Car-Less in Oceanside

With a little planning, you can enjoy a carefree car-free getaway in this low-key Southern California beach town located between San Diego and Los Angeles.

Oceanside CaliforniaGive your car a break and hop onto the Pacific Surfliner to Oceanside, a classic SoCal beach town, located between Los Angeles and San Diego. Oceanside’s proximity to Camp Pendleton, has long made it a second home to service men and women, but recent commercial growth has infused this small town with more energy and attractions. The train station, located right in downtown Oceanside, is walking distance from hotels, restaurants and the beach, so you can get around by foot or by wheels in this bike-friendly community. Rent a cruiser or surrey at Wheel Fun Rentals, next to the pier, and see the coastline from a different perspective. With the ocean as the main event here, you’ll find plenty of water sports and activities to keep you busy, including surfing, kayaking, jet skiing and boating (available for rent at the harbor).

Walk only a few blocks from the train station to Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort, just steps away from the sand and California’s longest wooden pier. Enjoy sweeping ocean views and palm trees swaying in the breeze from your spacious room, decorated in a fresh and colorful, California vibe. Rooms are 20% off rack rate if you take the train (code: Amtrak). Visit the California Surf Museum (closes at 4pm) that documents the history of surfing, beach fashion and the care-free spirit of surfers worldwide. A timely new exhibit features surf champion, Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm during a shark attack at age 13, and courageously went on to win a national surf competition one year later. Her shark-bitten surfboard is on display and a movie about her life, “Soul Surfer,” was recently released in theaters.

For dinner, stroll over to hip Harney’s Sushi. Vibrant colored artwork and chic lighting make for a stylish and eco-friendly space (recycled products are used throughout). A DJ spinning tunes adds to the mix. Scores of inventive delicious food and drink items fill the menu. Try the roasted garlic edamame and a Hope Roll, consisting of shrimp tempura, spicy crab, avocado, Cajun-seared tuna, topped with Asian micro greens and a Wasabi citrus aioli. Oceanside bikes Oceanside Surf Museum

Another worthy culinary spot, The Flying Pig Pub & Kitchen, just opened and serves up compelling gastropub food like molasses-braised pork belly over collard greens, air-whipped spoon bread (think cornbread souffle), mac-n-cheese with glorious nuggets of bacon, and sinful chocolate pot de creme.

For more information on activities and attractions in Oceanside, click here…

Liz Laing

Liz Laing

Liz has been a freelance travel writer for nearly a decade, writing for multiple outlets such as Mothering, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, CBS Los Angeles, MadeMan and wandermelon, to name a few. Growing up in New Mexico, Liz also traveled to Japan and Europe, including touring with a modern dance troupe throughout France. She’s now also added photography and web design to her talents, but her greatest accomplishment has been raising her four wonderful kids, who have already been bitten by the travel bug.
Liz Laing


  1. Kenneth Bower on July 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    I moved to Oceanside CA after living part time or full time in Thailand for the last 39 years. I chose Oceanside because my favorite daughter has lived here for 22 years.

    San Antonio Texas has always been my favorite city in America until now. Now, at age 75 I never plan to live anywhere else.

    I loved today’s column and would love to send it to all my email friends, but since it is Trade Marked, I didn’t want to copy/paste it or send it without your approval.

    IF you would, however, you could email it to me and I could forward it to all my family/friends.

    Your call,

    Ken Bower
    Veteran Human Being
    Oceanside CA

  2. Eric Hiss on July 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Hi Ken! Thanks for your comments and it’s actually fine to share the article via a link with your friends, just mention it’s from wandermelon and copy this link: http://wandermelon.com/2011/07/08/car-less-in-oceanside/ and send away! And thanks for reading!

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