10 Fun Things to do with Your Kids While in Oceanside!
When planning a trip with the family, whether its just for the day or an extended vacation, the most common question parents ask themselves before hitting the road is Will the kids have fun? Creating fun and memorable experiences are the key factors for any family vacation! With all of this planning and researching, don’t forget that from the kids point-of-view, they just want to spend time with you laughing and enjoying life’s simple pleasures.
Oceanside is the perfect family destination and is ideal for family vacations and family reunions. There are tons of fun things to do in Oceanside with the entire family, from hanging out at the beach to exploring the area on bicycles, or even renting kayaks and cruising around the Harbor. Click HERE for even more ideas on things to do with your family.
We put together a list of fun and unique hands-on activities that are perfect for kids of all ages.
A Day at the Beach
Of course, a trip to Oceanside wouldn’t be complete without spending time at the beach and sticking your toes in the water! Throughout the year, you will find local “O’siders” and visitors alike enjoying the beach, surfing the waves, and enjoying the warm sun. Make it a hands-on experience by creating a sandcastle village, using your imagination to create motes and homes for the entire family. As the sun begins to set, cozy-up around the fire pits and make s’mores! Nothing is better than hearing the laughs and giggles from your kids as marshmallows catch on fire or seeing their little fingers get all sticky from their evening sweet treats.
Attend the Farmer’s Market and Sunset Market
Every Thursday in downtown Oceanside is Market Day!!! The Farmers Market is a delightful way to mingle with the locals and experience fresh, homegrown, organic produce, flowers and scrumptious baked goods. The morning Farmers Market is held from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. In the evening, the Sunset Market comes alive with delicious food vendors, local retail vendors, live entertainment and more. The Sunset Market is held from 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm.
Both markets are perfect for the entire family. Your children can interact with all of the vendors, eat delicious food and enjoy the fresh air. Even your four-legged fur babies are invited to attend both markets as long as they are well behaved.
Visit the Museums
Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA) is a cultural jewel located in downtown Oceanside. The museum is housed within a classic Irving Gill designed building that represents the flavor of Southern California in the 1930s. The museum hosts a variety of events and programs throughout the year including hands-on events for kids, summer camps, and museum tours with a child’s perspective.
California Surf Museum (CSM) was founded in 1986 and has been in operation for three decades serving tens of thousands of annual visitors from over 40 nations around the globe. With a permanent collection which chronicles the history of surfboards and wave-riding, the museum also offers many revolving exhibits each year. In its current museum-quality space, it has acquired a rare set of archives and collections gathered over more than 30 years, comprising one of the world’s richest troves of surfing history. Additionally, the California Surf Museum has the permanent exhibit featuring the infamous Bethany Hamilton shark bitten surfboard as depicted in the movie, Soul Surfer.
Whale Watching from Oceanside Harbor
Getting out on the water and seeing animals in their natural environment is an amazing experience and is definitely a memory to last a lifetime for the children in your life. Year-round whale watching cruises leave daily from Oceanside Harbor giving visitors the chance to see blue or gray whales (depending on the season), dolphins, sea lions, pelagic birds and more during a trip. With our coastline directly in the path of the annual whale migrations, Oceanside is an ideal destination to go Whale Watching.
Go To A Skate Park
Oceanside has an incredible history within the action sports industry. As the birthplace of the famous Transworld SKATEboarding magazine, local North County skaters have been setting trends and leading the skateboarding movement from the very beginning. As a result, many surf and skate manufacturing and retail suppliers call Oceanside home.
Complimenting the surf and skate lifestyle, the City of Oceanside has built and currently maintains five local skateboard parks including the Alex Road Skatepark, John Landes Park, Libby Lake Park, Martin Luther King Park, and Melba Bishop Park. These local resources attract skaters of all ages and all skill levels, inviting them to develop and refine their skills and to express themselves through the physical activity of skateboarding.
Skaters must wear appropriate protective gear at all times. Riders who do not follow this and any other posted rules may be asked to leave the park.
Explore Guajome Park
Guajome County Park offers its visitors a unique blend of history and outdoor experiences. At one end of the park stands an historic adobe ranch house built in the 1850s. From there the park stretches two miles westward and encompasses some of the most diverse habitats to be found in any county park. You’ll enjoy opportunities to hike, picnic, ride horses, fish, and camp.
Rent Bikes and Ride to Mission San Luis Rey
Renting bikes and exploring a new city is so exciting! While on bike, you are free to look around and spot the details within a community easily missed when traveling in a car. Whether its stopping at a local cafe for a cup of coffee or noticing a small plaque on a park bench. Exploring on bike is a very memorable experience with your loved ones. While in Oceanside, compliment your biking adventure with a history lesson and ride your bike to Mission San Luis Rey! If you are staying in downtown Oceanside, you can rent a motorized or traditional bicycle, and hop on the San Luis Rey Bike Trail for approximately 7 miles until you reach this historic landmark. Mission San Luis Rey was built in 1798 and is one of the 21 California Missions. Consider visiting the king of the missions for your California 4th Grade Mission Trip. To learn more visit 4th Grade Field Trips to Mission San Luis Rey. Visitors can also take a self-guided tour or visit the Mission Museum for a nominal fee. Learn more about the Oceanside Bike Trails.
Choo Choo!!! Visit the Model Railroad Museum
Children and their families are invited to visit the North County Model Railroad Museum to run and operate model trains with experienced volunteers. The museum is open every Saturday for its weekly Trains for Kids event. The Model Railroad Museum is located with the quaint Heritage Park, which houses the original buildings of downtown Oceanside dating back to the twentieth century.
BVAS Nature Center
The Buena Vista Audubon Society (BVAS) Nature Center rests along the shores of the Buena Vista Lagoon, which is the only freshwater lagoon in Southern California. The Nature Center is a wonderful resource for those that are curious about the birds, mammals, and insects that call the lagoon home. Throughout the year, the community is invited to the Nature Center to participate in guided bird walks and educational events. There are special children’s events including storytimes, art days, and the monthly Joey’s and Johnny’s Clubhouse where 7 year old Joey and her 4 year old brother, Johnny, explore the Nature Center with their friends.
Take a Walk Along the Oceanside Pier
The Oceanside Pier is one of the most visited locations in our beautiful city. It is a fun spot to just hangout during the day and even grab your camera and take a photo as the sun sets below the horizon. Walking along the pier is a fun activity for the entire family. As you walk, you can count the wooden slats below your feet, count the birds flying by, and cheer on to the surfers as they catch a wave. If you bring some extra change, you can even use the coin operated binoculars to spot sailboats in the distance. After walking the 1,942 feet to the end of the Oceanside Pier, reward yourself with a milk shake from Ruby’s Diner at the Pier!