Our Wonderful Wild Week in Carlsbad, CA

Our Wonderful Wild Week in Carlsbad, CA

We had such a glorious stay last week in Cardiff by the Sea but with a maximum 7 day stay allowed at San Elijo State Beach it was time to change campgrounds. Luckily we only had to move just a few miles up the coast for a stay at the lovely South Carlsbad State Beach Campground. So similar to San Elijo yet oh so different – it’s just a completely different vibe. The Carlsbad campground was just more quiet, more relaxed, and they had a lot more available campsites. We’re not quite sure why so many more people gravitate towards San Elijo but we’ve got some guesses: it connects to a dog friendly beach, there are several great surfing spots nearby, and it’s a short walk to some nice shopping and groceries. Up in Carlsbad you aren’t nearly as close to the city and the beaches maybe aren’t quite as inviting, but it is equally as beautiful and since it wasn’t fully booked we had several days with an open view of the ocean, even from our ‘back row’ campsite!

smooth rocks on a beach
South Carlsbad State Beach

Our stay here was wild in several respects. While our first day was sunny and warm, the next several days had thunderstorms in the forecast. The day I went exploring, storms were expected around 2pm, so I figured I had some time to get video and shots down by the water. The wind had been blowing pretty strong that day so it wasn’t great to be out, but the water was still quite beautiful and I saw some kite surfers down the beach so I headed closer to get some better shots of them, which I did. As I was climbing the stairs back up the campground (now a good 1/2 mile from where I started) I saw lightning strike far off shore and sure enough it started to sprinkle. I quickened my pace as the skies opened up more and ended up in a full run before I got back to the RV. We had some crazy loud thunder and lightning and as things were winding down I saw the sun punching through the clouds and sure enough we had quite the amazing double rainbow right over the RV. If that wasn’t enough, we also ended up having a beautiful sunset.

pink clouds sunset with cliff and ocean
A dramatic sky makes every picture better!

My sister lives in the area and for our next wild experience she took us for an outing to the San Diego Safari Park – what a treat. It turned out to be a cool and overcast day with rain in the forecast which meant that the crowds stayed away! We had such awesome luck with seeing very active animals and I got some really fantastic videos. I’m an animal lover through and through so it was a delight to see them. Most were in spacious enclosures, which counts for so much, and there’s just something so beautiful and almost overwhelming about massive yet peaceful animals. I could’ve watched the elephants for hours and the giraffes are just so majestic. Be sure to check out the full episode below!

lion at a zoo
This guy was so amazing and making low groaning sounds

We also checked out a unique new ‘sport’ with my sister, axe throwing – which was definitely wild! We appreciated the instruction and helpful hints from the people working there and before long we had pretty much nailed the technique with everyone getting some bullseye hits. They offer 30-minute and 60-minute time slots but 30 minutes was plenty for the three of us. They set you up with two boards and so we all had plenty of opportunity to throw. After that we checked out Twisted Horn Meadery. We got a few different flights and enjoyed everything we tried. I was quite surprised the meads weren’t all that sweet considering they are made from honey!

As for the campground – dogs aren’t allowed on the beach here but there is basically one super long road that runs the length of the campground so most campers enjoy walking and jogging along there. There’s a Ralph’s grocery store within walking or biking distance and it’s not terribly far to get into Carlsbad or head south to Encinitas. Some of our favorite eateries in Carlsbad are Pizza Port (which can be really busy and noisy…so be aware), Harbor Fish Cafe, and Lotus Thai and we also checked out Barrel Republic which is a tap house where you pour your own beer. The amount you consume is monitored by a wristband that you wear and scan each time you pull a tap. They had a ton of options plus several of the locally made gluten-reduced beers – just ask them what’s gluten-reduced when you visit!

All in all, another fantastic week on the coast. And a good life metaphor: you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain!

Maggie Pitcher

Hi, I’m Maggie! I enjoy exploring new cities but my real passion is spending time in nature. Hiking, kayaking, and photography all fill my cup to the brim, as does spending time with my sweet little family. We’ve been living and traveling in our motorhome since 2016 and it’s one of the best decisions we ever made. When I’m not scrambling up waterfalls or researching our next stop, I spend my time video editing for our YouTube channel, blogging and taking pictures – we love this way of life and have no plans to stop anytime soon!