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Oceanside

A wide open sandy beach, meandering boardwalk and one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast

The Quintessential Southern California Beach Experience

If you’re looking for wide open golden sand with close proximity to Los Angeles & Orange County, head to Oceanside, California in San Diego's North County Coastal region. Relatively small crowds and easy access to the beaches add up to a relaxing, quintessential Southern California beach experience. Oceanside is one of those places you can head to for a quick jog, or idle a long summer day away in the sun. Plus, there are plenty of family-friendly restaurants in the area (most notably, Ruby's Diner on the end of the pier and the fish & chips shops in the harbor) and fun '50s style motor lodges—some even with pirates and other themes.

Where to Go

  • Oceanside Harbor, or The Jetties, is a popular surfing area, especially in summer south swell season. Fishermen can try their luck off the end of a jetty (beware of high surf and high tides), or surf cast on the south side by the San Luis Rey River mouth. You can also catch a sport fishing boat out of Oceanside Harbor or launch your own at the boat ramp.
  • Oceanside City Beach, know to locals as The Strand, is an ideal spot for children to swim or ride the whitewater on boogie boards. There are a number of small parks along the boardwalk with restrooms, picnic tables, barbecues, and an excellent playground by the pier.
  • Other beach-related attractions include the nearby California Surf Museum and seasonal surf and volleyball competitions.
  • Buccaneer Beach is south of the pier where the beach narrows and the road dips down to sea level. It's a popular spot for kids to practice their surfing with easy access and lifeguard supervision close at hand.

Parking

  • The parking for Oceanside beaches is a mix of free, paid, metered and private (for slip holders in the marina), and much of it is time-limited, so check the signs carefully before choosing a spot.
  • There is ample free parking on the residential streets and towards the train tracks, along with metered parking and self-pay lots.

Bathrooms & Showers

  • Plenty of bathrooms and showers at Oceanside City Beach and Buccaneer Beach

Lifeguards

  • Oceanside beaches are well staffed with lifeguards on duty throughout the year.

Popular Activities

  • Surfing, boogie boarding, kayaking, paddle boarding.
  • Swimming, but in designated areas in the summer. Watch for signs.
  • Fishing off of the Oceanside Pier.
  • Walking, jogging and bicycling on the boardwalk.
  • Summer outdoor concerts in festivals at Oceanside City Beach.

Directions to Oceanside Beaches

  • Head west on Mission Boulevard from the I-5 freeway. Take a right on North Pacific St. to Pier View Way and the Oceanside Pier. Continue north on Pacific Street to head up to the Harbor or south toward Buccaneer Beach. You can drive down onto the Strand to drop off passengers, but there's virtually no parking here, and you're liable to get trapped in a slow-moving traffic parade.

Oceanside

What to Love

  • At 1,942 feet, the Oceanside Pier is one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast.
  • Ruby's Diner at the end of the Oceanside Pier.
  • Catch a surf contest at Oceanside Beach—several are held throughout the year.
  • California Surf Museum for surf related artifacts and memorabilia.
  • Buena Vista Audubon Society Nature Center with views of the lagoon and good bird watching.

What to Know

  • The California Welcome Center on North Coast Highway in Oceanside offers local and regional visitor information including maps.
  • Oceanside is home to the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

What to Love

  • At 1,942 feet, the Oceanside Pier is one of the longest wooden piers on the West Coast.
  • Ruby's Diner at the end of the Oceanside Pier.
  • Catch a surf contest at Oceanside Beach—several are held throughout the year.
  • California Surf Museum for surf related artifacts and memorabilia.
  • Buena Vista Audubon Society Nature Center with views of the lagoon and good bird watching.
  • Free concerts during the spring and summer at the Oceanside Pier Plaza Amphitheatre.

What to Know

  • The California Welcome Center on North Coast Highway in Oceanside offers local and regional visitor information including maps.
  • Oceanside is home to the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

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