Are you tired of searching and taking the unwanted suggestions of Maldives and Bali for a trip close to nature?
Well, I have something for you—Oceanside! The landscapes and the aura of the waterfronts and the beaches of this town will bring you solace, a picturesque natural environment, adrenaline surges, and daredevil activities to do.
I visited Oceanside during spring, and the town was gorgeous. It’s a perfect place to spend your summer vacations on the stunning town beaches with your company or even solo.
Among them, I found the gem called Harbor Beach—an expansive beach in Oceanside, proposing everything from surfing to volleyball.
Oceanside is a shoreside city covering an area of about 43 Square miles. It lies in the urban region of San Diego, California. The pier of this town from the south overhangs to the Pacific Ocean.
Oceanside is famous for its iconic wooden pier, miles of sandy beaches, picturesque harbor village, the historic downtown, and the delicious food scene.
The ‘Pier View South’ in South Oceanside is one of the most famous beaches in the world, given its village-vibe, the massive fishing pier, and calm climates. The weather in this town is moderately soothing—neither too hot nor too cold.
My trip to Oceanside introduced me to various fun activities throughout spring; here are my top picks of things to do in Oceanside, CA.
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Fun Things To Do In Oceanside, CA
This local organization initially started in 2000. Oceanside Sunset Market on Main Street is a cultural blend of traditional vendors, international eateries, popular cultures, live music, and a hot scene. Colorful lights adorn the open market during sunset; it gives away a carnival vibe to the travelers.
I visited the fest a little late when the city glowed in sunset colors. It was full of energy, vibrant people, and a soothing aura.
The music gives you continuous bass to explore the market more boastfully, the colorful vendors attract you to buy multiple souvenirs, and the exotic international food will have you craving more. I relished the Mexican tamales served at the scene, and they were delicious.
Although not a fan of crowds, I still enjoyed being around people in this market. The whole scene was so lively and filled with energy. With over 200 vendors, there’s a wide variety of cultural goods.
Every Thursday, Oceanside Sunset Market comes with a blast and vivacity. It’s located on pier view west in downtown and is only five minutes away from Pier View South Beach.
So, you can enjoy the market around sunset until 9 PM and then relax at the beach at night. It was a complete package for me—the boosting sunset market and soothing beach wind.
1525 W. Vista Way // +17609459474
If you are looking for things to do in Oceanside with your family, chose Boomer Vistas on a pretty Sunday; it promises to be an eventful family day. There is so much to do in Boomer Vistas, from go-karting at high speed, bumped water boats, practicing golfing skills, and attempting to win the crazy laser tag game.
Every attraction at Boomer Vistas is appealing—it is fun for both adults and kids! Among all the activities we tried, Go-Karting is something I’ll never forget.
For about $21 and the ultimate two hours sessions, you can experience actual speed in one of the biggest outdoor karting tracks in San Diego County.
There was enough space for competitions and races. I raced with my family—there were multiple banked curves, straight pathways, and rounds throughout the ride.
My second best choice will be the “Laser Tag Game.” I was shot right after entering the darkroom, dazzling with neon colors. Laser Tag Game is an indoor activity in a black light arena with neon sparkles—it’s a battleground of supremacy, wits, and speed.
Late in the evening, we took off to Johnny Rocket’s and devoured snacks and cold drinks—it’s a delicious food counter to re-energize after a fun game day.
Boomer Vistas also operates virtual game rooms, batting cages, and miniature golf courses.
480 Airport Rd // +17603905867
Experience Oceanside city, the vast neighboring sea, and Earth’s Landscape from 18,000 Ft. above the ground! GoJump is a sky-diving organization in America, giving thrilling experiences to sky-diving enthusiasts in San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.
Sky-diving may not be for everyone, but those who want it more than they fear it can absolutely give this adrenaline rush a try.
GoJump America organizes multiple courses to learn and do sky-diving—the two-day beginner’s course, seven-day silver course, and 15-days gold course for flyers. I chose the two days to hasten my trip.
