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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Ozanne

Best Neighborhoods in Carlsbad for Families

Updated: Sep 22, 2023

carlsbad beach
carlsbad beach

Carlsbad is a dream town for families. Named one of the “Best Places to Live” in 2020, it’s no wonder the city has seen substantial growth recently. With a fantastic and temperate climate that sees mostly sunny days, it’s easy to raise kids in a healthy, outdoor-focused environment. Long, sandy beaches and diverse hiking and biking trails combined with proximity to entertainment like Legoland and the Sea Life Aquarium make this an ideal city for families. If you’re looking for a new home in Carlsbad, you may be curious about the different neighborhoods. Keep reading to learn more about a few of the best neighborhoods for families in the Carlsbad area.


One of the more highly-sought after neighborhoods in the entire county, Aviara is situated in the southern part of Carlsbad and is a newer development. Most homes were built in the early to mid-90s, the Spanish-style with clay tile roofs being one of the more dominant styles. There are several golf clubs, spas, and resorts in the Aviara neighborhood, as well as a large community park and some excellent schools. Many of the homes within this neighborhood are in gated communities, and the entire neighborhood has strict ordinances regarding home upkeep.

Bressi Ranch

On the southeast side of Carlsbad lies Bressi Ranch. As one of the town’s most walkable neighborhoods, this is another location popular with families. Parks are scattered throughout the neighborhood, including the massive Alga Norte Community Park. This space provides the neighborhood with an aquatic center, a skatepark, and a dog park. A diverse handful of restaurants pepper the neighborhood, as well as a few shopping centers and movie theaters. There is a lot of outdoor adventure to be had in Bressi Ranch, with nature preserves that feature winding trails for hiking, biking, jogging, and exploring.

Calavera Hills

Calavera Hills

Located east of downtown Carlsbad, Calavera Hills is coveted by young families for many reasons. The neighborhood’s beautiful homes, excellent schools, and idyllic parks are just a few reasons why many are looking for their new Carlsbad home in Calavera Hills. For active kids, look no further than Calavera Hills Community Park. This 21-acre green space is the neighborhood’s go-to spot for outdoor activities. Basketball and tennis courts, amid other athletic fields, can be found here, as well as ample space for picnics and barbeques. The Calavera Hills Community Center is well-loved by residents, and the center puts on a number of concert series throughout the year. The Calavera Nature Preserve is a stunning area that features hiking and biking trails, as well as Mount Calavera and the Lake Calavera Reservoir. Be sure to also explore the Carlsbad Highlands Ecological Reserve. Set aside to protect native plant and animal species, this reserve is nearly 500 acres of sage scrub and grassland, and is home to a number of species including California gnatcatchers, turkey vultures, and golden eagles.

Carlsbad Village

Carlsbad Village

If you talk to a Carlsbad local, they will likely reference Carlsbad Village as the center of the city. Dating back to the late 1800s, this is the area’s oldest neighborhood. The timeline is evidenced by the varied styles of homes, from classic Victorian to modern contemporary single-family homes and apartments. Carlsbad Village lies right next to some of the area’s more popular beaches, so many of the town’s amenities and attractions are here as well. Dining and shopping options abound, as well as the Carlsbad Farmers Market.

La Costa Oaks

Nestled in the rolling hills on the southeast corner of Carlsbad, La Costa Oaks is a beautiful neighborhood that fits in perfectly with the natural beauty around it. As a larger planned community with an HOA, La Costa Oaks has 12 smaller communities within it. A large draw to La Costa Oaks is the Oaks Club, a resident-only community club with a long list of amenities, including an Olympic-sized swimming pool, a gym, and a nearly 6,000-square-foot clubhouse. Many families who are looking to buy a home in Carlsbad are also drawn to La Costa Oaks because of its proximity to the Rancho La Costa Preserve. This 1,000-acre nature preserve offers beautiful hiking trails and breathtaking views of the Batiquitos Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean. Parents are also fans of the highly-rated schools within the neighborhood, along with the walkable grocery and specialty shops in the area.

Old Carlsbad

As you may suspect, Old Carlsbad is one of the older neighborhoods in Carlsbad. The homes in this neighborhood are mostly older ranch homes and 1950s bungalows, but newer builds and a selection of condos and apartment complexes can be found on the northwest side. Parks are common in Old Carlsbad; Hosp Grove Park being a notable and well-loved one. Children will love the play area here, and there are plenty of options for hiking and strolling among the iconic eucalyptus groves.

Rancho La Costa

Rancho La Costa

One of the larger neighborhoods in Carlsbad, this area is located just south of Bressi Ranch and includes the communities of La Costa, La Costa Estates, La Costa Valley, La Costa Greens, La Costa Meadows, and Rancho Ponderosa. This neighborhood is developed around the La Costa Resort and Spa, a 60s-era resort that features golf courses, swimming pools, tennis, and of course, a spa. Many of the large, picturesque homes in this area feature panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, the Batiquitos Lagoon, or lush California hillsides. The Rancho La Costa neighborhood offers many great elementary schools. The La Costa Canyon Park is an excellent place for taking the kids on weekends, with basketball and volleyball courts, playgrounds, picnic areas, walking trails, and more. While there are not many restaurants in this area, there are several shopping centers for groceries, banking, and other necessities.

Robertson Ranch

One of the newer neighborhoods in Carlsbad, Robertson Ranch is divided into two villages: East Village and West Village. The community features a variety of home styles, including English country homes, Mission, Tuscan, and Spanish Colonial. While the majority of properties in this neighborhood are single-family homes, there are a few apartment complexes as well. Many lots feature large yards, perfect for any active pets and young children. This is a high-end neighborhood surrounded by permanently protected open space. It features five small parks sprinkled throughout the neighborhood, and the Oasis at Robertson Ranch, a community recreation center that boasts a full-size swimming pool, spa, barbecue and picnic areas, and more.


Just south of Carlsbad Village lies the Terramar neighborhood. Running for only a few blocks along the ocean, this high-end neighborhood features luxury homes that are at the top of the price range of homes you can find in Carlsbad. Many have unbelievable views of the Pacific Ocean, and most are a short walk to the beach. It’s a smaller area, so there are not many amenities nearby, but it does have some of Carlsbad’s more well-known natural landmarks like the Cerezo Bluffs, a 50-foot cliff that provides some of the area’s most spectacular views. Each neighborhood offers something special, but they all provide that coastal charm that makes Carlsbad such a dream town to live in. No matter what you’re looking for, Michelle Ozanne can help you find your new home in the perfect neighborhood for your family. Contact Michelle today for help buying or selling your California luxury home!

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