Local Info

Things to Do in Oceanside, CA

So You can Vacation on the Beach like the Locals with Oceanside Home Vacation Rentals

Oceanside is a great family friendly beach town with excellent options for food and entertainment.   Flip flops, surfboards and beach cruisers are everywhere!  Our local attractions, activites and  restaurants are a special treat while vacationing right on the beach.  Downtown Oceanside is the perfect hangout spot to enjoy the city’s innate beach culture, outdoor dining scene, Historic Pier and surrounding beaches. Ride along Oceanside’s 3.5 miles of coastline on your own set of wheels and rent beach cruisers and surreys from Wheel Fun Rentals, bikes from SoCal Bike or thrilling electric scooters from Ride O’side! Shop like a local and explore the Thursday morning Farmers Market from 9am to 1pm along Pier View Way to enjoy produce from local farmers, food vendors and retailers. Fuel up and stop by a craft coffee shop to get a little caffeine boost and take a self-guided mural walking tour to see the collection of colorful street art scattered throughout the city. Cool down by jumping into the Pacific’s waves for a light swim or fishing off the Pier. Equipment rentals are readily available to enjoy a lively water sport like surfing, boogie boarding and stand-up paddle boarding.

  • At the Beach House:
  • collect seashells
  • take surfing lessons from your back yard,
  • watch sunsets while sitting next to your bonfire,
  • shore fish, 
  • boogie board,
  • have a sandcastle building contest,
  • make smores, 
  • bury treasure with a treasure map for kids to find,
  • play bocci ball,
  • have one dinner on the  beach where everyone dresses like a pirate or wench
  • collect seaglass,
  • paint beach rocks, 
  • ride beach cruisers to the harbor for ice cream,
  • rent a boat,
  • fly a kite,
  • bring a deck of cards and board games from your childhood
  • hire a photographer for once in a lifetime family photos on the beach
  • follow a set of footprints down the beach........


  • Walk down the beach to: 
  • Hello Betty's,
  • Urge,
  • Flying Pig,
  • 333,
  • Bagbys,
  • Local Tap House,
  • Harney Sushi,  
  • Ty's Burgers,
  • Masters,
  • Best Pizza and Brew
  • Privateer Pizza,
  • Beach Break Cafe for breakfast,
  • La Petite Madeline for breakfast or lunch
  • Succulent Cafe for coffee or iced coffee
  • Checkout all the fresh fish restaurants at Oceanside Harbor
  •  Ride a beach cruiser bike ride to sample all our new gastro pubs.


  • Fun for kids:
  • Rent bikes at Allens Bike Shop
  • Legoland

    Legoland has something for the whole family and centrally located in Carlsbad. You can easily access it from any of our rentals in Encinitas, Carlsbad or Oceanside. At Legoland there are over 60 rides, shows and attractions. Your little ones imagination can come to life inside the theme park. There is a Stars Wars miniland model display, pirate reef and a water park. There is also the SEA LIFE aquairum where you can see over 5,000 living creatures. There are family friendly play zones, fun facts and quiz trails. 

    The LEGOLAND water park has seven slides, sandy beaches and unique Build-A-Raft river.

    We highly recommend making time for Legoland during your vacation.

  • California Surf Museum,
  • Oceanside Harbor, rent boats, paddelboards & kayacks. 
  • Oceanside Pier,
  •  Regal 16 Movie Complex
  • Ice cream shops
  • Alga Community Pool and Water park
  • San Diego Zoo


         Fun for all ages: 

  •   Thursday Farmers Market in the morning and Sunset Market in the Evening
  •   Mission San Luis Rey,
  •   Oceanside Harbor- 1/2 day fishing boat, boat rentals, paddle boards
  •   Golf
  •   Coastal Bike Trail

San Diego Area Guide

Our San Diego California area guide is meant to give you an overview and a little insight into everything that San Diego offers.  San Diego is the second largest city in California, with over 70 miles of coastline, and an average temperature of 72 degrees year round. No wonder why it is one of the most desirable places in the world to live. San Diego sits just north of the Mexican border, and spans over 4,200 square miles, with desert, mountains, vibrant downtowns and of course, beaches. The options for things to do is endless. Whether you feel like taking a hike, scuba diving a shipwreck, learning to surf, or spending the day at the San Diego Zoo, or book luxury beach rentals San Diego San Diego has something for everyone.

