The Charming Village of Carlsbad on the California Coast

If you are looking for a relaxing stay along the Pacific coast in California, then visiting Carlsbad might just be the perfect choice for you. Located about 30 miles north of San Diego, Carlsbad is a resort town with many restaurants, public beaches, and a very walk-able downtown area which is called Carlsbad Village. We spent close to a week there and enjoyed walking the beach, watching sunsets, and even went on a wine tasting tour. On Wednesday’s, the heart of the village shuts down to allow for a farmer’s market with a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, art work, and other local items for sale. We also happened to be there the weekend before Halloween and the local shops provide candy and a safe environment for families to go trick-or-treating.

Beach Style Architecture
Vineyards in Temecula
Farmer’s Market
One of the Sunsets
European Style Architecture

Carlsbad Village is certainly charming with a variety of architecture from typical beach-style buildings to some old-world type buildings. There are many different shops offering boutique clothing, beach clothes, gift items, as well as unique artwork. There are as many restaurants as there are shops offering a variety of meal choices. Although you can certainly find any type of food that you might want, the majority of restaurants offered seafood, Mexican food, and Italian. We had some wonderful meals during our stay.

Busy Beach on the Weekend
Fresh Vegetables at the Farmer’s Market
Another Sunset on the Beach
Shopping Area
Town Sign

Clearly the beach is the highlight of going to Carlsbad and if you are a surfer, you won’t be disappointed. It was a little too cool while we were there to swim in the ocean as the fog rolled in every morning and didn’t always burn completely off keeping the temperatures low. That didn’t keep us from walking along the beach though, watching the surfers, and making sure to catch some beautiful sunsets. Even in the off-season, the town got quite busy on the weekend as people from the surrounding areas come to take advantage of their beach properties.

Surfers on the Beach
Walking the Beach
Not Too Busy During the Week
Fresh Seafood at the Farmer’s Market
Tropical Flower

We took a wine tour in Temecula where we visited four different wineries and tasted a wonderful variety of wines. Napa Valley certainly has the best known reputation for producing quality wines, but Temecula certainly has a right to be proud of their growing reputation. Not only do they have a lot of vineyards currently, the hillsides are being covered with new ones as the city has approved additional vineyards to be started. Although you can certainly drive yourself on a wine tour, it is best to let someone else do the driving. We tasted up to six types of wine at each vineyard, which even in small amounts is a lot of wine.

Temecula has a Tuscan Feel
Vineyard About a Month After Harvest
Wine Casks
Looking Up the Hillside
New Vineyard in the Distance

Carlsbad Village is definitely an enjoyable destination with a relaxing atmosphere. Beautiful beaches, friendly people, and all of the food and shopping make staying their a wonderful experience. There is also a train called the Coaster that will take you into San Diego if you want to spend some time their and go to Sea World, the world famous zoo, and other museums. Legoland is also a highlight of Carlsbad for those with children or just a child at heart.

People Out for Halloween
Kids and Candy
Last Glimpse of the Sun
More Architecture
Just Another Day at the Beach

Sometimes You Need a Vacation and Not a Travel Experience

We have always believed that we have two types of trips, travel and vacations. When we travel, it is all about seeing historic locations, exploring the architecture, tasting the local cuisine, and immersing ourselves into the culture. Vacations are about relaxation, refreshing our minds and bodies, and just getting away from the daily routines. We tend to travel more than we take vacations, but it is nice to just get away from time to time. Although there are many different places to visit in order to have a relaxing vacation, going to the beach is certainly one of our favorites. These are some of the favorite beach vacations that we’ve taken over the past few years.

Boats in Bay at Cabo

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – This is one of our favorite locations to visit and we’ve been there several times. It is located on the Baha Peninsula that extends south of California, making it very easy to get to from the United States. There are wonderful restaurants along the beach and in the marina, plenty of activities, and a variety of resort styles. We tend to go during the “bumper” season, meaning not quite off-season and not the busiest months. Because we have been there many times, we like the familiarity of it and revisiting places that we have enjoyed in the past.

