20 Best Things to Do in Oceanside, CA

Oceanside, CA
Zhukova Valentyna / shutterstock.com

A vibrant harbor, a tall and gorgeous pier, some pristine beaches, and a tinge of history are some of the beautiful things that make up the city of Oceanside.

If you are looking for a splendid Californian coastal city for your next vacation, look no further.

Oceanside is the one you have been searching for!

The city's laid-back atmosphere makes it perfect for a relaxing vacation.

Ready to start planning your visit?

Here are the best things to do in Oceanside, California:

Enjoy the Sun at Harbor Beach

People walking on the sidewalk in Harbor Beach
ZikG / Shutterstock.com

Anyone visiting one of California's coastal cities has an image of a sunny, pristine beach on their minds.

In Oceanside, that perfect beach is none other than the beautiful Harbor Beach.

One of the top attractions in Oceanside, it's also considered the city's main beach.

Surfers surfing at Harbor Beach
NoyanYalcin / Shutterstock.com

Decorated with volleyball courts and empty spaces for relaxing and picnicking, Harbor Beach is popular among locals and tourists.

Fishing is allowed here, too.

Crowded Harbor Beach
NoyanYalcin / Shutterstock.com

The best thing about this beach is that it has different sections for swimming and surfing. Accidents are rare here for this reason.

Choose your activity and head to your designated spot!

Watch the Sunset at the Oceanside Pier

Vibrant sunset at Oceanside Pier
Zhukova Valentyna / Shutterstock.com

The Oceanside Pier is another of the most beautiful spots here in Oceanside.

It's one of those spots whose beauty enhances after dusk.

It also has some secret locations where you can be alone with nature and enjoy some beautiful scenes.

Oceanside Pier lit up during night
Sherry V Smith / Shutterstock.com

If you have plans to go sailing, this is the perfect spot to do so.

The shoreline is perfect, providing some of the best boating opportunities.

The pier stands at the height of a whopping 1,600 feet.

Front view of Oceanside Pier
Zhukova Valentyna / Shutterstock.com

Sea bird watching is one of the most popular activities here.

There are areas for BBQ grills, which makes it an ideal place to have a picnic.

Visit the California Surf Museum

Street view of California Surf Museum
Dogora Sun / Shutterstock.com

Want to learn all the details about the art of surfing?

Come to the California Surf Museum.

The surf culture is evident in California's beach cities.

They have an entire lifestyle revolving around it.

Nameboard of California Surf Museum
Gwsuperfan, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The California Surf Museum plays an essential role in letting people know how California's surf culture came to be.

This non-profit institution wants to keep it alive and hopes that future generations will take an interest in it, too.

Enjoy the Exhibits at the Oceanside Museum of Art

Oceanside Museum of Art
ZikG / Shutterstock.com

The Oceanside Museum only began as a notion to make the locals fall in love with art.

Now, it is one of the top attractions in Oceanside.

Tourists admire the different forms of art displayed inside.

Distant view of Oceanside Museum of Art
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum is pretty active, as it comes up with 15 exhibits every year.

Did you they hold certain fundraising events, too?

The non-profit organization holds these events for benefit of their artists, who hail from different backgrounds.

Arched entryway at Oceanside Museum of Art
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Indulge in the Pacific Views at Beach House Winery

Head to Beach House Winery to admire some of the most scenic ocean views while sipping on award-winning wines.

This particular winery is well-loved among wine enthusiasts.

Their chardonnays are well-renowned, and their rosé is another one of their standout offerings.

They also have some signature blends, so do ask to try their in-house specials to sample flavors you won't get to experience anywhere else.

Vacations mean pampering yourself for a couple of days, and Beach House Winery is one of the ideal places to do that.

Shop for Local Goods at Oceanside Sunset Market

Community gatherings are a vital part of Oceanside's culture.

Oceanside Sunset Market is filled with local artisans and farmers who come here to sell their products.

The weekly event features hundreds of merchants.

Local business owners also put up stalls, and many food items are sold here.

People usually come here to mingle and enjoy their time.

Don't miss out on this exciting event when you're in Oceanside.

