Most visitors come to Carlsbad for Legoland and head right back out, and that’s too bad because they’ve missed the charming, intimate Carlsbad Village with shopping, dining and beaching nearby. It’s bordered by I-5 and Carlsbad Blvd, which run north–south and are connected by Carlsbad Village Dr running east–west.
Carlsbad came into being with the railroad in the 1880s. John Frazier, an early homesteader, sank a well and found water that had a high mineral content, supposedly identical to that of spa water in Karlsbad, Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic). He built a grand Queen Anne–style spa hotel, which prospered until the 1930s and is now a local landmark.
If you’ve come looking for the Carlsbad Caverns, you’re outta luck. Those are in New Mexico.