North County, being closer to the North Coastal area, is blessed with a combination of pretty beaches, Some unique museums, and pleasant weather. It has all the qualities for which San Diego itself is popular as a major tourist site. There are plenty of sites where you can not only catch a pretty view but also would be able to learn about the area, the history of the early settlers, and many more.
Best Things To Do In North County, San Diego (Jump To Section)
North County has plenty of things to offer to everyone who wants to explore it. From hiking and horse riding opportunities to going outdoors and enjoying some activities at a picturesque beach, it has almost something or the other that everyone can like and enjoy. One can truly enjoy the laid-back lifestyle of the area thus making it a great place to just unwind while exploring some great places.
Whether you are there for a few days or a weekend or just a day, there are plenty of things that you can do according to your liking and what your time permits you. Here is a list of 8 varied activities and places you can do and enjoy while in the area.
- Best Things To Do In North County, San Diego
- 1. Legoland California
- 2. Carlsbad Ranch
- 3. Moonlight State Beach
- 4. Mission San Luis Rey
- 5. Oceanside Museum of Art
- 6. San Elijo State Beach
- 7. Del Mar Fairgrounds
- 8. California Surf Museum
Best Things To Do In North County, San Diego
1. Legoland California
This is one of the must-visit places not just in North County but in the whole of California. We all played with Lego pieces while growing up. Though it is targeted toward kids, adults can equally enjoy the place if not more. This is a dream place for kids so if you have kids with you then it is highly recommended that you check it out with them.
We have all spent many hours building a variety of things with Lego pieces. The kids are surely going to love their visit to this place. It is a theme park as well as a miniature park. Just like how we can make several things out of small little Lego blocks, there are various famous places, beings, and objects that are made and displayed for you to marvel at and enjoy. The miniature representations of famous tourist places, objects, etc are nothing less than extraordinary.
A life-size #FerrariF40, built with over 358,000 pieces of #LEGO: this is how LEGOLAND California celebrates the opening of its latest attraction, the LEGO Ferrari Build and Race. Find out more.@LEGOLAND_CA #BuildandRaceLLC #LEGOLANDCalifornia #FerrariMagazine #Ferrari— Ferrari (@Ferrari) May 13, 2022
Even if you aren’t a fan, you would still get amazed at the meticulously designed and put-together exhibits of different places such as the Taj Mahal, Las Vegas, Castles, etc. You will love the creativity and methodical build of each exhibit which will leave you speechless every time. The staff is friendly and polite as well. It makes your entire experience even more fun and relaxed.
You also have the option of staying overnight, which comes with other perks such as in-room hunts with gifts for the kids, Lego-themed rooms, free breakfasts, etc. Apart from this, there is a sea life aquarium too. You can enjoy marine life. There is a Legoland water park as well. There is a Lego movie world too, which is nothing less than amazing. The 1-day theme park would cost 89 dollars per person while the multi-park ticket would cost 99 dollars. The park stays open throughout the week from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
It is located at One Legoland Dr, Carlsbad, California.
2. Carlsbad Ranch
Are you a fan of nature? Well, in particular, do you like flowers? Who am I kidding? Everyone likes flowers. This ranch is probably the most beautiful thing you will see in North County. The rolling hills have been transformed with innumerable ranunculus flowers of a variety of Colors, shapes and fragrances.
It is a sensory overload but in a good way. No matter what your senses are engaged in, you are going to love the fact that you are surrounded by beautiful flowers in every direction as long as you can see them. There is a maze too which presents a beautiful opportunity to enjoy the place in an active way trying to outsmart your way.
A riot of colours of the Ranunculus flowers at Flower Fields, Carlsbad Ranch, South California. The flower show is open only 3-4 weeks in April-May, we were lucky view this beautiful show! pic.twitter.com/87TIWuxnfT— Santosh Ojha (@SantoshoOjha) May 1, 2022
There are wagon rides available too. Whether you are just tired or want to enjoy the scenic beauty while you sit back and relax then you can opt for the wagon ride. To say the whole scene is Instagram-worthy would’ve to severely understate it. As they say, good things don’t last, the same is the case with this. It is open for a relatively short time from March 1 to May 14th almost every year.
There are various pretty and colorful pieces of murals made out of small glass pieces of different Colors. The admission fee is fairly nominal at 6 dollars. Make sure that you made an online reservation beforehand otherwise you won’t get in.
It is situated at 5704 Paseo Del Norte, Carlsbad, California.
3. Moonlight State Beach
This is a perfect place for those who want to go outdoors and enjoy what it has to offer. This beach is a state beach in Encinitas. This has plenty of things to offer to both kids and adults. Thus it makes for a great place to spend your off day with friends and family.
It is especially a good place to go with your kids. A long stretch of sandy beach where you can lay and enjoy the view alongside the water. The clear blue sky and the noise of waves breaking at the shoreside will calm you down. It is a perfect weekend getaway for a day to unwind and relax.
You can do swimming, play volleyball, surf, fish, etc. You can also play tennis as well. There are a variety of snack bars so you can grab a bite to eat if you feel like it. There are benches on the beach side available too. The long stretch of beach provides you with an opportunity to walk alongside it while enjoying picturesque sunsets.
There is a small playground for kids too. The place is not so crowded with tourists so you can get an experience of the local crowd. One good thing about the place is that there is no entry fee. You just need to pay for parking. It stays open throughout the week from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
It is located at 400 B St, Encinitas, California.
4. Mission San Luis Rey
It is known as the “King of the Mission” due to its Expansiveness and architectural beauty. It is the largest one of the 21 Missions in California. It is a former Spanish mission in San Luis Rey, a neighborhood of Oceanside, California. It was built in 1815 and is an example of the Spanish colonial style of architecture. It looks exotic, beautiful, and elegant.
