This San Diego Town Is Bustling With Beachy Vibes
With its surf and skateboard roots, historic wooden pier, tucked-away harbor and nearby former Spanish mission, the coastal city of Oceanside has something for every type of traveler. Between downtown O’Side (as the locals affectionately call it) and its hipper adjoining neighborhood, South O, you’ll find local boutiques, craft coffee shops, stellar restaurants and museums, including one dedicated entirely to surf culture. With kids back in school, fall is the perfect time to explore this laid-back Southern California beach town. From where to stay and shop to the best places to grab pastries, brews, bites and more, here’s how to spend a full day out in Oceanside. Oceanside Itinerary
Stay at: The Seabird Resort
With its California-meets-Cape-Cod design details, chic lobby lounge and see-and-be-seen rooftop pool, The Seabird Resort made an instant impression after opening its doors this spring. Artwork throughout the 226-room hotel is curated by the Oceanside Museum of Art, which also oversees the dedicated ground floor gallery space, OMA West—an extension of the Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA). For luxury treatments, head to Sunny’s Spa and Beauty Lounge, soak up the sun poolside with a cocktail at The Shelter Club, or hop across the road and get those toes in the sand at Oceanside Beach.
9 a.m. But First, Coffee
From Mission Pacific, it’s a five-minute walk around the corner to Camp Coffee Company, where the grilled cheese and Tribute Latte are sit-down must-tries. But thanks to their handy Square site, you can also pre-order that coconut nitro with cold foam and vegan donut while still snuggled up in your hotel bed.
10 a.m. Done Proper
Hop in the car (or borrow an e-bike from Mission Pacific) and zip down to the mixed-use complex, Tremont Collective, to shop apparel and accessories from Oceanside’s homegrown streetwear brand, Brixton. The store also stocks plenty of their famous headwear, including classic snapbacks, fedoras and on-trend ‘90s-style bucket hats.
11 a.m. Let Them Eat Cake
Next, pop back towards the pier and into chef-owner Christine Loyola’s lovely bakery, Petite Madeline, for an (almost) midday refuel. The classic palmier cookies, pastries and buttery Madeleine cakes are superb, made in-house and pair perfectly with an espresso or glass of champagne if you’re feeling extra fabulous.
12:30 p.m. Grab Lunch and a Brew
It’s back on the bikes for lunch at Bagby Beer Co., whose concise menu features scratch-made dishes from plant-based options like fried squash blossoms to the crowd-favorite classic smash burger. Try a pour of English-style pale ale Back Garden or a Worker Bee (golden ale with honey) from the tap list.
2 p.m. Welcome to the Jungle
Everything from Insta-worthy Monstera and fiddle leaf figs to ficus share space with candles, art prints and artisan ceramics at your fingertips at Landmark Plant Co., a boutique nursery-meets-modish gift shop. The space also holds events like succulent terrarium workshops and provides on-the-spot advice to newbie plant parents.
3 p.m. Shop with Purpose
At cooperative retail and event space The Rising Co., shop swoon-worthy goodies from designers and makers, including bags by Rais Case, homewares from Adobe by Jess Vargas and jewelry by Wild Habit. A gallery, floral design company and clean beauty brands ÉPHÉMÈRE and The Nada Shop are also featured here.
4 p.m. Pamper Yourself
Nothing beats a little “me time” when you’re on vacation. Relax and rejuvenate your mind and body at Sunny’s Spa and Beauty Lounge at The Seabird Resort. This waterfront wellness destination boasts stunning views of the Oceanside coastline and offers a variety of treatments—from soothing body wraps and facials to restorative massages and hair services. After your treatment of choice, cozy up in a fluffy robe, grab a glass of champagne and recline on the balcony daybed with glistening views of the water. This is the R&R you’ll crave after a busy day of exploring.
5 p.m. It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere
Local Oceanside artists play the patio at Coomber Craft Wines at 5:30 p.m. every evening, so it’s worth getting here just a touch before that to nab a good seat. Try a glass of Coomber’s new traditional Méthode Champenoise-style sparkling wine or sample a flight of their award-winning red and white varietals before heading back to Mission Pacific for dinner.
6 p.m. Sip & Savor, SoCal Style
Fans of contemporary California cuisine (think ingredient-driven dishes using produce from regional farms and a drinks list that highlights local vineyards, distilleries, and breweries) will love The Seabird Resort’s signature restaurant, Piper. The stylish indoor-outdoor space is every bit as Instagram-worthy as executive chef Kurtis Habecker’s beautifully presented plates and exquisite creations from his (coming soon) Cali Craft Pasta Bar. Piper is currently open for breakfast and lunch, with dinner reservations starting on Sept. 30!
8 p.m. Cocktail Time
Take a post-dinner stroll down South Coast Hwy to craft distillery Pacific Coast Spirits for a nightcap. The drinks list spans craft cocktails and barrel-aged numbers to house favorites like the Pisco Sour, but those who fancy sipping spirits can get a tasting flight of housemade agaves, gins or bourbons instead.