Oceanside, CA

Oceanside is a sunny beach town located in Southern California. The city’s name stems from its location along the pacific coast on the northern edge of San Diego County. Oceanside provides plenty of the warm and mild weather California is well known for. On average, the city gets 266 sunny days and 10 inches of rain per year, with July highs at 72 and January lows at 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The comfortable weather provides the freedom to enjoy outdoor activities almost daily.

History

Oceanside’s original inhabitants were a small tribe of Native Americans until Spanish explorers travelled here looking for a good area to build a mission. With a seemingly thriving community and fresh flowing water from the San Luis Rey Valley, Oceanside was the perfect place to build their new mission. A few of the first men to live in the area: Cave Couts Jr., Andrew Jackson Myers, and John Chauncey Hayes, got together and began the development of the city. Oceanside prospered and the mission that was built thrived beyond anyone’s expectations. Tourists from all over came to see Oceanside’s beautiful pier, beaches, and Mission San Luis Rey de Francia.

The Mission

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is a beautiful former Spanish mission that became known as the “King of the Missions”. The name was well earned by the size, location and how well it flourished. The mission was built in 1798, alongside the San Luis Rey Valley, by the Native American Indians in the area who provided their labor for the Spanish explorers. Today, you can take tours of the beautiful, historical, and restored mission. It has a museum on site with a collection of artifacts from the Native American, Mission, Spanish, Mexican Secularization, and American Military periods. Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is a wonderful place for spiritual retreats. Settle into one of the quaint rooms at the Retreat Center, and enjoy the 56 acres of property this mission has to offer. The gardens are popular for meditation and relaxation. Guests have access to a swimming pool, basketball court, and volleyball court. Meals are provided for guests as well, and served buffet-style in the dining room. The Historic Mission Church, built in 1811, is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for prayer and meditation.

Oceanside Pier

The pier being built was another one of the most popular attractions in Oceanside and still is. Oceanside has one of the longest piers on the west coast. Experience the opportunity of a lifetime at Ruby’s Diner on the end of the pier. The retro diner provides a delicious food selection and an unbeatable view, seated right above the Pacific Ocean. The pier is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day with the breeze getting cooler and stronger as you walk toward the end. It’s also a hot spot for fishing. The beach below the pier is always alive with locals and visitors walking, biking, running, and skating up and down “The Strand”. The strand is the road that lies along the sandy beach. The road was paved in the early 1900s to show off the pier as it was being built. This was very successful in bringing tons of traffic into the city. Today, on the strand, you’ll find ice cream stands, hot dog stands, shaved ice, surf board rentals, Tin Fish restaurant, a local artist sketching caricatures, cruiser rentals, and more. Restrooms are available next to the amphitheater where many events and concerts are held year-round. The amphitheater is a spacious area with concrete stands most commonly used by locals for exercise. You’ll find people of all ages running up and down the stands or down in front of the stage doing workouts.  On the sand, there’s a playground for children to play on. Tables right next to the playground are good for taking breaks and eating snacks on. Downtown Oceanside is located right down the street less than a mile away from the beach. Walk over to enjoy the shops and dining available before or after you’ve had a chance to enjoy the water.

Beaches

Other beaches in Oceanside include Buccaneer Beach, Del Mar Beach, Oceanside Harbor, and Oceanside Blvd Beach. Oceanside Boulevard Beach is located just south of the pier at Oceanside Blvd and Pacific Street. This beach is narrow and has rocks piled up on both sides to protect the beach front homes. Buccaneer beach is a small, family friendly beach a couple miles south of the pier. Buccaneer Park is located at this beach and offers a children’s playground, a basketball court, a gazebo, and more. Parents can head over to Buccaneer Galley Café for a latte or pastry to enjoy while their children run and play. This is also a popular spot for youth to practice surfing. The Oceanside Harbor, located east of the pier, is large and wide. The beach sits in front of the harbor and the marina. Some call this beach “The Jetties” because it is boxed in by two jetties. Right next to the beach, you can walk over to several shopping and dining options. The dining options are full of fresh seafood at places like Joe’s Crab Shack, Harbor Fish and Chips, and Rockin’ Baja Lobster. Del Mar Beach is a military-only beach located on Camp Pendleton. Camp Pendleton is a Marine Corps Base located in Oceanside. The wide beach features beach front cottages for military members and their families to rent, as well as an RV park on site for camping.

