Statue of John Frazier
Carlsbad’s history begins with the Luiseño people who located one of their villages, Palamai, near what is today Agua Hedionda Lagoon. In the 1880s a former sailor named John Frazier dug a well in the area. He began offering his water at the train station and soon the whistle-stop became known as Frazier’s Station. A test done on a second fresh-water well discovered the water to be chemically similar to that found in some of the most renowned spas in the world, and the town was named after the famed Spa in the Bohemiantown of Karlsbad.

To take advantage of the find, the Carlsbad Land and Mineral Water Company was formed by a German-born merchant from the Midwest named Gerhard Schutte together with Samuel Church Smith, D.D.Wadsworth and Henry Nelson. The naming of the town followed soon after, along with a major marketing campaign to attract visitors. The area experienced a period of growth, with homes and businesses sprouting up in the 1880s. Agricultural development of citrus fruits, avocados and olives soon changed the landscape. By the end of 1887, land prices fell throughout San Diego County. However, the community survived on the back of its fertile agricultural lands.

The site of John Frazier’s original well can still be found at Alt Karlsbad, a replica of a German Hanseatic house, located on Carlsbad Boulevard.

The first modern skateboard park, Carlsbad Skatepark, was built here in March 1976. It was located on the grounds of Carlsbad Raceway and was designed and built by inventors Jack Graham and John O’Malley.

In 1999, Legoland California, the first Legoland theme park outside of Europe, now owned and operated by Merlin Entertainments, opened in Carlsbad.

Carlsbad was incorporated to avoid annexation by its neighbor, Oceanside.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 39.1 square miles (101 km2) of which 37.7 square miles (98 km2) are land and 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) are (3.55%) water, the majority of which is contained within three lagoons and onelake.

The northern area of the city is part of a tri-city area consisting of northern Carlsbad, southern Oceanside and western Vista.

Carlsbad neighborhoods

The Old Santa Fe Depot, built in 1907, is a local landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places and currently houses the city’s Visitor’s Information Center.

For city planning and growth management purposes, Carlsbad is divided into four distinct quadrants.[8]

Northwest quadrant

The northwest quadrant of Carlsbad (ZIP code 92008) includes the downtown “Village,” the Barrio, and “Old Carlsbad.” It was the first part of Carlsbad to be settled; homes range from 1950s cottages and bungalows to elegant mansions on the hill overlooking the ocean. It is also home to Hosp Grove Park, a grove of trees relatively untouched by development and now designated by the city for recreational use, in addition to the Buena Vista and Agua Hedionda Lagoon. It is located west of El Camino Real and north ofPalomar Airport Road.

“The Barrio” area is near downtown Carlsbad bordered by Carlsbad Village Drive to the north, Tamarack Avenue to the south, Interstate 5 to the east and the railroad tracks to the west. It was settled by Latinos in the early 20th century.[9] It is the site of the Centro de Aprendizaje, a Spanish division of the Carlsbad City Library.[10]

Northeast quadrant

This quadrant (ZIP code 92010) consists mostly of single-family homes, with larger lots found in the older area known as Chestnut Hills. It is located east of El Camino Real and north of Palomar Airport Road.

Southeast quadrant

The southeast quadrant (ZIP code 92009) features several newer master-planned communities set among rolling hillsides, golf courses, and open space. Residents here are served by the award-winning Carlsbad Unified School District. It is located east of El Camino Real and south of Palomar Airport Road. It includes the La Costa neighborhood, which in 1965 gave its name to the Gold Medal Golf Resort, La Costa Resort and Spa, now known as the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa.[11]

Southwest quadrant

This quadrant (ZIP code 92011) extends along the Pacific Ocean to the south of the center of Carlsbad. It includes the Aviara neighborhood. It is located west of El Camino Real and south of Palomar Airport Road.


School Districts
Public High
Public Intermediate
Public Interlevel
  • Carlsbad Seaside Academy (Independent Study)
Public Elementary
  • Aviara Oaks Elementary School
  • Buena Vista Elementary School
  • Calavera Hills Elementary School
  • Carlsbad Seaside Academy (K-6 Alternative Education)
  • El Camino Creek Elementary School
  • Hope Elementary School
  • Jefferson Elementary School
  • Kelly Elementary School
  • La Costa Heights Elementary School
  • Magnolia Elementary School
  • Pacific Rim Elementary School
  • Poinsettia Elementary School
  • Mission Estancia Elementary School
  • Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary School
Private Schools
  • Army and Navy Academy: Military Prep
  • Beautiful Saviour Lutheran Elementary School
  • Montessori Arts and Sciences School
  • Pacific Ridge School
  • Palisades Point Christian Academy
  • St. Patrick School
  • The Academy by the Sea: Camp Pacific

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Elegant Alta Verde 3-story La Costa townhome. Highly desired floor plan with spacious vaulted ceiling, fireplace, skylights, and wet bar in the living room, both informal and formal dining areas,...
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  • 3 Garages The stunning allure of the ocean combined with the aesthetic beauty of this estate will redefine Luxury Oceanfront living. Undoubtedly a trophy property this Californian paradise offers the best...
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La Costa Fully reconstructed in 2017 this gated 5BR La Costa hillside estate boasts sweeping views that span from the golf club to the ocean. A thoughtful open concept floor...
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CarlsbadCome And Enjoy A Slice Of Heaven On This level .67 Acre Ready To Build La Costa Golf Course Frontage Lot.  Plug & Play!  All Utilities, Irrigation & Drainage Are Ready...
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La Costa Fresh & Current Reconstructed Front Row La Costa Golf Home.  Enjoy A Perfect Blend Of Modern & Traditional, With Top Grade Materials And Chic Finishes, Creating A Warm,...
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Carlsbad Offered At 1,995,000-$2,195,000 Highly Upgraded 5BR La Costa Ridge Stunner.  No Expense Was Spared In Turning This Dream Into Reality.  Premier Top Of Cul De Sac Oversized Lot With...
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Carlsbad South Fabulous Home Located Within The Heart Of "The Ranch" Neighborhood. Possibly One Of The Largest Usable Lots Within The Development. Private Back Yard Has Pool, Spa And Big...
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King Of The Hill! La Costa Ridge, Carlsbad 5BR Premier Top Of Cul De Sac Location In La Costa Ridge With Sweeping Ocean Views That Span To Catalina Island.  Resort...
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La Costa Valley La Costa Valley Charming Hovnanian 5+ Bedroom Home. Fabulous Private Location With Huge Yard. Recently Upgraded Inside. Gourmet Kitchen With Granite Counters, Nice Open Feel With Fabulous Natural...
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Carlsbad Charmer 4BR/2BA Carlsbad Charmer, Situated On A Quiet Cul-de-sac With Great Outdoor Living Spaces.  Outdoor Kitchen And Bar, Hot Tub, And Wood Burning Fire Pit--perfect For Entertaining.  Low Maintenance...
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A La Costa Gem Carlsbad, CA Located On One Of The Best Streets In La Costa! This Stunning Mediterranean Hilltop Estate Offers Gorgeous Pacific Ocean, Lagoon And Golf Course Views...