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Free Things To Do In San Diego County - Carlsbad
The city of Carlsbad is situated just south of Oceanside, on the other side of the Buena Vista Lagoon. On the southeastern side of the Buena Vista Lagoon is Hosp Grove Park, where you can walk on the trails and explore the eucalyptus groves. Alternatively, from town, you can take a walk along the Carlsbad Seawall, which heads south to Carlsbad State Beach, a great family beach for swimming or surfing. Just south of this beach is the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. The Agua Hedionda Lagoon Discovery Center is on the south side of this lagoon, on Cannon Road, and offers free educational exhibits on the ecology and ethnobotany of the area. It is open from Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 p.m - 4:00 p.m. Guided nature walks and bird walks are offered monthly, and several festivals and seminars are hosted throughout the year. Check the website for current details (http://www.aguahedionda.org/Events/Calendar.aspx). South of this lagoon is the South Carlsbad State Beach, which offers more swimming, surfing and beach-combing opportunities. At the southern end of town along the coast is the Batiquitos Lagoon, The Batiquitos Lagoon Nature Center is located on Gabbiano Lane, and is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and weekends 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m., offering free nature walks and other outdoor events scheduled throughout the year. Check the website for current details (http://www.batiquitosfoundation.org/wordpress/2011/lagoon/event-calendar/).
A few blocks from the sea, in town on Beech Avenue, is Magee Park and the Shipley-Magee House and Rose Gardens. This is a nationally registered garden, and the house is furnished to reflect the life of early Carlsbad settlers who once lived there. It is currently home to the Carlsbad Historical Society, and is open to the public on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Slightly further inland, in town on Roosevelt Street, is the The Barrio Museum, which offers educational exhibits on the contribution of early agricultural workers to the growth of the Carlsbad community. Call a couple of days in advance to arrange your free visit (760 434 2898). And still further inland, on Flying Leo Carillo Lane, is the Leo Carrillo Ranch Historic Park, where you can learn about the history of the California ranchero lifestyle while enjoying the beautifully-kept gardens. It is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can take a free self-guided tour or one of the regularly scheduled guided tours on Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and Sundays at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Additionally, the Carlsbad City Library System has three library branches scattered throughout the city, each of which offers a variety of free reading, writing, movie and other clubs for people of all ages. Check the website for current details (http://www.carlsbadca.gov/SERVICES/DEPARTMENTS/LIBRARY/ABOUT-US/Pages/default.aspx).
Continuing on an inland journey, the Carlsbad Skate Park is on Orion Way, and is open daily from 8 a.m. - 10 p.m. for free (but safety regulations must be followed by all users). If hiking and biking are more up your alley than skateboarding, then check out Calavera Nature Preserve, bordered by Oceanside to the north and Vista to the east. This preserve contains a network of trails leading around Lake Calavera as well as up Mount Calavera.
Carlsbad is also home to the largest one-day street fair in the nation, the Carlsbad Village Fair, which takes place twice a year, in May and November, on Carlsbad Village Drive, west of the 5.