Best Activities In Oceanside for Little Kids, Tweens and Teens

By Jenna Gabrial Gallagher

Whoever said you can’t please all the people all the time clearly never planned a family vacation in Oceanside. 

When you stay at The Seabird Resort, every day is a choose-your-own-adventure of memory-making, screen-free activities for every member of the family: from spa treatments at Sunny’s Spa and Beauty Lounge (selected by USA Today readers as one of the #2 Best Hotel Spa in the U.S.) and world-class dining at Valle, as recognized in California’s MICHELIN Guide, located at our sister hotel Mission Pacific for parents; to Yappy Hour with the family pet every Friday night from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Shore Room (The Seabird was selected by readers of USA Today as one of the top 10 best pet-friendly hotels in the U.S.)

As far as fun things to do in Oceanside for little kids, tweens and teens? At The Seabird, there’s a world full of options, right outside your door.

Get Out On The Water

Whether your children are experienced surfers or it’s baby’s first beach vacation, they’ll discover a special place in their heart for our neighbor, the Pacific Ocean. Surfers of all ages can learn to shred or fine tune their skills when they book a 90-minute lesson (board and wetsuit included) with second-generation pro-surfer Duran Barr at our partner, North County Surf Academy. Besides surfing, kids will also love popular Oceanside water sports like kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding (SUP), and boogie boarding.

Wheel Around

In Oceanside, if surfing is how we rip, skateboarding is how we roll. Older kids, tweens and teens can channel their inner Tony Hawk at any one of the town’s municipal skate parks, including two designed by famed Seattle-based firm, Grindline. Newbies can register for lessons through O’Side Parks and Rec. Families can also opt to rent e-bikes from the Pedego at Mission Pacific, cruise The Strand in a scooter or surrey, or take a tour in a sidecar.

Go Whale Watching

Oceanside straddles whale migration routes in the Pacific Ocean, making it an ideal spot for whale watching — kids may even spy some whales from the edge of Oceanside Pier. But to get really up close and personal with 60,000-pound gray whales, minke whales, fin whales, humpback whales and the occasional dolphin, there’s nothing better than booking a family whale watch cruise with our partners, Oceanside Adventures. All ages are welcome, but we recommend limiting your whale watching excursion to children over age two.

Go Maverick With a High Pie

Kids may be too young to remember the original Top Gun, but they’ll never forget the delectable pies on sticks made from local fruit fillings — and served à la mode with house made mascarpone ice cream — at Top Gun House, home of the famous HIGH-pie, the newly restored cottage where Kelly McGillis’s character lived in the original movie, on the property of Mission Pacific hotel. While you’re there, don’t forget to take a #topgun selfie!

Photo by Dan Meyers on Unsplash

Try Tide Pooling or Fishing

Rent a pole and pick up some bait right at Oceanside Pier and Bait and fish off Oceanside Pier, or head over to the Small Craft Harbor Fishing Pier at Oceanside Harbor where you can catch perch and bass without a license. For bigger catches, Helgren’s Sportfishing Charters offers half-day or longer excursions. Even the littlest kids will delight in trying to spot snails, shore crabs, acorn barnacles, limpets, California mussels, anemones, and other low tide treasures while tide pooling at Oceanside Beach.

Enjoy Some Parent-Free Time

No matter how cool your parents are, sometimes you just need a break, ya know? Older kids can hit The Seabird’s beautiful pool (selected by USA Today readers as one of the top 10 Best Hotel Pools in the U.S.) or the beach, head off to Oceanside Pier, or explore the charming streets around The Seabird. For our younger guests, there’s Little Seabirds, where kids can participate in creative arts and crafts, games and our weekend night Kids’ Club, all supervised by our experienced and fun-loving Little Seabirds staff.

Photo courtesy of California Surf Museum

Visit the California Surf Museum

Celebrate the history, culture, and icons of California surfing with special exhibits devoted to surfing and skateboarding, as well as a permanent collection that includes Bethany Hamilton’s shark-bitten skateboard (as seen in the film Soul Surfer) at the California Surf Museum. Not only is the museum one of the most extensive archival collections devoted to surfing on Earth, but the gift shop is a fantastic place to pick up souvenirs.

Explore the Sunset Market

Every Thursday night, weather permitting, the Oceanside community gathers for the Sunset Market, an outdoor farmers’ market that features up to 200 merchants and spans four blocks of gourmet foods, live music, interactive art and performances, activities for kids of all ages, adorable dogs and artisanal shopping. If you can’t be part of the action on Thursday night, the Oceanside Morning Farmers’ Market on Thursday mornings is a more traditional farmers’ market, focusing on fresh produce, prepared pantry items and baked goods.

Take In Some Art

You don’t have to spend too much time in Oceanside to see why our town’s support of the arts has earned it a designation as one of 14 state-recognized cultural districts from the California Arts Council. Art is all around us: from the vibrant murals by local artists that decorate our streets to the Oceanside Museum of Art (OMA), just a ten-minute walk from The Seabird Resort through historic downtown Oceanside. OMA showcases the work of Southern California artists and also offers free family-friendly community art days. We are proud to partner with them on a satellite gallery that hosts exhibitions of “the best, the unexpected and the yet-to-be-discovered artists of the region” at OMA West, right here at The Seabird!