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13 Things to Do in Oceanside

13 Things to Do in Oceanside

Consider adding these fun things to do in Oceanside to the list to get the best out of your trip with plenty of memories to look back on.


5 min read

July 20, 2021

Hello, Oceanside, sunny San Diego’s palm-dotted city! This quintessential coastal escape is a vacation destination you need to experience at least once. Classically charming, wonderfully eclectic, and always genuine, O’side is a true SoCal O’riginal with plenty to see and discover. Have an itinerary that’s waiting to be filled? Consider adding these fun things to do in Oceanside to the list and you’ll get the best out of your San Diego adventure with plenty of memories to look back on fondly.

Fun Things to Do In Oceanside

Welcome to Oceanside, a true SoCal beach town with a tangible laid-back vibe that boasts gorgeous beaches, a historic wooden pier, and much more.

1. Arrive from San Diego on the COASTER

The best way to start off a weekend in Oceanside San Diego is to arrive in style; cue the train entrance. Hop on the COASTER from Downtown San Diego and you’ll be in Oceanside in a little over an hour. This is a classic thing to do in Oceanside and a ride locals take frequently, so you’ll be on the right track to start off the weekend in an authentic way.

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2. Take a Stroll Along the Oceanside Pier

The Oceanside Pier is a must-see in town; it's the oldest wooden pier on the West Coast. Only about a five-minute walk from the COASTER station, you’re best off seeing this Oceanside attraction as your first stop right off the train.

Like art itself, the Oceanside Museum of Art is always fresh, sometimes edgy, sometimes traditional, and frequently unexpected.

3. Get to Know the Art Scene at Oceanside Museum of Art

A fun thing to do in Oceanside within walking distance of the pier is the Oceanside Museum of Art. First opened in 1997, the super-cool San Diego museum hosts regional and international exhibitions of contemporary art. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with local talent and get your necessary art fix on your trip.

The grass is always greener when you’re on a picnic with your besties. Things just taste better outdoors!

4. Enjoy a Picnic at Guajome County Park

There’s so much to do at Guajome County Park that you can spend a full weekend just camping out here. However, if you’ve planned out other activities in Oceanside and can’t devote a full day to spend here, consider having a picnic and a hike at the county park. There are over four miles of hiking trails here, and the area is full of birdwatchers and wildlife aficionados looking for outdoor adventures.

5. Take Home a Souvenir from the Oceanside Sunset Market

The Oceanside Sunset Market is back and ready to welcome eager visitors. Located in the downtown district, the Sunset Market spans around four city blocks and hosts up to 200 merchants. Shop for souvenirs, sample tasty treats, and listen to live music as you check out one of San Diego County’s busiest street fairs.

The California Surf Museum features a display of many unique pieces of surfing memorabilia, including a display dedicated to Bethany Hamilton.

6. Become a Surf Aficionado at the California Surf Museum

You don’t need to be a surfer to admire the history and culture of surfing in California. Head over to the California Surf Museum for all things surf-related and get ready to learn everything about surf history, lifestyle, art, memorabilia, and culture. And if you’re already a pro in the field, you’ll have plenty to gush over at this popular Oceanside attraction.

7. Check out Heritage Park Village and Museum

For the ultimate trip back in time, Heritage Park Village and Museum should be on your list of things to do in Oceanside. Once the original town center, the two-acre Oceanside attraction was set up as a permanent memorial to the town’s heritage. Here, you’ll find a general store, blacksmith studio, horse stables, and even a jail. If you’d rather learn about the history of Oceanside in more detail, visit on a weekend and you’ll have the chance to participate in a guided tour.

8. Relax at Oceanside Harbor Beach

Is it even a trip if your SoCal itinerary doesn’t include hitting the beach? While you have plenty of options to choose from in this coastal city, among the most popular ones is Oceanside Harbor Beach. As the largest Oceanside city beach, this popular sandy stretch offers everything from volleyball to surfing, along with every amenity imaginable. Thanks to its awesome location, Oceanside Harbor Beach is also close to many top dining and shopping facilities you’ll definitely want to check out.

9. Spend a Night at one of the Roberts Cottages

Roberts Cottages are part of Oceanside’s eclectic beach landscape. Visually appealing with an interesting history, these Oceanside attractions have hosted their fair share of Instagram shoots. Because they’re individually owned, many of the cottages are regularly rented out to visitors and can be a unique option for seaside accommodation.

10. Check out Old Mission San Luis Rey

Dubbed the “King of Missions,” San Luis Rey is a Southern California mission worth visiting whether or not you’re religious. An interesting fact about Old Mission San Luis Rey is that it has gone through five different periods of occupation since it was founded in 1798. The architecture alone is beautiful enough to attract tourists, and the museum and gift shop are the cherry on top.

11. Pedal Along the Strand

The Strand is a one-and-a-half-mile-long street that runs parallel to the Oceanside shoreline. Stretching all the way from Breakwater Way on the northern end to Wisconsin Avenue to the south, the Strand is an absolute must when it comes to fun things to do in Oceanside. While you can also walk or drive along the street, biking is perhaps the best way to measure the entirety of the street. Besides, you can stop along the way to check out the local shops whenever you want.

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12. Find your Next Favorite Fish Taco Joint

San Diego County hosts plenty of awesome restaurants, many of which are in Oceanside. From juicy fish tacos to flavorful vegan eats, the coastal destination has many amazing restaurants to choose from. Famous dining spots can be found near the Oceanside Pier and everywhere around the downtown area.

13. Sail to Catalina Island on a Charter

If you ask us, the best way to end a summer getaway is to move on to the next one. Now that you’ve explored the town on land, add one more fun thing to do in Oceanside to your itinerary and sail out to Catalina Island on a charter. Sailing Blue Water Charters offers highly-rated boating tours in SoCal—this is your ticket out of Oceanside and towards another tropical paradise.

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