Things to do in Oceanside

At one time, Oceanside CA was little more than a playground for those who needed a break from the all-consuming world of Los Angeles. Visitors would travel by train to enjoy this seaside location that was also easily accessible to San Diego. Sunbathers would delight in the 3½ miles of pristine beaches that offered great swimming and legendary surfing. Strolling along the long wooden pier became a pastime. Hollywood noticed also, and has used the quaint beach town in several movies and television programs. The city originally began as a mission town in the mid-1700s and grew at a huge pace into the late 1800s. With the railroad making it a stop along the way, it became accessible to other towns on the coastline.

Today not much has changed in Oceanside and it remains a recreational hotspot centering on its location along the Pacific. The pier still remains and the beaches are still just as fabulous. Don’t forget your beach chair and bathing suit! Sit back, relax, and let the Pacific breezes take your cares away. Locals will tell you that each beach has a different character, and you will want to explore each one. Some boast fabulous surfing and others feature quiet calm waters for swimming and wading. If the beach isn’t your thing, then make sure to check out the other entertainment and cultural activities in Oceanside. The history of the city is traced in locations like The California Surf Museum, Mission San Luis Rey, and Heritage Park.

Oceanside Pier

For many years the Oceanside Pier has been an icon to those who live in the area. The original pier was built in 1888 and, since then, the pier has been rebuilt 5 more times because of destruction due to strong storms. Because of its strong significance to the Oceanside citizens, the pier has been rebuilt each time it has suffered disrepair. Today, at 1,954 feet, it stands as the longest wooden pier on the west coast. Stroll along the pier, breathe in the fresh sea air, and savor a beautiful sunset. If you like to fish, then The Pier is the place! No license is necessary to cast a line off of Oceanside Pier.

Oceanside Harbor

Oceanside takes its miles of port and harbor area and uses them to the best of its ability! Oceanside Harbor is a fun downtown area with something for everyone. The marina accommodates those who would like to ‘boat-in’ to enjoy the Harbor, and also offers fuel docks, boat launches, slip rentals, and service facilities. Fishing supplies and charter options are also close by for those looking for some sport and leisure fishing. Don’t miss the great dining choices here at Oceanside Harbor. Restaurants ranging from casual to upscale dot the area around the Harbor, and coffee shops and cafes are also available. Check out the gift shops and the Harbor Lighthouse while visiting this quaint seaside village.

Mission San Luis Rey

In 1798, the Mission San Luis Rey was founded by Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen and has since remained one of the most impressive of the California Missions. The mission was named to honor St. Louis, the King of France. Over time, after the mission was no longer needed, the property was used as a bullfight ring, and even a U.S. Military post, but was then rededicated to the Franciscan seminary in the late 1800s. Today this location features beautiful gardens, picnic areas, a gift shop, historic sites, and even banquet and conference facilities. Self-guided tours are available. Stop by the mission and enjoy a piece of California’s colorful history.

Heritage Park

It’s hard to call Heritage Parka ‘historic’ park…but in a sense it is! The Park was originally started as a tribute to America’s Bicentennial in 1976 but has remained an area attraction ever since. Old and historic buildings were carefully brought in from all around the area to this spot in downtown Oceanside. Some of these buildings faced imminent destruction in their original location, yet today enjoy upkeep and maintenance so they may continue to tell their story of the past. Stroll through a General Store, an inn, a blacksmith shop, a doctor’s office, a saloon, and the Old City Jail. A museum onsite provides background information about the buildings and parks itself.

Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base

Just to the north of Oceanside is one of the largest and most famous military bases in the country. Camp Pendleton has a rich history including its start as mission land, to eventually becoming land used for ranching. Presently it is used as a training and recreational facility for several branches of the United States Military. The base is located on 125,000 acres of lush preserve land, and conservation efforts are always in effect. More than 17 miles of coastline border the base and 400 species of mammals and birds are protected within the property.

California Surf Museum

Braving the waves on a surfboard is not a new thing. People have been attempting to tame the ocean on a wooden board for hundreds of years, but until the California Surf Museum came into existence, there was little documentation of the sport. In 1986 the museum took care of this disservice and gave us a place to enjoy the history of surfing through the ages. The sport of surfing has shaped the character of many beach towns all around the world. The California Surf Museum shares superb displays showing early surfboards, photos, and artifacts. In addition, there are changing exhibits exploring how surfing has influenced our music, clothing, language, and the entertainment industry. Pioneers and legends of the surfing world are honored with historical exhibits celebrating their lives and surfing contributions. Stop by and see how the sport has changed over the years and how past surfers shaped the way the sport is done today.

Oceanside Museum of Art

The Oceanside Museum of Art provides an educational, ever-changing, and fresh perspective on the art world. Located in downtown Oceanside, it has a fabulous location close to the coast and the pier. The museum offers five exhibits each year and features everything from paintings, to glass art, to furniture, to quilts, and even pop and modern art exhibits. The art museum building was designed with influences of California architecture in the 1930s and a museum shop is onsite also. The Oceanside Museum of Art also features tours and art instruction for those who would like to further their art education.

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