San Diego is made up of several neighborhoods, and there are amazing private beach rentals san Diego Downtown has a very urban vibe, with tons of great restaurants, bars, shops, and sites such as Old Town, the Embarcadero, Gaslamp District, Seaport Village, Petco Park (home of the Padres), Horton Plaza, and Balboa Park, the largest urban park in the US.

Just across the bridge from San Diego is Coronado, where you will find wide white sandy beaches, and a quaint town seeming with history.  East of San Diego you can explore the Vegas style casinos, Anza Borrego State Park (the largest state park in California), Palomar Mountain, and the charming town of Julian, known for their apple pies.

To the north – inland and coastal, is known as North County San Diego.  This is where beach towns dot the coast, each with a very laid back, surf vibe.  In North County, you will find the Del Mar Racetrack, Birch Aquarium, Legoland, breathtaking golf courses, flower fields, world-famous surf spots and more!  All of our Oceanside Home Vacation Rentals or  Oceanside Beach Rental vacation homes are located here, in North County San Diego. 

 North County is home to some big-name, heavy-hitter San Diego attractions: LEGOLAND California and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Both are great for families and LEGOLAND caters specifically to young kids. There ae three parks at Legoland:  The Water Park, The Aquarium- filled with California sealife and the main Legoland ParkThe Safari Park is an interesting take on the typical zoo experience with the Africa Tram where guest can view wild animals living together in a large environment. North County San Diego is also home to some smaller attractions like the Del Mar Racetrack, The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch and stunning Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve where visitors can hike through rare Torrey Pines trees on the cliffs above the Pacific Ocean with stunning views of La Jolla and Del Mar.  The Birch Aquarium is filled with stunning seahorses, jellyfish, sharks and kelp forrests. Play a round of golf at the world class Torrey Pines Golf Course or try your hand at sand volleyball at one of the many beaches.  There is no better place to enjoy a family-friendly Oceanside beach vacation in San Diego than North County. Visitors can spend all day outside enjoying all San Diego has to offer and then top off the day with a relaxing evening enjoying all the comforts of home with their Oceanside Beach Rental vacation rental in North County San Diego. These suggestions are just a hint of what you can do while in Oceanside, CA. Find San Diego California Beach House Rentals or Give us a call at (760) 722-1866 and we'll be happy to recommend more activities and restaurants based on your taste.

San Diego Activities and Attractions

San Diego Zoo:  World famous 100-acre tropical garden that houses 4000 animals of 800 rare and exotic species.  Popular zoo activities include a three-mile guided bus tour, sky tram, children’s petting zoo, and a baby animal nursery.  One of the most popular exhibits is a family of Giant Pandas.

San Diego’s Zoo Safari Park: 1,800-acre preserve where wild animals roam free over vast expanses as they would in their native habitats of Africa and Asia.  Take the Journey into Africa tour, where you board a open-air tram and experience an eye-level encounter with animals such as rhinoceros, cape buffalo, Roosevelt’s gazelles, and African crowned cranes.

Sea World:  Located in Mission Bay, this 189-acre park features six major shows, fascinating attractions and dozens of exhibits containing marine life from around the globe.  Journey to Atlantis is the largest attraction in the park offering guests a six-minute journey that includes a 60-foot plunge and a heart-pounding negative G force drop set against a backdrop of the sunken city.

Balboa Park:  What could be better than an entertaining park where your kids can experience art, culture, and learn something new along the way?  The largest urban cultural park in the United States, Balboa Park is often referred to as the “Smithsonian of the West”.  Its 1,200 lush acres are home to 85 cultural attractions, including 15 museums, eight gardens and the San Diego Zoo of course.  Some of the activities include the San Diego Air & Space Museum, the Balboa Park Carousel, the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad, the San Diego Automotive Museum, Museum of Man, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, the San Diego Museum of Art, and the San Diego Natural History Museum, among many others.

The Big Bay, San Diego’s Waterfront:  No stay in San Diego is complete without a trip to the waterfront.  San Diego Bay is bustling with activity, as it serves as the home port for Navy ships, a large sport fishing fleet, thousands of pleasure craft, and an increasing number of cruise ships.  Mission Bay, a 4,600-acre aquatic playground, is the largest facility of its kind in the world feature separate, designated areas for sailing, power boating, fishing, swimming, and water skiing.  The USS Midway Museum is a retired aircraft carrier that now serves as a fascinating interactive floating museum.  The Maritime Museum of San Diego consists of several historic sailing vessels docked on San Diego Bay including old tall ships, passenger ferries, and even a Russian submarine.

