Vacation to Oceanside

Oceanside is a true southern California beach town with a very laid-back vibe. The city has great year-round weather, beautiful beaches, an historic wooden pier, a quaint New England-style harbor, and charming bungalow neighborhoods. In Oceanside you can explore everything from sea life through exciting ocean adventures, California history at the “King of Missions,” and surf culture at the California Surf Museum. It’s a playful and diverse destination, with personal expression and originality.

Weather & When to Visit Oceanside California

Temperatures in Oceanside feel nice most of the year, excluding some cold weeks in the winter. If you’re looking for the best time to visit Oceanside, the hottest months are July thru September where highs are regularly around 81.8°F and temperatures rarely dropping below 62.5°F at night.

The busiest months for tourism is May thru July. Prices for hotels and flights will be more expensive during these months, though you can save if you purchase well in advance. The least busiest month in Oceanside is November, and of course airfare and hotel rates will be substantially less.

Best Oceanside Attractions & Tickets

Explore California’s Coastal Redwoods
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Commune with giants during this 4.5-hour exploration of the coastal redwoods of Muir Woods and stop in charming Sausalito. Escape the concrete jungle for the solitude and foggy climate of Muir Woods, a grove of 1,000-year old redwoods towering more than 260 feet. Then take a break in Sausalito, a picturesque seaside town offering a wealth of unique boutiques and hip cafes, before riding the ferry back across picturesque San Francisco Bay. A guide, park entrance fees, return ferry ticket and coach transport are included. Read more about San Francisco to Muir Woods Tour.

The Presidio – From the Main Post to the Golden Gate Bridge
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Explore one of San Francisco’s most beautiful parks—and discover historical landmarks, public artworks, and scenic overlooks—on this hiking tour of the Presidio. Meet your guide at the park, and set off with just a small group for company: wear comfy shoes, as you’ll hike for roughly five miles. Learn about the military base that once occupied the area, hike past eucalyptus and redwood groves, ascend to the San Francisco National Cemetery Overlook for top-notch Golden Gate Bridge views, and more. Read more about The Presidio – From the Main Post to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Mission San Luis Rey Museum
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Visit the Mission San Luis Rey, a National Historic Landmark founded in 1798. Your entrance ticket includes several parts of the mission property, and a self-guided tour of the museum. View Native American, Spanish, and Mexican artifacts Read more about Mission San Luis Rey Museum.

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Oceanside Pier
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The Oceanside Pier is a must-see during your visit.  Standing at a breathtaking 1,942 feet long, Oceanside Pier is the longest over-water wooden pier on the West Coast. Around the clock, the pier area is buzzing with activity from visitors taking a leisurely stroll, fisherman casting a line, and surfers catching a wave. 

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Oceanside Harbor
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Oceanside Harbor is quietly tucked away from the unsuspecting eye.  As you drive into the harbor and discover rows of docked sailboats, see people gliding by on top of paddle boards, and the array of restaurants and shops, you quickly realize that you have stumbled upon a hidden gem. 

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Things to Do in Oceanside

Segway Photography Tour

Walk and capture the 1,942 feet, historical Oceanside Pier. The Oceanside Pier is a great place to see Seagulls, Pelicans, Dolphins, Seals, Sting Rays and more. Optional is to visit the famous California Surf Museum. You’ll visit Oceanside Harbor, home to Harbor Village, a quaint New England-style destination. You will also be given personalized training and be coached about your camera/smartphone camera, gain an understanding of how to choose the right camera settings for the scene being photographed and incorporate framing and composition techniques to maximize the impact of the final image. Read more about Segway Photography Tour and Workshop.

Whale Watching Tour

Set sail from Oceanside during a whale watching excursion led by a certified naturalist guide. Board a comfortable 50-foot (15-meter) catamaran with covered areas for seating and cruise along San Diego’s coastline to spot whales and other marine life, getting as close as possible without disturbing them. Read more about Whale Watching Tours.

