Oceanside Surf and Pier at Sunset

Oceanside, California, Has Become Cinderella


Oceanside Surf and Pier at Sunset from Visit Oceanside
Photo courtesy of Visit Oceanside

A Fairy Godmother waved her magic wand, and Oceanside became a Cinderella of a beach town in Southern California.

During the late 1990’s, I lived in Carlsbad. I was always awed by Oceanside’s sprawling beach and its pier where you could walk along the 1880’s wooden structure to see fishermen, breathe in the ocean air, and watch surfers. The town of Oceanside was pretty lackluster.

Media at Fireplace Overlooking Ocean at Mission Pacific
Media at fireplace next to pool overlooking the ocean at Mission Pacific

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Oceanside again. I had been briefly to Oceanside with friends to enjoy a couple of new restaurants and a trip to the Oceanside Museum of Art. That was about the extent of my journeys. A group of fellow writers from Southern California was invited to enjoy the ambiance of two new beachfront hotel resorts, Mission Pacific and The Seabird managed by the World of Hyatt. Wow, were we impressed.

It was a perfect early fall day when we joined our hosts, Leslee Gaul, President and CEO of Visit Oceanside and Shae Geary, Public Relations for

Mission Pacific pool with view of the ocean
Mission Pacific pool with view of the ocean

Oceanside with Wright on Communications. We sat next to the outdoor fireplace situated near the pool at the Rooftop at Mission Pacific Hotel.  Of course, as they told us about all that was new—and there is a whole lot—we gazed at that sparkling ocean with the pier in the background.

Both of these two new hotel resorts have just been completed. In fact, the main restaurant, Valle, at Mission Pacific Hotel was scheduled to open on the weekend after our visit with its 4-course menu reflecting the best of culinary plates from the Guadalupe Valle in Mexico. This is my idea of a perfect restaurant with its natural and approachable atmosphere and yet elevated, one-of-a-kind menu.

Mission Pacific Valle Restaurant in natural elegant wood tones
Mission Pacific Valle Restaurant in elegant and natural earth tones

The Mission Pacific Hotel offers 161 rooms with approximately 90% having at least a partial ocean

Mission Pacific bedroom with ocean in backgroun
Mission Pacific bedroom with ocean view

view. The atmosphere is a little bohemian and contemporary with soothing neutral tones and designed to be a place for adults to simply relax and enjoy the ambiance. The High/Low Restaurant, operated by the F10 group (the same group that operates Cheeky’s and Mr. Lyons in Palm Springs) is perfect for  brunch, lunch, and cocktails while enjoying the great ocean view and a sunset. The Rooftop Bar is a great spot for unique cocktails and bar bites.

The Seabird lobby entrance with natural colorful elements to create art piece
Seabird Entrance

Just across the street is where we found The Seabird Resort, a hotel of 221 rooms designed with a very beachy casual décor and families in mind. Again, approximately 90% of the rooms have at least a partial view of that sparkling ocean.

The Seabird Shore Room Bar and Lounge in nautical blues
The Seabird Shore Room in nautical blues

The sidewalk patio and indoor dining spot called The Piper at The Seabird Resort looked like the perfect place to bring your family with a pasta bar and very casual atmosphere made to order for children.

The Shore Room, on the main level of The Seabird, will be the perfect place to try drinks created by talented mixologists in a sophisticated atmosphere with views of the sunset.

The Seabird main lounge with view of the ocean
The Seabird nautically appointed main lounge with view of the ocean

The Shelter Club is a cozy poolside restaurant on the third floor of The Seabird with a casual menu

where you can enjoy the view of the pool and the ocean while munching on tacos or burgers with a beer or glass of wine. The Shelter Club is only open to those staying at the hotel.

The Seabird Shelter Club lunch of salmon and spinach salad
The Seabird Shelter Club salmon and spinach salad

Oceanside is focused on keeping the town’s “flip flop” and surfing lifestyle a focus of its development. Sign me up for the walking food tour with stops at favorite restaurants where you can indulge in some samplings from some of the best new restaurants at Shoes and Chews.

Because surfing is such a big part of who Oceanside is, take in the California Surf Museum.

A walk along the sidewalk will take you past the historic Top Gun House (the house used in the movie with Tom Cruise) recently moved and located between the two hotels.

Mission Pacific Hotel and Top Gun House
Mission Pacific Hotel and Top Gun House

A fun activity to do while staying at one of these magnificent hotels would be the O’Side Sips, a trail of craft breweries, wine tasting and spirits, cocktails, distinctive coffee shops, and even tea, ju

Oceanside Museum of Art old photo of swimmers in the surf
Oceanside Museum of Art old photo of swimmers in the surf

ice, and kombucha. The link provides an interactive map of all kinds of sips throughout Oceanside.

Within The Seabird Resort, find OMA West, an annex gallery for Oceanside Museum of Art while you enjoy the beautiful architecture of The Seabird. If you are inspired to see more, a few blocks

away find the contemporary Oceanside Museum of Art.

Let’s just say that it will take anyone visiting Oceanside a long time to run out of wonderful places to explore. For more to do while visiting Oceanside, go to Visit Oceanside.