Royal Service Area

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – We definitely indulged ourselves with our visit to the Dominican Republic as we chose to upgrade to the royal concierge service. This gave us a room right on the beach in an adult-only section of the resort. Because the resort was all-inclusive and had so many different restaurants, we didn’t actually leave the grounds of the resort during our time there, which we would do differently next time.

Ship on the Ocean from Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – Located on the western coast of the mainland of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is definitely a tourist friendly location. We happen to go during the time when there was a flu scare that actually didn’t have any impact to the region, but it caused a lot of tourists to stay away. We also enjoyed going to a cultural show during our time in Puerto Vallarta in addition to doing the typical tourist activities.

Beach by the Resort in Spain

Estepona, Spain – Located in the Spanish Riviera on the coast of the Mediterranean, Estepona is slightly smaller than Marbella that is just a few miles away. We actually spent two weeks in Spain, so this was a combination of travel with a little bit of vacation mixed in. It was certainly a wonderful way to end our days of exploring southern Spain by returning to a relaxing resort.

Just Another Day at the Beach in Carlsbad

Carlsbad, California – We took a quick trip to Carlsbad, which is located north of San Diego. Not only did we spend time in the quaint beach town, but we also took a wine tour to Temecula where we sampled a wonderful variety of wine. We were able to enjoy the laid back lifestyle of California, even if only for a week. Once again we were treated to some beautiful sunsets as we ate at various restaurants across from the beach.

Sunset in Florida

Orlando, Florida – We went to Orlando for our twentieth wedding anniversary and spent time in Walt Disney World. We also went to Cocoa Beach in order to dip our toes in the water. We really enjoyed our time in Epcot Center as you are able to experience different cultures, food, and drinks in one place. There are many wonderful beaches in Florida, but obviously they can be quite crowded and we certainly wouldn’t go during the spring break season.

Cabanas, Umbrellas, and Palapas on the Beach in Acapulco

Acapulco, Mexico – Although there has been a lot of reports of crime in the area in recent years, the beaches of Acapulco are certainly quite beautiful.  With the famous cliff divers, wonderful restaurants, and typical water activities, there is plenty to see and do in this resort town. This was the last trip that we took prior to the start of the pandemic.

If you are looking for a location where you can sit on the beach with a tropical drink in your hand, none of these locations will disappoint. Many of them are currently open to travelers although it is the start of the rainy season in most tropical locations, so we’ll probably wait for later in the year before considering a trip to one of these incredible destinations.

Not Everyone Celebrates Halloween

We love holidays, especially those where we can decorate the house, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that we enjoy Halloween. It seems to have gotten a bad wrap over the past few years and there have even been calls to ban, which makes no sense to us. Perhaps because everyone has been trapped inside for the past seven months, but we’ve noticed many more people decorating for Halloween this year. We have no idea if anyone will allow their children to go door to door to get candy, but if nothing else at least it feels festive.

Pumpkin on Display
Someone Walking the Streets of Carlsbad on Halloween
Our Sole Halloween Decoration from Frankfurt

When we moved to Germany a few years ago, we were surprised to find that there were little to no Halloween decorations. In fact, the only one we found to put in our apartment in Frankfurt was a little orange pumpkin with some flowers in them. There was one restaurant that was pretty well decked out and had a special party for the occasion, but that was all that we saw. We know it isn’t as popular in Europe as it in the United States, but considering the traditions started there and were brought to the States, it was a little surprising.

Day of the Dead, Halloween, and Flowers
Vineyard Shop Decorated For Halloween in Temecula
One of Our Many Halloween Decorations

Because we usually take a big trip in November, we don’t often travel over Halloween, but a couple of years ago we went to Carlsbad, California. It was fun seeing how the town embraced decorating and there were plenty of Halloween items on display. Even when we took our wine tasting tour in Temecula, we found some of them had decorated for the season. Regardless of what you think of the holiday, we think it is a fun time to divert ourselves from the typical day to day chores.

Another Vineyard Going with the Fall Theme
Sunflowers and Pumpkins at the Farmer’s Market in Carlsbad
Restaurant in Frankfurt