29 Best Things To Do In Oceanside, California - Updated 2021

things to do in oceanside california
Michelle Jamie
Michelle Jamie

With the summer just starting off, a lot of people are in search of the next great summer escapade. If Oceanside is still not on your list of places to visit, then you’ll miss lots of fun. Oceanside is a town with many sandy beaches dotted with palm trees just like Harbor Beach, which also happen to feature lots of interesting shops and delicious restaurants. But apart from the beaches, this place also boasts many museums just like the California Surf Museum and the Oceanside Museum of Art, which both feature regional art and historical facts. In case you’re still not convinced of why you should visit this destination, read on and discover our list of the top things to do in Oceanside, California, for your guide.

1. Enjoy shopping at Oceanside Sunset Market

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

A gathering of good food and live music, Oceanside Sunset Market is a Thursday afternoon pop-up market in Downtown Oceanside that is hosted by Mainstreet Oceanside. Here, you’ll find a wide range of products, from fresh produce to gourmet food items, up to international food court favorites, European delicacies, exotic food, and more. They also have live music entertainment that will make your shopping experience a lot more fun. This market is already more than a decade and still thriving up to now that it has become a must-visit market in Oceanside.

Oceanside Sunset Market

Address: 401 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Oceanside Sunset Market

Opening hours: Thu: 5pm - 9pm

2. Camp at Guajome County Park

Guajome County Park is a well-rounded park, which features a historic 1850’s ranch house on the other end, and a camping site on the other. It is a perfect campsite for families for it has all the necessary amenities you’ll need, including parking, picnic areas, a playground, and more. There are also a marsh and two ponds, where you can fish. As for fitness enthusiasts, you can use the volleyball court, small rock climbing formation, outdoor fitness area, and more. Additionally, this place is peaceful, and you can spot migratory birds most of the time.

Guajome County Park

Address: 3000 Guajome Lake Rd, Oceanside, CA 92057, USA

Website: Guajome County Park

Price: 28 USD

3. Visit California Surf Museum

Located in Pier View Way in Oceanside, California Surf Museum is a great place to visit if you’re wondering where this popular watersport started. The museum has a permanent exhibit of the history of surfboards and wave riding. Aside from the permanent display, the establishment also features collections of surfboards, surf art, memorabilia, videos, and photographs that all revolve around this watersport. It has been in operation for more or less three decades and aims to archive the surfing heritage.

California Surf Museum

Address: 312 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: California Surf Museum

Opening hours: Fri - Wed: 10am - 4pm; Thu: 10am - 8pm

Price: 3 USD

4. Play golf at Emerald Isle Golf Course

Some of you might be intimidated by golf courses because of its being a sport for the rich, but Emerald Isle Golf Course is affordable and has everything you need that includes food, beer, drink, and especially a par-56 layout, which will suit every golfing level. It features well-manicured lawns, a grass tee driving range, new golf carts, and the most responsive and helpful staff. Moreover, this is a pet-friendly establishment, so you can bring your furry friend when you visit, given that it has a leash.

Emerald Isle Golf Course

Address: 660 S El Camino Real, Oceanside, CA 92057, USA

Website: Emerald Isle Golf Course

Opening hours: 6:30am - 7:30pm (daily)

5. Stop for desserts at Petite Madeline Bakery

Just a few blocks away from Oceanside Pier, this local bakery is a must-visit pastry eatery when you’re in town. But aside from their yummy French pastries, Petite Madeline Bakery also serves lunch and breakfast fare. You’ll surely love their sunny ambiance, American cuisine, and coffee. They have a very inventive and creative menu but they’re still grounded with tradition. Make sure to drop by in the morning, for you to start your day right with their espresso, to keep you active and alive for all the things you plan to accomplish for the day.

Petite Madeline Bakery

Address: 223 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Petite Madeline Bakery

Opening hours: Mon - Tue: 7am - 3:30pm; Wed - Sun: 7am - 5pm

6. Bike through the Coastal Rail Trail

Source: Pixabay

Spanning 44 miles (70. 81 mi) between Oceanside and San Diego, Coastal Rail Trail is a class 1 bike path that is separated from vehicular traffic. It is perfect for all levels of bikers and especially those that are just beginning to try this sport. So make sure that you try cycling at least once during your stay and have a stress-free cycling experience with your friends and nature as your backdrop.

