The Coastal Resort City That's An Athlete's Playground
With year-round sunshine, seven miles of Pacific coastline, three lagoons, and 46 miles of hiking trails, Carlsbad is an athlete's playground, home to pros like runner Steve Scott and surfer Taylor Knox. And with one of the world's highest concentrations of sports-oriented companies (Reef Apparel, Callaway Golf, and Superbrand surfboards are based here), it's not a bad place for amateurs, either. "You can work in the sports world and play in the sports world," says Brian Enge, a triathlete who helms SKLZ, which makes sports-training products. Biotech companies also thrive in this otherwise laid-back beach town, employing about 6,000 at an average annual salary of $125,000. And even these employers are sports-friendly. At ViaSat, a telecom outfit with 2,000 local employees, you'll find basketball and volleyball courts — and wetsuits hanging out to dry.
My Town: Andy Parr, 34, manufacturing manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific
"I usually ride my bike to work. If I have enough time, I'll take the long way, which makes it a 10-mile route that goes past Batiquitos Lagoon, up a few good hills, and then to our campus, where we have a gym and showers.
"It's pretty flexible here, and some people can take half days. On Wednesdays I would ride 70 miles in the morning and be at work by noon. Now I manage a team that makes tools to decode and sequence DNA. My schedule isn't as flexible, but I like the work. And the beach is close by. It's nice to be able to go see the sunset after work. It's very calming."
By the numbers:
- Population: 105,097
- Median Home Price: $652,000
- Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
- Cost of Living (relative to U.S. Median): + 98%
- Median Income: $83,875
- Days of Sunshine a Year: 263