La Costa

The La Costa area of Carlsbad (zip code 92009) is one of the better known residential areas along the North San Diego County coast.

The area began to develop around 1965 when several thousand acres of land were purchased and turned into a golf course, homes were built, and the Rancho La Costa Inn (later called the La Costa Resort and Spa and in 2014 acquired by Omni Hotels and renamed the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa) was created for visitors.

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The original resort has had several owners and was later renamed La Costa, thus giving the surrounding area its name. Formerly a separate “town” La Costa was annexed and later became part of Carlsbad, but many still refer to it by its original name.

La Costa has a reputation as a playground for the rich and famous, many from Hollywood, the Rat Pack being the most well-known (there’s even a house near the resort where the Rat Pack reportedly hung out). A number of celebrities have had homes here along the golf course or rented properties in the area.

The La Costa real estate market offers a wide range of housing including apartments, condominiums, and detached homes, many with reasonably large parcels of land. High-end properties tend to be gated, and there are a small gated condo communities along the golf course. Because of the hilly terrain, many homes offer distant panoramic views of the Batiquitos Lagoon, the ocean, the resort and back country hills. The proximity to the resort and to the beaches (about 3 miles) make this area a prime residential and vacation market.

Affordability is an issue in the Carlsbad real estate market.  The good news is that prices, on average, are less than neighboring Encinitas) to the south, and the Aviara area of Carlsbad, to the west, and homes tend to be larger for a comparable price. Even with the lower current inventory that follows the recession and rising prices, buying a home in the La Costa area now may be a good decision, depending on your circumstances and budget.

Depending on where you live in La Costa, children may attend 1 of 3 school districts. Part of the area is served by San Dieguito Union High School District (Encinitas) and the Carlsbad Schools; children in other parts of La Costa attend schools in the San Marcos School District. If the schools are important, doing your due diligence is essential.

La Costa offers an idyllic Southern California lifestyle, given the area is primarily residential, has beautiful views, and experiences a very pleasant coastal climate all year round.

There are two small shopping centers in the La Costa area as well as upscale shops at the resort. Nearby shopping of every description, however, can be found along El Camino Real, a major thoroughfare running north and south from Oceanside to Cardiff. The La Costa Town Square is the newest shopping area, completed in late 2014, just east of Rancho Santa Fe Road at La Costa Avenue.

The Forum in South Carlsbad is probably the best known upscale shopping area, but there is easy access to the Carlsbad Premium Outlets Mall to the north. La Costa is relatively close to the 5 Freeway, but without the noise that you may find in parts of Aviara and other neighborhoods closer to the beach, so travel to downtown San Diego (about 30 miles) and to LA (about 100 miles) is relatively easy except during rush hour traffic.

There are several restaurants in La Costa, the best being at the Omni La Costa Resort (Bluefire Grill), however residents can enjoy upscale dining in other areas of Carlsbad including the Village, at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort (formerly the Four Seasons) nearer the coast, and in Encinitas.

Nearby attractions for residents include miles of Pacific Ocean beaches, camping facilities, the Carlsbad Flower Fields, the Museum of Making Music, Legoland, and Leo Carrillo Historic Ranch Park.

If you are searching for that Southern California home near the ocean, with golf, tennis, shopping and restaurants in and around the area, in a primarily residential community, but with easy access to the city and other coastal amusements, then the La Costa area of Carlsbad may be the ideal choice for you.