Commuting Routes in Carlsbad and North San Diego County

Real Estate Agent with eXp Realty of California CA DRE #01490977

Commuting Routes in Carlsbad and North San Diego County 

Commuting by car or van in San Diego can be a treat or a nightmareI'm not necessarily a big fan of commuting, but I do my share of driving, both on and off the major commuting routes in Carlsbad and North San Diego County. And having done the commuting thing years ago on the East Coast when in the corporate world, I know about the challenges of commuting by car (2-3 hours per day in the car getting to and from work - more in the snow).

Distance (how far do you want or want to commute?)

Time (what you are willing to put up with vs. the reality)

Rush Hour Traffic (or guessing WHEN rush hour is, and it's NOT 1 hour)

Accidents on the Roadways

Gas (especially with today's prices, which thankfully have dropped quite a bit recently)

Here are some tips, and information about the major roadways you might want to know about depending on where you are headed. 

First, don't be using that cell phone without a hands-free device - you risk getting a whopping ticket.

Same also goes for texting or emailing while driving, which is simply stupid and dangerous, but will also net you a big fine. 


Commuting by car or van in San Diego can be a treat or a nightmare5 Freeway - runs from the border south of San Diego to Orange County and on to the Canadian border. Best way to get downtown or points south of Carlsbad but rush hours can be slow in Carlsbad, Encinitas and down to Del Mar depending on time of day. Seems like things move well if you are on the road by 7 by that can vary. The worst seems to be 7:30 - 9. Coming north it gets ugly from the merge of the 805 and 5 just North of La Jolla and bad up to Cardiff. [photo courtesy of Tammra Mccauley on Flickr]

78 Freeway - runs east and west between Oceanside (at the 5) and Escondido just past the 15 Freeway merge that runs north and south from San Diego up to Riverside County and beyond. Borders on Carlsbad to the north. 

Route 101/Coast Road - as the name implies it runs along the coast from Oceanside to La Jolla. 2 lanes each way for the most part. Good way to avoid the 5 but there are lights. More scenic. Take a drive on historic Route 101

El Camino Real - the "King's Road". Good alternative to the freeway, running north and south from Oceanside to Cardiff where it meets the 5 freeway by the San Elijo Lagoon.  

Secondary Roads - these include the major east- west roads off the 5 freeway, including Carlsbad Village Drive, Tamarack, Cannon, Palomar Airport Road (a 3-lane road each direction that becomes San Marcos Blvd. in San Marcos), Poinsettia, La Costa Avenue, Leucadia, and Encinitas Boulevard.  Melrose parallels El Camino, running from Oceanside to where it meets Rancho Santa Fe in Carlsbad 

Want to know about the traffic?

Check out Real Time Traffic maps from CalTrans with links to web-cams. 


The Coaster - commuter rail between Oceanside and San Diego with stops in most towns. 2 stops in Carlsbad. 

AMTRAK - runs between San Diego and Los Angeles with stops downtown, in Solana Beach and in Oceanside. 

Breeze - the public bus system 

Sprinter - light rail train between Oceanside and Escondido


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William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Jeff, Thanks for the traffic link. The first thing I looked for was to see if it has a mobile app, LOL. It doesn't but I think there is one somewhere, thanks for the reminder to check.

As bust as our freeways are, there is such a network of roads through it, that if you want to much of the jams can be avoided * at least some of the time). But overall, our freeways still get you there with out the hours of wait time ( except for Rt 5 which hopefully will get fixed right one of the days ) like in LA and the big cities back East. 

I make no showing or listing appointments before 10 AM and that beats most of the mess in the morning, and I try to make afternoon listing appointment between 1 and 3 to beat the traffic goin the other way. If I can't arrange it that way, then I plan to have dinner out wherever the listing is. :-) Works so far.

Jun 26, 2011 02:48 PM #1
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

So Jeff is the traffic in your area as bad as it is hear in the Boston area? Love the pictures:)

Jun 27, 2011 12:16 AM #2
Lee & Pamela St. Peter
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522 - Raleigh, NC
Making Connections to Success in Real Estate

Good morning Jeff... great recap of what to expect from ones commune in North San Diego County.  Boy oh boy do I ever remember the long commute time when we were in Montreal ~ you are correct - sometimes 2/3 hours!  Don't miss that at all! 

Around the Raleigh/Cary area if the traffic holds you up 10/15 minutes people start complaining at how bad it is getting...  :) 

Jun 27, 2011 03:45 AM #3
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

William - well the 5 sure beats the 405 any day. I've learned when I can drive and when to avoid if I can. Nodoubt there IS a mobile app - can't imagine there isn't.

Bill - in some ways, although there is more traffic, it is easier to deal with than the expressway and the Mass Pike. We don't get the gridlock and of course don't have the snow related traffic hang-ups. And we have bigger roads.

Pamela - you're lucky your traffic isn't worse! But of course we can always use it as an excuse for why we are late, which seems to be the rule of thumb in CA. There are times you know it is going to be ugy so you just deal with it if you need to use the freeway.


Jun 27, 2011 04:11 AM #4
Nick T Pappas
Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Hun... - Huntsville, AL
Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource

Jeff, and I thought Chicago traffic was bad during rush hour.  A typical commute for me off hours and in good weather was about 45 minutes...throw snow and rush hour into the mix and your looking at two to three hours.

Jun 27, 2011 12:45 PM #5
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Jeff Dowler, CRS

The Southern California Relocation Dude
What's my Carlsbad CA Area Home Worth??
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