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Oceanside, California is a place I liked to call my “secret little slice of paradise.” It is for all ages, all walks of life, and can entertain people with a wide variety of interests. Oceanside may be most well known in the triathlon community for IRONMAN Oceanside, a half distance triathlon typically held in April each year (if you are thinking to yourself hmm I would like to sign up for that race!…. well it is probably too late. IM Oceanside is notorious for selling out immediately, so check in with the race event page to see when you can get a slot.
But I am not here to talk about IRONMAN. I want to help you fall in love with this up and coming little seaside town just like I did. Visit Oceanside generously welcomed me into their city and helped me showcase all the wonderful people, races, places, and things you can look forward to when you visit next. I’ve even included some events for you to check out as an athlete or fitness lover. There is really no good reason NOT to come to Oceanside, CA. But that is just the humble opinion from an outdoor-loving Amazon sized mermaid with a flair for fun.
Where to stay
Oceanside is conveniently located just off of I-5, sandwiched in-between the areas of Carlsbad and Camp Pendleton. I opted to stay at the Holiday Inn close to the harbor, freeways, and minutes from the Oceanside Pier. If you are coming here for a race that involves a bike, this is a nice affordable option that can’t be beat for location, price, and ease of bike transport. This space is frequented by pro and age group athletes alike for these very reasons. And as the weather is exceptional year-round, you can almost always find a race or a fun time to be had here.
WHAT TO DO
Well…..because the word “ocean” is literally in the name of the city, I am going to make some recommendations that involve the water. If you don’t swim, don’t want to swim, or are one of those people who love the sun, don’t love the water, I also have some fun suggestions for you too (but also, call me because I am going teach you how to be a happy mermaid/merman).
1) kayaking in oceanside harbor
Oceanside Harbor is a focal point of the city; a place where function meets community. Each year, the city’s Chamber of Commerce hosts a 2-day event called Oceanside Harbor Days in the harbor. This weekend is a great opportunity for athletes to come down and do a race (same time as Tiki Swim) while also getting to experience all that the local culture has to offer. I have personally swam through the harbor (something that is only possible each year if you compete in either IRONMAN Oceanside or Tiki Swim). It is worth spending a couple hours meandering through on foot or by sea. If you can’t swim through, I highly suggest checking out Oceanside Boat Rentals of America for a quick and easy kayak/boat rental.
2) surf oceanside
Oceanside’s 3 miles of sandy beach coastline offers plenty of breaks for surfers to shred the gnar. If you aren’t a seasoned surfer, you can take your pick from the plethora of surf lesson schools in the area (check out Learn to Rip for starters). Oceanside hosts several annual surf events including the World Body Surfing Championships, the Guy Takayama Pro Open, and the SuperGirl Pro.
3. Find Some Vert
Want to take a break from the beach? Check out VITAL Climbing Gym on S Coast Highway in the bustle of downtown Oceanside. Snag a single-day pass for $17 and wile away the hours bouldering, rock climbing, or doing a ClimbFit class. ClimbFit is a 60-minute full-body workout utilizing dynamic warm-ups, cardio conditioning, and a series of resistance training exercises designed to build climbing-specific strength and flexibility. Hours 11AM-9PM daily, or 24/7 for members.
4. Ride A Bike
It wouldn’t be a Trilife Fitness article without mentioning a bike at least once. My most recent trip down to Oceanside was actually to ride in 2018 Bike The Coast, a cycling event put on by Spectrum Sports. Bike the Coast offers a distance for everyone so-to-speak. Distances range from 7 miles all the way up to a century. You can feel the energy at this event. It is well loved by locals who come out in droves, sporting their Bike the Coast jerseys from over the years. For anyone who enjoys the art of cycling and the love of the ride, this is one event you should do. Because who doesn’t love race swag, upon completing this race you will receive a medal, Bike the Coast cup, and a variety of offerings from their event sponsors. A full race event follows the ride, with food and live entertainment. With its location just adjacent to the Oceanside Pier, you are still moments away from any of the other activities I have listed already. And as a Trilife Fitness exclusive, use code TRILIFE for 15% off any distance (online registration only, expires 1/31/19). Click here for more info about the race.
“I LIKE TO BIKE IN SMALLER GROUPS”
If you aren’t able to make it down for this particular cycling event, Visit Oceanside has done the hard work for you by highlighting the primo bike routes in the area. Each suggestion includes distance, mileage, and a map. An online version can be found here. Won’t have a bike with you during your visit? No problem (I am a problem solver, I gotchu). Take a bike tour from Wheel Fun Rentals , SoCal Bike , or rent a bike from them and “ride with a local.” Oceanside Multisport Group offers community training events most of the year.
WHERE TO EAT & drink
Breakfast / Lunch
Try St. Tropez Bistro & Beyond (there are a couple of these, check out their Oceanside location on S Coast Highway (just across from VITAL Climbing Gym)! Although I actually ate here in the evening, the fare is much more suited to breakfast/lunch. Pastries, sandwiches, & soups galore.
Grab a coffee and sit outside on their terrace patio or indoors in a cool, funky interior of a heritage building turned local food spot. Local celebs such as Jason Mraz have been known to stop by here, so keep your peepers peeled. If you do decide to go for dinner, bring a friend. I was blown away by the large portion size of some of the dishes (my salad was enough for two easily).
Saint Tropez Bistro & Beyond 524 South Coast Highway, Oceanside, California 92054
This is Southern California we are talking about. There are great food & drink experiences to be had. I was particularly fond of Mission Ave Bar & Grill. I ate there the night before Bike the Coast (just a quick drive from my hotel). Owner Cameron Braselton actually came over and sat down with me to tell me about the history, the local foodie community, and all the things to love about Mission Ave Bar & Grill. Aside from offering over 200 whiskeys, 37 local California drafts, live music, and a completely redone dining menu (with a signature Short Rib Panang Curry dish that I ADORED), Mission Ave Bar & Grill is the right kind of laid back. Nothing about Oceanside is really pretentious, and this spot does a great job of upholding that “humble but high-quality” vibe.