An episode on the KPBS-TV show Wonderland San Diego inspired us to do a "staycation" day trip to Oceanside. Noah Tafolla did a great job identifying attractions worth seeing and experiencing.
We recommend Thursdays for a day visit, when Oceanside's Certified Morning Farmer's Market, is held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. along Pier View Way, virtually in front of several of the main attractions. Incidentally, there is a Sunset Market held Thursdays 5-9 p.m., also along Pier View Way, if you're spending an evening there. Both of these events are associated with Main Street Oceanside, an organization devoted to enlivening downtown Oceanside.
The Oceanside Historical Society Museum, 305 N. Nevada Street, occupies a corner of the 1929 Fire Station No. 1, designed by famed Modernist San Diego architect Irving Gill. Although it's a small space, it has extensive archives of Oceanside's history. Among the more unusual artifacts exhibited in the Museum are two beer containers (with contents?) dating from the end of Prohibition. Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 10-2. Free admission.
We decided to settle at the one table located at the tamale food stand for our meal. Marie had one of the "lard-free" tamales ($2.50) while Doug had a fish burrito ($5) bought from an adjacent vendor. We had fun chatting with the tamale stand's owner and a local habitué who had just come over from his daily Web "surfing" session at the nearby library.
Marie wanted to take a look around Oceanside Harbor as our final stop. Note the lighthouse in a Cape Cod-like setting. Noah Tafolla of Wonderland San Diego fame recommends the Harbor Fish and Chips Restaurant as a good place for fish tacos. This is where we would have had lunch if we hadn't found the Farmer's Market. We returned home after the harbor visit. Approximate distance: 75 miles from our home in Pacific Beach.
A worthwhile detour: During the spring (mid-March to mid-May), make a stop at the Carlsbad Flower Fields, 5704 Paseo del Norte (just off Interstate 5 Freeway and the Palomar Airport Road exit). Although the showiest flowers are ranunculus, there are other species represented, such as roses. Open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m. during the season. Admission (2010): General $10, Seniors 60+ $9, Children 3-10 $5, Children 2 or under, free. Discounts are available online.