Surfs up in Carlsbad, California

Hello friends!!

The weekend getaways continue in my goals to always be traveling!

Two weeks ago the boyfriend and I discovered Solvang, Ca. This last weekend we took an even shorter travel time to Carlsbad, CA. We have a friend who lives here and we had yet to visit, so this made for a perfect, cheap, weekend getaway! Cheap because we got to stay at our friends’ lovely home. 🙂

Carlsbad, CA is south of Los Angeles and north (about 30 mins) from San Diego. You can drive or take the train. My sister, boyfriend, and myself all drove down together. This town is a big surfers town, so we were expecting laid back beach vibes, and that’s exactly what we got. 🙂

Here’s the cost breakdown:

Drive time from LA, Friday night at 9 pm= 1hr and 45m

Gas= our car gets about 32-40 gallons to the mile, so it took us less than half a tank. We fill up on $25-40 depending on gas prices.

Food= $111.67 This trip had 3 travelers, so split evenly that is =$37.28. That doesn’t include the delicioso breakfast our friends made for us Saturday Morning, which obvs, was free.

Draaaaanks: I took it rather easy this weekend, as did my sister, but just so you have an idea, between the three of us $100. This includes drinks purchased at bars and at the store. On average, a craft, draft beer was about $8 and a cocktail was $8-$10. This also includes drinks purchased for friends and tip.


Well Friday night we got in around 10:30 and went out to the bar at about midnight. We headed over to Cantina, a sports bar kind of vibe with mexican-american fare; the kitchen was closed at this time though.

The drinks were strong, from what they told me; I stuck to the draft beer which was my good ‘ole Blue Moon. At 2, like most places in LA, the bar closed down and to home we went.

On Saturday, my trio made a quick drive over to Carlsbad Village. This is a decent size small town filled with shops, local restaurants, and lots of walkers. It’s also right on the beach, so you could certainly have done a beach day. We chose to brave the heat and explore the town. The village compares to many small town squares in the sense that the shops are the same; food, clothes, kitschy items, and bars.

What really sets Carlsbad apart is the vibe. It reminded me nothing of Los Angeles, which was nice, because this is a “get away” right? It was very laid back, VERY slow moving. The shop owners didn’t follow you around urging you to buy the hand carved wooden cuckoo clock. The restaurants were well mixed between sandals and swim trucks to sit down white clothed tables. The beach was filled with surfers and a multitude of people fishing from the pier. My favorite part had to be how the street art was discreetly placed.


We noticed that every single fire hydrant was painted, and named. One had a mermaid on it, others had dogs, they had it all! Which was fun to see, on a fire hydrant, I thought. Around the corner of a busy street was a super cool painting of two lions. See my horrible photo below:

I am a horrible driving photographer.

I am a horrible driving photographer.


To escape the heat we popped into a bookstore called Fahrenheit 451, because hello, how tempting is that?! #bookloversunite

This shop was really cool because they had a lot of old prints, we found one as old as 1787! Great stop for the book lover.

The clothing shops were cute and ranged from consignment to relaxed higher end. My sister and I stumbled into a middle ground boutique and had a great time chatting with the store owner. If you make it down here, be sure to pop in to Retail Therapy Boutique. Megan has quite a few unique items you don’t see everywhere. At the time the sale was buy one, get one 50% off, so prices were better than boutique prices.

The night life, as usual, brings out the younger crowd, but nothing too rowdy, not where we were at least. Our dinner stop was at the Compass restaurant. Their food is purchased from the local farmers market, which made the prices go ^^^. Nothing too crazy, compared to LA.

Being a budget traveler, this was a bit of a sour note for me, since I always expect huge portions if I’m paying $14-$18 a plate. However, that wasn’t the case. I believe that this mindset in turn affects how I feel about the food; free food always taste amazing right? Hahaha! So the food was good, but certainly not amazing. I do have to say the vegetables were very fresh, but everything else barely hit the spot. The beers were good, as usual.

After dinner our friends met us at this same restaurant that turned into more of a bar vibe after 10pm. I didn’t drink anything else, but taste tested everyone else’s drinks to be able to report back! And they do indeed know how to do mixed drinks and cocktails very well.

As the night came to an end, we called it quite to catch some zzz’s. Sunday morning included a quick stop to Einstein’s bagels, a bit of Netflix as we attempted to help the Minions find their next evil leader, and then packing up the car. P.S., be sure to look up retailmenot while at Einstein’s bagels! We got a fee pull apart bagel and 2 schmears thanks to the guy in front of us. Thanks to him because we are creepers and saw him show a coupon to the register clerk.

Driving back to LA, between 12:30-1:00 pm, had us home around 3:30, because of course #LAtraffic

Let me know if you ever make it to Carlsbad, CA. I’d love to hear about what you discovered!

Until next time,

Voyaging Vanessa

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