Carlsbad is an upscale coastal city in the north of San Diego County. It is surrounded by Encinitas
, San Marcos
, and Oceanside
. It is also just a few miles south of Camp Pendleton, the West Coast base of the United States Marine Corps. Carlsbad is best understood as a touristy resort town. Folks visit its beaches, parks, and flower fields; they seek out spas and lagoons and hotels; arts and culture and cuisine abound along the coastline and through the city's village-like areas. And let us not forget the Legoland California theme park.
As one might expect, Carlsbad has some more out-of-the-way residential areas, many in the pre-planned, carefully organized mold of Orange County
developments. Carlsbad is significantly less walkable than most of the rest of San Diego
—according to Walk Score, “Most errands require a car.” As for major arteries, the 5 freeway follows the Pacific coastline in the west of Carlsbad and Route 78 snakes along its northern border; more locally, S11 and S12 will get you around.