I recently spent a Saturday with my mom and brother just hanging out and living la vida SoCal. With a whole day to spare and great weather, we ended up driving up to Carlsbad and San Juan Capistrano for a couple hours. I decided to share the photos in the form of a blog post so those of you who have not been there can get some ideas for those few days we get to just enjoy life and spend time with the family, friends, or loved ones. Plus, it is never a bad time to do any kind of road trips or staycations when you live in an area where cold is considered below 60F.
We had no set itinerary so we stopped by downtown Carlsbad to get a gelato first. If you have never been to the Carlsbad Village (I discovered it this year), it is definitely worth it to spend an afternoon there, maybe grab some delicious pizza from Pizza Port and then walk by the streets and the small shopping center there. You can also walk to the beach and enjoy the sunset- you won’t be disappointed.
After Carlsbad we only had a short drive up to Capistrano. You have to buy an entrance ticket ($9), and while I did not get to take the audio tour this time, I would definitely do it the next time. The place is beautiful, and very photogenic- I saw a couple of quinceaneras and brides and grooms taking their pictures there. There is a gorgeous tiny chapel that is still in good shape, even though the main church was destroyed.
After our short tour we walked right across the street to find a good spot to have diner. We ended up at a beautiful historic mexican food restaurant, El Adobe de Capistrano. I actually felt in a real mexican restaurant, full of people laughing and big families! The place was packed but it is large enough to accommodate you quickly. It has a bar, a live mariachi, and they were hosting a wedding in one of their special events rooms that you could actually take a peek of from the dining area. The cool factor about it was that this was actually former President Nixon’s favorite restaurant, and you can even get his ‘special’. The food was good, prices were ok (it is a tourist spot after all) but I loved the ambiance.
San Juan Capistrano is one of the most picturesque sites in SoCal, so if you haven’t you should definitely stop by and feel like a tourist when you get a chance! The drive from SD was a bit over an hour (no traffic) and it is right off the freeway exit so it is very easy to get there.
There were a couple other restaurants right across the mission that looked great and that I would try to visit next time. Also, it is a short drive to the Richard Nixon Museum, where you can visit the house where he was born and stroll around the gardens. I have not been there yet but it is in my plans.