Carlsbad is located on the coast of North County San Diego.

It is bordered by two lagoons, Buena Vista and Batiquitos, on the north and south, respectively.

Buena Vista and Batiquitos lagoons are a major way station for birds migrating up and down the coast. It is home to many birds and other wildlife, including some endangered species. Buena Vista Lagoon (260 acres) was created by glaciers slicing through sandstone formations 20,000 years ago, forming canyons 20-40 feet deep. Currently, the lagoon is 1 to 6 feet deep over 3 to 5 feet of mud. Batiquitos Lagoon (600 acres) includes 1/3 mud flats and salt marsh. The remainder is seasonal–sometimes shallow water and sometimes dry, barren salt flats. In the center is a saltwater lagoon, Agua Hedionda, which has facilities for boating, skiing, and other water sports. Agua Hedionda lagoon was originally a salt marsh. It was dredged and channelized in the 1950s. The lagoon includes mud flats, salt- and freshwater marsh, and deep water.

Carlsbad is a mixed use community of homes and businesses. Carlsbad Village, downtown, is a popular area for shopping. The beaches are popular for sunbathing, BBQs, and surfing. Inland, surrounding Palomar Airport, are several high-tech industries. Several resorts offer golf and tennis–the most famous is La Costa Resort and Spa.

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