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The Adventure-side of Oceanside - 4 Days of Sending it in the Heart of SoCal

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of San Diego and Los Angeles, Oceanside continues to provide the small surf-town vibe of the iconic SoCal Coast.

By: William Woodward + Save to a List

Oceanside, California is only a short 38 mile drive from downtown San Diego, and will keep you moving and grooving no matter the activity. There is plenty to choose from including surfing, harbor activities, boating and fishing, extensive bike and walking trails, and the legendary Goat Hill Park golf course. If you are feeling brave there is even an indoor skydiving facility and skateboarding and longboarding is as common as a morning surf session.

This Spring we packed our bags, grabbed our gear, laced up our Vivo's and set off for a four day adventure exploring the ins, the outs, and all the in-betweens of Oceanside, California.

Day 1 - 4:00 pm // Check in - The Fin Hotel

We made our base of operations the recently renovated and fantastic boutique hotel, The Fin Hotel. Centrally located right in downtown Oceanside, it was the perfect place to kick off our adventure with a freshly brewed cup of coffee while playing a heated game of shuffleboard in the lobby.

Not wanting to spend the afternoon indoors, we grabbed a few skateboards from Oceanside-based Penny & Z-Flex, and took off towards the ocean. The Strand is a mixed pedestrian, biking, and skating road that parallels the coast. It is the perfect place to take some long turns in the coastal breeze.

Cool exudes from everyone on the Strand.

7:00 PM // Dinner and Drinks at 333 Pacific

The accommodating and friendly staff at 333 Pacific checked in our skateboards, and we were immediately drawn to the inviting glow of the blue tables in the bar area.

We had worked up a bit of a thirst and the signature cocktails curtailed that issue. The 333 Mule is a great take on an old classic, and the Seaside Tea is as dangerous as it is refreshing. Set against panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, we watched the sun set and enjoyed a meal of fresh seafood, steak, and creative salads. 

With full stomachs and knowing all the activities next day had in store we called it a night and headed back to The Fin.

Day 2 - 6:00am // Surfing the South Jetty, Oceanside Harbor

Oceanside has a plethora of surf breaks and with a good swell can produce something fun at every skill level. We headed out to a local favorite, the South Jetty, and our 4.3mm wetsuits ensured we would stay warm in between sets.

While Zach and Emma were catching waves, Obed decided to get his morning workout in with a run along the beach

8am // Breakfast at Stratford at the Harbor

With activity 1 of the day already under our belts we had worked up quite the appetite. Stratford, a classic breakfast spot with SoCal surfing vibes, offered up hearty portions just a short walk from the break.

Don’t miss out on the coffee cake

10am // Surf Lessons with Surfride

Refueled and feeling confident after seeing Zach and Emma’s great morning surf session, Obed and Sandi decided to try their hand at taking a surf lesson. Learning to surf can be challenging, but with an instructor progress is quick! If you have never been surfing and or you want to learn more, having a guide to show you the basics can make a world of difference.

Shortly after paddling out both Sandi and Obed were riding the wash

After a morning in the water we wandered back to town in search of burgers.

12:00pm // Lunch at Ty’s Burger House

With a variety of options from venison to veggie, there is a burger for everyone at Ty’s Burger House. Don’t miss the sweet potato fries and fry sauce, and try to grab a seat on their outdoor back patio.

2:00pm // Stand-Up Paddleboarding the Harbor

It seems we did not get enough water time in this morning because after lunch were ready for more. This time, we headed to Oceanside Boat Rentals and picked up some stand-up paddle boards. Admiring and maneuvering in and out of the boats in the harbor, we paddled alongside the pups of the sea: seals!

Beautiful water and surroundings make the harbor a great spot to try SUP as the harbor is protected from large swells and waves by the jetty

4:30pm // Bike the Strand

Switching to some land based adventure, we headed over to The Strand and picked up some bikes from Wheel Fun who offer fun by two, three, or four wheels. Pick your poison and start off from the Oceanside Pier for a blast of a ride.

We even brought our speaker to make it a party!

6:00pm // Sunset Walk on the Oceanside Pier

After dropping off our rides we thought a stroll on the pier for a drink sounded like the perfect way to spend the sunset. The pier is home to fishermen, treats, and of course, Ruby's Diner. The city glowing in the colors of the sunset was breathtaking.

7:00pm // Dinner at Mission Avenue Bar & Grill

Needless to say, after surfing, SUPing, biking, and strolling, our appetites were high. We celebrated another success day in O-side even though we were all looking forward to the next.

Day 3 - 7:00am // Breakfast at Beach Break Cafe

The Beach Break Cafe might have been my personal favorite of the trip. I’m am not sure if it was the waffles, the hash, or the veritable museum of skate and surf history in the lobby that did me in, but I was sold.

9:00am // Play a Round at Goat Hill

The home course of local brand Linksoul, Goat Hill offers ocean views while playing a round of 18. A challenging course with loads of terrain and interesting obstacles, Goat Hill will challenge and excite those from enthusiast to expert.

1:00pm // Lunch at the Privateer

With an impressive drink list to go along with their famous coal-fired pizzas, the Privateer seriously hit the spot (better than we were able to hit par at Goat Hill!)  Being a particular fan of puns, I took to the Funghi Pie quite nicely.

3:00pm // Indoor Skydiving at iFLY Oceanside

After allowing the food to settle a bit, we took off for an experience unlike any other: indoor skydiving! Even with our entire team having skydived before, our expectations were far outdone by iFly. There were smiles for miles as we began to fly around the wind tunnel, and we were stunned at the acrobatics of the local team as they summersalted over and around each other.

5:00pm // Strolling the Oceanside Sunset Market

A perfect ending to a perfect day, the Oceanside Sunset Market is a foodie’s delight. From every continent you can find a feast. Fresh Lobster flown in from Maine, Paella that tastes of the streets of Barcelona, or Pad Thai, three different ways; from the north, south, and Bangkok districts of Thailand.

Beyond amazing street foods from the world over you will also find all kinds of artwork from Oceanside’s local artists.

Day 4 - 6:00am // Kayak Fishing the Oceanside Harbor

A local institution, Hobie kayaks are built here in Oceanside. Not your ordinary kayaks, Hobie’s are navigated via foot pedals for propulsion and a rudder handle to steer, freeing up the hands for fishing or in our case, photography. In Oceanside you can fish for halibut nearly four feet in length!

10:00am // Brunch and Pastries at Petite Madeline

If you are the one for pastries do not miss Petite Madeline. The entire restaurant went abuzz when the cinnamon buns came out of the oven and we snagged an entire basket!

It is impossible to experience all that Oceanside has to offer in only three days. It is a special place full of adventure, wonderful people, and fantastic food. 

Plan your adventure at visitoceanside.com

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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