Best Hotel for Legoland with Toddlers and more in Carlsbad, CA


legolandA simple five and a half hour drive for us from the East Valley, Carlsbad, California, has been a beloved family vacation since I was a child and is a bit of a forgotten destination  for Arizona families besides Legoland, even though it’s only about 45 minutes from San Diego!

I remember my parents renting a condo on the beach. We would fly kites, build sand castles and boogie board to our heart’s content, and so I was excited to take my son there and share my childhood memories with him recently!

If you’re looking for something a little different for your next Southern California trip, here’s a few tips if you choose Carlsbad! 



Where to Stay: Kid Friendly Property with Legoland Access

Before booking our trip we checked the low fare calendar for the hotel we wanted to stay at. If your travel dates are flexible, this is a great hack to use.

My husband travels periodically for work so we opted to stay on a Marriott Property to maximize points as a budget hack for our travels.

The nice thing about our hotel was that it had its own private entrance to Legoland which took us in at the back of the park.

The pool also had a waterslide and of course poolside drinks and snacks were an added bonus. Fun was had by all! Some friends of ours love staying at the Carlsbad Inn. There are also lots of condos you could rent right on the beach.


I am a Disney fanatic but I have to say, Legoland was so much more manageable and not as crowded.

Only open from 10am-5pm with so many rides and creative places to build, this is the perfect place for littles and yes, everything was awesome.

When T-Mobile Tuesday was offering 50 percent off tickets, we jumped at the chance to go (I’ve also seen discounted tickets at Costco, too). Just be sure to check the age and height requirements for the rides. We were surprised by a few of them for our two and a half year old.

When the weather warmed up we hopped over to Sea Life Aquarium for an air-conditioned/indoor break.

Similar to pin trading at Disney, Legoland encourages trading minifigures with park employees and adding buttons on lanyards.

Their waterpark was closed the day we went but I have heard good things from friends. Everything is Ramen (in The Lego Movie World) and Granny’s Apple Fries (in Castle Hill) were our two favorite spots for food inside the park.

Carlsbad beyond Legoland

Carlsbad Strawberry Company

The U-Pick was closed when we went but this is definitely something we would love to do again.

We still picked out some fresh produce to take with us to the beach and bought some jam to take home. They have a Pumpkin Patch in the Fall with tractor rides and a corn maze.

Flower Fields

Unfortunately we missed the flowers and they will reopen on March 1, 2023. If you are there in the spring, check it out and let me know how beautiful this place is!

The Flower Fields have a U-pick blueberry patch, pizza trolley, a strawberry shack, tractor wagon rides and more!

Beach Day

Pack that sunscreen, sand toys and an umbrella because the Carlsbad beach is so beautiful! We opted for parking near the beach access point on Carlsbad Village Drive (fair warning, lots of stairs). South Carlsbad State Beach is a popular camping site if that is your jam!


Our first night we were there, we wanted to eat at a restaurant with ocean views. Chandler’s was the perfect spot (or maybe I just wanted to eat there because it was called Chandler, the city we live in).

Chandler’s also overlooked the camping grounds. After our beach day we picked up sandwiches at Board & Brew. We also enjoyed a brewery night at Karl Strauss. There are truly so many great restaurants to choose from!

A family favorite when we were younger was Casa De Pico. It used to be located in Old Town San Diego but has since been moved to La Mesa. Totally worth the drive!


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