Top Family Friendly Things to do in Oceanside, California
California - March 27, 2021

view of the beach from Oceanside California

Thank you to the Club Wyndham Oceanside Pier, Visit Oceanside for providing us with tickets for excursions to facilitate this article and Legoland California for providing us with tickets. 

It’s so hot here in Arizona!  But I do prefer the dry heat to Florida’s humidity. I’ve noticed that this is the time many people escape to California for a cool break. California weather is absolutely beautiful and it is the perfect place to check out some family friendly actives with the kids, including beach days.

We had been to Anaheim a few months prior and loved it. This time we wanted to see more of the beach, along with hitting up some family friendly things to do, so we decided to visit Oceanside. We also checked out the Oceanside Calendar of Events to see what what kind of kid’s activities are available in Oceanside while we were there. It turns out that there are tons of fun things to do with your family.

When traveling with young kids, there are so many things to consider like safety, restaurants, kid friendly activities, and of course: where to stay.  We were really looking forward to doing some fun stuff together which means getting prepared. Check out these top family friendly places we found in Oceanside, California.

view of Wyndham Oceanside Pier resort in California

Oceanside, California

When visiting the West Coast, one of the best views of the Pacific Ocean is in Oceanside, California, a charming San Diego beach town. This North County city has world-class water sports, an iconic wooden pier, a harbor, and a marina, and is only a 38-minute drive from downtown San Diego.

At Oceanside California, you can enjoy sandy beaches as well as Oceanside activities such as whale watching tours, boating, and water sports. You can also stroll along the longest wooden pier and hear some live music. Explore downtown Oceanside’s restaurants, shops, volleyball courts, picnic areas, and farmers markets. Visit interactive surf museums, as well as Legoland and the San Diego Zoo.

Where to Stay in Oceanside California?

This is probably the most important decision when traveling as a family. A family of four has many requirements. We wanted to stay on the beach first of all so we could just walk over to it. A lot of space was needed because we planned on staying a few nights and bringing quite a few things. We needed two bedrooms and a place to wash our laundry and cook.

We also wanted to be able to find restaurants close by, along with supermarkets so we could cook.

dolphin statue outside wyndham oceanside pier resort with lots of plants

Wyndham Oceanside Pier

We found the Club Wyndham Oceanside Pier right on the ocean, like we wanted.

interior lobby of the Wyndham Oceanside Pier resort

It was booked through Extra Holidays, a booking site offering condos and suites — many as large as four-bedrooms, for the same price or less than what you’d pay for similar hotel stays. We already knew what to expect, a family friendly experience for sure!

Aerial view of the Wyndham Oceanside Pier resort next to California beach

This was the view from our room. We spent most of our mornings enjoying the ocean breeze and the beautiful palm trees while sipping on a cup of coffee.

The room was very spacious and exactly what we needed. This is a perk to using timeshare resorts such as the Club Wyndham Oceanside Pier because it had two bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, dishwasher, even a laundry machine and a dryer.

Check out Club Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort HERE

pool of Wyndham Oceanside Pier overlooking the ocean in california

With a pool and Jacuzzi available and an activity center with a full schedule of crafts and movies for the kids, we were not bored inside the resort. The kids loved it!

activity room at the Wyndham Oceanside Pier resort in California

This is the activity center where you can pick up a schedule for daily activities.

The kids went on a scavenger hunt and always ended back up at the activity center. There is a hot chocolate station and popcorn for movie days.

pier in front of Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort

How can you say no to this view?

a boy inside an elevator with a surprised face

Even the elevator was interesting and fun for the kids as it had an extra security feature so that you needed your room key to use it.

Discover what it’s like to vacation condo style with a family friendly atmosphere at the Club Wyndham Oceanside Pier .

Don’t forget to sign up for Wyndham Rewards to earn points and get exclusive deals and discounts.

fish soup in one of the best california oceanside restaurants

Oceanside Restaurants

It’s so important to have decent restaurants close by. We did bring some food to the room but we love trying new things and the kids sometimes needed comfort food for dinner. We found some great Oceanside restaurants, including bakeries and coffee shops.

pizzaria restaurant with tables and orange chairs and skateboards on the wall at Oceanside, California

Zig Zag Pizza Pie

Right inside the resort, you will find Zig Zag Pizza Pie . It’s a great place where you can design your own pizzas or chop chop salads.

delicious pizza with artichokes from zig zag pizza pie

We had their pizza almost daily. The kids loved it.

