So we were looking for a unique day trip, and decided to take the SPRINTER to Oceanside (see my separate review on the SPRINTER). We had never ridden it nor been there, so were not quite sure what to expect.
I had heard all sort of things about Oceanside, and, as it turned out, most of them were true. At least at the beach area where we were.
It was a fairly nice day, but not in peak season. Not many tourists were out. There were a few families here and there (mostly seemed to be locals out for a walk, picnic, or bike ride. There were a few surfers as well.
The first thing I notice beside the lack of people is the condition of the infrastructure. The area around the pier was not attractive. Lots of old concrete construction bearing many layers of chipping paint. You could tell the place was frequently tagged with graffiti, even through it was painted over. Lot of place people would scratch or etch the name/logo/affiliation/etc. into the material, so repainting did nothing. So, definitely signs of gang activity.
I did not really see many gangbangers but no doubt they were lurking unnoticed by myself.
There was a good size group of "travelers" (aka homeless, runaways, or bums, mostly young people that probably have a decent home with one or two loving parents willing to accept them should they return) hanging out just below the pier on the main walkway. They had all the possessions, their guitars, and the drums and were trying to be sly sneaking a toke here and there. I really don't mind people smoking weed (to each their own), but it was not an ideal setting for a family with young kids.
There is a mini-McDonalds at the concessions stand underneath the pier. The menu is quite limited, but it was nice to complement our sack-lunch from home with some hot French fries.
There are also your typical beach vendors around willing to rent you bikes, etc. But this is not like PB or Huntington Beach where people go when they say "let's go to the beach".
There were some closed bathrooms, which was unfortunate. We did locate some open ones, but they were dirty and meagerly stocked. You could see the stained concrete sidewalks and smell the distinct ammonia-like smell of urine from where people had relieved themselves on walls, in corners, etc., near the pier, bathrooms, amphitheater, etc.
The beach itself was clean, but that was probably due it being off-season, making for low visitor numbers.
We ended the afternoon by flying a few kites for a while. The wind was great. We kept them all the way up and didn't have to run or anything.
We had no reasons to stick around any longer than needed, so headed out early and moseyed on over to the transit station where we waited to catch the SPRINTER back to Escondido.
Would I return to Oceanside? Only if I had to (say, for an event someone was hosting).
Would I consider going by choice? Not with my family, but if we had a big group of people, sure.
Can you find me there after sunset? Not a chance. This is not the type of place I would feel comfortable being after dark, alone or with my family.
I hope this is helpful. Please be safe.
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