The echo of the Coaster’s horn blowing through downtown Carlsbad is no foreign sound to any locals, but it may leave some wondering where the train is going? With amazing ocean scenery and no traffic, the NCTD Coaster is an affordable and fun way to get around. Most of us think of commuters or Padres fans using the Coaster to beat traffic, but did you know that for just $4 per way, a new fun adventure awaits? The fare is divided into three zones. Zone 1 extends from Oceanside to Solana Beach and everywhere in between. Purchase a Zone 1 pass for a fun day adventure to every zone and back. Zone 2 will take you around Sorrento Valley and finally Zone 3 to Old Town or Downtown for a day of shopping or maybe a Padres Game?
Southbound: Destination – Solana Beach
It’s only a short five-minute walk from the station to Cedros Ave. The avenue features a variety of boutiques and home design stores in the design district. Stop in at Leaping Lotus to find that unique one of- a-kind gift, enjoy beautiful photography inside the Michael Chan photography studio, or have a glass of wine at Carruth Cellars or a pint at Culture Brewing Co. If you happen tobe there on a Sunday, don’t miss the Farmers Market from 12pm-5pm. Full of young families, intriguing smells and musical sounds, the market is a local favorite. Say “bonjour” to authentic French cuisine, or try the Acai bowl for a healthy treat. Have a seat at the shaded tables and take in the sounds of local live music. Continue your walk through the market where you can taste samples of fresh fruit and veggies, get a cup of organic coffee, and test out local beauty products. Check out the Argan Oil lotion – a local’s favorite. Once the sun goes down don’t miss an up-close performance at the Belly Up Tavern.
Northbound: Destination – Oceanside
Rent a bike for $10 from Wheel Fun Rentals, located at the pier and enjoy theocean breeze as you cruise down the Strand, a one way beachside road. Stop for a refreshment at Living Tea located on Wisconsin and 101. They offer 14 different flavors of kombucha, nitro iced coffee on tap, snacks, and a friendly environment. Try the lunch special 2 blocks away at the Hill Street Cafe. Under $10, the food is organic and delicious. From an asada burrito to the sweet chili tofu stir fry, the wide spectrum to choose from is sure to please everyone in the party. Other local eatery favorites include Masters Kitchen, Bagby Beer, and The Flying Pig. For a picture perfect sunset check out Pacific 333 or Hello Betty. The tranquility of the train is the best part. Take a photo of the sunset over the ocean, read a book, talk to a friend or meet a new one. The stress-free environment is a welcome change to travel on the 5. With friendly staff and helpful security, the Coaster is an adventure waiting to happen.