For locals and visitors who have not been to Oceanside Harbor, or not been in a long time, it’s definitely worth the trip! Having grown up in north county San Diego, I spent my fair share of time in Oceanside as a kid and have recently been hearing how it’s become a popular vacation destination in San Diego. I hadn’t been in years, so I decided to take a little drive with a friend, check out the California Welcome Center – Oceanside and take a tour of this North County gem.
The California Welcome Center – Oceanside is a one stop shop for everything from California state maps and local attraction brochures to fun Oceanside souvenir options. The staff greets you with a smile and goes above and beyond to help visitors see all Oceanside has to offer and even gives tips on lodging and dining locations. Oceanside is conveniently located just minutes from LEGOLAND California as well as the Carlsbad Flower Fields and is on the border of the massive military base, Camp Pendleton. There is so much to see and learn in this area, it’s a great idea to get some guidance from the California Welcome Center – Oceanside. It’s a wonderful resource for visitors and locals who haven’t experienced Oceanside in a while and want to make the most of their day. After much deliberation, we decided our destination for the day was the Oceanside Harbor.
The Oceanside Harbor has been revitalized and is now home to a quaint shopping village (complete with lighthouse), beautiful fishing pier and great restaurants just steps from the large white sand beaches of Oceanside. It’s a refreshing change from the larger San Diego harbors with a family-friendly appeal, mellow crowd and easy ocean access.
As we were heading into the harbor, I caught a glimpse of the life of a fisherman. The docks were lined with boats from large fishing boats to more modest crafts, all ready and waiting to head out to sea. It was a picturesque scene, accented with the distinct smell of a fishing harbor.
Along the south side of the harbor is the classic Oceanside Harbor Village painted in bright primary colors exuding fisherman’s charm. Visitors can meander through the family-owned shops including Helgren’s Sportfishing and the Harbor Gift shop for fun trinkets and fishing essentials. I recommend getting up to the harbor early and enjoying a fresh cup of coffee at the Nautical Bean where visitors can stay warm on a chilly morning and sit in the covered harbor side patio. It’s a great place to enjoy beautiful views of the harbor and boats as they move in and out of the slips.
Visitors can make a full day out of a trip to the Oceanside Harbor, or even book a room at one of the popular Oceanside hotels or vacation rentals. Oceanside Marina Suites is located within the Oceanside Harbor on a beautiful grassy peninsula making this hotel the best place to stay for a true harbor experience. Other local hotels include the budget friendly Holiday Inn Oceanside Marina and Days Inn as well as the gorgeous oceanfront Marina Del Mar vacation rental condos.
The Oceanside Harbor has a wealth of activities for a fun day on the water including stand-up paddle board, kayak, boat and wave runner rentals at U-Drive Boat Rental. It also borders a big beautiful beach with picnic tables, fun surf and a stunning view of the Oceanside Pier. The whole area is clean, welcoming and perfect for a fun-filled day with the family.
I definitely recommend re-experiencing Oceanside and the charming Oceanside Harbor. Over the last ten years, the whole area has been transformed into a family-friendly vacation destination with gorgeous beaches, fun shopping, tasty restaurants and plenty of San Diego outdoor activities. It’s definitely worth the trip to this revitalized North County hot spot!
This article was written by Carli Leavitt, the editor of SanDiego.com. Carli is a San Diego native with a wealth of knowledge about local attractions, hotels, beaches and nightlife venues in Southern California.