Oceanside? More like trainside. In December 2020, I needed to find a hotel room for a few days of quiet time away from family to focus on completing a month-end close. I wanted a beach town with a variety of restaurants and coffeeshops within walking distance of a beach area hotel. Oceanside fit the bill and then some. I picked the perfect place to crash for a few days. I made one major, critical mistake - I opted to save $40 a night and went with a city view hotel room instead of an ocean view hotel room. I've seen the sun set over the Pacific hundreds of times, I didn't need to pay $160 to see the sun set four more times. Again, a major, critical mistake. The city view hotel room should have been called the trainside hotel room. Oceanside has a train track that runs from San Diego up to Los Angeles. The track runs near coastline separating the town from the beach. The track runs less than fifty yards from the backside of my hotel. And from 10pm to 6am freight trains pass...every...twenty...minutes. It was non-stop train horns blowing and train crossing signals beeping. During one pass, the train crossing signals started beeping at 3:20am and didn't stop for seven minutes. That is what I'll think about Oceanside forever. A great beach town but ugh those trains.
Pacific Ocean sunsets never get old.
The Oceanside waterfront is not as residential heavy as some other California beach towns like Venice, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, etc. Instead of luxury homes along the beach, Oceanside has medium rise hotels and condos. Looking back at the town from the beach, it looks more like Santa Monica. The long wooden pier has a Ruby's Diner at the end.
Beyond the constant train horns and traffic signal crossing beepings, Oceanside's other distinguishable feature, which is much more appealing, are all the military supply stores. If you need camouflage and all the accompanying accessories, there's a store in Oceanside that has you covered. I also like walking past all the barbershops that specialized in military hair cuts.
Oceanside is home to the California Surf Museum, which was unfortunately closed due to COVID when I visited. Every morning and evening surfers would head out near the pier to catch a few waves. Oceanside has a decent dining scene that seemed to cater to a younger and/or military crowd - a diverse set of cuisines - Southern (That Boy Good), Korean (Mr. Bibi), Japanese (Sunshine Poke), Mexican (Sanchos Tachos) that were reasonably priced (Poke bowls for $10, etc.). There was also a ton of coffeeshops ranging from the hipster variety (Revolution Roasters) to part of a coop (Seaborne) to hippee (Banana Dang) to neighborhood (Pier View) to Tony Hawk's son as an owner (Steel Mill) to part comic book store (Panels Comic Book Coffee Bar).
There's also an impressive and very Californian library (bottom left) and town hall (bottom right).