North of Del Mar about a 45-minute drive from downtown San Diego, the pretty communities of Solana Beach, Encinitas, and Carlsbad provide many reasons to linger: good swimming and surfing beaches, small-town atmosphere, an abundance of charming shops, and a seasonal display of the region's most beautiful flowers.

Carlsbad was named after Karlsbad, Czech Republic, because of the similar mineral (some say curative) waters each produced. Carlsbad's once-famous artesian well was capped in the 1930s, but was redrilled in 1994 -- and the healthful water is flowing once more. Along with its neighbor Encinitas, Carlsbad is a noted commercial flower-growing region. A colorful display can be seen at Carlsbad Ranch each spring when 50 acres of solid ranunculus fields bloom into a breathtaking rainbow; in December, the nurseries are alive with holiday poinsettias.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.