Coastal Rail Trail

Address: Tyson St, Oceanside, CA

Website: Coastal Rail Trail

7. Go skating at Libby Lake Skate Park

things to do in oceanside california | go skating at libby lake skate park
Source: mikemo_0000 on Instagram

Located west of Libby Lake Park in Oceanside, Libby Lake Skatepark is a facility that is specifically for skateboarders only. Scooters, rollerblades, and bikes are not allowed here. And you must be in the proper gear before you can skate and if not, the staff will have to make you leave. The park is very strict about the safety gear to prevent any accident from happening. Aside from the skate facilities, the park also offers picnic areas, a playground, and a lake.

Libby Lake Skate Park

Address: 504 Calle Montecito, Oceanside, CA 92057, USA

Website: Libby Lake Skate Park

Opening hours: 12am - 12am (daily)

8. Cruise from Oceanside Harbor

Featuring 2 miles (3.2 km) of a sidewalk, Oceanside Harbor is a good pick up point for your cruise. The sidewalk is lined with boutiques, seafood restaurants, quaint shops, and a lot more, which will surely pique your interest. There are also a lot of cruises that are offered, and one of the more famous ones are the whale watching cruises. Moreover, the place is a perfect backdrop for your holiday photos; make sure to bring your camera with you when you head down to Oceanside Harbor.

Oceanside Harbor Tours

Website: Oceanside Harbor Tours

9. Take part in a ukulele night

If you’re into music, you shouldn’t miss the chance to join the ukelele night event in Oceanside. It is hosted by Giacoletti’s Music, with a varying schedule. So, make sure you keep yourself updated for possible events. To make it more fun, why not bring your special someone here, and make it a date night experience? It is unusual, but you will surely learn a lot afterward. All levels of ukulele players can join the event, even those without background.

Ukulele Night

Address: 2110 S Coast Hwy Suite G, Oceanside, CA 92054

Website: Ukulele Night

Price: 45 USD

10. Go on a mural tour through South Oceanside

As one of the 14 state-recognized cultural districts in California, Oceanside has a lot to live up. Oceansiders have a creative flair and a sunny disposition to contribute to all the artistic prowess that you’ll see in town, which you’ll also see in its art-based events. And what makes Oceanside more pleasing to the eyes and the soul is its beautiful and vibrant murals that line the streets of downtown and South Oceanside. Go on a mural tour to see more of the colorfully painted walls, and don’t forget to take photos for the gram.

South Oceanside mural tour

Website: South Oceanside mural tour

11. Enjoy whale watching aboard a catamaran (from USD 44.0)

Hop aboard a catamaran and see the beautiful coastline of San Diego and Oceanside. The catamaran has covered areas which are perfect for sitting and for the whole family. During the tour, you will spot dolphins and whales dancing with the waves as well as other marine life. Another good thing about this tour is you’ll come close to the sea creatures but not close enough to disturb them. Moreover, you can choose from their many schedules and book a time that is perfect for you.

Shared Two-Hour Whale Watching Tours from Oceanside, CA

Duration: 2 hours

8 reviews

12. Buy fresh produce at the Thursday Market

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

TODAY! Thursday is Market Day in Downtown Oceanside. Shop and support local farmers and vendors, along with our Downtown...

Posted by Oceanside Sunset Market Street Fair on Thursday, June 17, 2021

Before the Oceanside Sunset Market, there is the Thursday Market Day, wherein you’ll have lots of options for the local fresh produce. This pop-up market is also being run by the MainStreet Oceanside in the downtown area. Aside from fresh produce, you’ll also find here lots of items like handicrafts, gourmet treats, dips and salsas, jewelry, apparels, soaps, and a lot more. Moreover, if you decided to stay until lunch, there are numerous food stalls that offer delicious sandwiches, crepes, paninis, gyros, and more.