480 Airport Rd. // +17606919144
Riding over San Diego’s ocean and the following backcountry on a helicopter felt exclusive. So when I heard the first-ever helicopter tours in Oceanside, I wanted to take off right then and there.
Watching the whole Oceanside over the height and collecting the very essence of it through naked eyes and camera was a great experience to follow.
Waverider Helicopter Tours offers various excursions in San Diego County, Orange County, and Temecula Wine Country. With over fifteen creative tours and seven different complete-day trips, there’s a variety that you can choose from.
I traveled with the WHT twice to witness the town and the ocean in its sunset glow and nightlife from above. We came across the whole city and its majestic beauty in the 35 minutes of the ride.
256 S. Harbor Dr. // +18885071130
Located in Oceanside harbor, Oceanside Adventures is probably one of the most affordable aquatic wildlife tours in the town. These two-hours long ocean excursions are perfect for the winter and spring seasons—the weather is pleasant for sightseeing.
Whales and dolphins promptly occur above the surface every hour to breathe (Most of them stay at the surface and breathe 3-4 times every minute). You might be surprised how close they swim to the boat.
Throughout the ride, I came across different-sized whales visiting the cruise for a couple of minutes. I also witnessed superfast dolphins tailing around joyfully.
Oceanside Adventures offers breathtaking views of the wild ocean, gray whales, minke whales, humpback whales, fin whales, blue whales (October), dolphins, and multiple other marinas and birds.
The euphoric sound of the ocean was mysterious and sterling. During sunset, a strong force of wind greeted us; the sea stirred with big waves; it was eerie and yet so pleasant, being this close to the mighty nature.
If you are lucky enough, the marine creatures will greet you. However, the ocean in itself is a pleasant trip. OA also organizes winery cruises with an appetizer platter and wines.
Now, this is an awesome thing to do in Oceanside! Neon Supergirl Pro is a must-attend surfing tournament. All the pro-female surfers around the globe come and participate in the Paul Mitchell NEON Supergirl Pro athletic event organized by Nissan.
They display their skills, and it’s pretty fun to watch them roll.
While you are at it, don’t forget to bring your gear to the shore. Oceanside has remarkable beaches and seas to surf in the waves.
If the sea is surprisingly calm, visit the local retail stores to choose some of the great surfing boards and access the swimming pool with their artificially created waves for surfing.
Free Things To Do In Oceanside, CA
Serving history, Oceanside’s wooden pier is the biggest and probably the oldest iconic pier in the town, facing the Pacific Ocean. Standing in all its glory since 1888, this municipal pier is 1954 ft. long.
Being Oceanside’s famous historical symbol, it was my first go-to destination. Although not a pro at fishing, I pegged my bait and scored small crockers and surf perch.
You can also find sand bass, stingrays, and halibuts at sight. The vast ocean is an excellent opportunity to catch some fantastic fish species—the choices are uncanny and infinite.
I took a stroll and sat beside the wooden pier. It offered an extraordinary outlook of the ocean, the sun-dipped sky, the afar horizon, birds, and wildlife at around dusk. There are multiple benches to sit and relax at the location.
Oceanside Municipal Pier is entirely free and offers majestic views of the city, its shoreline, and the ocean. Since its completion, the pier has been a popular location for multiple events, including surfing competitions, the IRONMAN triathlon, and so much more! If you are lucky enough, you might get a hold of the various events around the Wooden Pier.
More things to do in Oceanside that include adventure, sea, and skills all in one? The Harbor shore offers plenty of water recreation activities like surfing, swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding through the massive sea at the coast.
And that’s not all. With its three lifeguard towers, Harbor Beach offers quaint picnic destinations for family and friends. I visited Tower 12 and enjoyed a cozy waterfront dinner. There are various benches, barbeque grills, gazebos, and showers at the location.
For fishing enthusiasts, the beach has jetties and rental boats. You will come across various fishing opportunities in the sea, given its wide length.
Spring is incredibly comforting while swimming and kayaking in Oceanside; the water temperature is perfect for a chilling pool session.
