Suggestions on sights to see on a short day trip through Oceanside, Carlsbad and Encinitas...not into crowds...natural wonders!!...Restaurants and reasonable hotels under 150.00? Thanks!
You'll have a blast! Skip out on Oceanside as you can find everything you'll want/need in Carlsbad and Encinitas! In Encinitas there are a ton of new gastropubs and cool new restaurants. Park on or near the Coast Highway (the 101) and walk! Coast Highway and D St. would be a great place to start - and walk South from there. If you want the best eggs benedict youve ever had, go try the 101 Diner as they have amazing breakfasts all around, or about a half block south of that is another killer breakfast/lunch spot called Honey's where you wait in line and order, then take a seat... Killer food as well and a pretty amazing acaí bowl! Walk about 6-8 blocks south from there and you will come up on Union Kitchen & Tap, whos got great drinks, cocktails, beer and good lunch/dinner grub, too. Lastly, you can venture one block further south from Union and check out the Self-Realization Fellowship which has beautiful grounds and sits on a cliff over looking a famous surf break called Swami's... Beautiful place. (There is also Swami's Cafe just across the street for more good breakfast food or acaí bowls.) Besides the few recommendations here, just walk and enjoy the scenery. You're bound to stumble upon a lot I've left out. In the event you need bathing suits, cool clothes, surf gear, snowboard/ski gear, surf rental equipment and/or any other awesome stuff, make sure to check out Hansen Surfboards just across the street from Union, they'll get you all handled! As for a place to stay, there is a Best Western Encinitas Inn & Suites that sits only about 1 block east of the 101 I've been referring to - so its a great location if you plan on spending time in the downtown Encinitas neighborhood or the beach... Either way, you will leave this town with the hope of moving there! Enjoy Encinitas, enjoy...
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In Carlsbad, I would recommend you take a look at the Tamarack Beach Resort. It is in the village area and you can walk across the street to the beach and to nearby restaurants and shops. There is a great sidewalk above the beach that stretches about two miles for walks and taking in the sunsets. The hotel part of it is on the slightly elevated first floor, and some rooms have patios with ocean or partial ocean views. (There are time share apartments on the higher floors that I do not think you can rent.) There is a pool, fitness center, pool table, and free parking. You should be able to get a room there for about $150.
I think the best restaurants in the village area are PAON (fine dining with less expensive bar menu), Vigilucci's Cucina Italiana (Moderately priced Italian), and Vigilucci's Seafood & Steakhouse (expensive Italian and steaks, but a great happy hour with a view). I also like The Compass (for beer, pub food and happy hour), Pizza Port (for more beer and pizza), Knockout Pizza (for quick and cheap pizza). There are many other restaurants within walking distance and the resort itself has a pretty good, reasonably-priced restaurant, Dini's Bistro, which has a lively bar scene.
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Rubio's, a local chain restaurant, is a good place too. They are all over and nicer looking. In my opinion they have the best fish tacos and shrimp burritos. I know, I know. When I first got to this area I thought that was the most disgusting thing I heard of too. But they are definitely a must try thing here in So Cal. Like Chicago's pizza and the east coast's corn beef sandwich.
Just do not expect to find good pizza ANYWHERE. I have tried almost ALL of them. I don't know maybe I am a pizza snob. I am from Milwaukee, originally, and I have not found anything to equal Filipo's. Or even come close. If you are into frozen custard, you won't find any of that here either.
You absolutely must try Encinitas Fish shop and get some fish tacos. They are the best! Go for a hike at Torrey Pines State Reserve and check out either Swamis Beach, Moonlight Beach, or the beach at Tamarack in Carlsbad. Hotels I'm not as sure since I live here and don't go to many hotels but I've heard the carlsbad by the sea resort can be fairly reasonable.