Oceanside Travel Guide

Oceanside vacations in North San Diego County provide the quintessential Southern Californian beach experience without the higher costs of other coastal cities. North Coast Village Oceanside vacation rentals park you in the middle of the beach activities, good food, and family fun that Oceanside vacations are known for, without breaking the bank. Our Oceanside Travel Guide will help you find the perfect pastimes for your family, even if that turns out to be simply relaxing and playing on sandy shores.

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What to Do in Oceanside

oceanside beach vacation

Enjoy the Beach

Oceanside vacations should include the best attraction that just happens to be low cost: the beach. With more than three miles of fantastic white sand ideal for sunbathing, castle building, or moonlit strolls, Oceanside vacations put you near this wide, palm-lined slice of Southern California heaven. Beach facilities include showers, volleyball nets, restrooms, picnic areas, barbecues shaded areas, lifeguards, and playgrounds. At sunset, snag one of the beach fire pits and a date and watch the sun set over the blue ocean or roast marshmallows with the family while waves crash a few feet away. Let this beautiful beach make Oceanside vacations even more memorable.

Oceanside vacations encourage you to bask in the sun and sea. Play Frisbee or watch your kids bury each other in sand, read a book, or daydream while admiring the view from shore near North Coast Village Oceanside. You can swim, boogie board, or body surf in swells averaging four to seven feet. Surfers should keep in mind that the best waves here hit shore in the early morning hours and then blow out early, and in summer surfers are restricted to certain zones. A bonus to Oceanside vacations—beach parking is usually a breeze if you can’t walk to the beach from your Oceanside vacation rental.

Visit the Pier with the View

Just a few minutes from North Coast Village Oceanside is one of the most iconic Southern California landmarks, the Oceanside Pier. Stretching out over the Pacific for 1900 feet, it’s the longest wooden pier on the west coast and some say the heart of Oceanside. The views from the tip of it are worth the trek (though there is a tram for travelers who physically cannot walk the distance), and on clear days you can see as far as Coronado and Catalina Islands.

oceanside fishing

Fish

The proximity of North Coast Village Oceanside vacation rentals to the pier is an angler’s dream. Professional and amateur fisherman line the deck in hopes of catching halibut, sculpin, queenfish, bass, sargo, and more. No licenses are required, so you can add your bucket to those on the pier or fish from shore or one of the nearby jetties. Bait shops are available as well as restrooms and parking areas. More serious fisherman may want to book a sportfishing cruise or charter from Oceanside Harbor.

Oceanside Vacations Offer More

Oceanside Harbor features sights of bobbing sailboats and flying seabirds, and water vehicle rentals, including boat and jet skis, so you can head out onto the water on your own or book a whale-watching tour. Oceanside vacations have something for nature lovers, too. At the Audubon Society Nature Center you can see native plant species surrounding the Buena Vista Lagoon, and nature-focused programs and games are offered for children.

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What to See in Oceanside

Called “King of the Missions” because it’s so big, Mission San Luis Rey was one in a chain of missions built one day’s horse ride apart by the Spaniards in the late 1700s to early 1800s. This gorgeous facility still holds church services and also has a museum which holds a wide array of Spanish vestments, artifacts, preserved room dioramas, and religious artwork showcasing what life was like back then. Self guided tours are provided, as well as a picnic area and charming gift shop with great stuff worth browsing through.

Other things to see on Oceanside vacations include the California Surf Museum, the Oceanside Art Museum, and the Top Gun House, the oceanfront property where Tom Cruise’s character slept in the classic film.

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Where to Shop and Eat in Oceanside

oceanside restaurants

Seafood and Burgers

Have the best above water burger ever at Ruby’s Diner at the tip of the Oceanside Pier, where you’ll get reasonably priced American fare and sights worth paying for. Also on the pier, try Surf Lounge, a casual place to get drinks and soak in the outstanding views of the twinkling shoreline and the massive ocean.