Residing beautifully along the Harbor Beach is the Harbor Village. With a cozy outlook, colorful neighborhood, and an exotic food scene, the Village is the heart of Harbor.
You can find every rental store at the destination accompanied by multiple waterfront hotels. Harbor Village can be an excellent location for single nights—the view is simply to die for.
The Village glows with tourists, locals, and businesses, offering long walking trails, the ocean, and the busy neighborhood. Spend a day or two strolling through the area, meet new locals, and get acquainted with the surrounding. It’s one of the best destinations to stay in Oceanside.
Away from the beaches and the chaotic entertainment, Mission San Luis Rey is a peaceful surrender. Built two centuries ago, the historical museum is one of the oldest restored Native American constructions. The place entertains various events and covers acres and acres of history.
The tour starts with the Period Rooms glorifying the Luiseno Indians and the original Abraham Lincoln-signed document. Next to the rooms comes the beautiful Agapito Court adorned with fountains and plants.
At last, the mission displays a video depicting the history of Mission San Luis Rey. The museum also has a store, a central church, Madonna chapel, cemetery, soldier barracks, and similar attractions.
As a history enthusiast, I spend hours learning and going through Mission San Luis Rey. Native American architecture adds charm to its overall beauty.
Art And Historical Things To Do In Oceanside, CA
312 Pier View Way // +17607216876
Time to jump on exploring the historical things to do in Oceanside while learning more about this town’s background and museums.
This museum is entirely dedicated to surfing. You would never expect this! California Surf Museum was built in 1986, and since then, it has been preserving surfing history, culture, and data records. It has a blend of permanent and temporary artifacts—displaying the structure and physics behind surfing.
This unique hub consists of numerous surfing tools, boards, videos, surfing-related snaps and photos, and so much more. If you love surfing passionately, this place will surely inspire you with great stories, legends, and tactics.
704 Pier View Way // +17604353720
Just a walking distance away from the wooden pier is the massive two-block Oceanside Museum of Arts. Working since 1995, the museum has been providing art space for enthusiasts all around the globe. The museum also focuses on promoting Southern Californian artists and their work exhibits.
I visited the destination to spend a peaceful afternoon surrounded by art. This place has the aura to provoke creativity and mindfulness.
OMA exhibits permanent and over ten rotational temporary exhibits throughout the year. It also hosts multiple events, educational disclosures, tours, lectures, and concerts in the 9000 sq. ft gallery space.
Things To Do In Oceanside, CA At Night
1534 Sleeping Indian Rd. // +17607323236
BHM is the first waterfront winery in Oceanside. Late at night, I drove toward this famous Beach House Winery to taste some of the best homemade delicacies in the town.
As expected, BHM locally produces homemade wineries with traditional aging processes. Sitting with the ocean and drinking their wine was sweet intoxication. The night’s darkness, street lights, and the shimmering town looked breathtaking in Beach House Winery.
Some of the delicacies I tasted include Chardonnay, Shade Of White, and Grenache. Sipping on handcrafted wines is an ideal option if you fancy romantic things to do in Oceanside with your partner or end your visit to this beautiful city.
Wrapping Up The Best Things To Do In Oceanside, CA
Oceanside is a beautiful combination of beaches, fun days, and intoxicating nights. Traveling to the town was one of my favorite things in California, especially my first sky-diving and helicopter tour experiences.
You can enjoy surfing in the morning and watch the ocean swimming in the stars at night. The whole town bounces with energy. You will surf your days in a blink of an eye and live the most memorable vacation of your life.
This guide has all of Oceanside’s essentials highlighted if you plan to visit the town anytime soon.
Visiting other destinations in California? Check out our other delicious guides:
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Igor Jovanovski is an aspiring digital nomad, travel blogger and graphic designer who really loves food. He also has a creative side, and he works as a freelance graphic designer in his spare time. He has traveled across Europe quite a few times since he was young and recently started his mission to visit every country in the world! Igor’s favorite thing about traveling is the way he gets to know new people, food, places and cultures.
This exciting experience helps him create his own stories and make memories that will last forever