Visit Oceanside Beach and Pier Rules and Regulations:

Department of Harbor and Beaches

  • Glass : All glass containers are prohibited
  • Alcohol : Alcohol is prohibited on all City beaches, jetties, the pier, and all parking lots.
  • Dogs : All dogs are prohibited on all City beaches throughout the year. You may walk your dog on a leash on The Strand.
  • Fire Rings : Fires are allowed in designated City fire rings ONLY. No fires are allowed from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily. There is no curfew on fire rings at Harbor Beach. All wood must be no longer than 30 inches in length and must not be allowed to rise above the height of the fire ring more than 2 feet. You must attend your fire at all times. Any unattended wood will be removed and disposed of. No chemically treated wood is allowed. The use of pallets is forbidden. Do not cut or break apart wood on the beach, street, walkways, or parking areas. When finished, extinguish embers or fires with WATER ONLY – NOT SAND! If you wish to bring your own barbecue, it must be elevated off the ground. Coals must be removed or disposed of in the hot-coal container located at Tyson Street Park, or Harbor Lot 12 on Harbor Beach, or in a fire ring.
  • Swimming and Surfing Areas : All swimming and body boarding areas are marked with a black-and-yellow checkered flag. If you wish to surf with a hard surfboard you must be outside of this area. A yellow flag with a black dot identifies a swimming-only area.
  • Camping : Overnight camping is allowed in the Harbor Beach area in Lot 11B year round. Lot 12 mid- September to mid- May only.
  • Pier Regulations : No dogs, alcohol, glass containers, bike riding, roller blading, overhead casting, sitting on the rails, or jumping off the pier. When in the water, you must remain at least 100 feet away from the pier at all times. Paddling through or shooting the pier on a surfboard is prohibited.
  • Picnic Areas : All picnic areas and fire rings are first-come, first-served. You cannot hold your spot with a “Beach Chair”; there must a person standing by.
  • Unloading and Loading a Vehicle: Parking your car on the strand is prohibited at all times. If you wish to load and unload your vehicle, you may use a turnaround, such as the one at “Surfrider” and The Strand.

Visit Oceanside Beach Safety Tips

Compliments of the City of Oceanside Beaches, Parks, and Rec. Dept.

Safety Tips

The beach can be a safe and enjoyable place by simply following these ocean safety guidelines:

  • It is a good idea to familiarize oneself with surf/ocean conditions by calling our surf/weather information recording, or asking a lifeguard, and observe the surf warning flags on active lifeguard towers:
    • Green: Generally safe
    • Yellow: Use caution
    • Red: Dangerous
  • Keep in mind that ocean conditions can vary and change quickly from one location to another.
  • Remember that rip currents cause 95% of all rescues. Be able to identify rip currents and learn how to get out of them by swimming parallel to the shore.
  • Use swim fins. You can swim safer, faster, and catch waves more easily. If fish use them, why can’t we?
  • Swim and board surf in designated areas.
  • Avoid diving head first into water or allow your head to be driven down to the bottom. This can cause paralysis, spinal injury, or even death!
  • Attention Parents! Keep an eye out for inshore holes. Water that is waist deep for you may be over your child’s head.


Rip currents are the most common hazards found at the beach. Mistakenly called “undertow” or “rip tides”, they form when water pushed shoreward by waves rapidly returns seaward by way of a river-like current. They can be identified by looking for the dirty, sometimes foamy, water moving seaward through the waves. To get out of one, stay calm and swim parallel to shore until you are out of the flowing current (usually about 50 yards).

Harbor Beach

Beautiful Harbor Beach is Oceanside’s largest beach, offering everything from surfing to volleyball. The Oceanside Harbor, adjacent to Harbor Beach, has many amenities including the Marina Inn Hotel and a variety of shops. In the harbor, you can sail, spend the day on a deep-sea fishing boat, whale watch, rent kayaks or visit the marina. Fishing is an option from the jetties. Harbor Beach has three lifeguard towers, Towers 12, 14, 16. Tower 12, at the south end of Harbor Beach, is nearest the south jetty; Tower 14 is situated in the middle of the beach, and Tower 16, at the north end of Harbor Beach, is nearest the north jetty. Harbor Beach is a beautiful venue that has something to offer everyone.

Facilities: the area behind each lifeguard tower has picnic tables, barbecue grills, gazebos and showers. There are restrooms and telephones, a snack bar and some volleyball courts (you supply the net and ball). There are 24 fire rings along Harbor Beach.

Parking: there are a number of parking lots in the Harbor beach area.

Directions: From Interstate 5, take the Harbor Drive exit, west; Harbor Drive will take you directly to the entrance of the Harbor.

