What to do and see in Oceanside, United States: The Best Places and Tips

July 28, 2017 Cedrick Jardin

Oceanside is a seaside oasis of recreation and beautiful beaches. Centrally located between San Diego and Los Angeles, Oceanside is frequently referred to as “the hub of Southern California.” From here, it’s easy to access a variety of amusement parks and family activities such as Disneyland, Legoland, Sea World and the San Diego Zoo. If you’re looking to educate as well as entertain, you won’t be disappointed. Take your kids to visit Mission San Luis Rey. Founded in 1798, Mission San Luis is often called “The King of Missions” and includes picnic grounds and a gift shop in addition to a museum. Also check out the California Surf Museum or the Oceanside Museum of Art. With more than six miles of frontal beach roads, Oceanside allows you to jog, bike or skate to your heart’s content. Bike the San Luis Rey River Biking trail or take part in private o group surf lessons from a local surf school. Get your sea legs on and check out one of the many boat rental companies for a trip out to sea you won’t soon forget – go deep sea fishing, diving or whale watching. For the golf lover, Oceanside is a veritable paradise! With six courses in or near Oceanside, you’re sure to find a public or private course to fit your game - try Oceanside Municipal Golf Course, Emerald Isle Golf Course or Pendleton Marine Golf Course.
Restaurants in Oceanside

1. California Welcome Center

928 N Coast Hwy, Suite A, Oceanside, CA 92054-2136 +1 800-350-7873
Excellent
84%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 141 reviews

California Welcome Center

California Welcome Centers are California’s official State Visitor Centers offering valuable information and services for today’s traveler. There are 17 affiliated Welcome Centers located throughout the state, with volunteers and staff to answer your questions and enhance your visit. Oceanside is home to one of the California Welcome Centers, ready to assist visitors daily from 9am-5pm (except major holidays). Free maps, brochures, a gift shop, restrooms, and personal assistance to get you where you want to go!

Reviewed By FitzFamilyTravels - Commerce Township, Michigan

This Welcome centre really lived up to its name. Everyone in there was very welcoming and informative. Gave us many suggestions for things to do and see and answered all of our questions. Thank you!!

2. COASTER

195 S Tremont St, Oceanside Transit Center, Oceanside, CA 92054-3028 +1 760-966-6500
Excellent
70%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 611 reviews

COASTER

Reviewed By on_the_go_98765 - Tucson

We've taken the Coaster from Carlsbad to Oceanside (really nice center, Oceanside should be proud), and we've also taken the Coaster from Carlsbad to San Diego. Nice experiences during all of those times.

Fortunately for us, we do not travel during peak times and we were able to buy our reduced fare tickets via the machines with few problems. The transportation center in Oceanside is an especially nice, modern, state-of-the-art center. Its terminus is roughly closer to the pier than anything we can think of.

Driving in California can sometimes feel more like a contact sport or a race to the finish (wherever that finish line may be). Any opportunity that says, to us, sit back, relax, and leave the driving to us: Hey, that works for me! Sign me up!

Just as an aside here, we always walk to the station from wherever we are staying.

3. Mission San Luis Rey

4050 Mission Ave., Oceanside, CA 92057-6402 +1 760-757-3651
Excellent
65%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 484 reviews

Mission San Luis Rey

Founded in 1798, Old Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, known as the "King of the Missions," is a National Historic Landmark. The largest of all the 21 California missions, it is home to a community of Franciscan Friars and is open daily to the public in the Franciscan tradition of heritage and hospitality. Facilities include a Retreat Center with day and overnight programs for spiritual renewal, multi-function meeting spaces, a Cemetery open to all people, Mission Gift Shop, Historic Church and interpretive Museum.

Reviewed By Starviagera - Los Angeles, California

Very interesting history of California. The land keeps changing hands. Hispanics once more the majority. Visit the museum and the labanderia

4. Oceanside Pier

300 S Pacific St, Oceanside, CA 92054-2922 +1 760-467-4565
Excellent
57%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Oceanside Pier

Longest wooden pier on California coast at 1941 feet, 1/3 of a mile, there is a convenience store half way out stocked floor to ceiling with fishing pole rentals, bait, tackle, snacks and beverages, and a whole lot of souvenir's stuffed into a 7X15 foot space. Ruby's 50's diner is located on the end with breakfast to burgers and a view to die for. The pier it self is open 24 hours a day 7days a week

Reviewed By jfort2018 - Oceanside, California

I love it. The improvements to the pier over the past few years have made it a comfortable walking experience with new wood it's a smooth experience. People fishing and scenic views of everything from surfers to dolphins make it different nightly.

