Reasons to Love Living in Carlsbad – The Beaches

Reasons to Love Living in Carlsbad

There are multiple reasons to Love Living in, or visiting, Carlsbad CA. These include the art scene, dining, shopping, recreational opportunities, tourist attractions, housing, sports and our weather.

In this article the focus is on the Carlsbad beaches.

Terramar Beach in Carlsbad

Carlsbad has about 7 miles of beach, from the Oceanside border at Point Malo and the mouth of the Buena Vista Lagoon to the north, and south along the Coast Road/Historic Route 101 to the Leucadia area of Encinitas.

There are lots of different beaches by name. As a result you’ll hear Terramar, Warm Waters, Hole in the Fence, South Ponto, Frazee, Tamarack, Jetties, Carlsbad State Beach. However, it’s difficult to tell where each one actually  starts and ends. But perhaps it really doesn’t matter.

Terramar Beach looking north

Carlsbad Magazine has a map near the back showing different beach names for reference. Sometimes people refer to different beach areas by the numbered lifeguard shacks, from 20 to 38. Or refer to landmarks or cross streets.


The beaches are a big draw in Carlsbad, and life on or near the beaches is pretty special. People certainly enjoy the beaches for different reasons. It might simply be sitting on the sand or in a chair and taking in the views and sounds. Others prefer to stretch out on a towel for a nap. Watching the sun set while enjoying dinner al fresco is yet another way to enjoy the beaches.

Sandcastles in Carlsbad

You’ll want to watch the ocean to see if you catch sight of the gray and blue whales that are migrating north and south at different times of the year. You’ll see dolphins, too, on occasion.

Do you enjoy photography? The beaches, ocean and sunsets are terrific opportunities for amateur and professional photographers. There are so many things to photograph – the bluffs, bird life, interesting patterns in the sand, the waves, the setting sun and so much more.

Some people enjoy being more active at the beach than just sitting. How about walking or running, surfing, boogie boarding, stand-up paddle boarding, or playing beach volleyball. Perhaps kite flying, wind surfing, kayaking, or tossing a frisbee back and forth interest you. Or maybe you like to build sand castles!

You’ll sometimes find yoga classes on the beach. In addition, you can attend surfing school if you’re just getting started!


Public access to the beaches is pretty good overall. In some areas you can park and walk on to the beach (just south of the Village by Tamarack). However, there are places further north beyond South Carlsbad State Beach where you’ll need to take stairs, sometimes significant ones (e.g., Terramar Beach south of Cannon Road).

Stairs at Terramar Beach

Most of the parking along the coast road, where it’s available, is free. But there are some pay parking lots at the North and South State Beaches.

You’ll also find free parking in the residential areas across the road from the beach, although it can be limited. Moreover, watch the signage in case parking time is limited as it may get monitored.

Does the parking by the beaches get crowded? You bet, especially on weekends, holidays, and especially during the summer. However, walking from your car to the beach is worth it, plus it’s good exercise for you.

If you have questions about the beaches, or things happening in Carlsbad, please let me know.

Here are links to the prior articles on Reasons to Love Living in Carlsbad covering the arts scene.

Part 1 – The Arts – Theater

The Arts – Film and Outdoor Movies

Part 3 – The Arts – Music

The Arts – Wall Murals and Sculpture

Part 5 – The Arts – Galleries and Art Fairs