Helicopter Tour – Oceanside Harbor/Pier

You will see the Oceanside Harbor, Oceanside Pier, and the entire coastline of Oceanside on this amazing helicopter tour! Waverider Helicopter Tours is Veteran-owned and we provide an exciting and unforgettable experience for all who are looking to view the beautiful beaches and captivating backcountry of San Diego County, coastal Orange County, and Temecula Wine Country from a unique perspective. Your experience will be sure to last a lifetime as you take an amazing ride in a helicopter. Read more about Helicopter Tour – Oceanside Harbor/Pier.

North County Surf Academy

Their 1-1 surf lessons are uniquely tailored to the individual and their skill level. Their head coach and founder Duran Barr has over 20+ years of professional surfing experience and is an extremely advanced watermen. All of our instructors are CPR certified and make safety a top priority. The Oceanside Harbor is a perfect place to both learn how to surf or advance your surfing technique.  Telephone: 760-643-7160 Web: North County Surf Academy

Sailing Blue Water Charters

Daily Sailing Charters Available year Round out of Oceanside Harbor just minutes away from your front door. Catalina Island excursions, and other coastline trips available for your pleasure. Experience a Sea Adventure and Create Wonderful Memories you will Cherish for a Lifetime. Telephone: 619-994-2438 Web: Sailing Blue Water Charters

Best Oceanside Restaurants

Ramen Menma $11 – 30

Visit Ramen MENMA to savor authentic, handcrafted gourmet ramen. White brick walls decorated with colorful posters enliven this cozy spot. Enjoy friendly service at this Mission Ave noodle house. You can even watch chefs assemble dishes at the central kitchen prep bar. Telephone: 442-500-8080 Web: Ramen Menma

Local Tap House & Kitchen $11 – 30

Local Tap House & Kitchen serves up global cuisine, craft beer and cocktails in a modern rustic environment. Executive chef Daniel Pundik sources fresh ingredients from nearby farms and purveyors. Dig into creamy avocado, tangy pico, silky ahi and house-made taro chips. Dip into seductive pools of salsa verde and green Sriracha crema. Taste the crunchy finish of corn, pepitas, sesame seeds and micro-greens. Telephone: 760-547-1469 Web: Local Tap House & Kitchen

Rim Talay $11 – 30

Here you’ll find healthy, authentic Thai cuisine. You can order an astounding 90% of the menu vegan or vegetarian. Dine alfresco in the outdoor patio. Sit inside for a more serene experience. Imported artwork and a feng shui bubbling fountain decorate the dining room. Telephone: 760-435-2007 Web: Rim Talay

The Whet Noodle $11 – 30

The Whet Noodle serves innovative ramen and Japanese inspired shared plates. Enjoy casual counter service and an eclectic vibe. Sit in the fun dining room punctuated by graffiti, paper lanterns and crimson walls. Prefer the outdoors? Head to the herb-filled back patio with string lighting and rustic picnic tables. Telephone: 760-453-2738 Web: The Whet Noodle

Harbor Fish & Chips $11 – 30

This friendly, family-owned spot opened over 40 years ago in Harbor Side Village. Order at the counter then sit in the nautical-themed dining room or at an outside picnic table. Enjoy picturesque boats bobbing in the water. Cooks batter, deep fry and serve these thick cut fillets piping hot. Telephone: 670-722-4977 Web: Harbor Fish & Chips

Best Oceanside Happy Hour Hot Spots

333 Pacific

The stylish art deco Vodka Lounge features over 100 vodkas from around the world. Indulge in one of the many house signature martinis or inspired classic cocktails. Good picks are the Bramble On with Ketel One Citroen or the bourbon-based Manhattan. Telephone: 670-433-3333 Web: 333 Pacific

Master’s Kitchen & Cocktail

Master’s refined craft cocktail menu covers classics such as the Zombie or Irish Coffee. Creative spins on old favorites include the gin-based Master and Mule or the Masters Tai finished with a 7-year old rum float. Telephone: 670-231-6278 Web: Master’s Kitchen & Cocktail

Harney Sushi Oceanside

Harney’s superb sake menu represents the five main styles of Japanese rice wine. From fruity to floral to earthy, you’re sure to find a flavor profile to suit your tastes. The restaurant also offers imported Japanese and local craft beer and fine wines. During happy hour, consider pairing your drink of choice with an order of Half and Half. Telephone: 670-967-1820 Web: Harney Sushi Oceanside

Mission Avenue Bar & Grill

At Mission Avenue Bar & Grill you’ll find a family friendly “Cheers” type atmosphere both indoors and out. T here are over 40 California beers on tap and over 100 bourbons and whiskeys available. Mission Ave is actually Oceanside’s original whiskey bar. Telephone: 670-637-2222 Web: Mission Avenue Bar & Grill.

