll have a magical time!


1).Take a screenshot of your entrance pass before arrival ‘cuz wifi in the park is spotty.

2).Don’t forget to reserve which park you want each day after buying the ticket else you might realize the day of that it’s all booked up! (This is a new post-COVID step that’s required to ensure Disney can limit appropriately the amount of people in each park)!

3). Buy Genie + !

(Disney Genie is a NEW complimentary trip-planning service, Disney Genie+ is a paid service that lets you use a Lightning Lane (this is the updated fast pass which you might be more familiar with) entrance to bypass the standby line on select attractions, and individual attraction selections allow you to pay to skip the line on up to two high-demand attractions per day). Genie+ isn’t worth buying if you are just going to book rides that normally don’t have very long standby queues to begin with. For instance, booking Mad Tea Party or Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor would be a waste since those attractions rarely have wait times of more than 20-30 minutes tops.

Rest assured that all of these services are integrated with Disney’s existing Disneyland and My Disney Experience apps. And don’t forget to keep hitting refresh! Disney-die-hards know the app releases spots at 7am and 7:10 AM (and that’s who you’re competing with)! 😅 Finally, the most important thing to know about Genie+ is that if you can’t get it to work, or if it doesn’t give any options till late evening, visit Guest Services to see if they can get you an earlier return time or your money back

💡 Absolutely download the “my Disney Experience app” which gets you into virtual queue, allows you to pre order food, and scan your tickets.


💡 To ensure your Disney dream doesn’t turn out to be a nightmare, make sure to have the right mentality and expectations. Ie don’t be like my foolish husband who tries to do it all and see it all, then nearly kills us by forcing us to try and keep up with his crazy ambitions. It’s easy to burn out at Disney. It’s expansive and you will most definitely be over-stimulated. Plus you’re on your feet most of the day with average reports ranging from 7-15 miles walked per day at WDW for instance (depending on how much backtracking you do and what order you tour the amusement park). It is helpful to poll and know what priorities people in your group have regarding Disney’s rides, sights, restaurants and attractions. Understanding you can’t see and do the entire park in one day will force you to prioritize what you need to see/do that day.

💡 Also remember, Disney days are somewhat of an arduous adventure …don’t expect to be in vaca mode. It may even feel like there is NO rest or relaxation on this so called vacation day at Disney. Expect being on-the-go and being on your feet all day while discovering all sorts of new excitement and entertainment! Practice patience and don’t stress about doing everything. Enjoy all the little moments and minimize your time waiting around with all the below tips!

💡 Know best times to go (it’s NOT during breaks and summer when everyone else has off from school). 😅We prefer to go right after a Thanksgiving break before Christmas break which is their low season. Check this Disney traffic calendar to see what your exact dates are predicted to be like here. Also know generally, parks are packed by 10am.

💡 Stay on site for half off! Use David’s vacation rentals and rent other people’s Disney timeshare points for a fraction of the value Here. We have not yet tried this but have read other people’s reviews and recommendations and think this is a creative money saving tip!

💡 Pass the time while waiting in lines with the Heads up app, 20 questions, I spy game or the Disney app (which has themed games for certain rides). And make sure to bring along your child’s favorite silent activities that they can use to keep them occupied in line or at the restaurants. (Water Wow, bubble makers, pen and paper, tattoo pens, Mad Libs for example).


💡 Pack at least one meal and lots of snacks to eat while waiting in line to save time and money. Simple treats like lollipops, gum and fruity gummies will help keep them satiated and quiet too! Lastly, bring your own water bottle (non-glass cuz that’s restricted) and get free (water) refills from restaurants too.

💡 Character meal reservations are sometimes booked 120 days in advance for busy seasons so if there is a favorite one on your bucketlist, make that reservation as soon as you’ve bought your tickets and don’t wait!

And as stated above, once you’ve downloaded the app, mobile order foods early (while in line for a ride) to avoid crowds and wasting time waiting yet again.


💡 Need a stroller to ensure your child can keep up for the miles and hours you’re planning to walk but don’t want to travel with yours the entire trip? Kingdom Strollers will deliver a stroller to your hotel or Airbnb! You simply place your order and then meet them at your hotel at one of their 5 daily meetup times. If that is not convenient enough, you can grab the stroller directly at their onsite locate in the Orlando Airport

💡 Check for weather updates to time indoor activities accordingly

What else would you add? Please share your additional tips in the comments below. I’d love to read them!



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