Seafood at any number of restaurants is more than fresh—it’s directly off fishing boats in the harbor. Try the catch of the day at local favorite Harbor Fish and Chips, and be prepared to want to come back. Lots of other restaurants including pizza, Asian, and Mexican line the walkways at Oceanside Harbor.

The Place for Gifts

Oceanside vacations provide plenty of opportunity to fill your suitcases with souvenirs and gifts. Antique stores, gift shops, music stores, and surf shops are scattered throughout town, with the largest concentrations on Coast Highway and Oceanside Harbor Village. Many stores are owner operated, and you’ll be treated to a mix of modern and picturesque storefronts. Beach Brat is a top-rated spot for sportswear and casual clothing to help you feel comfortable during Oceanside vacations. Harbor Gift Shop boasts a huge shell collection and unique gifts, but there are many gift shops that offer nautical mementos and other gifts to help you and your family remember your Oceanside vacation.

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When to Visit Oceanside

With such great year-round weather, when you visit Oceanside depends on your personal schedule. Whale-watching season is December through April, and there are events year round, but the action really kicks off in summertime. Rates can be higher and beaches more crowded, but you’ll also be treated to jazz concerts at the beach or bodysurfing competitions close to most North Coast Village Oceanside vacation rentals.

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What to Bring to Oceanside

Oceanside vacation rentals provide most of what you’ll need for a seaside escape including dishes, basic food staples, beach towels, and even sand castle building supplies, but check your listing to be sure. Oceanside vacations require comfortable clothes, a pair of sandals, a swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a willingness to sit back and enjoy the laid back SoCal vibes. With North Coast Village Oceanside vacation rentals, the amount of money you’re saving on lodging will make relaxing even easier.

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Local Services in Oceanside

One of the larger cities outside San Diego, even though it doesn’t feel crowded, there are plenty of services available to fill your needs. From fishing poles and beach equipment to yacht rentals and grocery stores, Oceanside vacations won’t leave you hanging. Probably the best city service is the weekly farmer’s market. Thirty plus farmers gather on Thursdays and offer fresh cut flowers, local seafood, honey, herbs, nuts, eggs, olives, and fresh baked treats in addition to fruits and veggies, many of which are organic. Pick up some local flavor to take home and cook in your Oceanside vacation rental.

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What to Know About Oceanside

Oceanside vacations bring you to a place that exactly fits its title—Oceanside is, literally, ocean-side, which is why Oceanside vacations are so popular. Oceanside boasts the second best weather in the US with balmy sea breezes, sunny skies, average summer highs in the mid-80s, and the average year round temp is 70. It’s never too hot or too cold; Oceanside vacations are just right. Combine the near-perfect weather with beaches, blue water, coastal hills, friendly people, and views you can’t get sick of, and the best thing to know is that you might be tempted to stay forever. With the money you’ll save with Oceanside vacation rentals, you can at least stay longer than you’d be able to afford at a hotel, and each day of Oceanside vacations is another day in paradise.

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Getting to Oceanside

San Diego International Airport is about forty minutes south of Oceanside. From there, rent a car that will help you take advantage of the coastal scenery flying by as you whiz up Pacific Coast Highway. Palomar Airport is smaller, but closer, and both airports offer shuttles. If you’re driving to Oceanside vacation rentals, freeways 78 and 76 will take you west from inland cities, and Interstate 5 passes through Oceanside running north and south.

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Why Oceanside vacation rentals?

The better question is, why not vacation rentals? Oceanside vacations are about sun, surf, and escaping the normal hustle and bustle, so why would you want one cramped hotel bathroom and no private outside space? With Oceanside vacation rentals, including North Coast Village Oceanside, you can choose multiple bedrooms and bathrooms to keep the peace in families, or a small cottage near the beach for a romantic getaway. Oceanside vacation rentals let you design the perfect home away from home with none of the responsibilities of home. Sip tea in your personal garden nook, watch the sunset from your patio or balcony, walk to the beach from North Coast Village Oceanside, and save money at the same time.

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