Breakwater Way

This is a quiet, family beach located just south of Oceanside Harbor. It is popular with surfers and volleyball players. Surfers, however, will have to walk down to the jetty in the summer months when the beach is closed to surfing in front of Lifguard Tower 8. The river jetty is where the San Luis Rey River meets the ocean. A sandbar is often formed here and creates a good surf break. The area at the river mouth is usually one of Oceanside’s least populated beaches. This is partly because it is open for surfing only, and because it’s a bit of a walk from the parking areas. Children often like to play in the river mouth; this is not advised because it poses a safety concern due to the strong currents and the potential for high levels of bacteria in the river.

Facilities: Breakwater Way has showers and restrooms, some picnic tables and barbecue grills. There is also a volleyball court.

Parking: a pay parking lot is located east of Pacific Street. There is also metered parking along Pacific Street.

Directions: from Interstate 5, take the Coast Highway exit, west; turn left onto Coast Highway. Travel two blocks to Surfrider and turn right. When you reach Pacific Street, turn right and continue three blocks to Breakwater Way. The pay parking lot will be on the east of Pacific Street.

Pier View North

The beaches north of the Oceanside Pier have much more sand than those south of the pier and provide more space for those visiting the beach. Due to the Pier Amphitheater being situated on the south side of the pier, there are fewer activities and events that occur on the north side and the pier. This often makes for a quiet, more relaxed atmosphere.

There are two lifeguard towers north of the pier (Towers 2 and 4). During the summer months, an area is closed to surfing (blackballed) but open for all other water activities. The surfing and swimming area will always be marked with checkered flags and swim-surf signs.

Facilities: Volleyball courts are located on the sand; you must provide your own net and ball. The Oceanside Beach Community Center is located just north of the pier on The Strand. Several programs and activities are held here throughout the year.

Parking : one very small, pay parking lot, which usually fills up rather quickly in the summer, is located just north of the pier. There is metered parking along Pacific Street. Other pay parking lots are located on the corner of Mission Avenue and Myers Street, and on Surfrider Way, ½ block east of Pacific Street.

Directions: From Interstate 5, take the Mission Avenue exit, west; continue on Mission Avenue approximately 1.5 miles to Pacific Street and Oceanside Pier will be on the right. There is beach access from Pacific Street at the pier and Surfrider Way.

Pier View South

The beach area south of the Oceanside Pier is Oceanside’s most popular beach. If you don’t mind crowds, you will be comfortable here. Surfing, body boarding and body surfing contests are held at the Oceanside Pier throughout the summer. There are also various events that are held in the Oceanside Pier Amphitheater. The pier itself is a beautiful walk and a popular fishing spot as well. Due to the number of beachgoers in this area, there are two lifeguard towers relatively close together. Lifeguard Tower 1 sits directly south of the pier and Tower 3 sits approximately 300 feet south of Tower 1. During the summer months, the area from Tower 1 south is closed to surfing most of the day. The area will be marked with a black ball flag as well as swim-surf signs and black-and-white checkered flags that indicate the boundaries. The surfing area is from Lifeguard Tower 1 to 100 feet from the pier and is closed to all other water activities. No water activity is allowed within 100 feet of the pier. It is easy to determine the 100-foot line by looking to the shore and locating two black and yellow signs. If 100 feet or more from the pier, the signs will read OK. If someone is within 100 feet of the pier, the signs will read KO, as in Keep Out. The 100-foot rule is a safety precaution and is a strictly enforced City ordinance.

Facilities : the pier area has a lot to offer. Many covered picnic tables, benches and barbecues are available, as well as some fire rings on the sand. Restrooms and showers are provided. Payphones and vending machines are located under the pier, in front of the Beach Community Center. A McDonald’s stand and other vending stands are also located under the pier. The pier itself offers fishing, a bait shop, payphones and restrooms. At the end of the pier is the 50’s diner, Ruby’s.

Parking: there are pay parking lots located south and north of the pier. Another pay parking lot is located one block east of Pacific Street on Mission Avenue and Myers Street. There is also metered parking available on Pacific Street.

Directions: from Interstate 5, take the Mission Avenue exit, west. Continue until you reach Pacific Street and you will be in the pier area.

Tyson Street Beach and Park

Tyson Street beach, also known as Tyson Street Park, is within walking distance of the Oceanside Pier. Lifeguard Tower 5 is located here. Since the park is just a few feet from the beach, it is great for picnics. Stairs are provided for beach and park access from Pacific Street. Due to crowds in this area during the summer months, it is necessary to prohibit surfing here for the safety of swimmers and waders. The area will be marked with a black ball flag, checkered flags and swim-surf signs.

Facilities: restrooms, showers, and a public telephone are available. The park has a large grassy area, picnic tables, benches and a playground. There are also two available handicapped parking spaces on The Strand.

Parking: metered parking available on Pacific Street. The nearest parking lot is located one block east of Pacific Street and one block north of Tyson Street on the corner of Mission Avenue and Myers Street. Also, as mentioned, two handicapped parking spaces are available.

