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Oceanside

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Oceanside [1] is a city on the Pacific coast of northern San Diego County, California. It is part of the San Diego metropolitan area.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Nearby McClellan-Palomar Airport (IATA: CLD) (ICAO: KCRQ) in Carlsbad has a few commuter flights to/from Los Angeles International Airport on SkyWest Airlines under the United Express banner. Vision Airlines also has service to North Las Vegas.

Most travelers to/from Oceanside utilize San Diego International Airport (IATA: SAN) [2]. 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 (IATA: SNA) [3] in the city of Santa Ana in the Los Angeles metro area. From Santa Ana, Tustin, or Irvine, take the Pacific Surfliner or the Metrolink Orange County Line.

For private pilots, Oceanside Airport (ICAO: KOKB) is located just north of town on Highway 76.

By car[edit]

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

By rail[edit]

Oceanside is well-connected by train. Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner [4] travels south to San Diego and north to Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obisbo, with several trains stopping in Oceanside each day.

Oceanside is also the northern terminus of the COASTER [5] regional rail line to San Diego, and the southern terminus of Metrolink's [6] Orange County Line which heads north through Orange County to Los Angeles. A new light rail line, the SPRINTER [7], links Oceanside with Escondido to the east.

Get around[edit]

  • North County Transportation District (NCTD) [8] is the main bus service in the area.
  • 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][add listing]

  • A good draw for Oceanside is its sandy ocean beach with convenient facilities, multiple lodging options, and a good amount of accessible parking.
  • Mission San Luis Rey, 4050 Mission Avenue (off the Rancho del Oro turnoff from SR-76), +1 760 757-3651, [9]. Daily 10AM-4PM. Dating back to 1798, Mission San Luis Rey de Francia is the eighteenth and largest of the 21 California missions. A museum on site has exhibits on the history of the area and there are beautiful gardens to walk through. $6 adults, $4 youth, $5 seniors/military, ages 5 and under free.
  • Mount Ecclesia, 2222 Mission Ave (east of Mission Elementary School, about a mile east of Interstate 5) +1 760 757-6600.[10] 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.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • 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 is 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 [11] 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.:” We have 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. Lagoon Nature Centers & Trails:

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. See this web site:[ http://www.bvaudubon.org/] I like it, and our grandchildren always love a short visit there. There are things of interest for all ages from toddlers to teens. It is close, and a visit of 30 minutes would be enough to visit the center and take the short nature trail. Agua Hedionda Lagoon:

A Little further South on Interstate 5 is the Agua Hedionda Lagoon, which has a brand new, beautiful nature center situated high above the lagoon at the East end of the lagoon with a fabulous view. Take the Cannon Road exit East (same exit as Legoland) but go straight on Cannon Road a few miles to top of the hill the visitors center is a building on the left side of the road near the power lines. Here’s a link to their web site:http://www.aguahedionda.org/ There are also three short trail to explore in different areas of the lagoon.

Batiquitos Lagoon:

A little further South is the Batiquitos Lagoon. Exit at Poinsettia Dr and turn East. Take the first right turn south and turn into the neighborhood at the bottom of the hill, closest to the lagoon. There is a wonderful, wide trail that goes along the edge of the lagoon near some very beautiful homes. About one block after the start of the trail is a visitor center, which has a lot of interesting exhibits -- especially for children. Here is a link to their web site: http://www.batiquitosfoundation.org/newsite/index.php


Monarch Butterfly Center:

A couple of exits further South is Leucadia Blvd --Go west and then take the first Left to the monarch butterfly program building and facility. Here is a link to their web site: http://www.monarchprogram.org/facility.htm They raise butterflies, and the milkweed they feed on. They also raise other types of insects. There is a small fee (donation) for entry, but very educational.

San Diego Botanical Garden:

One more exit South is Encinitas Blvd. Exit and turn East, to the San Diego Botanical Garden. There is a fee to enter, but it is a great place to spend 3 or 4 hours, and take a picnic. Everything is beautifully labeled. There are several EXCELLENT exhibits and play areas for children, including a dinosaur area, and an amazing treehouse.. Here is a link to their web site: http://www.sdbgarden.org/

San Elijo Lagoon:

A few exits further south is Manchester Ave -- go west to San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center and Nature trail. See this web site: http://www.sanelijo.org/naturecenter.html

Petting Zoo:

There is a WONDERFUL petting zoo at San Juan Capistrano. Maybe one of the best in the country! See this web site: http://www.zoomars.com/# It is very close to the train station there and the San Juan Capistrano Mission (where the swallows return each year). A fun outing for children it to take the Amtrak or Metrolink train from Oceanside to San Juan Capistrano (about 15 minutes), walk to the petting zoo, have lunch, visit the mission, and come back home.

