Carlsbad Beaches

Carlsbad beaches
Carlsbad beaches

I am not a poet. That’s probably a good thing for the poor souls who, for a reason that baffles even me, read this blog. Fortunately, that includes only a miniscule number of people, so I’m guilty of wasting only a very small percentage of humanity’s productive capacity.

The reason I say it’s a good thing is that if I were a poet I would undoubtedly wax poetic interminably about the sound of the surf rolling onto the shore, the pure, unpunctuated horizon, and the light blue of the sky meeting the dark blue of the Pacific Ocean beyond the beaches of Carlsbad, California, which is the subject of this post. That endless expressive nonsense would, no doubt, bore the hell out of pretty well everyone who bothered to read to the end.

Buena Vista Lagoon
Buena Vista Lagoon

Instead, the best I can come up with is it’s very pretty and quite relaxing. That wasn’t particularly painful, now was it?

Carlsbad’s beaches probably comprise the longest uninterrupted beach I’ve ever seen. Then again, that’s a small sample size—I’m not a beach person—so there are likely longer beaches elsewhere.

(I know the mixing of singular and plural forms of beach in the previous paragraph is confusing, but it can’t be helped. Despite being one continuous beach, without any obvious dividing lines between them, they are officially referred to as different beaches. Some of the beaches have Carlsbad in the name, but at least one honors a person. Don’t ask me where one beach ends and another begins. I haven’t a clue.)

Beginning of first night's sunset
Beginning of first night’s sunset

As I said before that parenthetical comment, I’m not a beach person. After sitting or lying on a beach for five minutes I start thinking, “OK, what’s next? I’m bored. Is it lunchtime yet?” I’d very much rather walk around a city—or walk along the shore, for that matter—than vegetate on a beach.

Besides, I don’t want to lie or sit there waiting for melanomas to attack me. I’d rather give them a moving target and make it challenging for them.

Fortunately, the beaches at Carlsbad are long. There’s a lot of walking to be done along them.

Finale of first night's sunset
Finale of first night’s sunset

If you, like me, are neurotic about walking barefoot on a beach (you never know when an idiot will leave sharp objects lying there), here’s a tip for you, although it works best at low tide. Walk parallel to the ocean, just beyond the furthest point that the waves reach. At low tide, the sand in that zone is well compressed and relatively hard. As a result, you won’t get much sand in your shoes.

Warning: This advice does not do a perfect job of keeping your shoes sand-free. Carlsbad’s beaches include a fair amount of sand that the tide never reaches. So, even following my tip, expect to have to shake your shoes out at some point after you leave the beach.

Second night sunset over beach looking south
Second night sunset over beach looking south

If you start from a point at the coastal endpoint of the main drag of Carlsbad and walk north along the beaches you’ll come across Buena Vista Lagoon, a beautiful little lagoon a bit inland from the ocean. At least, I thought it was a little lagoon. Looking at a map, I see that it’s composed of a series of few lagoons, a couple of which are considerably larger than the one closest to the ocean.

All of that having been said, including the part about me not being a beach person, I will admit that I think there is nothing—absolutely nothing—to compare with the beauty of the view from a beach of a spectacular sunset over the ocean. In the Americas, that happens over the Pacific, such as at Carlsbad’s beaches.

Second night sunset over beach looking north
Second night sunset over beach looking north

On the Atlantic side, they have to settle for sunrises over the ocean. Who the hell wants to get up that early?

When I say, “a spectacular sunset,” I’m not saying that all of them are spectacular. Quite the contrary.

If there are no clouds in the sky then there is nothing to catch the color of the setting sun. If the sky is fully and heavily overcast, little color shows through. But if there is a generous smattering of clouds they create fiery orange patterns in the dimming blue sky.

Second night early sunset over ocean
Second night early sunset over ocean

Experiencing sunsets like these almost—almost, but not quite—allows me to understand why some people believe in deities or a deity. We experience a great many phenomena that can be understood and predicted only by accounting for a vast number of variables, not all of which are easily—or at all—measurable. And even those variables that are measurable are too great in number to all be measured.

Consequently, these phenomena appear to be driven by random, chaotic forces. Yet they still manage to produce brilliant displays every once in a while. It is almost enough to make one believe that there is a god up there painting the sky with his, her or its brush.

Second night sunset over ocean last light
Second night sunset over ocean last light

On the other hand, spectacular sunsets are greatly outnumbered by so-so, not bad, and totally obscured sunsets. This puts a serious damper on the use of sunsets as corroborating evidence for the deity theory. But enough about religion.

As I write these words, I’ve been in Carlsbad for two sunsets. The first was nice, but not brilliant. Tonight’s, however, easily qualified as breathtakingly dazzling.

I’ll be here for two more sunsets, but I can’t imagine them being more breathtaking than the one I just witnessed, so I decided to not wait before publishing this post.

I hope you enjoy the photos, but they don’t do the sunset justice. Not even close.


  1. That is a spectacular sunset and I agree: as spectacular as it is it probably falls short of the real thing. California beaches are beautiful. I grew up a stone’s throw from the Atlantic, but the Pacific is a very different experience. The Eastern waters seem very tame compared to that of the West. When I was 19, I spent a whole summer in LA literally living on the beach. I loved waking up every morning to the surfers doing their thing.

    1. Yes, I have a particular fondness for California. I’m responding to this on my iPhone from the breakfast room of my hotel. The breakfast room has picture windows looking out over the ocean.

      The sky is blue. The ocean is calm. If I weren’t me all would be right with the world.

    1. I’m a conservationist. I like to leave natural stuff, like sand, where I find them.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. Thanks.

    1. Yeah, I love California. This is the first time I’ve spent any time in Carlsbad. (Met someone for dinner here a few years ago, but didn’t spend any time here. The town is OK, nothing special, but there are some good restaurants and the beach is terrific. Plus, it’s close to a lot of other stuff, as you’ll see in upcoming posts.

Been there? Done that? Do tell.