Less than an hour north of San Diego you’ll find the cute beach town of Oceanside, California. Here you can walk its long pier off the long sandy main beach, find rooms overlooking the water that won’t break the bank, a plethora of activities to keep you active, and more places that you’ll want to eat than you can fit into your trip. In making a getaway in Oceanside the perfect beach vacation spot.
Whether you’re planning a Southern California staycation or are flying in, Oceanside is easy to get to and explore. You’ll find an Amtrak stop right in town making it easy to visit from San Diego, Orange County or Los Angeles. If you’re coming up from San Diego, there are also the Coaster trains that cost only $8 each way and still include WiFi.
WIth everything going on, Oceanside still has the feel of a low-key beach town. While there is plenty of development taking place you’ll still feel like you’re hanging out in local surf spots. On a recent getaway in Oceanside, I had a chance to balance exploring the city and relaxing by the beach.
Note: Some stays, tours, passes, and meals were provided at no cost to the author. Thank you to Visit Oceanside for hosting me on this trip. As always, all opinions remain my own. I hope this article on a getaway in Oceanside is useful for you.
Indulge in Local Food & Brews
Oceanside is filled with local spots from diners to brewpubs to California fine dining spots. The types of food you’ll find are even more diverse ranging from BBQ to sushi to Mexican and so much more. Oceanside is a great place to skip the changes and enjoy the local fare.
One thing you have to eat in San Diego is the California burrito, a burrito filled with french fries. Local Tap House & Kitchen had one of my favorites that is filled with short ribs. If you’re in the mood for pizza you can find some delicious combinations of flavors at The Privateer Coal Fire Pizza.
If you’re in the mood to satisfy your foodie side, check out 608. Offering elegant small plates, it’s a great place to get to try a little bit of everything and step up your dining experience without breaking the bank. I absolutely loved the black garlic ravioli and scallops.
For breakfast, pop over to Petite Madeline Bakery to enjoy all the breakfast classics done well. You’ll also want to take one of the pastries along for later. For coffee, you won’t want to miss the popular Succulent Cafe. It’s an absolutely adorable spot to sit back with a book and relax with your coffee. There isn’t anywhere else quite like it.
San Diego is known for its craft beer scene so you shouldn’t need to order anything but local beer on your entire trip. You’ll find Breakwater Brewing right in town, and plenty of brewpubs that carry all the local favorites.
Get Active During Your Getaway in Oceanside
While you might not want to do leave the beach during your getaway in Oceanside, there are plenty of activities to explore if you do. Being on the coast, there are great ways to enjoy the beautiful nature that surrounds the area.
One great way to experience what nature has to offer in Oceanside is to get out on the water. Hop on a boat with Oceanside Adventures, the only year-round whale watching company in Oceanside. You’ll find friendly and knowledgeable staff that will guide you along the ride out to find whatever wildlife is calling the Oceanside area home at that time. Whales head up and down the coast most all of the year and you’re guaranteed to see a few pods of dolphins.
On land, you can explore the coast a few different ways. One great way is to rent a bike and ride it along the coast. Even for beginners, there are a variety of destinations you can explore from the Oceanside Pier. Wheels for Fun rents bikes and you can make your way to the harbor, Mission San Luis Rey, South Oceanside or Carlsbad.
Get away from the coast and see more of what Oceanside has to offer with a hike along The San Luis Rey River Trail it starts right in the Downtown area and you can take this 7.3 mile trail.
If you’re not as much in the mood to get outside Oceanside offers some interesting museums to explore as well. Consider visiting the California Surf Museum for a fun history of the sport around the state. Or enjoy the pieces at the Oceanside Museum of Art.
A Variety of Accommodations on the Beach
A getaway to the beach is always better when you can see the ocean from your own room or at least a relaxing patio at your hotel. In Oceanside, there are plenty of quality accommodations right near the beach that won’t break the bank. I enjoyed my stay at the Spring Hill Suites. You’ll find cozy rooms with some living room styled spaces. I loved my patio to where I enjoyed some wine and watched the sunset over the ocean. Their pool is a great perk, where you can take in an ocean view while relaxing in the hot tub.
Just a few blocks away you can also find the Wyndman Oceanside Pier Resort. And depending on the time of the year you can find rooms at both places for under $160 a night.
And Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Beach
One thing you can’t miss in Oceanside is the beach. Across the city, you’ll find wide sandy beaches. Consider hanging out down by the pier and enjoy watching the surfers and even consider hopping into the waves yourself. Harbor beach is another good spot to enjoy.
Grab a chair and towel and head down to spend an afternoon relaxing on the beach. You can rent a boogie board or just pick up a book to read for the day.
A Launch Pad for Exploring San Diego County
On top of everything Oceanside has to offer, it’s a great place to explore all of San Diego county. While Downtown can be fun there is so much more to see in the region. North County San Diego has many gems worth exploring.
If you haven’t gotten enough of the local beers you can hop on the local trains and head to Vista or Escondido for some of the area’s favorite brewery with just a short ride.
One of my favorites is the San Diego Safari Park. A unique park that is so much more than a zoo where you can see many wild animals is what is close to their natural habitat. Enjoy the California Condors, big cats, elephants and more. All while learning about their conservation efforts.
In the spring enjoy the Carlsbad Flower Fields, a unique event that happens each year where you’ll see thousands of bright blooming flowers.
Stay a little longer in Oceanside and add on a few day trips to explore the all of what North County San Diego has to offer.