Endless beaches! Surf lessons! Scavenger hunts! Oceanside offers countless ways for families to make lasting memories under the sun.

 

By Liz Sheldon

Summer days seem to go on forever, but as we all (sadly) know, summer itself eventually has to end. If you’re a parent, chances are you’re already staring down a checklist of school supplies. That’s why now is the perfect time to plan some end-of-summer fun before class is officially back in session (especially for kids transitioning back to in-person classes). Oceanside is ideal for a family getaway: It’s an easy drive from the LA and San Diego metro areas (if you don’t want to drive, book a trip on the scenic Pacific Surfliner train!), small enough to find your way around, and filled with opportunities for sunlit adventures and beachside R&R. Here are eight ways to make lasting (and non-screen-time) summer memories with kids of all ages.

 

Go Deep on Surfing

Whether your kids are first-timers on a board or looking to level up their skills, The Seabird offers all-ages lessons every day by appointment. Book them a one-on-one class or bond over a family lesson that even teens can’t resist. Taught by North Country Surf Academy instructors,, featuring professional surfer Duran Barr, each 90-minute lesson includes pointers on body position, safety, and how to pop up — plus plenty of practice time in the waves. Our surf valet will deliver a wetsuit, board, and swag bag of surf goodies right to your lesson. Pro tip: Connect your kids’ newfound love of wave-riding to the sport’s history with a visit to the California Surf Museum, which traces the origins of surf culture in Southern California.

 

Go on a Good Old-Fashioned Scavenger Hunt

Of all the ways our Little Seabirds program keeps kids entertained,, the scavenger hunts might be our favorites. They’re a great way for younger kids to explore the resort, beachfront included. The Art Scavenger hunt is a cleverly disguised mini-gallery tour of our collection curated by the Oceanside Museum of Art, sending little ones searching the resort for original pieces by local artists. And the Treasure Hunt has pirate-obsessed boys and girls digging around the beachfront for some cleverly hidden prizes (see the full schedule of Little Seabird events here).

 

Let Loose at Legoland

A quick 10-mile drive from our doorstep, Legoland is a colorful way to blow any brick-obsessed kid’s mind. A blast for all ages, the resort includes a theme park with rides like the Coastersaurus, which flies past ginormous Lego dinosaurs; a new section devoted to The Lego Movie, with a thrilling virtual ride on Emmet’s triple-decker couch; building stations where kids can construct anything they dream up; a water park; and even an aquarium.

 

Spend a Whole Day Outside

Take advantage of the waning days of summer by planning a day-long itinerary in the fresh SoCal air. Fuel up with an alfresco breakfast at Piper (the bananas foster oatmeal is a hit with kids), then head down to the Beach Rambler to get set up with chairs and umbrellas for the day. If you’re staying with us midweek, join a kite flying lesson (Mon. & Fri. at 11am) or a sandcastle-building session (Wed. at 3pm). Make an advance reservation for one the fire pits over on our Coastal Terrace at The Seabird Resort, so you can surprise the kids with after-dinner s’mores under the stars.

 

Spot Whales Firsthand

Thrilling and educational, whale-watching tours give kids a chance to learn about — and get close to — local sea life. The expert guides at Oceanside Whale Watching will point out the incredible diversity of marine wildlife just minutes offshore. From May to October, that means humpbacks, minkes, blue whales, and fin whales, plus four different species of dolphins. You might also spot orcas, sharks, turtles, and sea lions. And the luxury 50-foot catamaran is designed to get close to the creatures for optimal viewing.

 

Get Crafty

Your kids (and you) are sure to be inspired by the local artworks spread around The Seabird and Mission Pacific. That’s why Little Seabirds offers a bunch of ways for them to express their own creativity, while creating an arts-and-crafts piece they can take home as a keepsake of a great summer getaway. Meet up in Wood Library to learn how to make stuffed animals, weave dream catchers, or create bead art. If the kids are itching to get outside, there’s DIY t-shirt tie-dying, mandala rock painting, and colorful sand art happening down on the beach. (Check the Little Seabirds schedule for times.)

 

Head Back in Time

Have some budding history buffs on your hands? Take the 5.5-mile drive to Mission San Luis Rey, built in 1798 and the largest of the 21 California missions. Book a behind-the-scenes tour or take a self-guided walk through the historic property, famous for its striking white church, Lavanderia (an open-air laundry — maybe the only time your kids will think doing laundry is cool), picturesque cemetery, and a pepper tree that’s nearly two centuries old.

 

Plan a Kid-Friendly Spa Day

Nothing says summer vacation more than a day of indulgence. Surprise them (and treat yourself) with room service breakfast in bed, then head to Sunny’s Spa & Beauty Lounge for a soothing experience tailored to the whole family. Teens can book styling appointments in the beauty lounge and explore fun add-ons like temporary hair paint, multi-masking and the braid bar options. After dinner at Piper’s unique Cali-Craft pasta experience, unwind with Sunny’s half-hour sound bath session in our sound space where kids can explore sound vibrations by listening and playing the singing sound bowls. During this time, they’ll learn how to be mindful and practice the importance of kindness towards ourselves and others—after which, everyone is guaranteed a good night’s sleep.

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