The atmosphere is great, the service was great and they also sell ice cream and alcohol to consume on premises or bring back to your room. Those are wins in my family. You could either walk in off the street or through a door within the resort.

The Loose Leaf

I’m really particular about my coffee. I stopped at this cute coffee shop called The Loose Leaf .

This is definitely the perfect place where I would hang out as I don’t drink alcohol. I love a good coffee bar that’s funky inside and quaint.

Best Beer Brewing Companies in Oceanside

But if you are looking for a place to drink alcoholic beverages, there are some great Craft Beer establishments close by like Breakwater Brewing Company, Legacy Brewing Company, Northern Pine Brewing Company, Bagby Beer Company,  and so many more! Oceanside is proud to have the “World’s Best” Nut Brown Ale by Breakwater Brewing Company.

box of French baked goods from petite Madeline bakery

Petite Madeline – Best Bakery in Oceanside

We found the most amazing French Bakery called Petite Madeline. 

It was a short walk from the resort and if you got there early enough, you might be able to get one of their almond croissants. We missed them twice and were so disappointed but it didn’t keep us from sitting down and having breakfast and trying a bunch of different pastries. Everything is made from scratch.

We did not leave Oceanside without stopping there for pastries for our trip back.

perfect Rainbow roll sushi to try at Harney sushi in Oceanside, California

Sushi in Oceanside

We love some good sushi and just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the resort, you will find Harney Sushi. We enjoyed a quiet dinner without kids but they have a great Happy Hour 7 days a week. At their Oceanside location they close at 10pm except for Friday and Saturday. Just about all the restaurants are closed by 9pm. So, it’s not only delicious, it is convenient too!

edamame with smoked salt, garlic manchego, sesame bacon bonito, and soy truffle

We had a specialty edamame with smoked salt, garlic manchego, sesame bacon bonito, soy truffle. It was interesting!

Shaolin Dragon cocktail with Han Soju, lychee and lemon

My husband had the Shaolin Dragon cocktail with Han Soju, lychee, lemon.

I had a delicious Rainbow Roll with Salmon Sashimi and my husband had the Mongolian Beef Stir Fry. Everything was fresh and excellent.

view of Lighthouse Oyster Bar and Grill restaurant at oceanside California

Lighthouse Oyster Bar and Grill 

If you get to Oceanside Harbor Village, you can find a bunch of restaurants. We wanted seafood so we chose the Lighthouse Oyster Bar and Grill.

crab and seafood in soup with a great view

If you are looking to sit and relax to some nice music and delicious seafood with a great view, the  Lighthouse Oyster Bar and Grill is the place for you.

tasty fried calamari with sauce

We started with Calamari.

My husband and I both had the Siete Mares and the kids had chicken strips and shrimp and fries.

best Siete Mares seafood dish to try at oceanside California, it is full of shrimp, clams, scallops, mussels, and crab legs.

The Siete Mares was full of shrimp, clams, scallops, mussels, and crab legs. Siete Mares is a broth base fish dish similar to a Cioppino or a bouillabaisse. A shell fish lover’s dream!

Tourist Attractions in Oceanside

There is so much to do in Oceanside including the beach and many other fun attractions. California has some great National Parks too.

sun umbrellas and surfboards at the oceanside California beach

Oceanside Harbor Beach

The Oceanside beach is right in front of the resort and the weather is perfect so a beach day is definitely a must!

The boys loved playing in the sand building sandcastles and collecting seashells.

Oceanside sign at California harbor and a lion sea at the board of the pier

Oceanside Harbor

We loved visiting Oceanside Harbor! We stopped for coffee at a local coffee shop, shopped for fun items, had lunch at The Lighthouse, and took a boat ride around the harbor.

view of California oceanside harbor

It’s a great place to take the family for a scenic walk and some shopping.

blankets to use during a boat ride around the harbor

I purchased one of these blankets and love it! My husband got a sweatshirt at the shop across from here.

boat rental that says Sherlock Ohms, Boat Rentals Of America

Boat Rides in Oceanside

The highlight of the day though was taking our own personal boat ride around the harbor.

two boys watching their dad drives a boat

The kids got to watch daddy drive a boat while mommy relaxed.