There are lots of very interesting walks, or hikes in the San Diego area. In particular there are a lot around the lagoons, but there are quite a few in the local hills and foothills. Priscilla Lister has a column in the San Diego Union Tribune each week that describes very interesting trails. Go to this search page: http://www.signonsandiego.com/search/?q=priscilla+lister to scan through her many columns.

One of the more interesting places is Queen Califia’s Magic Circle -- a free “sculpture garden” in Kit Carson Park in Escondido -- about 25 minutes from Oceanside. The unique area was designed by sculptress Niki De Saint Phalle, and was a huge artistic and engineering project. Our grand children have always enjoyed a visit there. See this web site: http://queencalifia.org/ The sculpure is so “far out” that kids love it--and they get to run around in some of it. There is also an arboretum. Our grandchildren enjoy playing in the stream nearby and exploring the fairly large park -- so I would call it a “nature” attraction.

Mission San Luis Rey is only a few miles from North Coast Village. In fact,there is a bike path that starts across the street from the complex and goes along the river to right near the mission. It is called the “king of the missions” and is an active church. There is a small fee-donation to tour the historical area, and children can see how they farmed during the era of the missions.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • 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][add listing]

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

  • Anita's is located on Coast Highway and Michigan Street one block away from the train station. This home-style Mexican restaurant has a variety of menu items. You'll love the Margaritas and the carnitas.
  • Cafe 101 is 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 is 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 is 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-Cusine", seafood, pastas, and whatever Dan fixes today. Make sure to try the Rippin' Fish Soup.
  • The Longboarder Cafe is 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), [12]. A chain of unique restaurants spanning California and several other western states, has its roots in the San Diego area. And is headquarterd in Carlsbad.  edit
  • Ruby's Diner, [13]. 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.  edit
  • Red Rooster. Home of the rooster burger.  edit


Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Any martini at the Flying Bridge.
  • Oceanside Ale Works, 1800 Ord Way, 760-721-4253, [14]. Have a brew in a real operational brewery  edit

Stay Safe[edit]

The most dangerous place in Oceanside is the northern parts, near Camp Pendleton. This is where a officer was recently murdered. Libby Lake Park also has a negative reputation, as groups of teenagers have been targeted by gang members. Do not wander around at night with gang colors, and expect suspicious looking people at night.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Holiday Inn Oceanside Marina / Camp Pendleton Area, 1401 Carmelo Drive, +1 760 231-7000, Fax: +1 760 637-2900, [15].
  • Best Western Marty's Valley Inn, 3240 E Mission Avenue, +1 760 757-7700, Toll-free: +1 800 747-3529, Fax: +1 760 439-3311, [16].
  • Marriott Residence Inn Oceanside, 3603 Ocean Ranch Blvd, +1 760 722-9600, Fax: +1 760 722-9699, [17].
  • Motel 6, 3708 Plaza Drive, +1 760 941-1011, Fax: +1 760 941-5608, [18].
  • Motel 6 Oceanside Downtown, 909 North Coast Highway, +1 760 721-1543, Fax: +1 760 721-1826, [19].
  • North Coast Village (S, Warr), 999 N Pacific Street., 801-704-9449, [20]. North Coast Village in Oceanside, Beach Vacation Rental, Oceanfront. Beautiful Beach Front condo units, and some with less view, at North Coast Village in Oceanside, California, San Diego County. The North Coast Village condominium complex is the only such complex in Oceanside to sit right On The Sand.  edit
  • Residence Inn San Diego Oceanside, 3603 Ocean Ranch Blvd., 1-760-722-9600, [21]. San Diego Oceanside hotel near Camp Pendleton, the Oceanside Pier, and Legoland. 125 non-smoking suites with kitchens, separate living areas and bedrooms. Complimentary parking and Internet access. (33.209541,-117.31272) edit
  • Courtyard San Diego Oceanside, 3501 Seagate Way, 760-966-1000, [22]. Conveniently located, the hotel is minutes from Camp Pendleton, Oceanside Beach, LEGOLAND and Genentech. (33.206673,-117.310393) edit

Get out[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 touches the southern border of Orange County, and Disneyland is easily accessible by 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 noframe S  CarlsbadSan Diego




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