There’s a lot more to Carlsbad than simply being home to LEGOLAND. Carlsbad Village is bursting with flavor and flair as hip, recently opened eateries crop up and mom and pop shops rent out electric bikes and surfboards to cruise local streets or catch a wave. Read on to see where to spend your day in this idyllic village by the sea––we even show you where to score a fresh gourmet doughnut at the newest bakery to hit the scene and how to end your day sipping a campfire inspired cocktail while the kids play in a teepee!

Photo: The Goods via Yelp

Start the Day on a Sweet Note
Gourmet doughnut? Yes, please. Just when you thought cupcakes would hold onto to their title as your dessert du jour forever, gourmet donuts hit the scene. The Goods, a new artisan doughnut bakery on State Street that specializes in ultra-fresh doughnuts in gourmet varieties including brown butter, chocolate ganache, Tahitian vanilla, stuffed Nutella and s’mores is a must-visit when strolling through the village. Young donut connoisseurs will get to see their s’more doughnut receive the perfect char firsthand. Note, the donuts are big, so littles can definitely share.

2965 State St.
Carlsbad, Ca
760-994-0458
Online: instagram.com/thegoodsdoughnuts

Photo: Pedago Bike via Facebook

Rent a Bike at Pedago Carlsbad
One of the best things about downtown Carlsbad is that once you get there, you don’t need to get back in your car. You can easily walk or bike through the village. The Carlsbad Seawall stretches for about a mile along Carlsbad Blvd., from Walnut Ave., near the village to Tamarack Ave. near Carlsbad State Beach parking lot. Pedago’s bike rental offers electric bikes so you can choose when (and if) you want to exert that extra effort. They also have tons of options for kids. Mini bikers can get a bike that fits them, or for those who would rather kick back and relax, Pedago’s offers trailers for parents to hook to their bike. They even have tandem bikes for family members who want to double up.

355 Carlsbad Village Dr.
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
760-729-2453
Online: Pedago Bike

Photo Credit: Visit Carlsbad

Go Back in Time with a Visit to The Magee House
Want to share a little history with your west coast tots? Take them to see what life was like in the late 19th century at The Magee House. One of Carlsbad’s oldest structures, the house is furnished in a turn-of-the-century style reflecting the life of the early Carlsbad settlers who once lived there. The house is surrounded by historical gardens that are the perfect setting to snap an insta-worthy photo of your pint-sized history buff.

258 Beech Ave.
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
Online: visitcarlsbad.com

 

Photo: Choice Juicery via Facebook 

Sip and Play at Choice Juicery
Every parent knows that in order to have a fun-filled family outing, bellies must be full and energy must be high. That’s why a stop at Choice Juicery is so gratifying. Not only is the menu full of organically awesome ingredients that also happen to be gluten-free, dairy free and 100% plant based and delicious (think smoothies and bowls in kid-friendly flavors like Orange Dremsicle, Mint Chip and PB&J) but the setting is more akin to a park than a sit-down restaurant, which is a definite perk for the five and under set. The grab and go eatery sells their healthy fare out of an old shipping container, parked on a corner lot on Carlsbad Village Dr. It has a big open and (fenced) turf yard and is livened up with trees, Adirondack chairs, picnic table and floor pillows. Sip. Play. Repeat.

For more of our favorite juice bars around San Diego, click here.

430 Carlsbad Village Dr.
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
760-994-0013
Online: Choicejuicery.com

Photo: So Cal Surf via Facebook

Hang Ten with SoCal Surf
No trip to downtown Carlsbad is complete without a visit to the beach. And, while you’re there, why not learn to catch some waves? The instructors at SoCal Surf are pros at teaching little grommets the ropes. They offer lessons seven days a week year round and use of their equipment is free for an hour after the lesson. It’s ideal for kids age 5+ and of course for parents who want to perfect their own surf skills. Book lessons online before you go for ease and convenience or look for their tent on the beach across from 4600 Carlsbad Blvd. and walk up to reserve a spot.

SoCal Surf
760-672-2770
Online: socalsurflessons.com

Photo: Cookie Dough Doh! 

Go Local at State Street Farmer’s Market
The State Street Farmers’ Market, a 20 year-old Carlsbad tradition, takes place every Weds. from 3-6 p.m. (it stays open until 7 p.m. during the summer) and brings out the charm of the downtown village. In addition to the abundance of produce, stalls are filled with a wide variety of other specialty items from family-run, local vendors. Want to make the whole family happy? Find the Cookie Dough Doh! booth for a scoopful of eggless cookie dough, yup that’s right, the eggless part means you can eat it raw. Now this is our kind of farmer’s market find! Be sure to check out their Facebook page for updates on kid-friendly events and entertainment.

2907 State St.
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
Every Weds. 3- 6 p.m.

Photo: Campfire via Facebook

Gather Around at Campfire
New businesses and restaurants have been popping all over the north side of State St., yet none has garnered more attention than Campfire. Why all the hype? For one thing, owner John Resnick has tons of foodie-cred after opening Consortium Holdings, Craft & Commerce and Fish & Oyster in San Diego. Secondly, the high-concept restaurant prepares virtually everything on the menu over an open flame. So yes, it feels like you’re gathering around a campfire and you’ve brought your own amazing chef! Kids will love hiding out in the 12-foot custom teepee that sits outside, while parents love the “campy”cocktails like Charred Corn and Smoked Date. Don’t leave without trying the signature s’mores; they’re incredible!

Read our full review of Campfire restaurant here.

2725 State St.
Carlsbad, Ca 92008
760-637-5121
Online: thisiscampfire.com

For more of our suggestions on what to do with your family on a visit to Carlsbad click here. Visit carlsbad-village.com for more info.

Featured image: Gerry B. via Yelp

Where do you like to go with your family in Carlsbad? Share in the comments.

––Aimee Della Bitta