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8 Fun Outdoor Activities in Oceanside

palm trees in oceanside ca

Located on the Pacific coast about 40 miles north of San Diego, Oceanside, CA, is perfect for anyone looking to soak up the sun while living close to a major city. With miles of coastline and sandy beaches, there’s plenty to do both on land and in the water. So whether you’re settling into a Fire Mountain apartment or just bought a house in Loma Alta, make sure you try some of these outdoor activities in Oceanside.

1. Visit Oceanside’s Sunset Market

Oceanside’s Sunset Market is open every Thursday from 5 pm to 9 pm. Located on Pier View Way in downtown Oceanside since 2007, the market includes more than 200 local vendors 

“One of our favorite outdoor activities in Oceanside is the Sunset Market,” says LoriAnne Poulsen of On-The-Sand Beach Vacation Rentals. “Every Thursday evening tons of different artists, vendors, artisans, bakeries, food spots, etc., all gather in downtown Oceanside for a fun street fair that is free to the public. Visitors can enjoy fun shopping, food, live music, entertainment, and more every week year-round.”

glasses of mimosas

2. Go out for brunch at High/Low

High/Low is a local cafe and restaurant on the waterfront. It’s located near a local landmark, a house that was featured in the 1986 Tom Cruise film Top Gun. The beachside location, outdoor seating, and casual vibe make it a great place to grab a meal at any time of day.

DJ Track Star Staci, an Oceanside local who works events in the area, recommends going to one of the drag brunches.“My favorite thing to do in Oceanside is to go to the drag queen brunch at High/Low restaurant right next to the “Top Gun house” on the waterfront near the pier,” she says.

sunset at a beach in oceanside

3. Oceanside Harbor and Oceanside Pier

Elisa Foster, the co-founder of Haustay, a local vacation rental company, enjoys spending time on Oceanside Harbor and Oceanside Pier. “We love grabbing a HIGH-pie at the Top Gun House, then going on a bike ride to work off the calories along the harbor. A bike ride from the pier along the harbor is about 4 miles and is paved and flat, making it easy and perfect for the whole family. There are spectacular views and sites to see along the way, including restaurants and shopping.”

Nick Parisi, CEO of Buildable, a custom home building company based near Oceanside, also recommends the pier and Oceanside Harbor for outdoor activities in the area. He notes that Oceanside residents tend to enjoy the outdoors, whether they’re adrenaline junkies or just looking to relax.

“Visitors and residents living in Oceanside enjoy 3 miles of pristine coastline,” Parisi says. “Oceanside’s beaches offer more than just a day catching rays; they’re home to international surfing competitions, fishing tournaments, paddleboarding and kayaking. Don’t miss a chance to walk along the longest wooden over-water pier on the West Coast and stroll among the boats along the Oceanside harbor. If you’re looking for something a bit more exciting, Oceanside has been designated a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Cyclists. You can enjoy everything from a friendly cruise to speed biking the coast.

“If the golf course is more your day-in-the-sun vibe, Oceanside boasts Goat Hill Park, San Diego’s first golf course. Other courses even offer coastal views.”

person doing yoga on a rooftop

4. Outdoor yoga at the Brick Hotel

Owned and operated by fourth generation Oceanside residents, The Brick Hotel offers beautiful coastal views from a historic 19th century building. Tourists and locals alike can enjoy a ground-level restaurant and rooftop bar. They also offer outdoor yoga classes for anyone looking for a scenic and relaxing outdoor activity.

“For an outdoor activity, we recommend Yoga on the Rooftop, ” says Oceanside local Lauren Sweeton. “Delve Yoga classes are offered on Sunday mornings, Monday evenings and Tuesday evenings on the rooftop.Classes are open to the public and complimentary for guests of the hotel.”

plates of food on a wooden table

5. Channel your inner foodie with Carla and Linda’s Walking Food Tours

One of the best ways to get to know a new city is by experiencing the local food scene. Every city has its own unique flavors to discover. A guided food tour can help newcomers discover their new favorite spots to grab a bite.

Carla and Linda’s Walking Food Tours take you on a three-hour adventure in food,” say Linda Pina and Carla Werts. “Take the tour and meet some restaurant owners and chefs that are running the food explosion in Oceanside and Vista. You’ll learn a little history of the area as well as where the best restaurants are, so you can look like a true foodie when you take your friends out.”

steak on  a grill

6. Savor delicious BBQ from Miss Kim’s on the beach

Miss Kim’s by That Boy Good BBQ is an Oceanside-based restaurant with delicious Southern cuisine. The restaurant’s Owner, Kim Millwood, recommends grabbing some BBQ to go before spending a day outdoors on Oceanside’s beaches.

“Come where the locals go,” says Millwood. “Miss Kim’s by That Boy Good is right on the Coast Highway and offers a true southern experience. Grab some homemade BBQ to go and take a stroll to one of the longest wooden piers in North America. Or just take your BBQ to Oceanside’s beautiful beaches at sunset. Oceanside has some of the most beautiful sunsets in the country.”

person surfing in oceanside

7. Paddleboarding in Oceanside Harbor

If you like outdoor activities on the water, then you’ll certainly enjoy living in Oceanside. There are plenty of options whether you’re looking to get some exercise or revel in a more relaxing outdoor activity.

“When in Oceanside, be sure to head to Oceanside Harbor for some on-the-water fun,” says Nicole Drach of Oceanside-based Stubbs Real Estate. “If you’d like a bit of exercise, rent a stand-up paddleboard or a kayak. If you’re looking for a more relaxed day, grab some friends and cruise the harbor in an electric Duffy boat. Shady with comfortable seating, you can enjoy the sights with snacks and beverages.”

8. Discover historic Oceanside at Heritage Park

If you’re looking for an outdoor activity that gives you a glimpse of Oceanside’s past, take a moment to visit Heritage Park in the San Luis Rey neighborhood. The park is also home to a museum where you can learn more about the city’s history.

“One of the most unique parks in Oceanside is Heritage Park, which features original buildings of downtown Oceanside,” says Jeannie from Parks in San Diego. “The buildings include Oceanside’s first General Store, the old city jail, a doctor’s office, Libby School, and The Blade Newspaper, among others. The historic buildings were all relocated from various parts of Oceanside. It’s a quaint park to spend an afternoon and feel as though you’ve been transported back in time. Detailed guided tours are offered weekends during the summer months.”

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