The all-white exterior facade throughout the structure leans a simplistic beauty and a degree of serene elegance. The place is vast, open, and calm. The mixture of maintained natural beauty with the architectural design evokes a sense of calmness.
King of the California Missions.— PoetWarrior (@markhaley108) March 10, 2022
Mission San Luis Rey De Francia pic.twitter.com/QtoZlLl3c9
The interior is just as beautiful. It is meticulous and detailed with a variety of artwork. There are a variety of statues situated throughout the area. You will also get to learn about the history of the mission. Everything is well maintained. There are stunning original frescos too. This is like an interval part of the history of the area thus it is a must-visit place to know about the History and understand the area well. It stays open throughout the week from 10:09 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
It is located at 4050 Mission Ave, Oceanside California.
5. Oceanside Museum of Art
This one is for art lovers. It is a fine arts museum that started holding exhibits as far back as 1995. A dedicated facility was opened in 1997. It is a perfect place to go and witness some amazing pieces of artistic expression on a variety of things from paintings to an array of show pieces. They showcase artworks by notable SoCal artists. The purpose of the museum is to celebrate southern California artwork. You will also get to learn about exhibits and a variety of different subjects as they regularly hold events related to them.
Take a short ride to Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA) to take a look at beautiful and unique artwork! This Museum explores new, relevant, and historical art of Southern California. Exhibitions showcase the finest paintings, sculptures, studio furniture, art quilts, and… pic.twitter.com/26CD30TJKp— RiverOaks (@River_Oaks_Apts) October 10, 2020
There is a great feel to the museum. Great diversity can also be felt in the exhibitions as well. The whole museum is arranged in a super clean and simple way. On different days, they hold different kinds of things such as discussions with artists over coffee, music at the museum, art in the context of the environment, etc.
You will not only get to see beautiful artwork and get inspired by them but also get to learn a lot. Information about tickets to the events as well as general entry can be found on their website. They remain closed from Monday to Wednesday. For the rest of the week, they remain open from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at least.
It is located at 704 Pier View wy, Oceanside, California.
6. San Elijo State Beach
A great weekend destination to go with your friends and family. This beach has those scenic long stretches of narrow sandy beaches alongside the pacific ocean. It is a California State beach. They offer an array of recreational activities including trailer parking and camping. You can book online a sufficient enough camp area to camp along the ocean side.
This is certainly one of those experiences which requires a lot more of your time. This is a perfect one-day plan to spend your day outdoors, relaxing on the beach. You can lie down, unwind or swim and feel the refreshing water.
San Elijo State Beach looking towards Swamis Beach. Encinitas California pic.twitter.com/mnDjky0EQS— Carol Dacanay (@carol_dacanay) January 10, 2018
The beach is picturesque and clean. The views are amazing and it looks absolutely gorgeous at the time of sunset. You can walk along the beach, it is also supposed to be therapeutic and refreshing. Campground, too, is wonderful. You can also watch a lot of surfers riding the waves and enjoying their time.
This beach is a pet-friendly place so you can bring your dog with you. If you are a surfer then this place is most recommended for you. You need to make reservations for the campground from their website. To check for prices, you can visit their website. There aren’t any specific hours but they say they stay open from dawn to sunset.
7. Del Mar Fairgrounds
It was established in 1936. It is a world-class event venue that hosts a variety of things throughout the year offering a bunch of different experiences throughout the year. The main highlight is the annual San Diego County Fair. The venue is spread over an area of over 340 acres.
It is a perfect place for those who just want to do things on the Spur of the moment. They want to be surprised. From “oddities and curiosities expo to van Gogh experience, there is a huge variety of things to experience all year-round. They have horse races, fairs, and other things on a regular basis. There are plenty of rides to experience as well.
June 12, 2012: Summer Tour 2012 – Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, California (First Concert) pic.twitter.com/7eMDINpufp— Demi Throwback (@throwbackIovato) June 12, 2020
You can buy stuff as well as see and witness things and at the same time eat food and drink. There are photography as well as art shows too. All of this in the same venue offers a lot of flexibility to pick and choose what you want to do. Regardless of what you like, you will find something or the other that you would want to do. It has something to offer to everyone. The place is so huge that spending a whole day won’t feel sufficient enough. You can visit their site to know further what is there and what events are upcoming.
It is situated at 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, California.
8. California Surf Museum
This is a unique place where you would find all things related to surfing. It is a museum in operation for more than three decades. It was opened in 1986. It is dedicated to archiving and displaying surfboards, surf art, memorabilia, surfing equipment, etc. You will get to see a collection of old surf and the history of surfing. You will get to cool and amazing exhibits related to surfing and learn about them. This is one of those museums dedicated to rare things which are not really common.
also today: went to the california surf museum and got to see bethany hamilton’s surfboard pic.twitter.com/qci3Q6bbNM— ky ♥ (@_kyliescudder) April 1, 2016
Among other things, you will also get to see photographs, Magazines, videos, and much more. To say the exhibits are fascinating would be like stating the obvious. You can also opt for a guided tour of the place which is engaging and fun. You will get to see how people used to surf and how it changed over time. The staff is polite and super friendly. You can chat with the curator to know more about the stuff.
The best thing about the place is the entry fee is nominal at 5 dollars per person. You will be able to see everything in around 1-2 hours depending upon your curiosity level and willingness to know further about things. This place is a nice experience for people of all ages and interests. Everyone would find this museum fascinating. It stays open throughout the week from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
It is located at 312 Pier View Way, Oceanside, California.
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Note: The hours of operation, ticket prices, and admission criteria of museums, parks, etc. may change from time to time. For the most updated information, we recommend checking the official website of the attraction directly prior to your planned visit.
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