8 HIDDEN SPOTS IN OCEANSIDE
Oceanside is San Diego County's northernmost coastal town. One of its distinct features is its pier, which was originally built in 1888 and is one of the longest wooden piers on the west coast. This is a lively beach town with a lot of historical features, great restaurants and, just like every town in San Diego, many hidden gems. We've compiled a list that will grow over time of Hidden Spots in Oceanside. Check it out!
1. St. Malo Beach Community
St. Malo, Oceanside was originally built between 1920-1939 as a beach-front, train-accessible getaway for the Los Angeles elite. It is also believed to be the first gated community in San Diego. The 28 acre property was built by a wealthy resident in Pasadena named Kenyon A. Keith. Ownership of one of the homes was by invite only which consisted of family and close friends.
The same entryway that was built in the 1930’s still stands today, although very much guarded so don’t expect to get inside. You can, however, walk the streets just outside the gate which have also been built in the same design. Apparently over 2/3 of the homes have been owned generationally since the beginning. That sure says a lot! Most of the homes come with servant quarters as these were not just used as weekend getaways, but more summer retreats.
2. San Luis Rey River Trail
The San Luis Rey River Trail is a 10.7 mile bike trail in Oceanside that will wind you along the river and offers many unique points of interest. There are multiple trailheads so if you are pinched for time or don't have a bike & want to walk, you can chop this up into multiple trips.
Before this trail was paved for public access, it was used by the military to move cargo along the river. This is not too far from Camp Pendleton. Today it is an interesting pathway that provides plenty of scenic opportunities. The pathway even gives expanding options that will lead you into San Diego or Orange County so you can have adventures for days and days!
3. Guajome Lake
Guajome Lake is a 12-acre lake within the San Luis Rey Watershed and is part of Guajome Regional Park. The lake is surrounded by marsh and a variety of plant species. Over 180 bird species have been spotted here including the endangered California Least Tern and the Light Footed Clapper Rail.
Camping is available here as well as day use such as hiking, fishing, picnicking or enjoying the playgrounds and basketball court. The hiking trails are beautiful and shaded. We explored in the springtime when it was probably at its peak of lush beauty. We had a great time!
4. Luiseño Park
The City of Oceanside Parks and Recreation Department and the San Luis Rey Luiseño Band of Mission Indians have brought together examples of the last culture to best recreate a Luiseño village at this site–where a village may have existed.
Scattered among the granite boulders are reproductions of village features. Please respectfully enjoy the park and its interpretive Luiseño village. We walked around the entire perimeter of Luiseño Park and almost like a scavenger hunt, we kept finding more and more plaques with mind-blowing Native American replicas based off of actual artifacts which have been found in this area.
5. Oceanside's Heritage Park
Oceanside’s Heritage Park is a representation of what the area looked like over a century ago. The park was created in the 1970’s as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebration and is open to the public with several museums and a beautiful gazebo perfect for events.
The park contains well-known Oceanside landmarks, such as Libby Schoolhouse, “The Blade Tribune” newspaper printing office, and the train depot with an impressive model railroad. There is also an old jailhouse you can visit. Interior tours are offered during the weekends on a volunteer basis.
6. San Luis Rey Pioneer Cemetery
The San Luis Rey Pioneer Cemetery is located about 400 yards south of the San Luis Rey Mission in Oceanside. It lies in a narrow space between Mission Avenue and State Route 76, and the thousands of people who pass by each day on these busy roads are likely unaware that some of the valley’s pioneers rest nearby.
The cemetery is accessed via a poorly marked dirt road leading west from Rancho del Oro Road. In contrast to the lush and perfectly maintained cemetery in the nearby mission, the Pioneer Cemetery is forlorn and neglected.
7. San Luis Rey Mission
The missions have a very dark history and I don't personally think they're anything too warm or special about visiting them, despite their beauty. But they are a part of our city's history which should be learned.
The Spanish missions in Alta California were a series of 21 religious and military outposts; established by Catholic priests of the Franciscan order between 1769 and 1833, to spread Catholicism among the local Native Americans. The missions were part of the first major effort by Europeans to colonize the Pacific Coast region, the most northern and western parts of Spain's North American land claims.
8. Buena Vista Cemetery
Disrespecting the deceased is definitely not uncommon in San Diego when money is involved. And that is exactly what happened to the people buried at what was known as the Buena Vista Cemetery in Oceanside. Today we know that spot as Hunter's Steakhouse. And yes, it is said to be extremely haunted.
In 1929, Vista Way was being widened which meant that some of the bodies would need to be removed. By this time Oceanview Cemetery had been built and the Buena Vista Cemetery was considered "abandoned".