Oceanside Getaway Guide – Oceanside is home to a year-round sunny climate with an average temperature of 70 degrees. Centrally located between San Diego proper and Orange County, make it your getaway destination to enjoy its 3.5-mile coastline, the food, and its proximity to various Southern California theme parks. Check out our Oceanside Getaway Guide for where to stay, what to eat, and fun things to do in the O’side (as it’s famously called by the locals).
disclosure: this is a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.
GETTING TO OCEANSIDE:
by plane: Oceanside is conveniently located within 4 major airports including San Diego’s Lindberg Field (SAN- 40 miles), John Wayne/Orange County Airport (SNA- 50 miles) Los Angeles Airport (LAX- 90 miles) and Ontario Airport (ONT- 85 miles). McClellan-Palomar Airport (CLD) in Carlsbad is located just 15 minutes south of Oceanside and offers daily connections from LAX on United.
by rail: Daily stops are available at the Oceanside Transit Center from Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner that services cities between Santa Barbara and Oceanside. The Transit Center also is a central hub for three other rail lines: the Coaster, which operates a daily schedule between downtown San Diego and Oceanside; the Sprinter, which runs daily between Oceanside and Escondido to the east; and the Metrolink, which services Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.
by car: Oceanside is easily accessed by car from Interstate 5 and the historic Coast Highway 101.
OCEANSIDE GETAWAY GUIDE:
WHERE TO STAY IN OCEANSIDE:
Holiday Inn Express – We stayed at the junior suite of Holiday Inn Express for a night while visiting Oceanside. It’s great for families looking for value in the area. Finding parking was a breeze and the made to order breakfast was great. There’s a walking path at the back of the hotel after you pass the pool and jacuzzi to get you to the Harbor Village or Oceanside Beach.
OCEANSIDE RESTAURANTS TO TRY:
Local Tap House – Craving for seafood and something light and refreshing, we visited Local Tap House which is located about 6 minutes away from Oceanside Pier. We ordered a calamari taco and this really light tuna ceviche while the kids enjoyed their own bowls of mac n’ cheese. Local Tap House also features 32 selections of tap beers from microbreweries from all over San Diego. If you’re looking for great food, casual beach vibe atmosphere, this is the place to visit. Be warned though that if you don’t come early enough, you might find it hard to find seats. It’s a pretty popular spot in Oceanside.
Guahan Grill – Have you ever tried dishes from Guam? It’s my first time and I must say, it’s delicious. Visit Guahan Grill and order the Chicken Kelaguen, a chopped barbecue chicken dish mixed with lemon, green onions and hot pepper. While I was a big fan of it, the hubby enjoyed the Kadun Pika more – almost similar to a Filipino Adobo, it’s a chicken dish simmered with onions, garlic, hot pepper, coconut milk, vinegar, and soy sauce. We also ordered the chicken barbeque dish for the kids which was really good too. Make sure to order the red rice with all your dishes!
I know it’s all chicken dishes that we ordered but they also have other dishes that I hope to try next time we get to visit Oceanside. Guahan Grill is not very close to the beach and all the activities we did but it’s definitely worth the drive.
FUN THINGS TO DO IN OCEANSIDE:
Visit the Oceanside Pier – At 1,942 feet, the historic Oceanside Pier is one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast. Take a leisurely stroll out over the Pacific Ocean, watch the surfers ride a wave, or rent a fishing rod at the stall in the middle of the pier. While you’re there, you may meet “Charlie”, the pelican.
At the entrance of the Pier is the Amphitheater which hosts many musical and cultural performances.
Our eldest enjoyed watching the surfers wait for the wave to come in. I would try to rent a fishing rod next time we visit.
Surf or Swim at the Beaches in Oceanside
With 3 miles of coastline – you can surf, swim, build sandcastles, and even play in the playground by the beach. The beach area south of the Oceanside Pier is Oceanside’s most popular beach. Surfing, body boarding and body surfing contests are held at the Oceanside Pier throughout the summer. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, the beaches north of the Oceanside Pier have much more sand than those south of the pier and provide more space for those visiting the beach. This often makes for a quiet and more relaxed atmosphere.
Rent a Bike – just below Oceanside Pier, you can rent bikes from Wheel Fun Rentals in various sizes. We rented the single surrey bike and pedaled up and down the beach. It’s a great way to discover what the coastline has to offer and work up an appetite. Haha. Our hotel – Holiday Inn – also has some single bikes for rent from Wheel Fun Rentals but we borrowed from the kiosk at the pier.
Visit the California Surf Museum
The 5,100-square-foot California Surf Museum located in downtown Oceanside (near the pier) is dedicated to archiving and displaying surfboards, surf art, memorabilia, surfing equipment, photographs, etc. It showcases wooden surfboards from the early 1900s to today’s modern boards. Besides the display of many unique pieces of surfing memorabilia, a display dedicated to Bethany Hamilton who lost her arm in a shark attack off the coast of Hawaii is also displayed at the museum. From the board that Hamilton was riding at the time with a large piece missing where the shark bit off Hamilton’s arm, as well as the bathing suit she was wearing at the time.
See the house from the Top Gun movie – not very far from the beach is the house from the Top Gun movie. It’s closed off but it would be cool to see it in person before the Top Gun sequel comes out.
Check out Murals – Oceanside is home to dozens of vibrant and striking murals which serve as a creative outlet for the community. Drive around Downtown Oceanside to spot a few or check out this MAP to find all of them.
Rent a Fat Tire Electric Scooters – For $25 per hr. per person, scoot around Oceanside in this electric scooter that’s all the craze right now in Europe and in Asia.
Visit Legoland California – while you’re in Oceanside, you can visit Legoland California which is only 16 minutes away for kid-friendly rides, shows, and my personal favorite – apple fries! And for 4 Saturdays this October, you can also get in on the Halloween fun with their Brick or Treat event.
Visit Oceanside Harbor Village – Oceanside Harbor is one of the most picturesque spots in Oceanside. Visit to dine, do recreational activities, enjoy sandy beaches, go whale watching, or drop by Nana’s & Pop Pops Sweet Shop for ice cream and other treats! Free parking is available, just find and go through the blue tunnel in front of Joe’s Crab Shack. We were initially hesitant to drive through it as it looks like it’s only for pedestrians but it really is the way to the parking lot.
Go Whale/Dolphin Watching – we went on a whale watching cruise with Oceanside Adventures located at the Harbor Village. They are available year-round but do book your tickets in advance. Though no whales nor dolphins can be found that day (all we saw were sea lions), we actually enjoyed ourselves. The catamaran we were riding on took us 5 miles away from the shore and it was really beautiful to be out in the sea – hearing & watching the waves and seeing the coastline. Tickets were given back to all the passengers since no whales were spotted that day so hopefully we can spot them next time.
Our cruise lasted for 2 hours. It didn’t feel long coz’ it was enjoyable. The kids enjoyed it a lot as well. The catamaran is divided into 2 areas, the front is more open while the back part has a roof cover. Make sure to bring a jacket as it could get cold during the cruise.
Check out other photos from our trip to Oceanside on our Instagram page.
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