When it comes time for a beach getaway, Oceanside is a must see destination. Located in San Diego County, it’s within minutes of countless attractions in nearby San Diego, but gives you a place to unwind and enjoy the small beach town atmosphere.
At the turn of the century, Oceanside was a beach town devoted to activities on a 6-mile stretch of beaches, but since the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton was established in 1942, the area has been home to U.S. armed forces personnel.
At one time, the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce Slogan promoted this beach town with a huge billboard along Highway 101 “Tan Your Hide in Oceanside.” These days the Chamber of Commerce has a slightly different vision “Oceanside Classic California Beach Community..”
Things To Do in Oceanside
The Oceanside Museum of Art offers fascinating contemporary art exhibitions year round. Museum programs include concerts, films, culinary events, evening events and docent tours and chartered travel destinations. The museum is $8 for admissions, but children and students with ID are free. 704 Pier View Way Oceanside, CA 92054.
What trip to the area would be complete with a stop at the California Surf Museum? Opened in 1986, it celebrates the 10-year history of surfing in California with exhibits, films, and participation in local events. Memberships are available to support the foundation. The museum is open daily and its only $3 for admission. 312 Pier View Way Oceanside, CA 92054
After visiting the museum, I’m sure you will feel the urge for the sand between your toes. There are plenty of beaches to explore. Buccaneer Beach is Oceanside’s smallest beach and is designated for swimmers, waders and bodyboarders only; meaning it’s closed to surfing between the flagged area due to conditions.
Weekend Activities Guide
Outside the flag is open for all water sport. Buccaneer Park is located just across the street from the beach and has a large grass area, jungle gym, basketball court, picnic tables, barbecue grills, restrooms, shower, snack bar, and public parking.
Oceanside Boulevard Beach offers more actual beach area than Buccaneer Beach and is filled with private homes facing the ocean. There are no restrooms located at this beach. There is a shower. Parking is available along Pacific Street and other neighboring streets.
Wisconsin Street Beach is located at Wisconsin Street and The Strand; a one-way southbound street that parallels the Pacific Ocean. There is a ramp just north of the lifeguard tower 7 for access to the beach. This is Oceanside’s least frequented beach because it’s narrow, so it’s a great day spot to avoid the crowds.
When the tide is high, the water often comes all the way up to the rocks, leaving very little or no beach at all. The ocean in this area is open to all water activities. A small pay parking lot is located directly behind the lifeguard tower on The Strand. There is also parking along Pacific Street. Pier View South is Oceanside’s most popular beach. If you don’t mind crowds, you will be comfortable here. Restrooms and showers are provided.
Golfing is abundant in the area, with over 80 courses in an hour radius. In Oceanside, one of the best spots is the Goat Hill Golf Course, and the Arrowhead Course. Green fees are competitive, but they are popular spots so call ahead for reservations.
For history buffs, Mission San Luis Rey is only a short drive from the center of town. Mission San Luis Rey is the largest of the California missions and the only one adorned with a wooden dome that is also unique to the site, as are the side altars and the Madonna Chapel, which originally served as a mortuary chapel.
Whale watching is great for the family, and daily tours are available through the Oceanside welcome center. Prices vary by group size and area explored, so call for details. Sea lions often appear at the beaches and while exciting to watch its best to let them be and admire from a distance.
Camp Pendleton is close by and offers tours of the grounds. Call (760) 721-1101 for details. A great trip for a veteran, those who appreciate our armed forces, or a way to tame unruly kids!
Oceanside Annual Events
The Oceanside music Festival starts on October 12 and runs through the 24th. Call the Oceanside cultural arts foundation for specifics. Multiple performances will be shown, including choral performances, big band music, and world music performances are being featured.
Surfing contests are held at the Oceanside Pier. Various events are held in the Oceanside Pier Amphitheater. The pier itself is a beautiful walk and a popular fishing spot as well. No water activity is allowed within 100 feet of the pier, bit there are plenty of covered picnic tables, benches and barbecues available, as well as some fire rings on the adjacent sand.
Beach Soccer Championships. Since 2009 Oceanside has been home to the largest beach soccer festival on the west coast and is considered the top PRO event in the nation.
When looking for lodging, there’s plenty of it available throughout Oceanside and San Diego County, but why not try camping? Overnight camping is allowed at Harbor Beach year round. All you have to do is pay for parking, which is $5.00 from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m., $10.00 from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., a total of $15.00 per day. No reservations are needed. Camping is on a first come, first serve basis. There is a five-night limit in any 30-day period.
Barbeques and stoves are not allowed in parking lot area, landscaped areas, or sidewalks. Barbeques and stoves can be used on the beach but no portable fire pits are allowed. Restaurants are all over; visit the Oceanside Rocking’ Baja Lobster Bar & Grill on Harbor if you want some classic seafood, or Johnny Manana’s on Mission for some reasonably priced and fresh Mexican cuisine.
When visiting Oceanside, allow two hours for the drive from the San Fernando Valley, an hour and a half from Los Angeles, and about an hour from anywhere in Orange County — traffic permitting.