15 Things to Do in Oceanside (CA)

Located in sunny San Diego County in Southern California is the city of Oceanside, which, as the name suggests, is also located by the sea.

As such, you’ll find more than 6 miles of beaches here as well as a host of beach attractions such as the boardwalk and pier dating back to 1888.

Much of the city has been preserved, including the original town square, and if you enjoy visiting period attractions, you’ll love the working museum in Oceanside, where you’ll feel It’s like going back to an earlier era.

But that’s not to say the city isn’t modern, you’ll find bustling beach life here, stroll through Oceanside’s various idyllic parks, or take a boat trip to the area’s gorgeous harbour.

There are also museums and galleries, as well as a vibrant dining and nightlife scene, so whatever your preferences, you’re sure to find something in Oceanside that excites you.

Let’s explore the best things to do in Oceanside:

1. Harbour Beach

Harbour Beach, Oceanside

Harbour Beach stretches for a quarter of a mile in Oceanside and consists of sand and sidewalks.

The beach provides visitors with plenty of amenities such as playgrounds, volleyball courts, and picnic areas, and if you want to try catching some of the native species that the waters have to offer, you can also head to the pier for fishing.

You can also swim in the swimmers-only area at Harbour Beach, or you can surf in another special area to keep all visitors safe.

2. Beach House Winery

Beach House Winery

Beach House Winery is located within easy access to the beach, where you can enjoy stunning views of the majestic stretch of the Pacific Ocean.

If you’re traveling here, you can try some of the winery’s famous signature blends such as Grenache, Syrah and Chardonnay on offer.

There is a tasting room, and there are a number of wine tasting events throughout the week.

3. Waterfront Pier

Oceanside Pier, California

The Oceanside Pier is an iconic building in Oceanside that surrounds the coastline and offers visitors a range of activities.

If you want to go fishing, the pier is one of the top places to go, spanning a staggering 1,600 feet, so you’re sure to find the perfect spot to try and catch local species.

If you want to go out to sea yourself, you can also rent a boat from one of the many boat ramps along the marina and launch here.

There are also picnic areas to enjoy, or you can dine at one of the restaurants in the area.

Bird watching is a common pastime at the pier, or you can take a leisurely stroll along the pier to watch the sunset.

4. Oceanside Art Museum

Oceanside Art Museum

First opened in 1997, the Oceanside Art Museum is the perfect place to explore the California art scene while in town.

The museum showcases the work of a range of local artists, for which it hosts exhibitions throughout the year, focusing on different artworks and mediums.

5. Guahome County Park

Guahome County Park

If you’re looking for an adventure in Oceanside, consider a trip to Guahome County Park, where you can experience the best of the country for yourself.

Camping is common in the park, where you can sleep in a tent, where you’ll get really close to nature and have stunning night views of the area, twinkling stars and plenty of fresh air.

In addition to camping, there are 4.5 miles of trails, and the area is a bird watcher and wildlife lover’s paradise thanks to the abundance of species in the park.

6. Waterfront Farmers Market

Oceanside Farmers Market

To buy the best produce in the area, head to the Oceanside Farmers Market, where you’ll find local residents and growers selling their wares.

Some of the items on offer here include baked goods and organic products like honey, as well as sauces and dips.

You can also buy fresh California produce as well as flowers and oils.

The farmers market is also a great place to buy souvenirs or gifts, such as homemade soap and candles.

If you’re hungry at the market, you can also visit one of the hot food stalls selling delicious snacks like toasted sandwiches and crepes.

7. Buena Vista Audubon Society & Nature Center

Buena Vista Audubon

The Buena Vista Audubon Society and Nature Center sits on the side of the spectacular Buena Vista Lagoon.

Here, you’ll find numerous exhibits that will introduce you to the flora and fauna of this part of the United States, as well as experience first-hand a series of galleries featuring real plants and flowers.

You can walk around the area and see the plants and wildlife for yourself, and there are several trails that circle the center and also take you to the lagoon.

If you love nature and want to see some of the best views in the area, this is a great place to go.

8. California Surf Museum

California Surf Museum

First opened in 1986, the California Surf Museum is a must-see for any surfer.

The museum aims to take you through the history of surfing heritage through a series of exhibits.

You can read all about the life stories of various surfing legends and find surfing memorabilia such as vintage boards on display.

There’s also information on how surfing has evolved and how this amazing sport has influenced pop culture.

9. Monastery of the Prince of Peace

Monastery of the Prince of Peace

Perched atop the stunning Bennett Hill, sits the charming Abbey of the Prince of Peace, a still-working Benedictine monastery.

Up to 20 Benedictine monks still live here, and you can explore certain areas of the building, such as the prayer trail and cemetery.

If you’re looking for some quiet and contemplative time in Oceanside, this is the place for you, and you can even stay here on vacation if you want.

10. Nautical Blue Water Charter

Sailing Blue Water Charter

If you want to explore Oceanside from a different perspective, why not join the water activities with Sailing Blue Water Charters? The company operates a 35-foot yacht called “Angel’s Breath”.

You can take customized waterway tours in the area, as well as harbour cruises and excursions that take you to whale watching.

You can also take a boat trip to neighboring Catalina Island and hopefully catch some dolphins swimming alongside the yacht and other local aquatic life like seals.

11. Heritage Park Village and Museum

Oceanside Heritage Park Village and Museum, California

The Heritage Park Village and Museum, which was Oceanside’s town center before its expansion, is now considered the historic center of the city.

The village now functions as a memorial and a working museum, where you’ll find a period grocery store, a group of stables, a prison and a blacksmith’s workshop.

You can visit the buildings or take a stroll in the town centre with its country greens and gazebos.

12. Old Mission St. Louis Rey

Old Mission St. Louis Rey, Oceanside, California

Founded in 1798, Old Mission San Luis Rey belongs to the Luiseno Indians and serves as a Spanish and Mexican mission.

It was also occupied by American troops before being restored in the 20th century and is now home to a group of Franciscan monks.

The mission provides an amazing insight into the history of the area and how it has evolved, and here you’ll find a museum with exhibits that showcase the best of Luiseno’s Indian culture.

13. Tyson Street Beach

Tyson Street Beach, Oceanside, California

Nestled near the iconic waterfront pier, Tyson Street Beach and Park is known for its breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

You can overlook the city and the ocean, and in addition to the beach, there is a park for visitors to enjoy.

The sea is known for its small waves, which means families flock here, and there are playgrounds and grassy picnic areas that will be popular with younger visitors.

14. Breakwaters

Breakwater Brewing, Oceanside

If you want some great food and great beer in the same place, come to Breakwater.

The brewery serves 18 different types of beers, all brewed in-house, and you can also taste up to 25 other beers from the region.

If you want to go with your drink, the on-site restaurant serves pizza and other snacks like toasted sandwiches and chicken wings, as well as arcade games like pinball machines.

15. Roller coaster

roller coaster

If you want to experience Oceanside like a local, you need to ride the roller coaster, a commuter train to sunny San Diego.

The purpose of roller coasters is to improve traffic congestion and provide a more eco-friendly alternative to traveling in these areas, as an eco-friendly way to see the local landscape without getting in the car.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Oceanside, CA (CA)
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