Oceanside: San Diego County’s Hidden Jewel

I remember my first visit to Oceanside. North San Diego County’s pristine coastal town has some of my favorite ocean stretches of California. Back in 2011, I appreciated its beauty but felt it had more potential than it was being given. Since I’d never actually been to San Diego (did the zoo when I was one count?), our stay in Oceanside was used as a “gateway” to tour the entire region. The most time spent at the hotel room (which overlooked the ocean and pier) was in the morning. It ended up being the best part of the trip for me; sipping coffee on our balcony. I knew I wanted to spend more time by their tranquil beach but not much was memorable beyond the seashore. 

Since then, I’ve always had a soft spot for Oceanside. I’ve returned numerous times (probably about once a year) and watched it grow into a “best-kept secret” to San Diego. I’ve been fortunate to explore and learn more of its history. In addition to fantastic cuisine and near-perfect weather year-round, Oceanside is a beautiful city of art. Museums, artistically crafted hotels, and murals galore make Oceanside a living piece of art in many ways. 

I recently returned for an afternoon with Visit Oceanside, the city’s tourism board. Along with some of my IFWTWA friends, we got in-depth tours of the newest hotels and learned more of what’s to come in town. 

Mission Pacific Hotel

Our day excursion began at the newly opened MIssion Pacific Hotel. We headed straight to the Rooftop Bar and enjoyed drinks with an ocean view. Having just relished the rooftop views further down in San Diego, I loved the complete opposite moods. In the city, I saw skyscrapers and a busy thoroughfare below me. It made me feel in a “rush” and energized to start the day. At Mission Pacific, I loved the fierce calmness I found myself in. The ocean is literally at your fingertips, and I felt right where I wanted to be. 

The atmosphere at Mission Pacific is quite “Nautical Boho.” Think Topanga Canyon meets Oceanside. It’s ideal for the ultimate beach vacation for some “me” time or a couple’s getaway. I could see myself kicking back by the pool or on the rooftop with my laptop to write. 

Over 90 percent of the suites at Mission Pacific Hotel have a full or partial ocean view. The stunning restaurant on-site, Valle, just opened its doors. Valle brings a slice of Guadalupe Valley to Oceanside and is certain to be a “must” when in town. 

Morning views on the rooftop bar. (c) Mary Farah
Take a splash at Mission Pacific Hotel. (c) Mary Farah
See what I’m talking about? (c) Mary Farah

The Seabird

The Seabird has been on my bucket list since its opening this year. While I’ve yet to stay over, I loved touring the grounds. First off, the boutique hotel by Hyatt gives visitors a beautiful introduction to the art in town. The Oceanside Museum of Art hosts “OMA West,” an extension of the museum, within the Seabird. Highlight works from the permanent collection celebrate the natural and built environments found in the open air along the Pacific Coast. How often can you say you’ve stayed at a hotel with an art museum?!

Since Mission Pacific is all about that ocean escape, the Seabird is designed with the traveler and family in mind. It’s rare to spot families at Mission Pacific yet at the Seabird, it’s the norm. Both properties offer suites with breathtaking sea views. I loved that the Seabird brought New England vibes to mind. 

Visitors who stay at either hotel get access to both pools. Although it’s extremely hard to choose a favorite, I loved the rooftop atmosphere at Mission Pacific. It would be where I prefer to do a whole lot of nothing. If you’re looking for a day-cation, each hotel offers day passes to their pools. I first heard of this concept in Palm Springs and love that Oceanside is offering it. 

The Seabird’s lobby looks like an art gallery. (c) Mary Farah
Check out the intimate library booths at the Seabird. (c) Mary Farah
Cozy nook at the Seabird. (c) Mary Farah

Dining in Oceanside

No joke, some of my favorite meals are in or near Oceanside. I often wonder how I could sway Mike to move closer to San Diego County. For breakfast, I love Swami’s Cafe, and for lunch, Rim Talay Thai. 

On this last venture, I was introduced to the Wrench and Rodent Seabasstropub. Elaine from Trip Well Gal, Mabel, and I enjoyed some of the best sushi I’ve had in a while. If you’re thinking, what the heck is a Seabasstropub? All I can say is, leave it to a Brit to curate such an such an inventive and clever take on a gastropub and sushi bar. Owner Davin Waite hails from the UK yet serves some of the freshest fish around. Best part? The wait staff is very knowledgeable about dining gluten-free. I cannot wait to return.

After our tours in the afternoon, we were ready to kick back by the pool at Seabird’s Shelter Club. This casual bar and restaurant serve up sandwiches, shareables, salads, and drinks. Once again reminiscent of Cape Cod, I loved the vintage framed bathing suits adorning the walls. Our table overlooked the pool, and just behind it, the water and pier. It’s hard to get away from the sea views at either hotel and that’s just how I like it.

Sip your way Through the City

If you’ve ever traveled with me, you know I like to have a drink in hand. In the daytime, I search for my favorite cup of tea or maybe a coffee. By the evening, it’s a treat to discover a new winery or check out the vibes at a local brewery. Oceanside has loads of drink options for everybody. I love that they out together this handy guide to help navigate your sipping experience.

Visit Oceanside

As always, I loved my time in Oceanside. Despite a lot of growth, they’ve managed to retain their “funky beach town” feelings. Learn more HERE.

(*Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Thank you to Visit Oceanside for arranging these insightful hotel tours. All opinions are my own)