Activities

Pick a beach and go camping, surfing, shopping, dining, and more. Oceanside Pier is the only beach in the area that offers coastal skydiving, and if you’re not feeling up to the jump, you can still enjoy an incredible ride in a vintage biplane. Every Thursday night, experience the weekly event that brings hundreds of San Diego residents and visitors together for a night of fun, entertainment, and mouthwatering food. Sunset Market in downtown Oceanside happens right off of Coast Highway, about a five-minute walk from the pier. Every Thursday night from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., enjoy the local event that brings everyone back for more, week after week. Sunset Market is not your ordinary farmers market. There are countless food vendors of every variety. It’s almost impossible to choose what to eat when you have Thai, sushi, French, Colombian, Vietnamese, Jamaican, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, street tacos, Soul Food, Italian, Brazilian, Salvadorian, and who knows how many more food selections? A local favorite is the Thai Burger. One thing is for sure: you can’t leave without trying at least one. Satisfy your sweet tooth with ice cream, French macarons, fried Oreos, cheesecakes, churros, donuts, and mini cheesecakes. Children may not want to hang out in all of the boring food lines, so take them over to the bouncy house and pony rides to help them get all their wiggles out. The same artist you saw at the pier sketching caricatures under the pier is also here at Sunset Market waiting to draw a picture of you and your friends or family. You’ll even find face painting, street performers, iPhone repair, specialty coffee, live bands, clothes, flowers, accessories, and just about anything else you could think of. Don’t worry about running out of cash because there is also an ATM available on site.

What’s Cooking

The Sunset Market isn’t the only place in Oceanside with good food. The city has adorable hole in the wall coffee shops, French bakeries, and casual and fine dining. 333 Pacific is a steak and seafood dinner restaurant, and it’s perfect for a date night out with your loved one. If you’re looking for something unique, check our Succulent Café for a coffee and a gorgeous selection of succulents decorating the café. The pastries are made by the Petite Madeleine across the street, supporting the local business. Petite Madeleine is a cozy French bakery downtown. The bakery serves freshly baked pastries, desserts, breakfast, lattes, and more. Another great breakfast spot downtown is the Breakfast Club Diner. The classic American diner has 80s-themed décor, and they serve generously portioned breakfast and brunch. That Boy Good is a popular spot for southern food. They serve fresh barbecue and soul food daily. The locals rave about the restaurant being some of the best southern food in the area. This is important to a lot of people as many families from all over the country are stationed here on Camp Pendleton. People from the south usually have trouble finding good food in California that reminds them of home, and That Boy Good does an excellent job satisfying their cravings.

More Activities and Amenities

Other things to do in the area include the California Surf Museum, the Oceanside Museum of Art, golfing, Ocean’s Eleven Casino, Guajome County Park, and Heritage Park. The California Surf Museum is one of a kind. The museum features the progression of surfboards from the 1900s to present day, with the actual surfboards that have been used over the years on display. The museum also features the famous surfboard that belonged to Bethany Hamilton who lost her arm to a 14-foot Tiger Shark off the coast of Hawaii. The board is on display with a large bite taken out of it along with the bathing suit Hamilton was wearing during the attack. The Oceanside Museum of Art features collections of modern art and cultural events.  The museum is family friendly with the occasional Free Family Art Day and Children and Family art classes on site. Children can learn and explore their creativity through fun and hands-on activities hosted by the museum. Enjoy golfing around the San Luis Rey Valley when you go to Oceanside Golf Course. Another great course who earned its title as “North County’s Most Challenging Executive Course” is Emerald Isle Golf Course and Practice Range. The course is great for all ages and the rounds average at less than 3 hours. The El Camino Country Club sits on 115 acres of fresh green grassland, and has earned its spot as one of the finest private clubs in the county. The challenging course hosts several professional events annually with championship-level play. If you love golf, you will appreciate Oceanside. These courses are only half of what the city has to offer. Arrowood Golf Course, Marine Memorial Golf Course, and Goat Hill Park Golf Course make up the other half of selections, giving you more than enough options to choose the course that best suits your needs. Ocean’s Eleven Casino is less than a mile from the beach. The Casino hosts weekly poker tournaments for competitive players to test their skills. Heritage Park is composed of the original buildings of downtown including the first general store, blacksmith shop, livery stable, Portola Inn, old city jail, doctor’s office, Libby school, and The Blade Newspaper. Heritage Park hosts guided tours, special events, educational programs, and social gatherings. Guajome County Park includes a developed 33-site campground, two ponds, a small gazebo, a lake, playgrounds, basketball court, and lots of open space for picnicking and relaxation. The park is perfect for a day out in nature to hike, picnic, fish, bike, play, camp, and explore.

Schools

Oceanside Unified School District is the primary district for the city. Neighboring districts for Oceanside are Carlsbad Unified, Bonsall Union, Fallbrook Union, San Dieguito Union High, and Vista Unified School Districts. Oceanside Unified School District manages 23 different schools. The top rated schools are Bonsall West Elementary, Ivey Ranch Elementary, and Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary. Oceanside is under the Open Enrollment Policy put into place after the No Child Left Behind Act. The policy allows your child to attend any school in the district, otherwise known as intradistrict choice. Interdistrict choice is also available for those who qualify, for children to attend school in a neighboring district. In order to do this, you will need to fill out a School of Choice application. These are available at every school in the city. OSUD strives to help every student graduate and be prepared for success in the community.

 

Oceanside is a diamond in the rough. The city revolves around the raw history and crowning jewels: The Oceanside Pier and Mission San Luis Rey de Francia. These historical monuments bring in visitors and tourists from all around and keep them coming back for more. Many of the locals who grew up in the area actively bring business to the area as well, creating successful businesses in their hometown. The community vibes, festivals, and delicious food will make you never want to leave this beautiful SoCal beach town.