Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (2024)

For other places with the same name, see Oceanside (disambiguation).

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



Get in


By plane


Most commercial passengers land at San Diego International Airport (SANIATA). 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 (SNAIATA) 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 (LAXIATA).

  • 1 Oceanside Airport (OCN IATA) (just north of town on Highway 76). For private pilots. Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (2) Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (3)

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

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

By train


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


33°12′43″N 117°19′34″W

Map of Oceanside

  • 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.



  • 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. Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (6) Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (7)
  • 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. Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (8) Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (9)
  • 3 California Surf Museum, 312 Pier View Way, +1 760 721-6876, csm@surfmuseum.org. Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (10) Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (11) (updated Aug 2020)
  • Graves House, 102 Pacific Street. Setting of Charlie's house in the 1986 film hit Top Gun.



  • 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 bike, wet suit, and body board rental shops and food stalls under it
  • 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.

  • 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. Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (13) Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (14)
  • 2 Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA), 704 Pier View Way, +1 760 435-3720, Info@oma-online.org. 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM Th - Su. Oceanside Museum of Art is a fine arts museum located at 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside, California in northern San Diego County, California. The museum began holding exhibits in 1995, with a dedicated facility opening on October 6, 1997. It is housed in two buildings designed by Irving Gill and Frederick Fisher, modernist architects from southern California. Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (15) (updated Jun 2023)



  • 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.



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. (updated Mar 2015)
  • 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. (updated Mar 2015)
  • 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.
  • Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill. 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.
  • Tin Fish, 302 The Strand (Located under the Oceanside Pier). Menu options include fish tacos, fish and chips, and salads. (updated Apr 2015)
  • Umi Japanese Grill & Café, 401 Mission Avenue B100, +1 760 439-3566. (updated Mar 2015)
  • The Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen, 509 Mission Ave, +1 760 453-2949.
  • ZigZig Pizza Pie, 333 N Myers St, +1 760 433-1555. (updated Mar 2015)
  • Epic Wings N Things (Wings N Things), 2525 Vista Way Suite A, +1 760-722-8895. 10:30AM to 9PM. Local chain in San Diego county with quality chicken and sides. Many options to choose from and the bread sticks are fantastic. Better than the nearby Buffalo Wild Wings. $12-15. (updated Jul 2022)



  • 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. (updated Mar 2015)
  • Breakwater Brewing Co., 101 N Coast Highway, +1 760 433-6064. (updated Mar 2015)
  • Mission Avenue Bar & Grill, 711 Mission Ave, +1 760 637-2222. (updated Mar 2015)

Stay safe


The most dangerous place in Oceanside is the northern parts, near Camp Pendleton. This is where an officer was once 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.



Go next


  • 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 ClementeNSCarlsbadSan Diego
ENDWOceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (17)EVistaEscondido
Los AngelesSan ClementeNOceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (18)SCarlsbadSan 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.
Oceanside – Travel guide at Wikivoyage (2024)


Can you swim in the ocean at Oceanside, CA? ›

Oceanside Boulevard Beach

During the summer months there is an area directly in front of the lifeguard tower (Tower 9), approximately 200 ft., that is designated for swimmers, waders and body boarders only. For safety precautions, this area is closed to surfing and will be marked by checkered flags and swim-surf signs.

What is Oceanside, CA close to? ›

Carlsbad, CA. Vista, CA. Encinitas, CA.

What is the most popular beach in Oceanside, CA? ›

The beach area south of the Oceanside Pier is Oceanside's most popular beach.

What time of day can you see whales in Oceanside? ›

It's also important to remember that whales are wild animals, and their behavior is unpredictable. Even with the best planning and timing, there is no guarantee that you will see whales during your trip. The best time of day to spot whales in California is in the morning and late afternoon.

Why is Oceanside so popular? ›

The city is a popular tourist destination, owing to its historic landmarks, beaches, and architecture.

Is Oceanside CA expensive to live? ›

Oceanside is ranked 10 out of 273 cities across the US in terms of cost of living. The cost of living in Oceanside is 142.5% of the national average.

Is Oceanside cheaper than Los Angeles? ›

The truth is that Southern California, in general, is pricier than other parts of the country, especially along the water. However, Oceanside is more affordable than nearby cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. So to give you a better idea of what to expect, here's a look at the cost of living in Oceanside.

What are the restrictions on the beach in Oceanside CA? ›

No dogs, alcohol, glass containers, bike riding, roller blading, overhead casting, sitting on the rails, or jumping off the pier. When in the water, you must remain at least 100 feet away from the pier at all times.

Is Oceanside water clean? ›

The City of Oceanside's Water Utilities Department is responsible for treating the City's drinking water to ensure viruses, bacteria and pathogens are removed, and the water meets or exceeds federal and state health standards.

How cold is the ocean in Oceanside right now? ›

Today's Oceanside Beach sea temperature is 71 °F.

Do people swim in the ocean in San Diego? ›

With lovely weather, sunny coastlines, and the tempting waves of the Pacific Ocean beckoning from the shoreline, San Diego is the perfect place to go swimming, surfing, and so much more.

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