Go Camping at Guajome County Park

Guajome County Park is one of the prettiest places to go camping in Oceanside.

The park's location is fantastic, and many tourist spots are situated nearby.

Camping under a night sky filled with stars is one of the best experiences, and getting to do this in a place as beautiful as Guajome Regional Park will indeed be one for the books.

There are a lot of ecosystems in this park.

You can find wetlands as well as grasslands here.

The ocean is also nearby, so you can go fishing here.

If you are looking for a spot to go camping with your family, Guajome Regional Park is undoubtedly your destination.

Check Out the Buena Vista Audubon Society & Nature Center

The Buena Vista Audubon Society & Nature Center is another attractive location in Oceanside.

Once you have checked out the majestic Buena Vista Lagoon, you must head over to the nature center.

It is a place filled with different shades of greens and can get educational, too.

However, if you want to know more about the wildlife and some of the native plants in the San Diego region, you should certainly visit the Buena Vista Audubon Society.

There are some easy hiking trails nearby, too.

Have a Taste of the Local Culture at the Oceanside Farmers Market

People shopping at Oceanside Farmer’s Market
Dogora Sun / Shutterstock.com

The Oceanside Farmers Market is an ideal destination for any tourist or local.

If you want to get to know the local culture and community, visiting the Farmer's Market will most definitely help you.

Since it's a go-to spot for locals, you'll quickly get a taste of everyday life in Oceanside.

Fresh vegetables at Oceanside Farmers Market
Dogora Sun / Shutterstock.com

Don't miss out on the flowers and honey at this market, as they are fresh and organic.

Their baked goods are highly recommended, too.

Fresh greens and lemons at Oceanside Farmers Market
Dogora Sun / Shutterstock.com

Taking place in downtown Oceanside, this lovely market is filled with some of the liveliest crowds.

Make sure to check it out.

Have a Great Day at Tyson Street Beach

Road leading to Tyson Street Beach
Stephanie Braconnier / Shutterstock.com

Tyson Street Beach is one of the most magnificent places in Oceanside.

Head here before catching the sunset at the nearby Oceanside Pier.

Tyson Street Beach offers picture-perfect views of the ocean and the pier.

Families love this beach for its pleasant sun and weather.

The waters are calm, too.

There are picnic spots around the area as well.

Have some quality beach time with your family here.

Visit the Prince of Peace Abbey

The Prince of Peace Abbey is one of those places that will fill you with warmth and peace the moment you step foot inside.

The spiritual energy here will envelop you and give you a feeling of safety and security.

You can find almost 20 monks living in this Benedictine monastery.

There are a library and cemetery open to outsiders, too.

When you glimpse the monastery, you will realize how peaceful their quiet, unconventional lifestyle can be.

Explore Oceanside on a Yacht

Yatch and boats docked at Oceanside Harbour
Simone Hogan / Shutterstock.com

A trip to Oceanside is incomplete without getting to experience its majestic blue waters.

Once you're done sightseeing on land, take the chance to sail on Oceanside's smooth waters.

Sailing Blue Water Charter is one of the most remarkable tour operators that organize sailing trips.

A boat sailing in Oceanside
travelarium.ph / Shutterstock.com

Go sailing on a luxurious yacht or join a sunset cruise.

On a sailing tour, you can also spot whales and dolphins.

You also have the choice to take a day trip to Catalina Island.

Boats docked in Oceanside
Jason Finn / Shutterstock.com

Have the Best Sushi at Harney Oceanside

Now, you don't need to visit the land of sushi to taste some excellent sushi.

You can do it right here in the heart of Oceanside, California—and it's authentic, too.

Spanning 3,500 square feet, Harney Oceanside satisfies both visuals and taste buds.

Apart from making some pretty authentic sushi, the restaurant also boasts gorgeous interiors that include an impressive artificial waterfall.

Harney Oceanside has a massive 600-gallon fish tank and a sake bar that's famous across California.

Pay Your Respects at Mission San Luis Rey

Exterior of Old Mission San Luis Rey
James Kirkikis / Shutterstock.com

Mission San Luis Rey is one of the most ancient sights in Oceanside.