Directions: from Interstate 5, take the Mission Avenue exit, west. Proceed west on Mission Avenue to Pacific Street, turn left on Pacific Street and continue for about ½ mile until you reach Tyson Street.

The Wisconsin Street Beach

Wisconsin Street beach is located at Wisconsin Street and The Strand. The south strand is a one-way, southbound street that parallels the beach. There is a ramp just north of the lifeguard Tower 7 for access to the beach. This is Oceanside’s least frequented beach due to the beach being narrow. When the tide is high, the water often comes all the way up to the rocks, leaving very little or no beach at all. The ocean in this area is open to all water activities.

Facilities: there are restrooms, showers, and a public telephone.

Parking: a small pay parking lot is located directly behind the lifeguard tower on The Strand. There is also parking along Pacific Street.

Directions: from Interstate 5, take the Oceanside Boulevard exit, west. When you reach the beach, turn right. You will travel less than one mile to reach Wisconsin Street.

Oceanside Boulevard Beach

Oceanside Boulevard offers more actual beach area than its neighbor, Buccaneer Beach. All along the beachfront, there are private homes facing the ocean. During the summer months there is an area directly in front of the lifeguard tower (Tower 9), approximately 200 ft., that is designated for swimmers, waders and body boarders only. For safety precautions, this area is closed to surfing and will be marked by checkered flags and swim-surf signs. There is a very large rock that sits in the surfline approximately 300 feet south of the lifeguard tower and can be seen at low tide.

Facilities: there are no restrooms located at this beach. There is a shower. The closest public restroom is either Buccaneer or Wisconsin Street beach.

Parking: parking is available along Pacific Street and other neighboring streets.

Directions: from Interstate 5, take the Oceanside Boulevard exit; go west to the beach and to Lifeguard Tower 9.

Buccaneer Beach

Buccaneer Beach is Oceanside’s smallest beach with a lifeguard tower (Tower 11); however, the beach offers other activities due to the park located across the street. Buccaneer Beach is located approximately one mile north of our city’s southern border. During the summer months, the water directly in front of the lifeguard tower and between the rocks that border the neighboring homes is designated for swimmers, waders and body boarders only. As a safety precaution, this area is closed to surfing and is marked by two checkered flags and swim-surf signs. The area outside of the flags is open to surfing and to all other types of water activity.

Facilities: Buccaneer Park is located just across the street from the beach. The park has a large grass area, jungle gym, basketball court, picnic tables, barbecue grills, restrooms, shower, snack bar and public telephone.

Parking: there is a free parking lot available directly across the street from the beach.

Directions: if you are traveling north on Interstate 5, take the Vista Way exit. From the exit, you will proceed west until you reach Coast Highway, turn right; continue to Cassidy Street and turn left. Cassidy Street will take you to Pacific Street; turn right on Pacific Street and travel half a mile to Buccaneer Beach.

If you are traveling south on Interstate 5, take the Cassidy Street exit west until you reach Pacific Street. Turn right on Pacific Street and travel half a mile to Buccaneer Beach.

Oceanside Pier

At 1,942 feet, the historical Oceanside Pier is one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast.  Take a leisurely stroll out over the Pacific Ocean, watch the surfers ride a wave, fishermen catch a fish, or grab a bite to eat at the famous Ruby’s Diner located at the end of the pier.

At the entrance of the Pier is the Amphitheater which hosts many musical and cultural performances.

The Oceanside Pier holds special memories for Oceanside residents and visitors alike. Whether you visit the Oceanside Pier in the morning, afternoon, or evening – enjoy it from the beach or by walking along its incredible wooden expanse each day offers something new to behold.

The pier is the backdrop for some great Oceanside events, which include concerts, surf competitions, Iron Man, Fishing Derby, Classic Car Shows, and it is within walking distance to the Farmer’s and Sunset Markets.

If you are looking for some wildlife exposure, the Oceanside Pier is a great place to see Seagulls, Pelicans, Dolphins, Seals, Sting Rays, Fish, and much more.

Oceanside Pier Images from Instagram #oceansidepier #visitoceanside

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Oceanside Pier Yelp Reviews

What a great pit stop on the way to San Diego. We went all the way to the end and ate at Ruby’s. We had excellent service. We went early so we didn’t experience any crowds, but I can see how this place can get really crowded. ~Alex S. from Fontana, CA.

Too many memories walking down this lovely pier and I really miss coming here!

After the sunset market it’s nice to just walk around the beach and pier enjoy how interesting how the people catch the fishes, sting rays. I’ve come down here so many times I’ve seen dolphins and seals swimming around the pier.  Also a huge purple jellyfish! That lovely well known pelican that chills there.  The bonfire nights.  You gotta love the this beach. ~Ina V. from Milpitas, CA.

Super long pier.  Lots of fishing going on.  Friendly pelican hangs out there.  There’s a small shop halfway down that sales fishing supplies and postcards for 25 cents.  Great views of the ocean and lovely breeze. ~Julie N. from Denver, CO.