Carlsbad is largely unspoiled, which suits the locals just fine. Along the northern coast, beaches are seperated by sea walls. Beach access is generally very open and inviting. People are mostly sunbathing, swimming and often there are BBQs. I went to the main beach here, Carlsbad (or Tamarack) State Beach. Parking close to the beach is very possible, easy, and affordable even on weekends. In fact, many spaces are free in the village area, a few streets away and a reasonable walk from the shore .
This is a pretty clean beach with some wonderful walk ways where you can jog, bike or just stroll along. Me and my sister chose to stroll along the beach in the sand, but on our return walk back to the car, we got back onto the walk way. This is a pretty nice beach area and has some public restrooms that were pretty darn clean.
SOUTH CARLSBAD STATE BEACH. This a big, 4 mile long, sand and cobble beach popular with surfers, who have to scramble over all sorts of debris to get to some larger than average waves. I-5 runs very close by the campgrounds, and there is an occasional problem with tar showing up on the beach, which has eroded some since the construction of Oceanside Harbor to the north. None of these factors keeps the beach and campgrounds from filling up quickly, though; campers should make reservations well in advance. there are more than 200 blufftop campsites that have hot showers, a self-service laundry, grocery, bait store, and beach equipment rentals. Day-use parking within the park is limited but roadside parking may still be available somewhere along Carlsbad boulevard (highway 101)after current construction expansion is completed. There are day-use and camping fees. Access is west of Carlsbad Boulevard at Poinsettia Lane off of I-5. For more information call 760-438-3143. For camping reservations call 1-800-444-7275
_________________CARLSBAD STATE BEACH/CARLSBAD CITY BEACH. These two are essentially the same beach: bluffs overlook both sandy and rocky areas below, where visitors will see surfers, swimmers, sunbathers, surf-fishers and occasional scuba divers. The beaches offer rest rooms, benches, picnic tables, grassy areas, and overlooks along the bluff. Note that lifeguards are on duty only during the summer. Surfing at City Beach is restricted to the months of May-October. A paved pedestrian only path at the state beach runs along the seawall with staris leading up to viewing platforms. Access to Carlsbad State Beach is west of Carlsbad Boulevard, between Pacific and Carlsbad Village Drive. Access to Cityh Beach is west of ocean Street, between Pacific and Carlsbad Village Drive for more information about either beach call 760-438-3143.
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