As a quintessential California beach town where the charms of an old-fashioned harbor meet laid back surf and skate culture meets California Michelin Guide dining, Oceanside is prized for endless opportunities for relaxation, recreation and memory-making. But we’re also within a few hours’ drive of nearly all of Southern California’s most popular attractions. Here are some favorite day trip destinations that guests of The Seabird love.
Hobnob with Hippos
For animal lovers, no trip to Southern California is complete without a visit to the San Diego Zoo — which must be why it’s the most visited zoo in the U.S. As the crown jewel in the impressive cultural firmament of Balboa Park, the 100-acre Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals — from prairie dogs to penguins, to polar bears (the Zoo’s famous pandas were repatriated to China in 2019 to serve global panda conservation efforts). To make the most of your wildlife excursion, consider splitting your time between the Zoo and the Safari Park, world-renowned for its California condor breeding program and open range enclosures for Indian rhinos, giraffes, Sumatran tigers, lions, gorillas and other animals of the Asian savannah and African plains.
Explore California’s Largest State Park
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is less than a two-hour drive from The Seabird Resort but, with its desolate dry lake beds, badlands and mountains that rise above 5,000 feet, it looks like it could be on another planet. The park has more than 100 miles of hiking and horse trails, profusions of cactus, yucca, fan palms, wildflowers and ocotillo, and wildlife that includes endangered big-horned sheep, kit foxes, deer, iguanas, roadrunners, eagles and rattlesnakes.
If you can dream it, they can build it out of Lego bricks. Less than 20 minutes from The Seabird, Legoland is an everything-is-awesome empire of theme park rides, replicas of the world’s wonders, an aquarium, a new water park (opening this month) and other attractions… all made out of the world’s most beloved colorful bricks.
Sample Wines in Ramona Valley
Did you know that one of the country’s richest wine-producing regions is less than an hour’s drive from The Seabird? The Ramona Valley, designated an American Viticultural Area in 2006 for its distinctive microclimate, soil and elevation attributes, is home to more than 80 commercial vineyards specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon, Mourvèdre, Syrah and some Iberian varietals of grape. Plan a tasting tour there, then finish your day at Oceanside’s own award-winning Beach House Winery.
Go West in Old Town Temecula
The wooden boardwalks, abundance of antiques shops and late 1800s-era buildings of horseshoe-shaped Old Town Temecula recall the Gold Rush roots of the region, but this quaint city’s craft breweries, championship golf courses, wineries and chef-owned restaurants make it an ideal destination for the modern day-tripper.
Have a Disney Day
Disneyland or the beach… why choose? With the House of Mouse only about an hour’s drive from The Seabird Resort, you can go surfing at dawn, spend the day exploring Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, and still make it back to the beach in time for sunset.
Stargaze at Palomar
Owned and operated by Caltech, the Palomar Observatory sits atop Palomar Mountain and has been at the forefront of astronomical research since the mid-20th century. Visitors can purchase first-come, first-served public guided tours of the Hale Telescope (built by Caltech founder George Ellery Hale and once the largest effective telescope in the world) on weekends between April and October, or take a self-guided tour of the Observatory with a browser-based audio guide.
Seas The Day
When you stay in Oceanside, there are almost as many ways to have aquatic animal encounters as there are fish in the sea. Some of our tried-and-true experiences include going on a whale watch with our friends at Oceanside Adventures, tide pooling at Oceanside Beach or fishing off Oceanside Pier, and driving less than 45 minutes to Sea World San Diego, where rides and roller coasters —including the new Emperor, the tallest, fastest and longest dive coaster in California — are thrilling, but the orcas, beluga whales, sea turtles, sloths, walruses and other animals really steal the show.