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Oceanside California Vacation Guide

Where to Stay And  What To See In Oceanside

Oceanside Harbor

If you've never been to Oceanside California before, your first stop might as well be at the California Welcome Center, where you can pick up plenty of information about visiting this area and California in general. It's right off the Interstate 5 freeway. Take exit 54B and head towards the Coast Highway, merge onto the San Luis Rey Mission Expressway and turn a quick right onto Coast Highway.

Camp Pendleton is the well known military base and marine corps training center located in Oceanside. But besides that, the town has about 3 miles of nice, sandy beaches.

Oceanside Beaches

Oceanside California Beaches On Map

© OpenStreetMap contributors

Oceanside beach weather is sunny and warm nearly most of the year, making it a popular vacation destination. Starting at the north end of town near the harbor and running south to the Buena Vista Lagoon, there is a whole lotta beach. It's a very popular place for surfing and body boarding, and around 15 competitions are held here every year.

Oceanside BeachOceanside Beach

Harbor Beach is on the peninsula strip located outside of the harbor. Here you'll find restrooms, a snack bar, fire rings and volleyball nets.

Breakwater Way is just south of that and also has restrooms and volleyball. At Pier View North, just north of the Oceanside Pier, there is the Oceanside Beach Community Center. They offer fun activities for anyone all year round.

On the other side of the pier is Pier View South, which is a much more crowded beach and where all the action is, such as surfing competitions. There is a pay parking lot. The pier is within walking distance to restaurants, downtown and surf shops. The strand is a mile long promenade along the beach, lined with palm trees.

Tyson Street Beach has a park and playground in addition to restrooms.Wisconsin Street Beach also has restrooms, but high tide can make this beach quite narrow.

Oceanside Boulevard Beach has no restrooms, and you park on the street. It is lined with oceanview houses. Then there's the very small Buccaneer Beach, which has free parking and restrooms and a snack bar across the street at a park with a playground.

Lastly, there's South Oceanside, a beach which features tide pools, a snack bar, restrooms and a playground. 

Oceanside Harbor

Picnic table at Oceanside HarborOceanside Harbor

At the harbor, you'll find yachts, boats, restaurants on the water and shops to browse. A 4 lane boat ramp allows you to bring your own watercraft. You can also rent kayaks if you like. The harbor makes a good stop for sailors on their way between San Diego and Newport Beach.

Where To Stay In Oceanside California

Oceanside hotels ta

Whether you want to be closer to the beach or further inland, see our Oceanside hotels page.  For longer stays, see Oceanside vacation rentals.  Or sleep in your own RV at the Oceanside RV Park

The Oceanside Pier

The Oceanside Pier sits at the end of North Meyers Street, a block from Mission Avenue In Oceanside. There is fishing on the pier, fish cleaning facilities, and restrooms. At the end of the pier is Ruby's Diner, a popular fifties style diner.

Oceanside Restaurants

While there are many, many more restaurants in Oceanside, if you're on vacation, you'll probably want to visit one of the restaurants at the harbor near the water. They vary from seafood fine dining to a traditional fish & chips joint.

  • Rockin' Baja Oceanside Harbor
  • Lighthouse Oyster Bar & Grill
  • Tony's Sports Bar & Grill
  • Dominics
  • Robin's Nest Cafe
  • Joe's Crab Shack
  • Harbor Fish and Chips
  • Monterey Bay Canner Restaurant and Oyster Bar
  • Jolly Roger

The California Surf Museum

For all those into surfing, the California Surf Museum at 223 N. Coast Highway features exhibits about the evolution of the surfboard and the sport itself.

More Things To Do

At the south end of town, just before Carlsbad is a bird sanctuary and nature reserve called Buena Vista Lagoon.

Picnic table at Buena Vista Lagoon In OceansideBuena Vista Lagoon

For art lovers, there's the Oceanside Museum of Art downtown near the train station.

Mission San Luis Rey In Oceanside CaliforniaMission San Luis Rey

California history buffs will appreciate visiting the largest of all the state's missions: Old Mission San Luis Rey de Lucia, founded in 1798. They offer self guided tours and are located about four miles inland from the freeway. Behind the mission is the Heritage Park Village and Museum, which is an 1800's era village on display.

Old ruins at the Mission in OceansideRuins at the Mission

Getting There By Train

The beach community of Oceanside California is eighty four miles south of Los Angeles and at the north end of San Diego County. Take Mission Ave. exit off of the I-5.

To get to Oceanside California by train, you can take Amtrak from San Diego or Los Angeles. In addition, Metrolink runs north to L.A. or northeastward to the Inland Empire. The Coaster is another option down to San Diego or any of the North County beach towns.

Map of Oceanside

View Oceanside in a larger map

To get to Oceanside California via the rails, you can take Amtrak from San Diego or Los Angeles. In addition, Metrolink runs north to L.A. or northeastward to the Inland Empire. The Coaster is another option down to San Diego or any of the North County beach towns. 

Affiliate Disclosure: Some links on this page may go to the TripAdvisor website, where I will gain a small commission if you click certain links within their website. However, I wouldn't link to that site if I didn't think it would be useful and interesting as a supplement to this site.

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