Carlsbad Coast Drive
By John Rogers, Senior Editor of Enlightened
Driving home from Los Angeles on a Sunday afternoon, I decided to
take a break from the fast pace of the freeway. Although you can
see the Pacific Ocean from I-5, it’s difficult to enjoy its
true beauty at 70 MPH. So, after crossing the San Diego County line,
I drove south a bit further and found my favorite stretch of coastline—perfect
for a leisurely drive away from the stress of the freeway. This
“Coast Drive” starts on the north end of Carlsbad and
extends to Leucadia.
I exited the freeway at Carlsbad Village Drive and drove several
blocks west (toward the ocean) to Carlsbad Boulevard, the heart
of Carlsbad Village, a quaint area filled with shops and restaurants.
Hungry after a long drive, I stopped at a local favorite, Fidel’s
Mexican Food and Cantina (3003 Carlsbad Boulevard). Fidel’s
has been around for 40 years and still serves outstanding Mexican
cuisine. After my meal, I walked through the adjoining hotel-pool
area and found the stairway to the beach. A short walk on the beach
felt good before jumping back in the car.
After the walk I started driving south on Carlsbad Boulevard (the
Coast Highway) and a breathtaking expanse of coastline opened before
this stretch of coast is still relatively undeveloped, making it
feel pristine and natural. Soon I passed Carlsbad State Beach and
pulled off the road to savor the view and take a couple of pictures.
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south, I passed Agua Hedionda Lagoon, a tidal marshland that is
home to many plants and birds, especially those that stay the winter
from the north. Along this route, be sure to look for South Carlsbad
State Beach on your right.
South Carlsbad State Beach there’s free, short-term parking
if you want to get out of the car and walk to the beach for a few
minutes. I did just that. South Carlsbad State Beach features over
200 camping spaces located right on the bluff overlooking the beach
(call 800-444-7275 for reservations or 760-438-3143 to reach their
direct line.) This is one of San Diego County’s three public
beachfront campgrounds and it’s great for families. Public
restrooms are available near the temporary parking area.
Continuing south, Batiquitos Lagoon soon appears on the left. This
is yet another beautiful example of a rare natural tidal wetland
area along the Southern California coast. Birdwatchers can enjoy
several viewing areas around the lagoon. At the south end of Batiquitos
Lagoon, I turned left on La Costa Avenue, which goes to I-5. I reluctantly
entered the freeway and continued my drive to San Diego.
was born and raised in San Diego. He spends much of his free time
exploring the beaches and open spaces of California, especially
those described n this site.
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