{ DAY TRIP }

HANG O’SIDE

Pick up some good vibrations in laid-back Oceanside

Photos courtesy of Visit Oceanside

SPRING IS THE TIME FOR BREAKS, and this spring we need one more than ever. So, grab your flip flops and the kids—especially the teenagers—and head up the coast to Oceanside for a laid-back day filled with sun, sand, surf, and good vibrations.

San Diego County’s northernmost beach town boasts more than 3.5 miles of wide sandy beaches, plus miles upon miles of trails for cycling, running, and walking. Its far-stretching harbor is the launching point for all kinds of water adventures from deep-sea fishing to whale watching cruises. Downtown there’s an array of unique eateries, cute shops, and museums to discover. And, for tweens and teens, there are extreme adventures that take things up a notch.

Oceanside Pier at sunset
Oceanside Pier at sunset
A display at California Surf Museum
A display at California Surf Museum

HANG TEN

Referred to by many as California’s capital of surf, Oceanside is home to lots of professional surfers, surf instructors, and future surf stars. According to The Encyclopedia of Surfing, it is “one of Southern California’s most consistent surf spots” with waves practically guaranteed year-round on both sides of the pier and other beach breaks along its gorgeous 3.5-mile stretch of beach. If you’re just getting your toes wet with the sport, arrange to take lessons with one of Oceanside’s surf schools.

If the act of paddling out and catching waves isn’t your thing, you won’t feel left out. Surfing is so deeply engrained in the culture of this town that it oozes out into the streets and alleys. Oceanside has been at the forefront of surfboard design and manufacturing since the 1950s. Visit Shaper’s Alley to get a full appreciation for the number and quality of surfboards that are created there. Also check out the California Surf Museum. Besides a permanent collection that chronicles the history of surfboards and wave riding, it features a stunning collection of surfboards showcasing the progression of materials used by surfers from around the world.

Enjoying Oceanside's favorite pastime
Enjoying Oceanside's favorite pastime

HANG TOUGH 

For a fun way to explore the town, O’side Ride has a fleet of freakishly fun fat-tire electric rides for rent. If you’re looking for a real adventure, sign up for the O’side Ride and Fly tour. After a cruise out to Oceanside Airport on a cool fat-tire scooter bike, you’ll board a helicopter for an aerial tour of the coast. Waverider Helicopter Tours offers everything from a 10-minute surf check to an hour-long tour along the coast. Oceanside is also home to GoJump Oceanside, featuring fabulous oceanview skydives and group rates. Treat yourself and family members (18 years and older) to a tandem skydive from up to 18,000 feet.

Not up for flying or jumping from a plane? You’ll find another way for the whole family to experience the thrill of skydiving at iFly Oceanside. They have a full program of safe and exciting flights for everyone from 3 to 103 years of age. Instead of jumping, you fly gently on a cushion of controlled air to the whoops and hollers of your family. You can even learn the art of urban axe throwing together at Axe Ventures. It’s a fun time for anyone strong enough to throw an axe hard enough to reach the target.

A GoJump Oceanside tandem skydive
A GoJump Oceanside tandem skydive

HANG OUT
Not every activity in Oceanside is going to make your heart race. Oceanside has the honor of being one of just 14 California cities to be designated a California Cultural District. You could spend the entire day visiting museums and galleries! In addition to the California Surf Museum, Oceanside Museum of Art is located in the heart of town. It features exhibitions of contemporary art, landscape painting, photography, neon sculpture, and studio furniture. Five miles to the east, Mission San Luis Rey has an interpretive museum dedicated to its Franciscan heritage.

As you walk around this friendly town, you’ll grow to appreciate Oceanside’s strong creative foundation in the stunning murals you’ll find on ordinary buildings. Go on your own mural hunt! The Visit Oceanside Conference and Visitors Bureau has created a downloadable map with specific mural location information available on their website, visitoceanside.org.

Oceanside Museum of Art
Oceanside Museum of Art

HANGRY? NO WAY!
When it comes to food, Oceanside is a haven for foodies. The downtown area has something for everyone’s palate, from the pickiest to the most adventurous. Locally known as “flip-flop fine dining,” Oceanside prides itself on its array of restaurants offering fresh, locally sourced ingredients, creative style, and a collaborative community spirit.

If you visit on Thursday, head for the MainStreet Oceanside Farmers’ Market and feel an instant connection to the community. Local farmers, artisans, and chefs form an impressive stretch of booths featuring just-picked organic produce, handmade jewelry, clothing, soaps, and scrumptious baked goods. Order lunch or a snack from one of the innovative food vendors. Look for the Boo-ba-licious tent featuring Boo Boo’s Sweet Potato Pies (original, vegan, and gluten-free varieties) made with love by a very huggable Oceanside grandma, and treat everyone to a mini pie. Also be sure to step right up to the red and white striped tent and select a bucket or two of Cheryl’s Caramels. Handmade with love by Oceanside resident, Cheryl Stoner, these fresh, soft, and buttery caramels come in a variety of decadent flavors.

You won’t get hangry and you won’t get thirsty, either. Oceanside is home to several award-winning craft breweries, winery tasting rooms, and more than a dozen craft coffee venues, each with its own imaginative flair.

At day’s end, when you brush the sand from your feet and settle back into the car, don’t be surprised if you’re humming a Beach Boys tune. O’side sets off good vibrations. The kind of vibe the whole family could use right now.

Mission San Luis Rey
Mission San Luis Rey
MainStreet Oceanside 
Farmers' Market
MainStreet Oceanside Farmers' Market

When You  Go

Most of the activities we mention here require advance reservations, so be sure to call ahead. Oceanside is located 35 miles north of the San Diego city limit. If driving, follow I-5 North. If taking the Coaster commuter train, consult the time schedule at gonctd.com.

FARMERS’ MARKET
MainStreet Oceanside
Thursdays 9 am—1 pm
701 Mission Ave

HELPFUL INFO
California Welcome Center
800.350.7873 | 928 North Coast Hwy
visitoceanside.org