USA Day 13 – Carlsbad and Oceanside

Sunday 1 January 2023

It rained heavily all night and we woke up to find ourselves in a cloud. Today’s plan was to drive to the Pacific coast. To be honest, when I put the itinerary together, I had a somewhat different image of Southern California which didn’t include torrential rain and gale force winds. But, hoping that maybe the weather might be better by the coast (lol), we set off regardless.


Our first stop is the small town of Carlsbad. We park near the beach, with the plan of walking through town then back to the car along the shore.


We walk through the town, where most of the restaurants but not much else is open as it’s New Year’s Day.

Carlsbad Station

It’s a pretty town with plenty of murals. I especially liked this oversized painted chair which, of course, I managed to sit in with total dignity!


Walking back along the beach is not as easy as anticipated. The coast is lined with residential properties with zero public access. I can’t think of another country in the world where the beach is so closely guarded by the wealthy. So, we have to walk for some time along a road with no pavement, jumping into the ditch each time a car passes.

Carlsbad Beach

Eventually, we find an alleyway which provides beach access and can walk the rest of the way along the shore. The beach is sandy, but has two levels. As we walk along, the difference between the levels increases. By the time we are adjacent to the car park, there’s a metre high sand cliff to negotiate. Obviously, I climb this with grace and elegance! Why, when I’m stuck, daughter no 2 thinks the appropriate response is not to give me a hand but turn on her camera, I don’t know!

Carlsbad Beach

At this point, the heavens open and in the few minutes it takes to reach the car, we get completely and utterly soaked.

Carlsbad Beach


We drive 3 miles further along the coast to Oceanside. The rain has subsided but there is a fierce wind. Daughter no 2 needs to run 6 km, so the old man and I decide to talk a walk along the pier.


Oceanside Pier

This iconic 19th century Oceanside Pier stands almost 600 metres long. Walking along it requires fighting our way into a very strong headwind and the walk feels infinite. The only good thing about the wind is that it dries out our soaking clothes fairly rapidly.

Oceanside Pier

Finally, we reach the end and turn for the much quicker return to shore. The waves rolling up to the pier are enormous, almost reaching up to the railings.

Running Oceanside Pier

We have just enough time to take a quick wander into town. Then we return to meet daughter no 2.


Two of us want to explore further, find somewhere nice to eat and visit the California Surf Museum, but the old man declares he’s had enough, so we drive home via the supermarket for a very late lunch.

Oceanside Pebbles

In the evening, we decide to brave the cold for another dip in the hot tub accompanied by some locally produced watermelon sparkling wine.

Watermelon Sparkling Wine

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