Old Town Trolley Tours:  Old Town Trolley tours will show you California’s second largest city, where blue skies, exciting attractions and 70 miles of beaches come together to create a vacationer’s paradise.  Hop aboard one of the trolleys and you will experience “Transportainment”, a delightful combination of transportation and entertainment.

Knott’s Soak City:  San Diego County’s wildest water adventure park! Thirty-two water-logged acres packed with 22 of the most intense water rides imaginable – all themed to the surf woodies and long-boards of the 1950s San Diego’s coast!  Only Open May through September.

Disneyland:  “The Happiest Place on Earth” is an enchanted kingdom of fantasy and imagination filled with classic family-friendly attractions and magical entertainment, dining and shopping.  Also visit Disney California Adventure Park.

Scuba Dive, Ocean Enterprise: If you have ever wanted to learn to dive, now is the time! San Diego is a perfect place to learn and get certified.  Or, if you are already certified, check out Ocean Enterprise for rentals, scuba trips, etc.  Ocean Enterprise is Southern California’s largest full-service dive center, offering all levels of instruction for individuals and families, with a variety of classes every month.  Tested and approved by a Beachfront Only Employee!

Gaslamp Quarter and East Village:  The Gaslamp is littered with sidewalk eateries, upscale restaurants to low key-cafes, jazz and dance clubs, boutiques, cigar shops, and galleries.  East Village became a buzzing neighborhood with the completion of Petco Park.  It boasts a very artsy feel, with great food, new boutique hotels popping up annually, art studios, and more.

La Jolla, Prospect St. and Girard Ave.:  La Jolla is one of San Diego’s most exclusive and desireable zip codes, offering an atmosphere reminiscent of a European resort village tempered with the casual attitude of Southern California.  The formerly “old money” town has seen a fresh influx of young families.  Snuggled into a cove that offers excellent offshore diving and gorgeous views, La Jolla village clings to a Mediterranean theme, where you can find hotels and eateries, boutiques and estate jewelers.

Old Town State Park:  Step into the Alta California of days past. The park recreates local life, circa 1821 to 1862.  Five orginal adobes are part of the park grounds, which includes shops, restaurants and museums.  Places to linger include San Diego House, the Mason Street School, and of course, the Bazaar Del Mundo.  The Bazaar is a permanent fiesta, with fab shopping and ethnic food.

Coronado:  Coronado is decidedly upscale – the streets are filled with historical homes and the downtown main drag is a pedestrian’s dream of chi-chi shops cozied up to gourmet eateries.  On the Pacific side, the Hotel Del Coronado, opened in 1888 and recently refurbished, is the star.  On the San Diego Bay side, visitors can shop and browse to their hearts’ content at the Ferry Landing Market Place, full of one-of-a-kind boutiques and restaurants.  The Coronado Ferry runs between here and the mainland, adding more potential for fun transportation plans.

Seaport Village:  A must-visit for tourists and a popular day-trip destination, Seaport Village offers 14-acres of waterfront shopping, dining, and entertainment.  Located on the edge of San Diego Harbor with gorgeous views of the bay, the area has more than 75 shops and over a dozen themed eateries, all surrounded by lush landscaping and Cape Cod-inspired architecture.  Cobblestone paths are perfect for carriage rides through the village, a romantic staple on warm summer nights.

Horton Plaza:  Horton Plaza is a funky and chic outdoor mall, covering over six city blocks and designed like a Dr. Seuss/Disney collaboration.  Shopping options range from BCBG and Nordstrom to A&F.  The adjacent cinema and Lyceum Theatre blow the doors wide open on entertainment options.  This is one of the few places you can shop into night, dine and then catch a fine theatre production.

San Diego Theaters:

  • La Jolla Playhouse – Tony Award-winning professional non-profit theatre.  Current and Upcoming shows include “Ruined” and “Little Miss Sunshine”
  • Old Globe Theater – Internationally-acclaimed, Tony Award-winning, the Old Globe is one of the most renowned regional theatres in the country, and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institute for over 70 years.  Current and upcoming shows include “The Winter’s Tale” and  “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas”.
  • San Diego Civic Theatre and Balboa Theatre – Non-profit theatres providing world-class theatre-going experience in a vibrant downtown theatre district.  Current and upcoming shows include “The Color Purple”, “The Nutcracker”, Holiday concerts, and comedy roadshows.

Comedy Theaters:

  • National Comedy Theatre – San Diego’s Home for Improv Comedy.  Shoes every Friday and Saturday at 7:30 and 9:45 PM
  • Comedy Store La Jolla – Sister store to the famous Comedy Store on Sunset Strip, shows run nightly and feature nationally renowned comedians with individual talent show and best of shows.

