Budget-Friendly Things to Do in O’side

Keepin’ it real in O’side means you can have an amazing time while spending approximately zero dollars on entertainment. Here’s a list of some of our favorite no-cost adventures in Oceanside, suitable for cash conscious travelers of all ages. You’re welcome.

Watch the Sea Lions
watch the sea lions
Watch the Sea Lions

Allow us to introduce you to your new favorite word: thigmotactic. It describes an animal’s reaction to touch, and in the case of sea lions, explains why they love piling on top of each other to lounge and sleep on the boat slips and floating docks in the O’side Harbor.

Take a Hike
hiking trails
Take a Hike

Grab your water bottle and make like an O’sider, hitting the trails through Oak Riparian Park, or meandering the Garrison Creek Trail, the San Luis Rey River Trail, or the Coastal Rail Trail.

Explore Guajome Park
Guajome Park
Explore Guajome Park

If you’ve got fishing gear, you can drop a line for bass, bluegill, and channel catfish in either of the park’s two ponds. Or explore the hiking trails while checking out the migratory bird life.

Go to the Beach
go to the beach
Go to the Beach

Kind of a no-brainer in O’side, where the epic weather means every day is beach day, year-round. There’s a different beach for every kind of mood you can find yourself in and for every sort of activity, from beach volleyball to body surfing to shoreline strolling.

Take a Mural Walk Around Town
mural walk
Take a Mural Walk Around Town

There are two huge reasons to take a self-guided tour of the O’side art murals. One, because they’re an amazing example of public art and a big part of our O’side identity. And two, because Instagram (or TikTok – you do you). 

Commune with Nature
explore nature
Commune with Nature

The Buena Vista Audubon Society Nature Center is your homebase for exploring the 220-acre Buena Vista Lagoon Ecological Reserve. It’s a bird sanctuary filled with feathered friends you can spot from trails winding through the salt ponds. 

See Mission San Luis Rey
Mission San Luis Rey
See Mission San Luis Rey

Discover why they call this historical marvel and cultural landmark, “The King of the Missions” on a self-guided behind-the-scenes tour. Explore the sunken gardens, discover the history of the El Camino Real bells, or just spend a few minutes in quiet contemplation.

Go on a History Walk
history walk
Go on a History Walk

Read up on the long and storied history of O’side and its various neighborhoods and landmark buildings, then take to the streets to view some of its architectural gems in their native habitats.

Enjoy the Farmer's Market
farmers market
Enjoy the Farmer's Market

Oceanside’s Sunset Market has been a Thursday night tradition for more than 15 years. Held 5pm-9pm on Pier Way west of Coast Highway downtown, you’ll find four bustling city blocks of merchants and farm vendors offering gourmet goods, artisan products, and quirky gifts.

Explore Nearby Destinations

Transportation Options: Getting Around SoCal

O’side is just 100 miles south of LA and 50 miles from Orange County. You can easily get around by car, bus, plane, or even train.

Nearby Attractions

Make O’side your vacation home base for exploring world-famous attractions and destinations like the San Diego Zoo and Legoland California. Stop by the California Welcome Center for discounts on many of SoCAL’s biggest attractions.

Visitor Guide 2024 with shadow

What's New in O'side? Check out Our 2024 Visitor Guide To find out.

Oceanside Visitors Guide 2023

Sharing some O'side love with our Visitor guide.

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