Fodor's Expert Review South Carlsbad State Beach/Carlsbad State Beach
There are fine street- and beach-level promenades at Carlsbad State Beach, where people come to surf and swim at Ponto and Tamarack beaches. On the bluff, there's overnight camping for self-contained RVs (800/444–7275) and tents (from $35). Farther north at the foot of Tamarack Avenue is Carlsbad State Beach. You can't camp here, but there's fishing and jogging trails and the beach has separate swimming and surfing sections. In summer, the south swell creates good surf when other San Diego beaches are bereft. The cement walkway that borders the beach continues into downtown Carlsbad, which has plenty of restaurants. Carlsbad State Beach has a paid parking lot on Tamarack Avenue and at South Ponto. Amenities: lifeguards, parking (fee), showers, toilets. Best for: walking, swimming, surfing.