Free Things to do in San Diego!

  • Head to San Diego’s many beaches, all free to the public, to swim, body surf or hang-ten. Play in the sand, collect seashells or just bask in the sun.
  • Visit La Jolla Cove and see the magnificent sunset on the ocean. La Jolla Cove is one of the most spectacular natural settings in the world. Great for a daytime or sunset picnic.
  • Visit Seaport Village during the weekends for free entertainment and hours of leisurely strolling and window-shopping. Or just sit in the grass and gaze at passing yachts and ships on picturesque San Diego Bay.
  • Stroll through the 16½-block historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego and view the renovated turn-of-the-century Victorian architecture, home to boutiques, art galleries, specialty shops and more.
  • Fly a kite along the grassy field in the Tecolote Shores of Mission Bay Park, a 4,600-acre aquatic park. Here, away from trees and overhead wires, friends and family gather to launch colorful kites into the bay breezes.
  • Enjoy free organ concerts at 2 p.m. on Sundays at the Spreckels Organ Pavillion in Balboa Park. The Organ Pavillion features one of world’s largest outdoor pipe organs, a San Diego landmark since 1914, where organists play traditional favorites, waltzes and show tunes on enormous 32-foot pipes.
  • Visit Old Town and witness the living legacy of San Diego history. Guests are also invited to wander free through Old Town’s historic buildings, including the blacksmith shop, Seeley Stables, Stewart House, Estudillo House and the oldest schoolhouse in San Diego.
  • Bike or jog along Mission Bay Park’s many trails. Joggers and walkers share more than 20 miles of scenic running paths that wind through sunlight and shade near the shoreline and feature workout courses at planned stations along the route.
  • Stargaze outside the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park on the first Wednesday of every month. The San Diego Astronomy Association sets up huge telescopes to offer guests a great view of all the stars in the night sky.
  •  Take a scenic, one-hour drive to Mt. Laguna. Once there, hop out for an invigorating hike and enjoy the fresh mountain air whispering through the pines.
  • Step back in time with a stop in Julian, a century-old gold mining town in the Cuyamaca Mountains. Pick up a free map at the Chamber of Commerce for a self-guided walking tour of the area’s historic sites and later enjoy a slice of homemade apple pie – a Julian specialty!
  • Grab your picnic basket and head to Torrey Pines State Park where you can watch talented and daring hang-gliders do tricks in the strong winds that sweep along the coastline cliffs.
  • Rollerblade, skateboard or bicycle along the Mission Beach Boardwalk, a scenic 3-mile boardwalk along picturesque Mission and Pacific Beaches.
  • Visit Mission Trails Regional Park to explore the cultural, historical and recreational aspects of San Diego. Stop at the Visitor’s Center and learn about the wonders of nature and the people who once lived on the land. Or, roam through the park’s 40 miles of natural and developed hiking and biking trails.
  • Go scuba diving or snorkeling off San Diego’s shores and see spectacular creatures of the sea. La Jolla Cove offers some of the clearest waters on the California coast, as well as miles of protected underwater preserves to explore.
  • Go bird watching at the Torrey Pines State Reserve. Located high above Torrey Pines State Beach, the area is home of the rare and ancient Torrey Pine as well as a beautiful protected habitat for swifts, thrashers, woodpeckers and wrentits.
  • Stroll through Balboa Park and marvel at its beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. While there, take advantage of the park’s variety of offerings, including 15 museums (select museums free on Tuesdays), free daily park tours, public organ concerts (Sundays), and spectacular gardens (seven are free daily).
  • Visit other museums around town that offer similar free days. In its La Jolla facility, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is free on the third Tuesday of each month; the downtown facility is free daily.
  • Gather family, friends and firewood for a cozy beach bonfire at one of the beaches in San Diego County, including Moonlight Beach.
  • Explore the tidepools in Point Loma at low tide and get up close and personal with flowery anemones, scampering shore crabs, elusive octopus, spongy deadman’s fingers and many other magnificent sea creatures.
  • Drive to the top of Mt. Soledad in La Jolla for breathtaking, 360-degree views of San Diego, including the gently curving La Jolla coastline and Mission Bay. Spectacular views of San Diego’s East County communities also await guests at the top of Mt. Helix.
  • Visit the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and experience the natural beauty of the desert. The 600,000-acre park is one of the largest state parks in the United States and each spring, following winter rains, explodes into a rainbow of colorful wildflower blossoms.
  • Take a scenic walk along The Big Bay, San Diego’s “largest attraction.” With 27 miles of waterfront featuring bayside parks, marinas, hundreds of shops and restaurants, and miles of promenades and bikeways, the Big Bay appeals to all ages and interests.

