10 Reasons to Visit Oceanside
With beautiful year-round weather, a stunning coastline, the largest wooden pier on the West Coast, a quaint New England-style harbor and world class surf, Oceanside certainly has a lot to offer. But as they say, with every new year comes a new and improved you, and that sentiment is no different for the city of Oceanside. With the addition of new restaurants and wine bars, a historic downtown hotel, thrilling new experiences, family-friendly activities, and stunning beaches with even more on the horizon you’re not going to want to miss out on all that Oceanside has to offer! Now is the time to begin planning that unforgettable trip to Oceanside!
Check out these 10 reasons why you’ll want to make Oceanside your next bucket list destination.
Exciting New Restaurants – The Plot, Carte Blanche Bistro & Bar, Parlor Doughnuts, Pacific Coast Spirits
Calling all foodies, Oceanside’s booming restaurant scene is about to get even better! In addition to the already fantastic and award winning restaurants, such as San Diego Eater’s 2018 Restaurant of the Year Dija Mara, several new establishments are gearing up to make a splash. One exciting restaurant in the works is The Plot, a new plant based—no waste creation by local restaurateurs Davin and Jessica Waite of Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub and The Whet Noodle.
Another restaurant coming into town, Carte Blanche Bistro & Bar has plans to open up as a full-service Mexican restaurant just steps from the sand. Chuck Ross, an Old Town hospitality vet, describes the eatery as “modern Mexican-meets-French farm house,” and will pay homage to France’s culinary influences on Mexico. Carte Blanche will open with executive chef Alex Carballo at the helm. A well-known local chef, Carballo’s culinary career spans 15 years in San Diego, during which he ran the kitchens at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Indigo Grill, and The Brigantine and consulted on a number of local concepts including Casero Taqueria, Clara, Moto Deli, and Sisters Pizza.
In the same location as Carte Blanche Bistro & Bar, a Midwestern doughnut and coffee shop is arriving in Downtown Oceanside. The new SALT properties, mixed retail development and apartment complex, will host Parlor Doughnuts and Proper Coffee.
The doors have opened on Oceanside’s urban 12,000 square-foot distillery and restaurant, Pacific Coast Spirits. Pacific Coast Spirits was founded by Head Distiller Nicholas Hammond, “We have a true synergy of bounty and libations here at Pacific Coast Spirits and are committed to sourcing ingredients locally…Sustainability is core to our business and is key to our future.” This also reflects in their kitchen with Head Chef Nick Schaller, whose menu of shareable plates will include a sampler of housemade bacon, local fish crudo, and fried chicken with a cornbread waffle that features the spent grain from the corn whiskey production. San Diego Reader describes Pacific Coast Spirits as leading the charge as a craft distillery and kitchen concept in San Diego and the only one of its kind. The location is family friendly, casual and comfortable with an elevated hospitality experience. They currently make the following spirits in house: American Single Malt, Bourbon, Vodka, Gin, Brandy and Agave Spirit.
Coffee Culture – Unique Craft Coffee Shops
The Oceanside Caffeine Crawl — for those looking for a serious (caffeine) buzz! Visit one of Oceanside’s many distinctive coffee and tea shops. Delight in discoveries such as comic books, vintage vinyl and local artwork. Love lattes, cold brews or tantalizing teas? You’ll find your perfect pick-me-up at one of the many unique cafes around town.
Oceanside’s on the map when it comes to coffee shops, with a different flavor and setting at each location. Not into coffee? Most craft cafes will offer a variation of local specialty teas, kombucha, cocoa, pastries and treats.
Coastal Wine Tasting – Orfila Vineyards & Winery and Coomber Craft Wines
While San Diego may be well-known for its craft beer, Oceanside, the county’s northern most city, has been making waves recently by expanding into the wine scene. From sea and sky wine adventures to stylish new tasting rooms, and a winery in the vineyards – there are plenty of reasons to sip and savor in this Southern California beach town.
Take to the Sky – Waverider Helicopter Tours, iFly, Go Jump
For pictures that will blow away your friends and followers, consider booking the ‘Ultimate Selfie Package’ with Waverider Helicopter Tours. Riders will get the chance to not only fly without doors, but also take pictures with their feet hanging out over the edge for incredible photographs to share!
