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North America > United States of America > California > Southern California > San Diego County > North County (San Diego County) > Oceanside

Oceanside

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For other places with the same name, see Oceanside (disambiguation).
Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

Oceanside is a large city on the Pacific coast of northern San Diego County, California.

Understand[edit]

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Most commercial passengers land at San Diego International Airport (SAN IATA). Take San Diego Transit's Route 992 bus from the airport to the Santa Fe Depot and connect to the COASTER or the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.

The next closest airport is John Wayne Airport (SNA IATA) in Orange County. From Santa Ana, Tustin, or Irvine, take the Pacific Surfliner or the Metrolink Orange County Line. Further north is Los Angeles International Airport (LAX IATA).

Nearby McClellan-Palomar Airport (CLD IATA) in Carlsbad serves general aviation.

By car[edit]

Oceanside is located at the intersections of Interstate 5 and California State Highways 76 and 78.

By rail[edit]

Metrolink train at Oceanside

Oceanside is well-connected by train. Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner travels south to San Diego and north to Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo, with several trains stopping in Oceanside each day.

Oceanside is also the northern terminus of the COASTER regional rail line to San Diego, and the southern terminus of Metrolink's Orange County Line which heads north through Orange County to Los Angeles. A new light rail line, the SPRINTER, links Oceanside with Escondido to the east.

Get around[edit]

  • North County Transportation District (NCTD) is the main transit service in the area and operates the local BREEZE bus service.
  • College Blvd., Mission Avenue, El Camino Real, Coast Highway, Vista Way, and Oceanside Blvd. are the major arteries in Oceanside, as well as I-5, CA-76, and CA-78.
  • You can walk anywhere downtown if arriving by train or bus. Many restaurants, a 16-plex movie theater, and the beach are within a few blocks.

See[edit]

  • A good draw for Oceanside is its sandy ocean beach with convenient facilities, multiple lodging options, and a good amount of accessible parking.
  • 1 Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, 4050 Mission Ave (off the Rancho del Oro turnoff from the SR-76; public transit: BREEZE bus #303 to Douglas Dr & El Camino Real or #309 to Mission Ave & Rancho del Oro), +1 760 757-3651, fax: +1 760 757-4613. Museum hours: M-F 9:30AM-5PM, Sa-Su 10AM-5PM. Dating back to 1798, Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is the eighteenth and largest of the 21 California missions. It was the ninth and last mission founded by Fermin Lasuen. Owing to the size of its physical plant and its land grant, as well as its success in converting neophytes, it received the moniker "The King of the Missions". The oldest pepper tree in California was planted in San Luis Rey's courtyard. During the Mexican-American War, its alcalde (governor) was Sacagewea's son John Baptiste Charbonneau. It was rebuilt between 1895 and 1905 under the direction of Father Joseph O'Keefe. A museum on site has exhibits on the history of the area and there are beautiful gardens to walk through. Adults/seniors $4; youth $3; active military/dependents free-of-charge; children under 5 free. Mission San Luis Rey de Francia (Q6878751) on Wikidata Mission San Luis Rey de Francia on Wikipedia
  • 2 Mount Ecclesia, 2222 Mission Ave (east of Mission Elementary School, about a mile east of Interstate 5), +1 760 757-6600. This historic district, home to the Rosicrucian Fellowship, is noted for its singular architecture and the preservation of nature grounds and gardens, offering a unique meditative walking experience. Accommodation and vegetarian meals are also provided during the winter and summer school activities. Mount Ecclesia (Q6920544) on Wikidata Mount Ecclesia on Wikipedia

Do[edit]

  • Eat breakfast at one of Oceanside's many restaurants on Coast Highway and walk to the harbor (farther) or pier (closer) and back to work it off.
  • Guajome Park. On the east side of Oceanside is a popular county park that includes a duck pond, horseback riding trails and bird-watching.
  • Oceanside Harbor. Popular place to visit for boating, dining, shopping and sightseeing in a pleasant environment.
  • Another famous landmark is the Oceanside Pier with the Ruby's restaurant on the end overlooking the popular surfing beach.
  • San Luis Rey River Trail. A 7.21-mile trail which runs along the south bank of the San Luis Rey River, passing under several bridges and is excellent for bikers.

Thursday Night visit the Oceanside Sunset Market for live music, interesting fast food, fresh farm produce, and exciting fresh art. It is located on Pier View Ave, just west of Coast Highway. Thursday Morning Farmer's Market is held also on Pier View, but East of Coast Highway. Lots of good, fresh organic fruits and vegetables from local farmers at reasonable prices.

Fish from the Oceanside Pier. No license is required, and the bait-house on the pier can supply everything you need. You can also surfcast, fish from the rock jetty, or join a fishing party boat out of the Oceanside Harbor.

Nature attractions in Oceanside Area:

Right around the Oceanside Harbor are a lot of “nature attractions.” There is a wide variety of seabirds on the ocean, on the beach, and in the inlet to the San Luis Rey river. We love to watch the pelicans dive for their fish. There are also a pod of dolphins who regularly patrol up and down the coast. In the harbor area, there are harbor seals and noisy sea lions usually barking over near the bait dock, just north of the boat launch ramp.

