Between Orange County and San Diego, Oceanside is a boater's best friend.
Tucked into the belly of the half-moon sweep of land from Dana Point to San Diego, bordering the south end of Camp Pendleton and the north end of Carlsbad, is Oceanside. It is in relatively close proximity to many attractions in Orange County and San Diego, but boaters who stop here can enjoy an escape without leaving town, maybe without leaving the immediate harbor area.
WHERE TO MOOR
Oceanside Harbor welcomes visiting boaters with 24 guest slips and side ties that are available but must be reserved prior to visiting. Please note that Oceanside Harbor does not issue refunds. Current guest fees (as of this writing) are $1.30 per foot per day (April-September) and $0.80 per foot per day (October-March).
There is much to see and do in the harbor, which has all the amenities: a fuel dock, white sandy beaches, gift shops and eateries. The wide beach, just a short sea-leg-stretching distance from the harbor, has fire pits and barbecue areas.
A curious public space, known to locals as the Clapping Circle, is near the entrance to the harbor and shouldn’t be missed. Locals claim that anyone who stands in the middle of the clapping circle will, due to odd sound and acoustics, hear a strange squeak instead of what he expects to hear: clapping.
STAYING FOR THE WEEKEND
If a boat’s crew needs a night on terra firma, there are several options for hotel accommodations near the harbor. The Wyndam Extra Holidays WorldMark Oceanside 3 will be a home away from home. Also within walking distance of Oceanside Harbor is the Days Inn Oceanside 4 . For a more upscale marina experience, the Oceanside Marina Suites 5 is on its own private peninsula right the heart of Oceanside Harbor.
GOING INTO TOWN
About a 20-minute walk south from the harbor is the Oceanside Pier 6 and downtown Oceanside. Like most seaside towns, Oceanside has plenty of bistros and coffee shops that offer everything from a cold brew to a tuna sandwich. For a cold one, Breakwater Brewing Co. 7 has a variety of house beers for any palette. The Haunted Head Saloon 8 is a military friendly bar on the same block that offers drink specials, low prices and plenty of foosball and pool tables.
For an ironically upscale experience — elegance in a former car repair shop — Master’s Kitchen and Cocktail 9 has daily specials, happy hour, fresh seafood and artisanal beverages made from craft spirits. For stunning views of Oceanside Pier and beyond, 333 Steakhouse Pacific 10 offers nightly dinner service in a luxe steakhouse atmosphere.
The California Surf Museum 11 is in Oceanside. Boaters interested in the state’s official pastime can spend an afternoon learning about surf heritage, how the sport has evolved through the years and its impact on pop culture. Permanent exhibitions and historical artifacts range from the iconic to the novel.
Another local attraction is the Top Gun 12 house, which can be identified by its bright blue exterior on the corner of North Pacific Street and 1st Street. For gamblers, Ocean’s Eleven Casino 13 has table games, and its dining and entertainment are themed to make visitors feel like part of the Rat Pack.
Oceanside is not only logistically convenient for boaters to stop for fuel or a break, it’s a great destination in and of itself!