Sea lions at the pier of the oceanside, California beach
Sea Lions

We said hi to some new friends…

boat rentals of America at Oceanside California beach

It was really fun and highly suggested. Boat Rentals of America have many locations, including Arizona! They have amazing Oceanside adventures including jet skis, kayaks, electric boats, and power boats. You can make reservations, get gift certificates, or just walk up to their open doors and they will take care of everything.

two boys with her mom at Nana and Pops Pop's Sweet Shop

Before we headed back we stopped off for some ice cream at Nana and Pops Pop’s Sweet Shop. They had my favorite, Thrifty.

Sunset market in Oceanside California filled with international food vendors, live entertainment, children’s area, arts and craft vendors, etc.

Oceanside Sunset Market

Thursday is Market Day in downtown Oceanside on the corner of Coast Hwy and Pier View Way. It happens from 5-9 and it is filled with international food vendors, live entertainment and a children’s area.

The Oceanside Farmers Market also includes a gift shop and over 100 arts and crafts vendors, making it a wonderful place to purchase the perfect gift or souvenir. Well behaved pets are invited to attend the market as well.

The Sunset Market takes place every Thursday night from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the corner of Coast Hwy and Pier View Way. Enjoy local produce and hot food booths at Oceanside’s Farmers Market!

The market also includes over 100 arts and crafts vendors, a long with food stands. If you happen to be there on a Thursday, this is definitely worth checking out.

the inside of California Surf Museum shows many surfboards and surfing tournaments photographs

California Surf Museum

Oceanside’s unique geography make it a perfect spot for surfing all year round. This is why Oceanside is home to many pro and amateur surfing tournaments. The SuperGirl Pro and the U.S. Open Adaptive Surfing Championship which was created in 2017 in Oceanside to bring awareness to the rehabilitatives benefits of adapted water sports for people with disabilities.

The museum is home to a wide variety of amazing surf memorabilia. Boards, photographs, magazines, equipment and more. You will find memorabilia from many different eras and many famous surfers. Boards from the past 100+ years grace the floor of the museum.

Bethany Hamilton's bathing suit from shark attack

One that seems to attract a lot of attention is the board Bethany Hamilton was riding when she was attacked by a 14′ tiger shark in Kauai when she was only 13 years old. If you are not familiar with her story, Bethany survived the attack and only a few weeks later was back on her board.

She went on to become a professional surfer and a major figure for the sport. Bethany’s board and bathing suit from the attack are displayed at the California Surf Museum.

There’s a gift shop and so many other cool attractions. A must see!

Wheel Fun Rentals

We had a blast riding around in our surrey bike and rode up and down Oceanside Pier Beach, making a stop for the beach park so the kids could play and making another stop for a lost shoe. A very sweet jogger stopped and grabbed it for us. Our guy, Henry, made sure we felt safe and knowledgeable before taking off.

Indian fried bread with strawberries and whipped cream

Right next to the Wheel Fun Rentals is a funnel cake stand. Ridiculous.

Oceanside Museum of Art

Check out amazing exhibitions at the Oceanside Museum of Art like OMA’s second bi-annual Oceanside Plein Air Festival (July 15-22, 2023).

two boys showing their purchases at Legoland California

Legoland California

Just about 15 minutes from the resort is Legoland California.  No family trip is complete without a little LEGO fun.  My boys are obsessed with LEGOs and have been to Legoland Florida many times. We even had a Lego themed Birthday Party for my son last year.

Legoland California offers an array of really cool activities and attractions. There are even carnival games which are fun and challenging. My husband got me a fluffy donut by knocking down a couple of tin cans. It was a lot of fun and the kids loved the excitement!

Fun Town Police and Fire Academy California Oceanside

I loved watching the boys work as a team at the Fun Town Police and Fire Academy.

dad and his son work as a team at the Fun Town Police and Fire Academy

You get to race fire trucks to a finish line where you disembark to fight a fire and race back to the beginning. So much fun!

view of LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure California

We also got to experience the LEGO City Deep Sea Adventure where you embark aboard a submarine and participate in an underwater scavenger hunt. The kids loved looking for gold, diamonds, and treasure chest at the bottom of the ocean.