Thursday Market Day

Address: 701 Mission Avenue | Oceanside, CA 92054

Website: Thursday Market Day

Opening hours: Thu: 9am - 1pm

13. Stroll along Tyson Street Beach

Located a few blocks away from Oceanside Pier, Tyson Street Beach is one of the most sought-after attractions in the area. Because it gets crowded during the summer, surfing is prohibited during this season. Another attraction you’ll find here is the Lifeguard Tower 5, where you can view the scenery from a higher perspective. Also, since it is super close to the beach, the place is also a perfect picnic spot.

Tyson Street Beach

Website: Tyson Street Beach

14. Enjoy an educational tour at Heritage Park Village and Museum

things to do in oceanside california | enjoy an educational tour at heritage park village and museum

Poised in the historic Oceanside Valley, Heritage Park Village and Museum is a place where you’ll learn more about the town’s past. Each establishment here speaks volumes about the history of the place, just like its first-ever general store, the Blacksmith Shop & Livery Stable. Other historical establishments here include Portola Inn, the old city jail, Libby School, a doctor’s office, and Blade Newspaper; these are just some of the few. Also, you’ll find here a historic park which serves as a great venue for special occasions like weddings, social gatherings, reunions, and school affairs, as it adds a dramatic tone to the event.

Heritage Park Village and Museum

Address: 220 Peyri Dr, Oceanside, CA 92058, USA

Website: Heritage Park Village and Museum

Opening hours: Sun - Wed: 9am - 4pm (closed on Mon & Tue)

Price: 26.50 USD

15. Dig in to pizzas at Privateer Coal Fire Pizza

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Do you know what’s a good pair aside from chicken and beer? It’s pizza and wine, and there’s only one place to get it in Oceanside, which is in Privateer Coal Fire Pizza. This is a restaurant with a rustic-industrial theme which suits its creative and fresh menu. Speaking about their menu, they offer a wide selection of dishes that are perfect for breakfast up to dinner. But what makes this place different from the rest of the pizza parlors in town is it is coal-fired and features unique and creative toppings. Aside from pizza, they also offer desserts, pastries, beer, and wines. If you love sitting outside, the patio is available for you at anytime.

Privateer Coal Fire Pizza

Address: 1706 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Privateer Coal Fire Pizza

Opening hours: Sun & Tue - Thu: 11:30am - 9pm; Fri - Sat: 11:30am - 10pm (closed on Mon)

16. Sample seafood dishes at Hello Betty Fish House

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Come by for food and drinks on our rooftop patio or order your favorites to-go. See our full menu and place your order at https://bit.ly/3jOE1ue.

Posted by Hello Betty on Saturday, August 1, 2020

Located near the beach, Hello Betty Fish House features a sprawling space with beach-vibe interiors. If you’re craving for socal favorites, then this restaurant is your answered prayer with the variety of Baja Socal dishes available like fish tacos and oyster. It is also well known for its margarita and other alcoholic concoctions. Moreover, this place only uses the freshest and local ingredients as well as catch of the day seafood. Make sure to come here after a day at the beach to experience the eclectic character of the beach life in Oceanside.

Hello Betty Fish House

Address: 211 Mission Ave, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Hello Betty Fish House

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 9pm; Fri: 11am - 10pm; Sat: 10am - 10pm; Sun: 10am - 9pm

17. Dine at the trendy Harney Sushi

Are you looking for a great night spot in Oceanside? If so, Harney Sushi will surely please you with its great ambiance, nice music, and good food. It is a Japanese restaurant that offers the best sushi in town. Some of their bestsellers include Maui Waui roll and Happy Hamachi. Also, they have salads, vegetarian options, and other yummy treats. Another great feature you shouldn’t miss is the classy sake bar, which features 40 premium brands. Moreover, you’ll also be entertained by a live DJ who will make your night a lot more exciting.

Harney Sushi

Address: 301 Mission Ave, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Harney Sushi

Opening hours: Sun - Thu: 11:30am - 3pm, 5:30pm - 10pm; Fri: 11:30am - 3pm, 5:30pm - 11pm; Sat: 5:30pm - 11pm

18. Enjoy live music with beer at Legacy Brewing Company

If you’re into craft beer and love to go out and meet new friends, Legacy Brewing Company is the best place to be. It is a microbrewery that offers a large variety of craft beers which include lagers and a Scottish Ale. Another feature of the microbrewery is its tasting room which is tastefully designed with hanging light fixtures and picnic tables. Moreover, the establishment also offers private tours which you can book by appointment.

