Great Places to Take a Photo in Oceanside

Whether it be a fun selfie, a gorgeous landscape shot or something abstract and artsy, Oceanside’s diverse and beautiful scenery makes for some of the best photographic backdrops in Southern California. With classic Californian visuals like rows of palm trees and crashing waves on sandy beaches, as well as spectacular sunsets, photogenic murals laced throughout downtown, the largest mission in all of California and so on, Oceanside welcomes all keen eyed creatives and ‘documenters’ of fun.

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The Beach and Pier


The most obvious place to snap away at is the beach. Oceanside is known for its large sandy beaches which allow for plenty of room to be creative and capture that perfect beachy shot to share. What really helps add a whole new dimension to your beach shots is the Oceanside Pier, a 1,942 foot structure stretching out into the deep blue ocean. Including the pier in photos of the ocean helps to give a sense of scale, and can make your picture that much more interesting!

Have a camera handy while the tide is low and you will get an amazing opportunity to capture pictures from below the pier! Standing directly underneath the middle of the wooden structure reveals an amazing ‘window’ out into the ocean that needs to be seen to be believed, and then photographed to remember! The pier isn’t just a great subject to fill your camera frame either, it is also an excellent way to capture the beautiful coastline and waves from a unique vantage point that would otherwise be unavailable. No matter the lighting or the equipment, the pier always results in a memorable photograph worthy of sharing with the world. 

Murals and Artwork


Oceanside is much more than just a city by the beach, it is a thriving town with its own unique culture that includes a love for the arts. So much so that Oceanside has been recognized by the California Arts Council as one of the state’s 14 premier state-designated cultural districts! With the combination of talented local artists, passionate locals, supportive businesses and a strong foundation of art institutes and museums Oceanside has become a hotbed for stunning artwork that can be seen throughout downtown. Over the next three years the number of murals will continue to grow with the Oceanside Mural Initiative seeking to install nine additional curated public murals over the course of three years in Downtown Oceanside. These colorful and vibrant pieces located up and down Oceanside often require a little searching to find, but once located they all make for great photographic subjects. To see where you can find the murals photographed below click on their respective pictures.

MORE: Oceanside Murals and Their Locations

Unique Perspectives


With a little creativity even the most simple of subjects can turn into memorable photographs. For example, using the bright yellow center lines of the road in addition to the iconic rows of palm trees will give any picture a classic California beach vibe. Luckily Oceanside has numerous locations along the coast that fit this description perfectly, and can serve as the subject of your picture or the backdrop to your activity of choice such as biking or skateboarding.

Here's Oceanside from a different perspective 😎 #repost from @gerardophotos

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Skatin' down to the Strand 😎 Happy Friday! #TGIF #repost from @jdcollings

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If you have the means, another particularly unique perspective that produces jaw dropping photographs is from above using drones. With the city’s varied and colorful terrain, pictures from high above result in a view we would otherwise likely never see and help give perspective on how closely intertwined we are with the ocean, rocks and sand.

Woah! Check out this AMAZING aerial shot above Oceanside! Fantastic repost from @joshwrogers #oceanside #aerial #oside

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🌅Oceanside from above🌅 #repost from @artbyart_la

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For the Adventurous


Driving a little more inland brings about its own unique photographic opportunities, including a chance to walk and explore around California’s largest mission! Old Mission San Luis Rey’s beautifully kept gardens, giant white adobe structure and old ruins and relics from days long since passed are breathtaking to behold and a joy to capture.

For those that seek excitement and an experience that when coupled with photographs will be remembered for a lifetime, inland Oceanside also offers jaw-dropping coastal helicopter rides as well as sky diving! Both begin their journeys from the Oceanside Municipal Airport, but that is where the similarities end. For unbelievable pictures of the coastline from a vantage point few get to experience, Waverider Helicopter Tours offers the removal of any or all doors so that you can get the perfect unobstructed shot. Whether it be during the day or during sunset, the natural beauty of the beach, waves and land will always make for breathtaking pictures. For pictures of yourself with a similarly stunning backdrop GoJump Oceanside offers video and photo packages that keep your own equipment out of harms way but still allow you to get thrilling pictures of you free falling through the sky with the beach, ocean and land all in frame.

Finally, those that enjoy an adventure in the water will be rewarded with special opportunities to capture pictures that would otherwise be impossible from land. Specifically Oceanside’s calm harbor is perfect for cruising around in kayaks and stand up paddle board (SUP for short) while snapping pictures of the docked boats, resting sea lions and the ‘Oceanside’ sign located on the side of the hill. Be sure to bring a waterproof case for your phone or camera just in case!

And if capturing sea life is your goal, Oceanside Adventures takes guests from Oceanside’s harbor out into the deep ocean on their specially made whale watching catamaran. These sea trips allow for a unique chance to photograph not only hundreds of dolphins and seabirds, but also some of the most majestic and rarely seen sea creatures alive including the blue whale and killer whale if you’re lucky!

To get your Oceanside pictures featured on the Visit Oceanside galleries be sure to tag your photos with #visitoceanside and tag @visitoceanside so that we can see your lovely and creative interpretations of our beach city!

Published: March 9, 2020
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