It’s time to soak up some sun with the family and enjoy a trip to Carlsbad, which was rated as one of TripAdvisor’s Top 10 destinations for family fun. Get drawn in by this beach town’s European charm, word class golf, spas, and shopping, and of course, Carlsbad’s seven miles of beautiful beaches.

Go: Anytime!

Approximate travel time: Carlsbad is located about 35 miles north of downtown San Diego.

Where to shop: For a fun and fashionable kids boutique, check out Fancy Pants. Then, take the kiddos to pick out a new bedtime story at Paperback Book Exchange. Buy a bubble blaster, kite, or other fun toy at Geppetto’s or go on a shopping spree at Carlsbad’s Premium Outlets.

What to do: One word—Legoland. There are over 60 incredible rides, shows, and attractions and a new water park! (Pssst: You can get discounted park tickets at the Carlsbad Costco!). Also kid-friendly and worthy of your precious time is the Leo Carrillo Historic Ranch Park. Here, your family can take in this historic park and its many hand-crafted adobe buildings, antique windmills, and many walking trails.  Situated on a wonderfully landscaped 27-acre canyon, the youngsters will explore and experience California history and they will surely get a kick out of the property’s resident peacocks!

If you just want to get down to beach business, head to Carlsbad State Beach with its great views and four miles of sand or go visit South Carlsbad State Beach, which is a tad more isolated and great for camping.

Possible lunch spots: Grab a sandwich, salad, or soup at Prontos’, a downtown family-owned and operated gourmet food market. Munch on fresh produce and local fare at either of the two weekly farmers markets. Need a dining option near Legoland? Try Pat & Oscar’s.

How to dress: You’ll need swimsuits and towels for the beach and water park. Since you’ll be walking and outside most of the day, be sure to outfit your family in comfy shoes, sunscreen and hats.

Cost of trip: Moderate.

Online: carlsbadca.gov

– Abigail Matsumoto