Palm trees lining the highways. Sun almost always shining. Big city vibes in a small city space. Smiles and laughter heard from every corner.

Welcome to Oceanside, California.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I love Oceanside. I wasn’t expecting to be as enthralled with this city as I have become over my various day trips out here from San Diego.

You may have joined me already at the California Surf Museum or out at the Mission San Luis Rey, but there’s so much more to this city, and I just had to come back for some more.

Keep reading for some activity and food recommendations.

Boats4Rent in Oceanside, California

Look, a cruise around the Oceanside harbor is a great way to relax and spend an afternoon. The Boats4Rent location in Oceanside is all you need to get that done.

Boats4Rent Oceanside, California

If you have previous experience with boating, you can rent a power boat. You don’t, however, need experience for the electric boats. Those boats move slower and are great for small parties to come and hang out on the water. Although you can’t drink out there, you’re more than encouraged to bring some food for the sunbathing.

If you’re more of an active person, you can also rent a kayak or a paddle board. The section of the harbor you’re allowed to stay in is a no-wake zone without any additional waves from the ocean, so it’s a great way to relax on the ocean.

Boats4Rent is open daily from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Expect to spend at least $100 on any of the electric or power boats, but kayaking starts at $25. 

Oceanside Museum of Art

Oh, man. The Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA) could very well be the highlight of my Oceanside adventures.

Art speaks to everybody differently. Some just look at the colors and the line work. Others look into all of the hidden details, searching for every meaning. Some eyes simply glance over the paintings, while others could spend hours simply staring at one piece.

The exhibits here are very thought provoking and enthralling. Upon entry, the Twenty Women Artists: NOW exhibit chronicles so much about race and equality. Between portraits, collages, and trinkets, this exhibit is powerful and stunning all in one go — the same as the women who created it.

Oceanside Museum of Art

Personally, my favorite exhibit was the Color of Sound. This exhibit features synesthesia-themed art organized by a non-profit organization called The Art of Autism. Synesthesia is when two senses come together to be experienced at the same time. For example, hearing colors. This is the first exhibition of its kind down in Southern California, and, really, it’s well worth the visit here just for this one.

The newest exhibit comes from Mark Bryce and is called Love & War. These paintings are so intriguing with all of their black backgrounds and the various topics covered from gun violence to domestic abuse. I’m not the most knowledgable person in the art world, but I think everything in this exhibit showcases the contemporary ideas we all struggle to comprehend.

The museum is open Thursday-Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. (4 p.m. on Sundays). Tickets are $10.

Wheel Fun Bike Rentals in Oceanside, California

How often do you get to cruise on a surrey down a palm-tree speckled path while watching the waves crash against the shoreline?

Seriously, though? Not a bad time.

Wheel Fun Rentals Oceanside, California

Renting a bike over at Wheel Fun Rentals was another of the highlights of my Oceanside adventures. An hour cruising up and down The Strand while watching and talking with all the people, staring at the vacation homes I’ll never have, and spending the day with a bestie was a perfect way to cap off all of the adventures.

The regular surreys start at $28/hour. There’s more than just the surreys, as well. Try out a chopper, a quad sport, an electric bike, and other various cruiser bikes. 

Also be aware that the portion of the strand where the bikes are allowed is very narrow and cars also drive on it. Just pay attention to your surroundings so no accidents happen 🙂

Additionally, if you need a quick little boost up, grab some 2 for $7 pretzels and some fresh squeezed lemonade from the booths right next to the bike rentals. 

Some More Food Recommendations

Craft Beer and Tacos and Hello Betty’s treated me so well on my first couple of visits, so I had to keep perusing around the food scene here to see what else Oceanside had to offer.

Carte Blanche Oceanside

One of those stops landed me at Carte Blanche, which is a French-inspired Mexican restaurant. We stopped in for Happy Hour and had some of the best duck tacos of my life. I’m also always on the hunt for a good burger, so I ordered one off of the Happy Hour menu and wasn’t disappointed in the least. 

Harney Sushi Oceanside

Sushi lovers should rejoice at Harney Sushi, which is a sister store to the San Diego branch. I mean, I’m not usually a big sushi fan, but the shrimp tempura rolls and the California rolls hit all the spots I needed. Plus… sake. When is there ever a bad time for sake?

Thanks again so much to Visit Oceanside for allowing me these experiences. Have you ever been out to Oceanside, California? Where’s the first place on your bucket list? Any recommendations for me on my next visit? Let me know down in the comments!