Carlsbad Getaway: Grown-up Play Date

Find merriment, Milk Duds, and movies, just a few minutes from the beach.


VACATION HIGH JINKS: There's no doubt about it: You can feel like you need a vacation from prepping from your vacation, especially if the hectic days leading up to your getaway are full of last-minute errands, extra work assignments, and the hundred to-dos that seem to fill up the get-out-of-town list. When you arrive at your destination, though, how is your ability to achieve maximum let-go-ness? Are you still coiled up in your busy, check-your-phone-lots patterns? Or are you acting carefree right away, and even a bit silly and/or wacky? There's a way to get to that vacay-okay feeling faster, by incorporating board games and treats and movies. And, nope, it doesn't matter if you're not exactly a kid, for board games and treats and movie enjoyment is eternal. Look to the West Inn & Suites in Carlsbad, which recently introduced the Date Your Mate package, and nope, it isn't about murmuring, candles, and fancy foods but rather...

BOARD GAME SHOWDOWNS and bubble baths and "an '80s movie throwback" and Milk Duds and the eating of popcorn (and, perhaps, the throwing of a few kernels of popcorn, too, as is the time-honored tradition between lovebirds). The rate? It kicks off from $189. Where you'll be? Just a short drive from the sand, including some prime surfing beach. Is LEGOLAND nearby, if that's your brick-beautiful pleasure? It's not far at all. Do you need a vacation from your vacation prep, and then another when you return? That's how the old joke often goes. But if you make your main vacation full of fun, that could be enough. And isn't that a goal of all getawayers?

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