(Taken from sandiego.org)

View all attraction tickets and discounts on the Official San Diego Visitor’s website

Oceanside California Things To Do

Oceanside Fast Facts:

  • Area of City: 42 sq. miles
  • Year of Incorporation: 1888
  • Location: 35 miles north of San Diego, 83 miles south of Los Angeles, 16 miles south of San Clemente
  • Population: 183,095

Oceanside Attractions and Things to Do:

Oceanside Harbor: Unlike most ports, all boats are visible from a two-lane asphalt drive encircling its shoreline. Fine restaurants, picnic tables, and a Harbor Village with shops, eateries, and a lighthouse, along with the nearby Harbor Beach combine to offer the seafarer and motor visitor an enchanting experience of color and atmosphere. Oceanside’s Harbor is a mecca for sportfishing, whale watching, boating and other water-oriented activities.
Find Oceanside Beachfront rentals San Diego.

Oceanside Pier: The historic Oceanside Pier is a prized community resource, and at its current 1,942 feet in length, it remains one of the longest wooden construction recreational piers on the West Coast. The pier is a recreational common ground for Oceanside, a place where young and old, fisherman and surfer, tourist and residents mingle, stroll, and sit to watch the waves or the sunset while enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. 

Mission San Luis Rey: Founded in June 1798 by Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen, the Mission is one of the most architecturally impressive of all the California missions. Built of adobe and faced with brick, it is a composite of Spanish, Mexican, and Moorish styles.

Heritage Park: Heritage Park Village & Museum centers around an idyllic Main Street lined with many of historic Oceanside’s original buildings. The first General Store, the Portola Inn, the Blacksmith Shop & Livery Stable, a doctors office, the Old City jail, Libby School and the Blade newspaper building provide an ambient backdrop for education programs, special events and social gatherings of all kinds.

Oceanside Museum of Art: Oceanside Museum of Art is a cultural jewel located in downtown Oceanside with a view of the Pacific Ocean and the historic Oceanside Pier. The museum is housed in a classic Irving Gill designed building that represents the flavor of Southern California in the 1930s.

California Surf Museum: At a time when the historical roots of many beach communities are rapidly changing and/or disappearing, the California Surf Museum is preserving the strong link between the ocean and lifestyles of the beach community. The museum actively collects, documents and preserves surfing related artifacts and memorabilia.

Sunshine Brooks Theater: Operated by New Vision Theatre, the historic Sunshine Brooks Theatre is home to a series of year-round quality productions. New Vision produces some exceptional community theatre and is responsible for refurbishing the hall into a facility supportive of concerts as well as Oceanside civic events. 

Buena Vista Audobon Society Nature Center: At the absolute southern edge of Oceanside , you’ll find the Buena Vista Audubon Society’s Nature Center . Sited on the Buena Vista Lagoon, the Center offers a variety of natural history experiences. In the course of an afternoon, you can walk amid native plants to see views of the lagoon and its bird life, discover tracks along the shore that reveal the night’s animal visitors, tour the garden of native plants, find the world’s tiniest mammals in one of the exhibits of local habitat, learn what endangered species live in the lagoon and challenge your children with nature games. 

Camp Pendleton Marine Base: The world’s largest U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Training Base is located in North Oceanside. It is considered a “recreational” paradise with its military community of over 36,000 spread over 125,000 acres. The camp is well recognized for its interest and effort toward ecology and the preservation of natural resources. With its three mountain ranges and varied geographical terrain, Camp Pendleton has earned its title as an “Ecological Oasis of Coastal California.” Home of the First Marine Division, Camp Pendleton is situated on what was once a Spanish land grant called Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores. The area’s natural beauty has been changed as little as possible, making Camp Pendleton a modern military base in the heart of a little piece of history. 

Farmers Market: The Farmers Market is a delightful way to mingle with the locals and experience our fresh, homegrown, organic produce, botanicals and scrumptious baked goods. Located in historic downtown on Pier View Way , the Farmers Market is held every Thursday morning.Sunset Market: Come enjoy farmers market at Oceanside in the historic downtown. Several vendors with all types of items along with foods from around the world. we also have a playhouse for the kids. Come enjoy our barbecued foods and great atmosphere along with local farmers. Live music at every farmers market, Thursday evenings fro 5:00pm to 9:00pm