5. Oceanside Sunset Market

316 Mission Ave, Oceanside, CA 92054-2553
Excellent
60%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 164 reviews

Oceanside Sunset Market

Reviewed By on_the_go_98765 - Tucson

When the sun sets, the strings of overhead lights come on and the whole area takes on a festive atmosphere, the likes that we have not seen in any other Farmers Market/Sunset Market anywhere, ever. This was off-the-charts spectacular in every aspect. The shops lining the Market were offering their wares (and brews) so the area really came to life.

Where to start? How about finding food stalls with every imaginable ethnic food available (we are partial to the Turkish wraps), or maybe it is the amusements set up for those who want to bungee chord jump to their hearts delight? Or maybe its the really great musical groups on stage. Or maybe it is all these things mixed together?!?

This should be a carnival by any standards. Loved it. Oceanside, you did this right. We'd come back again and again, just to experience this exciting experience.

6. Harbor Beach

Harbor Drive, Oceanside, CA
Excellent
55%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 166 reviews

Harbor Beach

Reviewed By on_the_go_98765 - Tucson

The river's channel area may possibly be waded through (depends on flow) but it is the nesting place of protected ground-dwelling birds so, take the pedestrian overpass and make your way through Harbor Village to the beach.

There are shade structures over picnic tables and the width of the beach is bigger than most of the beach stretches. Lots of good space to stretch out and have a fun game of Frisbee or try swimming (wetsuits recommended for Feb.)

7. California Surf Museum

312 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 92054-2525 +1 760-721-6876
Excellent
63%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 162 reviews

California Surf Museum

Founded in 1986, the California Surf Museum mission is to preserve surfing heritage. The museum hosts a variety of cultural events from book signings to lectures, to movie nights to concerts. But the museum is most known for the wonderful rotating exhibits about surf and skateboard culture, art, and history. The whole family is welcome and you don't have to surf or skateboard to enjoy the museum.The California Surf Museum has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, the BBC, the American Pickers "California Dreamin'", Hawaiian Airlines commercial, PBS "Getting Away Together" and many more. Don't miss the outdoor Secret Spot and Bethany Hamilton's surfboard while you are here. Also, shop the Museum Store for unique gifts and souvenirs. Joining as a member is a great way to get involved in volunteer opportunities and to support the museum on an annual basis. Hope to see you soon!

Reviewed By ep1979 - Minnesota

Stopped in here on a misty, cool, dreary day. Interesting little stop. Inexpensive at $5 for adults and $3 for students over 12. We are not surfers but was fun for kids to see Bethany Hamilton's board. Interesting to read about surfing during the Vietnam war. The adults in our group enjoyed the stop...well done in such a small space. Fun little gift shop too for the surf enthusiast!

8. Oceanside Farmer's Market

corner Coast Highway & Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA +1 760-754-4512
Excellent
52%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 115 reviews

Oceanside Farmer's Market

Reviewed By David H - Oceanside, California

Every Thursday, the streets of downtown Oceanside on the ocean side of the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) are blocked off to vehicular traffic and this event is held. In the morning and afternoon, local, fresh produce is abundantly available but it is during the evening that the event becomes really interesting. Food kiosks offering a wide variety of ethnic edibles abound, street performers present a variety of acts, vendors selling everything from locally designed artwork and other interesting products, colored lights and lots of people milling through the area. We live here and enjoy very much going when we are able. The pier (the longest wooden pier on the South California coast) is just a short walk away. Enjoy!

9. Oceanside Strand

Seagaze Dr at S the Strand, Oceanside, CA 92054
Excellent
54%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 70 reviews

Oceanside Strand

Reviewed By on_the_go_98765 - Tucson

The stretch of the "Strand" runs along the shoreline/beach from about Wisconsin Avenue down to where it ends at North Strand (vicinity of Coronado Shores condo complex). Along the way (and it is all about "along" the way) everything interesting happens! A movie may be filming (as it was during our visit), a surf contest may be in full swing, the pier and its fun businesses may be beckoning to the traveler, and we all queue up along the stretch of one-lane road as it makes its way through paradise.

It's been about 2 year now since we were here last and it is still the most delightful and refreshing slice of life that takes place here. Most certainly, Oceanside is coming into its own (meaning it's becoming more affluent) and prices rise accordingly. What took everyone so long to discover this treasure?

Do yourself a favor. Come here. You will not be disappointed.

10. Oceanside Museum of Art

704 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 92054-2802 +1 760-435-3720
Excellent
54%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 65 reviews

Oceanside Museum of Art

Reviewed By mac33028 - San Marcos, California

Museum volunteers are welcoming and the building is warm and peaceful. Art displayed is mostly by local artists and changes throughout the year. The time we visited there was a very unique display in its own room by a traveling artist.
The museum may be known more by artists or tourist than locals. We didn't know about it until we passed and decided to visit.

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