05 Oct Oceanside, California Real Estate – Perhaps California’s Best Beach Town?
California’s Best Beach Town?
Oceanside, California is one of the many seaside towns that dot the Southern California coast near the US-Mexico border. It’s the northern-most town in San Diego County, where it’s adjacent to the Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton.
Like Coronado Island and Mission Beach, even Venice in Los Angeles, Oceanside’s home to a long stretch of sand and surf, and a parallel bike path. You’ll find surfer’s and sunbathers, skaters and vendors, even tourists lounging at their cottage rentals. These rentals have the bike path as their front yard — literally feet from the sand.
At Pier View Way is the Oceanside Pier, roughly in the middle of the stretch of beach that’s visible from the end of the Pier. The Pier is 1,954 feet long. Your determination for reaching the end is rewarded at Ruby’s Diner — Sriracha Burger…enough said. In true diner fashion, staff are dressed in 1940s style diner garb. And the view of Oceanside and points north and south are phenomenal, especially that far from shore. People fish from the Pier too, just as they do from the Ocean Beach Pier farther south.
The beach’s length really sets Oceanside apart from its peers. You can walk in the sand or on the parallel paved path in both directions from the Pier. When you reach what looks like the south end of the beach, don’t be surprised to see more people splashing through the surf farther down as the tide comes in. It’s a playground for miles. That’s especially evident watching the coastline from the train on your way to Oceanside.
The Coaster train serves San Diego County north and south. You can ride that train along the coast between San Diego’s Union Station (locally called the Santa Fe Depot) and Oceanside’s MTS station. The cost is $5.50 each way. The train stops at other towns en route, such as Encinitas and Carlsbad. Really, you could disembark anywhere and find paradise. A note: If you take the train from San Diego, ask people for help at the Depot. It’s notoriously hard for first-timers to locate the departure platform for this trip!
From the north, you can take the Orange County Line from Los Angeles’ Union Station to Oceanside. The cost is $16.75 each way during the week and $10 for a weekend day pass. You could also take Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, with prices at $28 each way for “Value” tickets (“Saver” tickets might be less).
What do you do when you get there? This post could read much like the recent Ocean Beach and Coronado posts, since all are Southern California beach communities. But every beach town and beach neighborhood’s unique despite the similarities. Oceanside is much bigger, for one thing, at about 170,00 people, whereas “OB” is only one of San Diego’s many unique neighborhoods.
On any given day there are at least a dozen surfers and boogie boarders in the water, some near the Pier. (Always ask a lifeguard for guidance if you’re unsure where to play in the water.) One block south of Pier View Way is Mission Avenue. Walk up just past North Freeman Street and say hi to the friendly people at Whitlock Surf Experience (part of Whitlock Industries, which is a family water sports business with a cool surfing history). After decades down the beach in Carlsbad, they moved recently to their present location in Oceanside. They’ll set you up with lessons, gear, and anything else you need to get on the water. Ask for Rodney.
Walking might not sound all that adventurous but at the beach it is. Being a part of all the waterfront activity is somehow simultaneously exhilarating and relaxing. I recommend a casual walk when you first arrive, just to take in the scenery and get to know the lay of the land a little. Meet a few locals. Business owners are almost always happy to chat. The Breakwater Brewing Company staff are some of the world’s friendliest — small-town charm close to the beach.
After your walk (during which you’ll see all the vacation bungalows for rent), you may decide to extend your stay, or come back for a longer holiday. All along the bike path are rental units, from a row of identical modest cottages to more spacious accommodations.
If you’re looking for less sandy activities, hit up the California Surf Museum and explore the sport that’s helped define an entire region. There’s also the Prince of Peace Abbey, in operation since 1958, that hosts guests for quiet reflection and prayer. You could also check out “San Diego County’s first Kombucha Brewery.”
The unusually high number of barber shops, tailors, and military surplus stores might have you scratching your head until you remember that adjacent to north San Diego County is Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. The city is home (and playground) to many military personnel (very similar to Coronado Island’s Navy presence).
Oceanside seems to have more than its share of graphic shops too. You can always get a tee shirt printed with a favorite phrase. Which makes it the perfect town for a surf, a taco, then a shirt to commemorate your visit. Maybe, “I went to Oceanside and all I got was a taco that’s gone now.”
As with most of Southern California, you don’t have to walk far to find a taco stand. Just walk up to Alfredo’s Mexican Restaurant for one of the biggest Carne Asada tacos you’ve ever seen.
If theater’s your thing, the Oceanside Theatre Company’s a popular destination for entertainment. They’re staging Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park beginning September 4, 2015.
There are also brewery tours and wine tours, walking tours, more museums, and parks. No chance of running out of fun on your trip. Happy surfing!