Ever heard of Oceanside, California? It’s this picture perfect beach town just a short 30 minute drive north of San Diego. We flew into the San Diego Airport but you could also very easily get to Oceanside if you arrived in LAX. It was just a couple of months ago that I learned about this adorable town and wished that I had heard about it earlier because I would have totally added it to my trip I took to LA during college. Are you a Beach Lover? Foodie? Adventurer? Romantic? History Buff? Whatever type of traveler you are, Oceanside has something for you! Here’s a list of reasons with photos of why Oceanside, California needs to be your next travel destination!
Where to Eat-
The number one place that you need to eat at when visiting Oceanside is the Lighthouse Oyster Bar & Grill! We went during their happy hour and we were blown away with how amazing this place was. We had the coconut shrimp and the ahi stacker along with the chicken alfredo. The seafood was fresh and cooked perfectly. We finished it off with a shared slice of cheesecake. Along with the food being spectacular, the views were breathtaking. You are seated above the harbor and you can see the wildlife that call the harbor home. Lastly, the staff that took care of us were completely professional. They were so kind and gave meaningful recommendations to our tastes. The manager, Luis, came to our table and introduced himself and made us feel welcome. Also, shout out to the greatest waiter ever, Carlos!
Other recommendations are the Breakfast Club Diner for a breakfast or even visiting Elena’s Cafe French Crepes for a light brunch.
Where to Stay:
Fin Boutique Hotel
This is Oceanside’s newest boutique hotel. The hotel opened in May 2018 and is a luxe boutique hotel that blends Oceanside history with modern surf culture. Originally opened in 1927 as the Keisker Hotel, the now 27-room property in downtown Oceanside retains much of the building’s original character including multi-colored, mosaic tile flooring in the lobby, a grand wooden-railed staircase and elegant tiffany windows, while providing modern rooms and amenities for today’s savvy traveler.
What to Do:
Visit the Oceanside Harbor-
You can’t miss this spot when visiting Oceanside! Check out Boat Rentals of America to rent boats, kayaks, SUPs, jet skis, paddle boats and more! We had originally planned on kayaking in the harbor after a turbulent day out at sea but quickly found out it was going to be a lot easier to just boat in the harbor because of the strong waves. This turned out to be a total blast! Our favorite part was getting as close as we could to the docks where all the sea lions were sun bathing!
What a unique experience! We had a one-hour ride along Oceanside’s beautiful coast riding these amazing electric scooters. The owners are very friendly a provide a short safety course when you arrive so you’ll feel completely comfortable while out on the town. Our favorite part was driving up and down the exact same road- beach houses on one side and the ocean on the other. Perfection. Don’t forget to sync up your bluetooth so you can enjoy your favorite music along the way.
Oceanside Museum of Art
The first day that we visited Oceanside it had an unusual storm pass by so we filled up our day visiting museums located right in Oceanside. You can’t miss the Oceanside Museum with its’ ever changing art displays. You’ll also want to take the short walk afterwards to visit the Surf Museum!
Obviously, you’ll have to take the walk down the pier and back because that is totally the thing to do! A restaurant is located at the end of the pier but instead of sitting down to eat we continued our walk back to the beach and walked along the shoreline together as the sun went down. You won’t want to miss this romantic spot!
Mission San Luis Rey
“Founded in 1798 by Fr. Fermin Lasuen, successor to Fr. Junipero Serra, Mission San Luis Rey became the largest of the 21 Spanish missions established in Alta California. This mission, 18th in the chain, was named by the Spanish Viceroy after King Louis IX of France, a 13th century saint and patron of the Secular Franciscans.” Take the Self-Guided Tour around the museum and then check out their peaceful gardens along with the cemetery.
Visiting this mission reminded me of the incredible mission in Valladolid, Mexico that you NEED to check out! (Bonus- it’s all pink!)
Whale/Dolphin Watching Cruise-
Enjoy a luxury whale watching experience with daily cruises from the Oceanside Harbor! The awe-inspiring dolphin and whale watching tours are two hours and include narration by an expert Captain and a certified naturalist. The vessel is a 50-foot beautifully equipped, one level, fast Catamaran built by Cooper Marine in Florida. This US Coast Guard inspected Catamaran is perfect for optimal viewing during the San Diego whale watching season; they have both covered and non-covered areas and seating throughout. Get up-close and personal with the marine life we may see minutes away from Oceanside Harbor. Unfortunately, the weather was such that we weren’t able to experience this cruise, but please do this for me because it sounds incredible!
Take a Drive Along The Coast-
I hope you enjoy Oceanside as much as we did! Because of the wide variety of things to do, it would be a perfect destination for a couple or family that all have different personalties and travel styles! For me, I loved the adventurous and romantic side to Oceanside while Steve loved the history and culture that this town had to offer. Whatever you’re into, Oceanside has something for you!
We want to thank Visit Oceanside for hosting us but all opinions remain our own.
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