Southern California is lined with golden beaches and the nostalgic dreams of laid-back waveriders. It’s not just anywhere that you can find the perfect mix of consistent wave action and a community that embraces the beach lifestyle. Oceanside, California has miles of what surfers call “beach break”. The beaches of Oceanside are angled just right to catch the southwest swells, attracting surfers from all over San Diego County. Tourists visiting Southern California typically head to San Diego, but we found Oceanside a less frenetic base camp to explore all that San Diego County has to offer. Oceanside definitely has surfing and surfers but it has much more to offer than just waveriders.
Let’s Go! Learn Things about Oceanside, California…
** Disclosure: VisitOceanside invited me to come enjoy their beach town. They bought my beer. As always, all opinions are strictly my opinions. **
We might as well start with the iconic Oceanside Pier. All along the California coastline you will find boardwalks and piers full of fisherman, sunworshipers and people watchers. The Oceanside Pier, at 1940 feet, is one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast. It was first built in 1888 and is now in its sixth rendition.
Beaches and Surfing
The 3.5 miles of Oceanside beaches are lined with frolicking beachgoers. The surfers gather around the beach breaks of the Pier and the Harbor. North of the Oceanside Pier the beach is wider and less crowded. The beach to the south of the Pier is the most popular. This vibrant beach is the location for many surfing competitions. Harbor Beach is actually the largest beach in town. It boasts a bustling marina with watercraft rentals, and shops.
The quirky little surf museum traces the history of surf boards. It was quite interesting to learn about the surf board evolution, from primitive planks of koa wood to sleek and vibrant fiberglass. Of course, while you are learning about famous surfboards, you are learning about their famous riders.
The eclectic and increasingly popular Sunset Market, happens every Thursday evening on Main Street. This street festival, just blocks from the Oceanside Pier, is packed with international foods, local bands and happy revelers.
Hop on The Hops Highway in Oceanside
San Diego County is one of the best beer destinations in the country with over 120 breweries to choose from. Nearly, one third of those can be found along Highway 78 running inland from Oceanside to Escondido. This northern portion of San Diego county is known as the Hops Highway. Hop on the Hops Highway just off the beach in Oceanside with these great options.
History in Oceanside
The history of the region dates back to Spanish missionaries. Father Lasuen arrived in nearby San Luis Rey river valley in 1798. The Native American village of the Luiseño, on the banks of the San Luis Rey became the site of the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia. Father Lasuen taught the Luiseño agricultural techniques. Grazing, farming and irrigation changed the terrain of the surrounding area. Oceanside and all of California was under Spanish rule until 1821, then it was under Mexican rule until 1848 when the territory became part of the United States.
Mission San Luis Rey
If you are following the California Missions Trail along the California coastline, from south to north, San Luis Rey will be the second stop on your journey. There are 21 missions in total and San Luis Rey was the 18th to be built. It was also the largest and most elegant structure covering 1,000 square miles from the foothills of Mt. Palomar to the ocean. The Mission has been tenderly restored and sits on a beautiful and peaceful acreage.
Plan Your Visit to Oceanside, CA
California traffic can be crazy. Public transportation is a great option. The Coaster is a commuter train that runs from downtown San Diego to Oceanside. The Oceanside transit center is a quick walk from the beach. In just an hour you can cover the 35 miles in comfort without the frustration of California traffic.
Oceanside is just 35 miles north of San Diego. You can plan a day trip as part of a visit to San Diego, or you can use this beachtown as your home base to explore all of San Diego County. Be sure to connect with VisitOceanside to discover all the region has to offer.