Carlsbad, California

Best Places to Retire in California


Carlsbad (population 90,000) is located along the Pacific coast, 35 miles north of San Diego. The city has beautiful sand beaches and a majestic coastline. It also has three tranquil lagoons that are very scenic and attract interesting wildlife. The area, which is surrounded by mountains, is also blessed with ideal weather for year round outdoor activity. Carlsbad Village, which is the downtown area, has a great many restaurants, antiques shops, galleries, and boutiques. It also has the Village Faire Shopping Center. And speaking of shopping, the Carlsbad Company Store is an outlet center with over 70 shops and many restaurants. The Westfield Shoppingtown Plaza in the North Coastal area has five major department stores and over 140 specialty shops.

There are many choices of restaurants from fine dining to casual fare that offer great Mexican food, steak, sushi, or fine Italian. The Carlsbad area also offers a great many opportunities for outdoor recreation and sports, from surfing, swimming, or fishing, to golf, tennis, bicycling, nature walks or bird watching. There are also professional tennis and golf events held at the La Costa Resort and Spa that attract the very best players in the world.

The local cultural scene is somewhat limited. However, it is only 35 miles from the vast number of amenities in the San Diego area. The special events calendar features a good number of activities throughout the year, some are oriented to the arts, and others are family-oriented. A highlight of the year is the spring bloom of The Flower Fields, which is a commercial grower who produces as many as 1,500 varieties on nearly 50 acres of fields. There are also a number of museums in the area, and some very interesting things you could do to entertain grandchildren, including Legoland Park. There is good healthcare and opportunities for continuing education.

Arts & Culture

Carlsbad Community Theater performs throughout the year offering quality live theater at reasonable prices. 

New Village Arts Theatre is a community theater.

North Coast Repertory Theatre, Solana Beach. 

Carlsbad City Library –

“The Flower Fields” at Carlsbad Ranch, where over 1,500 annuals, perennials and spring garden mums are grown, is a very popular tourist destination. It is a business partnership of Ecke Ranch in Encinitas and Yoder Brothers, Inc., of Barberton, Ohio. The nearly 50-acres of spectacular flowering fields are in full bloom from about mid-March until early May.

Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside ( 6 miles), the largest of California’s missions, was built in 1798. It has been carefully maintained and is currently operated by the Franciscan Friars of California. There are self-guided and guided tours through the Mission Church and the manicured grounds. Visitors are also welcome to attend a weekend mass. 

The Museum of Making Music offers an interactive experience for learning about the many innovations that shaped music in America from the 1890s until the present. 

ArtSplash is a family event held in September that promotes and benefits the arts within the Carlsbad community. It features chalk art street paintings, live art, artists creating and showcasing their works, live music, street entertainers, and performing artists. 

Carlsbad Village Street Faire is a one-day (twice each year) street fair in downtown Carlsbad that features over 850 vendors and attracts up to 80,000 people.

Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in Vista (8.5 miles) is located on 40 acres of farm land. The old equipment (from 1849 to 1950) is in operating condition and is used in museum programs. Exhibits include a blacksmith and wheelwright shop, country kitchen, steam and gas industrial power units, gristmill and more. 

Summergrass San Diego is an annual Bluegrass Music Festival held at the 40-acre outdoor Antique Gas & Steam Engine Museum in Vista.

California Surf Museum in Oceanside (6 miles) is a repository and resource for the sport of surfing. It exhibits boards, trophies, and photos.

San Diego Performing Arts League is an umbrella organization that provides an up-to-date calendar of performing arts throughout San Diego County. 


The beautiful sand beaches and water sports, including surfing, swimming, kayaking, and canoeing, are a great attraction for natives and tourists alike. Golfers will find many outstanding courses in the area. The San Diego Golf Reservations Web site provides a quick overview of the courses available. 

Legoland Park in Carlsbad, is one of four “fun parks” around the world operated by LEGO, the Danish toy company. It features more than 50 rides, shows and attractions including Dino Island and Fun Town Fire Academy. One section of the park has structures made from over 20 million LEGO bricks. A perfect outing for the grand kids.

World Golf Championships hosts the Accenture Match Play golf tournament at La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad. 

The Acura Classic, hosted by the La Costa Resort & Spa, is one of the premier tennis events on the WTA tour. The event is held in late July and early August. 


California State University (San Marcos) is a four-year liberal arts institution. Full-time enrollment is just under 6,000 students.

University of California, San Diego (La Jolla) is located on a 1,200-acre campus near the coast. It is one of 10 campuses in the University of California system. UCSD is a major university by itself, with over 23,000 students on campus. 

Miracosta College in Oceanside (about 6 miles) is a public, two-year community college located on the coast in north San Diego County. It has a full-time enrollment of 5,300. 

The college also operates an adult learning complex (760) 757-2121. Palomar College in San Marcos (about 9 miles) is a community college in the California system. It serves about 30,000 full-time and part-time students in its fall and springs sessions, and about 18,000 attend in the summer. 

Senior Programs

Carlsbad Senior Center has an auditorium with theater-style seating for 175, a dining room for 150, and a full service kitchen for catering. Other facilities include a billiards room, dance room, art room, library/lounge room, and a computer lab. (760) 602-4650


Tri-City Medical Center is a 400-bed acute care hospital. 


San Diego International Airport is about 28 miles from Carlsbad. It is served by over 20 major and commuter airlines. 


Carlsbad has a very temperate climate year round. Average high temperature for January is 66 degrees and the average low is 45 degrees. Averages for July are a high temperature of 78 degrees and low of 62 degrees. Its rainy season is between December and March. 


North County Times (Escondido) –

Property Taxes

San Diego county Treasurer-Tax Collector 

State Taxes 

Chamber of Commerce 

State Aging Agency


Oceanside – 6 miles
Vista – 8.5 miles
San Marcos – 15 miles
Camp Pendleton South – 9 miles
La Jolla – 26 miles
San Clemente – 25 miles
San Diego – 35 miles
Newport Beach – 55 miles
Los Angeles – 85 miles
Palm Springs – 115 miles

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