Legacy Brewing Company

Address: 363 Airport Rd, Oceanside, CA 92058, USA

Website: Legacy Brewing Company

Opening hours: Mon: 3pm - 8pm; Tue: 3pm - 10pm; Wed: 3pm - 9pm; Thu - Sat: 12pm - 11pm; Sun: 12pm - 8pm

19. Sample craft beer at Breakwater Brewing Company

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Do you know the best recipe for a great chill night? Its pizza, wings, beer, and a great company. If you’re looking for all these and more, head down to Breakwater. It is a bar that offers signature flavored pizza, mouth-watering wings, tasty paninis, and regional craft beers. The place has a friendly atmosphere and a laid-back ambiance, making it a great hangout place for friends.

Breakwater Brewing Co.

Address: 101 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Breakwater Brewing Co.

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 10pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 12am; Sun: 10am - 9pm

20. Soak up the tranquility of Prince of Peace Abbey

Prince of Peace Abbey
Source: Photo by Flickr user Randy Greve used under CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking for a place that will give you peace and quiet, then you have to stay a day or two at the Prince of Peace Abbey. It is a Benedictine Monastery founded in 1958 by St. Meinrad’s Archabbey’s Monks in Indiana. This monastery offers a retreat house and a garden for people who are looking for spiritual renewal. So, if you think that it is what you need, don’t hesitate to visit. You can also go here just for the view of the San Luis Rey River Valley and the Pacific Ocean.

Prince of Peace Abbey

Address: 650 Benet Hill Rd, Oceanside, CA 92058, USA

Website: Prince of Peace Abbey

21. Catch a movie at Brooks Theatre

Sunshine Brooks Theater
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Visitor7 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Another must-try activity here is watching what is playing at the Brooks Theatre. Brooks Theater, or more formally known as the Sunshine Brooks Theater, is a historical place that is managed by Oceanside Theater Company, which is a non-profit organization in town. This downtown establishment shows must-see productions like theater plays, live music events, as well as educational theater and outreach activities.

Brooks Theatre

Address: 217 N Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Brooks Theatre

22. Hike through Buena Vista Audubon Society & Nature Center

If you’re in Oceanside looking for a nature retreat, then the Buena Vista Audubon Society will take all your city life stress away. It is a nature preserve with wildlife and plenty of hiking and nature trails. It also has a lagoon that has small fishes. Apart from nature, you’ll also find here a gift shop that both parents and children will surely have something to buy as a souvenir. Moreover, this place is a perfect picnic spot for the whole family because of its many facilities like picnic tables, a garden, a playground, parking lots, and restrooms.

Buena Vista Audubon Society & Nature Center

Address: 2202 S Coast Hwy, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Buena Vista Audubon Society & Nature Center

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 4pm; Sun: 1pm - 4pm (closed on Mon)

23. Explore Oceanside Museum of Art

Downtown Oceanside:   Oceanside Museum of Art, South/Front Elevation
Source: Photo by Flickr user Joe Wolf used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Located at the heart of downtown Oceanside, Oceanside Museum of Art officially opened on October 6, 1997. It is an art gallery that features 15 extremely praised art exhibits, composed of modern and contemporary art. Aside from the gallery, the establishment also has many free parking spaces, tasty eateries, and houses several private spaces for special events like weddings, company gatherings, special occasions, school functions, and more.

Oceanside Museum of Art

Address: 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Oceanside Museum of Art

Opening hours: Sat & Tue - Wed: 11am - 5pm; Thu - Fri: 11am - 8pm; Sun: 12pm - 5pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 8 USD

24. Go fishing at Harbor Beach

If you’re looking for a beach that the whole family will surely enjoy, even the ones who are not fond of swimming, then you have to head on to Harbor Beach. This beach in Oceanside features an expansive real estate that is well-suited for jogging, sunbathing, and strolling. And on its both ends are jetties, which are the perfect fishing spots. You’ll find lots of people fishing in this area, so make sure you come in early for you to have a good spot. Moreover, the beach also offers playgrounds, volleyball courts, sheltered picnic areas, and more.