For those that prefer sticking closer to the ground but still want the rush of wind and the feeling of weightlessness, look no further than indoor skydiving at iFLY Oceanside. Utilizing a powerful vertical wind tunnel, your body will be lifted untethered on a smooth cushion of high-powered clean air. If you desire something even closer to skydiving ask about their virtual reality options, offering an immersive experience of iconic skydiving locations around the world.
For an un-matched view of the coast, the adventurous types can partake in a truly unique skydiving experience. The only one of its type on Southern California’s coast, GoJump Oceanside offers skydivers 13,000 feet in the air views that not only include the ocean and beaches below, but even San Diego to the south, Catalina Island to the west, and Dana Point to the north!
Awesome Surf Contests
Surfing continues to be a key component of Oceanside’s heritage and culture with numerous local hot spots like North Harbor Beach and the Pier featuring some of the best and most consistent waves around. So much so that Oceanside is more than just a surfing destination for enthusiasts, it is the host for numerous surfing contests throughout the year.
Historical Hotels – The Fin Boutique Hotel
One of the most exciting developments in Oceanside is the revitalization and preservation of historical buildings, many dating back a century! One such example is the iconic Dolphin Hotel, which originally opened in 1927. The original Dolphin Hotel touted celebrity guests throughout the 1930’s and 40’s until it began to fall into disrepair. Fast forward to 2018, the building underwent extensive internal remodeling and renovations to open once more as a boutique 27-room hotel! Aptly named, The Fin Boutique Hotel features a tasteful blend of contemporary and historical charm which can be seen in the lobby where clean modern décor is paired with the fully restored original multi-colored mosaic tile flooring, grand wooden-railed staircase and tiffany windows.
Fishing – Charter a Boat or Cast Off The Pier
The iconic Oceanside Pier not only offers visitors an incredible view of the Pacific Ocean and stunning Oceanside coastline, it also allows for the unique chance to cast into deep ocean water without being on a boat. The Oceanside Pier is classified as a fishing pier which means that it is open to public fishing, with no fishing license required. There is also a dedicated bait shop located in the center of the pier which offers rod rentals and fresh bait, as well as advice on what’s biting. For those with their own equipment handy, the Oceanside Harbor has it’s own small fishing pier where the same rules apply.
To learn more, check out our guide on Fishing With the Family.
For those wishing to get out on the water for sport fishing and deep sea fishing, look no further than Oceanside Harbor. Home to numerous fishing charters that leave daily there is sure to be a perfect boat for you!
Fun Rentals – Ride O’side Scooters, Wheel Fun Surreys
Cruise the beach in style with these fun rental options in Oceanside!
Looking for some two wheel motorized fun? Ride O’side‘s fat tire electric scooters offer a smooth yet exciting way to ride around our beautiful coastal town. For groups that like to take things at a slower pace look no further than Wheel Fun Rentals and their fun 2 or 4 person surreys which can be rented right on The Strand, just below the pier. This is a “must do” with kids.
Take in the Views
Some of the best photographic backdrops can be found right here in Oceanside! Plentiful classic Californian visuals like rows of palm trees and crashing waves on sandy beaches, coupled with spectacular sunsets night after night make for one photogenic city! Check out our list of the Best Places to Take a Photo in Oceanside.
Located in the Heart of Southern California – Disneyland, LEGOLAND, Sea World & More
No trip to California is complete without visiting at least one of the many famous Southern California attractions that call this region home.
Oceanside is a central location to the popular theme parks, making it the perfect place to make your home base. With direct access to major freeways, as well as the Oceanside Transit Center offering regular trains and bus services connecting you to the major attractions such as Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland California Resort, LEGOLAND California Resort, Sea World San Diego, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park.
To top it all off, the California Welcome Center – Oceanside offers discounted tickets to many of the famous southern California attractions in addition to offering helpful brochures, maps, local goods, souvenirs and a wealth of knowledge about where to go and what to do in the area. To see a list of all of the discount attraction tickets sold at the California Welcome Center-Oceanside.