Buena Vista Lagoon
  • Grunion Runs. Right on the beach, little fish called grunion come to lay their eggs at night. They do it for 3 sequential nights every 2 or 3 weeks from March to early Fall. The three nights are determined by the moon and tides, and the dates and times of the runs are printed in most tide guides. The first night they start around 11:30, the next night an hour later and the third night another hour later. To see them you will need to bring a flashlight, and should go north of the jetty, because the street lights and the North Coast Village lights make them shy. There is also a program at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla.
  • 1 Buena Vista Lagoon. On Coast Highway near the Oceanside-Carlsbad border is a free nature center and self-guided nature trail at the Buena Vista Lagoon Audobon Society. Buena Vista Lagoon (Q4985455) on Wikidata Buena Vista Lagoon on Wikipedia

Buy[edit]

  • Estate Sale Warehouse. Known for its low prices, constantly changing inventory of antiques and furnishings and high volume.

Oceanside has five shopping centers along California State Route 78, between Interstate 5 and El Camino Real.

  • Camino Town and Country Center.
  • El Camino North Center.
  • North Country Plaza.
  • Pacific Coast Plaza.
  • Westfield Shoppingtown Plaza Camino Real.

Eat[edit]

There are several restaurants in the harbor area including Rockin' Baja Lobster, Fish-N-Chips, Crabby Bob's, Monterey Cannery, and the Jolly Roger.

  • Alfredo's Mexican Food, 602 N Coast Highway, +1 760 433-3504.
  • Anita's Fine Mexican Food, 309 S Coast Highway (on Coast Highway and Michigan Street one block away from the train station), +1 760 722-6323. This home-style Mexican restaurant has a variety of menu items. You'll love the Margaritas and the carnitas.
  • Cafe 101. Located at the intersection of Coast Highway and Wisconsin Street. Classic diner food with great burgers and shakes. Make sure to have some of John's chocolate cake.
  • The Flying Bridge. One of Oceanside's best kept secrets. This restaurant used to be one of the stops for people coming down from LA who were heading to Del Mar or Mexico. It was purchased by new owners recently who completely renovated the building without removing any of the character. Located just north of the 76/Coast Highway interchange across from the Oceanside "Welcome Sign". Be sure to order the Fried Avocado. This restaurant specialty is a great appetizer.
  • Hill Street Cafe. Located on Coast Highway and serves great-tasting, organic, healthy food. Don't let this scare you because the food is incredible. Everything is "homemade" and has great flavor. Originally started as a coffee house in the early 90's, the menu has grown to include Mexican specialties, "California-Cuisine", seafood, pastas, and whatever Dan fixes today. Make sure to try the Rippin' Fish Soup.
  • The Longboarder Cafe. Arguably the best place in Oceanside for a true-California breakfast experience. It's four blocks from the pier, across Coast Highway from the California Surf Museum, and makes for a great place to start your morning in downtown "O".
  • Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill (located at the intersection of College Blvd. and Oceanside Blvd). A chain of unique restaurants spanning California and several other western states, has its roots in the San Diego area. And is headquartered in Carlsbad.
  • Ruby's Diner, 1 Oceanside Pier, +1 760 433-7829. A 1940s-style diner located on the end of the Oceanside Pier. You might have to wait a bit for a table, but the food is good and the atmosphere is nice. If you're lucky, you can get a seat by a window at sunset, and watch the sun go down over the ocean as you eat.
  • Tin Fish, 302 The Strand (Located under the Oceanside Pier). Menu options include fish tacos, fish and chips, and salads.
  • Umi Japanese Grill & Café, 401 Mission Avenue B100, +1 760 439-3566.
  • The Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen, 626 S Tremont St, +1 760 453-2949.
  • ZigZig Pizza Pie, 333 N Myers St, +1 760 433-1555.

Drink[edit]

  • Any martini at the Flying Bridge.
  • Oceanside Ale Works, 1800 Ord Way, +1 760-721-4253. Have a brew in a real operational brewery
  • Bagby Beer Company, 601 S Coast Highway, +1 760 270-9075.
  • Breakwater Brewing Co., 101 N Coast Highway, +1 760 433-6064.
  • Tremont St. Sports Bar & Grill, 311 N Tremont St, +1 760 435-9555.
  • Mission Avenue Bar & Grill, 711 Mission Ave, +1 760 637-2222.

Stay safe[edit]

The most dangerous place in Oceanside is the northern parts, near Camp Pendleton. This is where an officer was recently murdered. Do not wander around at night with gang colors, and expect suspicious looking people at night.

Since Camp Pendleton is so close, the Marines often take their off time in downtown Oceanside off Mission Avenue near the Regal movie theater. This area has many bars and Marines are known to frequent them and get rowdy.

Sleep[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Check out the Oceanside Municipal Golf Course. From CA-76 go north on Douglas Drive to the golf course on the left (after North River Road).
  • Oceanside is separated from the southern border of Orange County by 17 miles by Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Disneyland is easily accessible by the METROLINK train.
  • Visit Legoland California in Carlsbad. It's the first stop south of Oceanside on the COASTER.
  • Imbibe among the vineyards of Southern California Wine Country in nearby Temecula Valley
Routes through Oceanside
Santa AnaSan Clemente  N I-5.svg S  CarlsbadSan Diego
END  W California 78.svg E  VistaEscondido
Los AngelesSan Clemente  N Amtrak Pacific Surfliner Icon.png S  CarlsbadSan Diego



This city travel guide to Oceanside is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.