When it comes to finding the perfect beach town, San Diego has plenty of options. But what if you’re looking for the best value beach town? That’s where Oceanside comes in. With its mix of affordability, stunning beaches, and a vibrant community, it’s not hard to see why Oceanside is the best value beach town in San Diego.
Our tour of Oceanside starts at Harbor Beach, which is at the northern end of Oceanside. Although the Camp Pendleton military base is just a bit further north, this part of the beach is a beautiful and peaceful spot to spend the day. Oceanside Pier is just south of here. If you’re into surfing, this is a great beach to hit the waves. It’s more mellow, especially in the winter, and parking is easier than some other beaches. Cheaper, too, than La Jolla or Del Mar. And if you’re looking for an oceanfront condo, I had a client buy one here for $798,000 – a rare find in San Diego! Another condo that was recently listed on Neptune Way has peekaboo ocean views and is on the market for just under $1,000,000.
The next stop on our tour is Oceanside Harbor, which offers a wide range of restaurants and shops. From Joe’s Crab Shack to Rockin’ Baja Lobster to the Lighthouse Oyster Bar and Grill, there’s plenty of delicious food options to choose from. And if you’re into water activities like sport fishing or whale watching, the harbor is a great spot to launch from. You can even rent kayaks, jet skis, and Duffy boats for a unique water experience.
Who lives in Oceanside? There’s a mix of young families, retirees, and military families. Oceanside used to be primarily a military town, but the home prices and revitalization efforts in the area have attracted a lot of civilians. It’s a great option for people who want to live near the beach. The median home price in Oceanside is currently around $800,000, making it one of the most affordable beach towns in San Diego. Oceanside is also the third largest city in San Diego!
Next on our tour is the iconic Oceanside Pier. At 1,954 feet, it’s the longest wooden pier in the entire United States. There have been a few iterations of it, but the one we’re currently standing on was built in 1987. A lot of people come here to fish or just to walk and take in the view.
Looking for the famous Top Gun House? It’s on Pacific Street, which is one of the main streets through Downtown Oceanside. Built in 1887, scenes from the first Top Gun movie were filmed in the house in 1985. In 2022, the home was relocated from its original location just down the street and fully restored in conjunction with the grand opening of the Mission Pacific Hotel and the Seabird Resort. These are two new (and gorgeous!) coastal resort hotels in Downtown Oceanside. And the Top Gun House is now a pie shop!
If you’re headed to Oceanside, be sure to check out the Downtown area. It’s full of local businesses and mom-and-pop shops which we love to see. As it’s a bit farther north, commercial leasing is a bit less expensive so you usually get better quality restaurants. A lot of locally owned spots will come up here just because they can afford the rent. Commercial rental space here in San Diego can be very, very expensive. Food prices are also a little bit cheaper as a result. Just another reason why Oceanside is the best value beach town in San Diego!
Oceanside is home to several outstanding beaches. There’s Buccaneer Beach, Oceanside City Beach, Tyson Street Beach, and of course, Harbor Beach, where we were at the beginning of our tour. Tyson Street Beach actually has a little playground for the kids. Then even farther north, outside of Oceanside proper, is San Onofre Beach and Campground. San Onofre is a world-renowned surf spot and a bit of a hidden gem!
Another thing we love about Oceanside is that it’s home to a major transit stop. You can catch the train here or the bus. The train is great because you can go up to LA or all the way to Downtown San Diego, which is perfect for Padres Games or Comic-Con. Oceanside, Solana Beach, and Downtown San Diego are the only train stops in San Diego County.
Of course, no neighborhood tour of San Diego is complete without a stop for doughnuts! Oceanside has one of our favorite doughnut shops in all of San Diego, Parlor Doughnuts. Our top flavor choices include peanut butter cup, blueberry hill, strawberry shortcake, cookies ‘n’ cream, chocolate chocolate, and campfire.
There’s so much to love about Oceanside. From its wide, uncrowded beaches to its vibrant harbor and community, it’s no surprise that this town is becoming one of the most sought-after places to buy a home in San Diego. Whether you’re looking for a place to call home or just a place to visit, make sure to add Oceanside to your list!