O’side Sports Bar & Grill

They are a laid back bar and grill in Oceanside on PCH, one block south of Mission Ave.  They pride themselves in being a non-corporate sports bar with great food and cheap beer.  You are gonna have a lot of fun when you get there!  Telephone: 442-590-1090 Web: O’side Sports Bar & Grill

Best Oceanside Hotels

Best Western Plus Oceanside Palms

Recipient of TripAdvisor’s 2016, 2017 , 2018 and 2019 Certificate of Excellence, the Best Western Plus Oceanside Palms Hotel includes upgraded amenities in every room. Property amenities include a complimentary Hot Breakfast, Free Wi-Fi internet access, fitness facilities, complimentary parking, business center, pool & hot tub, gas barbecue & fire pit. Kitchenette rooms are also available for your next vacation or extended stay.

Southern California Beach Club

This beach side resort is one of the hot spots in Southern California. It’s location near the Pacific Ocean gives each guest the relaxation they need in a vacation resort. Stay in a studio, one or two bedroom condos for a relaxing experience. Each of the rooms include mini kitchens, sofa sleeper, dishwasher, microwave, 1 bathroom, and a private patio/balcony. 

Holiday Inn Oceanside Marina – Camp Pendleton Area

The Holiday Inn Oceanside Marina – Camp Pendleton Area is a Full Service, Award Winning hotel located 700 yards from USMC Base Camp Pendleton’s Main Gate and minutes’ walk to the Oceanside Harbor and Beaches and with easy access to Interstate-5, accessing all of San Diego County.

La Quinta Inn by Wyndham San Diego Oceanside

Classic architecture with wrought-iron balconies meets contemporary style and amenities at our newly renovated hotel right on Highway 101. Each room features free Wi-Fi, a Flat-panel TV with HD channels and plug-and-play capabilities for your electronics, plush beds with triple-sheeted bedding, a microwave, refrigerator, coffeemaker, hairdryer and a spacious work desk.

Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Oceanside

Plan your next stay at Courtyard by Marriott San Diego Oceanside. Unique among hotels in Oceanside, California, our state-of-the-art lobby provides greater flexibility and choices for our guests. At the center of it all is The Bistro, your destination for a great breakfast, or drinks and dinner during the evening. You’ll also enjoy inviting, flexible spaces where you can work or relax, and enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout.

 

20 Comments

  1. Gillian

    I haven’t been in California but reading through your article and watching the video feels like you brought California to us readers. I would love to visit Mission San Luis Rey museum if given the chance as I am into historic places. 

    You have a good article that showcased not only the places to visit but also the activities to do and restaurants to go.

    I would love to do the helicopter tour someday!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad you enjoyed Gillian!  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  2. Christine

    Wow! That looks so beautiful! I had not expected to find this when I started reading your article. I have only been to LA and visited Venice Beach, which was nice, but I had seen much nicer beach towns. Of course, that one place shouldn’t represent the rest of the coastline, I am aware of that 😉 So, I was honestly and pleasantly surprised by your description of Oceanside. And I have always wanted to go to San Francisco. I understand that Oceanside is near San Francisco?  I would certainly like to visit. The Muir Woods are definitely a place I’d like to see. I love trees and I have never been among such giant trees. I know it will be an incredible experience for me. 

    The Mission San Luis Rey also looks very interesting. I love history and I always like to combine some history and museum visits when I travel to another country. The Oceanside Pier reminds me of Belgium, my country, because we have a lot of those piers on our coastline. It is lovely to walk on them, watch the waves and the activity on the water. Right now I live in Mexico, in the Baja, near the Pacific Ocean, and so I know how amazing it must be. I love the Pacific Ocean, so wild and untamed.