Harbor Beach

Address: N Pacific St, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Harbor Beach

25. Unlock the mysteries at Boss-Play Escape Room

If you’re looking for a stimulating activity for your kids or your group, then why not visit Boss-Play Escape Room and have an amazing time solving puzzles and mysteries? One of the popular rooms here is the Chocolate Factory Tour, which is a nod to the movie and the books, with its interiors and features. To get out of the escape room, you’ll have to solve problems that are also based on the story. It will be a yummy activity for everyone because of the many treats lining up the room, which you can also eat as you try to escape.

Boss-Play Escape Room

Address: 2216 El Camino Real #206, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Boss-Play Escape Room

Opening hours: 10am - 10pm (daily)

Price: 30 USD

26. Enjoy the view from Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier
Source: Photo by Flickr user Patrick Emerson used under CC BY-ND 2.0

Considered as one of the longest wooden piers in West Coast, Historical Oceanside Pier is a delight at any time of the day, for it will give you different scenic views every single time, whether you walk on it or by the beach. Because of its location, it is most of the time the backdrop of special events in town like surf competitions, concerts, car shows, fishing derby, and more. You can also enjoy plenty of activities here like surfing, fishing, strolling, or just dine to the very popular Ruby’s Diner. Moreover, it is also a great place to spot sea animals like Sting Rays, Seagulls, Pelicans, Dolphins, Seals, and more.

Oceanside Pier

Address: Oceanside Pier, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Oceanside Pier

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

27. Visit the ancient Old Mission San Luis Rey

Mission San Luis Rey de Francia current
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under CC BY 1.0

Are you wary or restless and don’t know where to go in Oceanside to heal your soul? Then why not visit the Old Mission San Luis Rey and stay there for a day or two, or until you feel like going? This place is ancient, a site of history, and home to Franciscan Friars. It features a retreat center for spiritual renewal, meeting spaces, a cemetery, Mission Gift Shop, a historic church, and an interpretative museum. Also, don’t forget to join their fundraising for the preservation of the place.

Old Mission San Luis Rey

Address: 4050 Mission Ave, Oceanside, CA 92057, USA

Website: Old Mission San Luis Rey

28. Unwind at Oak Riparian Park

A trip to Oceanside wouldn’t be complete without visiting one of its many community parks. Aside from its being budget-friendly, you’ll also get to experience nature at its finest. The Oak Riparian Park is a great jump-off point if you’re planning to visit and have nature trips at the Lake Calavera Trails. But aside from being a jump-off point, it is a very peaceful neighborhood with scenic views and many green spaces. You’ll also find lots of facilities nearby, which include a playground, trails, picnic areas, and grassy fields, for your kids to play around. Moreover, this is also the best place to have your morning jog.

Oak Riparian Park

Address: 4625 Lake Blvd, Oceanside, CA 92056, USA

Website: Oak Riparian Park

Opening hours: 6am - 9pm (daily)

29. Try your luck at Ocean's Eleven Casino

Open daily for 24 hours, Ocean’s Eleven Casino is a Rat Pack-themed casino that features numerous poker tables, blackjack, tournaments, and many more. Apart from high-risk gambling, the casino also offers a sports bar and a wide selection of dishes. So, if you’re in Oceanside and you’re looking for something to do that involves luck, bluffing, and mind games, then head down to Ocean’s Eleven and have an exciting time ahead of you.

Ocean's Eleven Casino

Address: 121 Brooks St, Oceanside, CA 92054, USA

Website: Ocean’s Eleven Casino

Opening hours: 12am - 12am (daily)

Lots in store in Oceanside

Nothing beats a beautiful sandy beach dotted with palm trees during the summer. If you agree with this idea, you better book a plane or a car to Oceanside. It is a city that has lots in store for each person. For the foodie, you can try the many seafood restaurants and diners; for the art enthusiast, there are numerous museums to choose from; for the history buffs, there are a lot of sites to explore; and the list goes on. Check out our list of the top things to do in Oceanside, to know more about the place.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Michelle is a book-loving travel-junkie who tries to write for a living. Her goal is to explore the world, get to know as many people as she can, and inspire others to do the same, for she believes...Read more

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