Constructed in 1798, it has been part of many uprisings and has witnessed the rise and fall of five nations.

You wouldn't be able to imagine the kinds of ups and downs it's seen in its lifetime.

Entrance of Mission San Luis Rey
Wayne Via / Shutterstock.com

Inside, there's a museum that tells stories of the different ruling parties that had their hands on the mission.

You can find a lot of documents about the different groups of people that ruled over it.

Arched entryway to the cemetry at Mission San Luis Rey
Nagel Photography / Shutterstock.com

Take the World-Famous Coaster to Downtown San Diego

Exterior view of Oceanside Coaster
Dogora Sun / Shutterstock.com

The Coaster is a world-famous train that takes tourists from the city of Oceanside right to downtown San Diego.

Are you someone who prefers train rides over drives?

Do you not like the Californian traffic?

If so, this train ride is just for you.

Front view of Coaster in Oceanside
Dogora Sun / Shutterstock.com

The services are popular among tourists, especially during the summer months.

The main motive behind the Coaster is to reduce pollution.

Like-minded people board this train to reduce their carbon footprint.

The route is exceptionally scenic and goes along the coast.

So, why don't you save the world and enjoy the scenery at the same time?

Explore the City's History at Heritage Park Village Museum

The Heritage Park Village Museum is tucked away on two acres near the San Luis Rey Mission.

This two-acre Oceanside Park was established as a lasting testament to Oceanside's rich history and traditions.

The old General Store, stables, a prison, a blacksmith shop, and many more structures are located here.

Its pavilion and grassy space for families to rest and take in the surroundings are easily accessible downtown.

To understand the early American movement better, visit Oceanside and learn about its rich history.

Enjoy Seafood at Hello Betty

A rooftop lounge, margaritas, and fresh fish tacos?

What could be more Southern Californian?

Hello, Betty Fish House is a large, inviting indoor-outdoor place where you may stay as long as the margaritas are pouring.

You may be tempted to stay inside because of the memorabilia adorning the walls, but the rooftop lounge is where the real party is.

Get some fresh oysters or ceviche, sample some of the local artisan beer, or stick to a margarita as you watch folks go by.

Sip Beer and Chill at Breakwater Brewing Co.

Breweries often build a restaurant to provide food to their customers to sample their beers.

Breakwater first opened as a restaurant.

Once everything was up and running, they added a brewery.

Breakwater, located only a few blocks from Oceanside's famous pier, is now pouring up to 18 house-brewed craft beers on tap and 25 beers from rival breweries both close to home and across the country to prove they're not afraid of competition.

The beers come with amazing pizzas and pub fares like six different flavors of wing paninis and breadsticks.

Aside from the eight flat-screen TVs, many pinball machines and video games are also to keep things interesting.

Try the First Friday Art Walk Oceanside

If you're in the area during the month's first Friday, you may join the First Friday Art Walk, a self-guided art tour.

It takes place along Oceanside's Artist Alley.

Arts and crafts from the region are on display for guests to peruse.

Custom jewelry, paintings and portraits, glass and woodwork, and performances of music, dance, and poetry are all examples of art that may be seen at pop-up galleries.

Near Coast Highway, you'll find Artist Alley between Pier View Way and  Mission Avenue.

Tee Off at Oceanside Municipal Golf Course

When it comes to Oceanside golf, the San Luis Rey Valley's Oceanside Municipal Golf Course is the best option.

Views of the valley's rolling slopes and natural wildlife may be seen from this 18-hole public course.

A grass driving range and two well-maintained putting greens are available to golfers.

The clubhouse also has a restaurant and a bar for post-golf refreshments.

The PGA Farmers Insurance Open is hosted at Torrey Pines every year, and the course holds yearly qualifying matches.

This means that you may watch the golf competition or participate in it.

Final Thoughts

As a former military outpost with Camp Pendleton on its northern border, Oceanside has come into its own with an expanding culinary and art scene that features new restaurants, vineyards, breweries, and cultural, artistic tourism-oriented establishments.

Oceanside's many attractions will not let you down.

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.