    Oceanside Harbor would definitely be the place for me to stay. If there are hotels in that area, that’s where I would love to spend a week or so. It reminds of a storybook, it also looks like an inspiring place to be. I am an author, so places that seem to be full of inspiration always call me. And I would love to do the helicopter tour. I have always wanted to fly on a helicopter. Hopefully, one day I go to Oceanside and I book a ride on a helicopter. 

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful information and inspiring me to add a new place to my list of places to visit 🙂 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Glad I could help Christine 🙂  Hopefully you can vacation to Oceanside soon!

      Reply
  3. Tricia

    I could so use a few days of doing nothing in a place like this! Oceanside looks like a really cute place to chill out. I’d love to take a picnic and spend time on the pier. The two walking tours (redwoods & park) sound so nice too. I’ve seen the redwoods once and they’re amazing. I bet the sunsets are incredible. Thanks for the info!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Tricia and yes amazing sunsets!

      Reply
  4. Lee

    I think I would be interested in visiting in November personally. I like to avoid crowds as much as possible. The Pier looks amazing and a visit to a museum is always a delight when visiting something new. Whale watching sounds like a lifetime type of event that shouldn’t be passed up. Courtyard by Marriott would be my choice of hotel.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I can say that doing the whale watching tour is so worth it and yes, something you never forget….like the smell of their breath LOL.  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  5. Mary

    I love going to the beaches and swim in the sea. There are a lot of activities you mentioned that sounded so attractive to me. Are the beaches in California like tropical beaches?  Do they sell fresh sea foods there?   What is the water temperature in the summer?  Warm enough for swimming?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I think they are like tropical beaches.  You have the same wonderful scenery, the ocean, and yes lots of fresh seafood.  The water temperatures in the summer will be in the mid 70s, which is perfect.  Not too hot (like it gets here in Florida making it not refreshing) and not too cold 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  6. scubashawn

    Great Website and a great place to be. California is great state and is very beautiful. I was stationed in Cali for sometime before moving back to the Midwest, and I can say that I do miss the ocean. It’s calming and there are so many recreational activities to do that it makes you feel right at home even if you are just visiting. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree!  So much to see in California and so many beaches!  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  7. Sandy

    What a beautiful beach. Thank you for this very comprehensive article about Oceanside. You have practically written about everything someone needs to know about Oceanside. Is it the best place to travel and chill out on the beach in the Southern California or are there even more beautiful places?

    After your article I can’t wait to go on my holiday, although my destination is South East Asia. California maybe next year? Who knows.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You will love Southern California!  I hope you vacation to Oceanside in the next year 🙂  Please let me know if you need any additional information.

      Reply
  8. Michel

    Thanks for this comprehensive guide on what to do in Oceanside. This is great especially if planning a trip to California, and without reading this post I wouldn’t have known about all these wonderful things to do, like the Photography tour, the Coastal Redwoods and of course the harbor. 

    I am planning a trip to LA next June as was pleased to read that this is a great time to visit. I am going to print out this article so that I can add some of these to my itinerary.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Michel! I hope you have a fantastic time. Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  9. Snigdha Alam

    Wow, 

    What an amazing post u shared! I really enjoyed your post. I have no knowledge about Oceanside town of California before reading your post. Today we discussed where can we go in our vacation. You just give a surprise through your post. We just needed such type of out side for passing our vacation. The structure of the town and places are amazing. I will go there with my husband as soon as possible. I will share your post to others. 

    Thanks a lot dear. 😉

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks so much!  I am glad you enjoyed!

      Reply
  10. Aly

    Hi, what a beautiful place to vacation with opportunities to see the sun set over the ocean each night. 

    It looks like you recommend a couple of places in the Bay Area for activities, but aren’t these places quite a long distance from Oceanside? In your opinion, is it worth the excursion to Northern Cali to see those great destinations when you’re in Oceanside?

    I’d love to visit Oceanside and this is very helpful for planning purposes! Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Aly it is a beautiful place and Oceanside is definitely worth the visit!  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply

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