Oceanside is the northern-most residential community in North San Diego County, about 1.5 hours south of Los Angeles, depending on traffic. The city is about 45 minutes (around 40 miles) north of downtown San Diego during non-rush travel. With somewhere around 176,000 residents (per the 2017 census), Oceanside is one of the largest San Diego County communities. The community has an area of about 41 square miles.


There are 6 miles of beaches, which adds to Oceanside’s appeal as a vacation spot. And Oceanside offers a vibrant, and growing, downtown commercial area. There are a number of good sized commercial, retail and industrial pockets mixed in with the diverse residential communities further inland.

The major thoroughfares are the 5 freeway, running along the coast, historic Route 101, Oceanside Boulevard and Mission Road (which run east and west). The 76 and 78 freeways both run east and west.

Oceanside has the only marina with access to the ocean in North San Diego County. You have to go far south to the Mission Bay area near San Diego to find similar marinas for boats. The marina offers a number of restaurants and beautiful views, especially at sunset. And there is a wonderful boat parade of lights during the holidays.

Oceanside has a long history, with early development beginning with the founding of the Mission San Luis Rey, one of the 21 Spanish missions founded in California. The downtown area was developed in the 1890s and growth continued, especially after the development of Camp Pendleton in 1928 which has resulted in a significant business and residential emphasis associated with military personnel.

Oceanside has been undergoing a significant redevelopment, with new high rises, condos, a resort, work-live lofts, and more, and one has the sense of increasing vibrancy in the downtown area along the coast road and west to the beach, no doubt with more to come.

The train station in Oceanside, at Tremont and Michigan, is the end point of The Coaster, a commuter train running south to San Diego, and Amtrak has a number of trains that stop on the way north and south between Los Angeles and San Diego. The light rail train, The Sprinter, runs from Oceanside inland to Escondido from a location further south of the main train station. Metrolink runs north into Orange County and the Inland Empire.

The popular and well-known Oceanside Pier, the longest wooden pier on the West Coast, was originally built in 1888, and the community has remained a popular vacation spot due to the beautiful beaches which stretch for miles.

In addition to private homes, condos/town homes and apartments, the coastal area west of the Coast Road is a popular investment property and rental area and densely developed. One popular residential/rental community with ocean views and beach access is North Coast Village on Pacific.

Another popular tourist attraction in downtown Oceanside is the California Surf Museum, a collection of surfing memorabilia providing excellent overview of the history and influence of surfing on Southern California, and well worth a visit!

There are many opportunities for shopping, with strip and larger malls scattered along the major roadways and the presence of many of the major “package stores” like Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot and similar retailers. Shopping is also prevalent in neighboring Carlsbad, San Marcos and Vista.

Oceanside has a number of outdoor festivals, like other communities – jazz, art, ethnic and holiday fairs are common in the downtown area throughout the year.

Resident children in Oceanside attend one of 4 school districts, depending on address: Carlsbad Unified, Oceanside Unified (with two high schools), Bonsall Union, and Vista Unified. You can check for information on school ratings and much more on SchoolDigger.com and GreatSchools.org.

Housing in Oceanside is diverse, with apartments, mobile home and RV parks, condos and town homes, detached single family homes, beach front properties, and a number of 55+ communities (Ocean Hills Country Club and Oceana are two of the better known and larger communities for seniors). Many tract home neighborhoods were built in the 1970s and 1980s. Housing in Oceanside has traditionally been more affordable than its southern coastal neighbors; prices escalated significantly from 2000 to 2006, as they did elsewhere, but underwent significant price reductions through early 2012 when prices started rising and the market shifted to one favoring sellers in 2014 and 2015.

MY FAVORITE BEACH – the beach along The Strand by the Pier