Of course, no visit is truly complete without a visit to the gift shop…

great park within Legoland California

Hideaways is a great park within Legoland California. It’s the perfect place to let the kids roam free while you get some much needed rest. I got to catch up on emails while my husband escaped to one of the BBQ restaurants nearby.

Legoland Water Park in Oceanside, California

This time we did not get to experience the water park, but it is packed with amazing attractions such as: Riptide Racers, Wipeout Lagoon, Build-a-raft in the not-so-lazy river, Joker Soaker, Orange Rush, Pirate Reef, Splash Out, Soak-N-Sail, and more! From our experience at the water park in Legoland Florida, it was an all-day affair.

view on the inside of Legoland California Resort, there is many attractions you will ask to try

There truly is something for everyone at Legoland California Resort and we can’t wait to go back to try all the attractions that we didn’t have time to experience!

Visit a Nature Center in Oceanside

Located at the Oceanside Harbor, the Buena Vista Nature Center offers stunning views of the harbor and ocean. Explore more than two acres of habitats and trails, filled with coastal sage scrub, wetland marsh, native plants, and wildlife. Learn about local conservation programs while enjoying a day outdoors in nature.

Guajome County Park

Guajome Regional Park, located north of Oceanside, offers visitors many activities. Hike the trails winding through the park’s oak and sycamore groves, explore the natural habitats around Lake Guajome, or take a picnic to enjoy on the lawns near the lake. The park also has a playground, sand volleyball court, and plenty of space for camping.

Oceanside Pier

Take a Walk on Oceanside Pier

Located right in downtown Oceanside is the iconic Oceanside Pier. Take a walk down the wooden boardwalk almost 1,000 feet out into the Pacific Ocean and look out at one of the many scenic spots.

Take a Day trip to Catalina Island

Take a day trip or a weekend getaway to nearby Catalina Island. Rent a boat at the Oceanside Harbor and take an hour-long ride out to the island’s coves, beaches, and forests. Go snorkeling in the crystal clear waters, hike around its trails, or relax on one of its many secluded beaches.

Go Surfing


Oceanside is one of California’s premier surfing destinations. With a variety of surf spots and long boards, it’s the perfect place to hit the waves. Take a class with an experienced instructor or just practice your skills on your own. If you don’t feel like getting in the water,

Visit a Beach House Winery

Stop by the Beach House Winery for a unique experience. Located in Oceanside Harbor, this winery serves wines made from local fruit such as oranges, lemons, and limes. Enjoy a tasting while overlooking the harbor or take your glass outside to watch the sunset.

Heritage Park Village

Take a step back in time when you visit Heritage Park Village. Located in downtown Oceanside, the village is filled with historic buildings and exhibits from the 19th century. Whether you’re looking for an educational experience or just a walk through history, this is the perfect spot to explore.

Go Horseback Riding

Head out on horseback and explore the trails around Oceanside. Saddle up at one of the many stables in town and go for a ride through the coastal hills or along the beach. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, it’s a great way to take in all that beautiful landscape.

Mission San Luis Ray

Mission San Luis Ray museum, a mix of Colonial architecture with Moorish influences

Mission San Luis Ray

If you like history with a mix of religion and beauty, you will love visiting Mission San Luis Ray. It is a mix of Colonial architecture with Moorish influences.

Take a trip back to the Spanish colonial period when you visit Mission San Luis Rey. The mission, founded in 1798, is a beautiful example of Spanish architecture and art. Explore the grounds and buildings, take part in special events, or attend mass at the church on Sundays.

the inside of mission san luis ray offers self guided-tour

The museum offers self guided-tour, educational tours, and retreat stays.

You will see artifacts and Franciscan heritage. My favorite area was historic gardens where which offer visitors and the community cultural experiences like the “Day of the Dead” festival and Christmas at the Mission – Night of a Thousand Lights.

view of the beach of Oceanside California

So many other things to do like rent a fishing rod from the pier stand on Oceanside Pier Beach, visit Buena Vista Lagoon for guided nature hikes and bird watching, take a luxury cruise for whale watching, and go on a Waverider Helicopter Tour.

top family-friendly things to do when visiting Oceanside California

Too many to do in 5 days but an excuse to go back. Thank you Visit Oceanside and Extra Holiday’s for a memorable experience in Oceanside California.

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