Mom, dad and two kids buying something to eat

7 Tips for Making the Most of Your Family Vacation in Oceanside

By Suzanne Davis

Kids and parents alike have Oceanside, California on their must-visit vacation list for very good reasons. Few places in the nation pull out all the stops for all ages quite like San Diego County. Where else but here can you find multiple theme parks and world-famous activities (we’re looking at you, Legoland, SeaWorld and the San Diego Zoo!), plus calm beaches, topnotch Mexican food, and hotels tailor-made for families? There’s no better place to stay than The Seabird Resort, with its oceanfront pool deck, Kids Eat Free program, and Little Seabirds kids’ club with a bounty of activities geared around little ones—such as kite-building, craft hours and bubble parties right on the beach.

 To help you prepare for the ultimate trip with the kids to Oceanside, we’ve put together a handy guide for parents that’s chockablock with insider tips and tricks, from where to go, to how to maximize your “we time.”

Get to Know the Location

When you’re ensconced with the kids in Oceanside, California, you’re in a prime spot—especially at The Seabird Resort. From here, you’re just a quick scuttle from all the major SoCal family sights. Want to ogle cheetahs, African elephants and 100-year-old Galapagos tortoises in residence since 1928 at the San Diego Zoo? It’s a zippy 37-mile drive down the coast. Feel like going on safari? Head directly to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, where rhinos, antelope, camels and more roam on an 1,800-acre expanse of land, just a 34-minute drive from the hotel. And plenty of unmissable destinations are even closer, including Legoland (13 minutes) and, of course, Oceanside’s City Beach and pier (just a block away).

Plan Time for Adventure

In the current travel-booking climate, when dozens of restaurant reservations, museum tickets, and guided treks are just a quick click away, it would be easy to type-A plan your trip itinerary down to the last second. Not necessary here! Kids (and their beleaguered parents) benefit from some flexible wiggle room, which can help everyone tailor each day to their current mood and energy levels. Unless the destination or event is particularly coveted, you will likely be able to score last-minute tickets anyway. Oceanside lives up to its evocative name: it’s an easy, breezy kind of place.  


family surf boards walking sand sky


Choose a Central, Family-Friendly Hotel

There’s no surer way to throw a wet towel on a much-needed family vacation, than schlepping your kids to a hotel, only to discover it’s a place better suited for 30-somethings-and-up. Kids may not notice, but for parents, it can be actually painful to see the slight eyeroll of the restaurant host when you ask for a kids’ menu, or experience the agony of nonexistent amenities for tots. At The Seabird, even the youngest guests are treated like VIPs. For one thing, Little Seabirds eat free: children 12 and under can indulge in breakfast and brunch at Piper through the end of 2022. Even better? The hotel rolls out the red carpet for their guests of all ages with planned family activities like surf lessons with Duran Barr, a second-generation pro surfer from Oceanside.


Woman enjoying a spa treatment


Treat Yourselves

Even little ones need a little indulgent pampering once in a while. At Sunny’s Spa, kids can live their best lives with treatments ranging from 20-minute Mermaid/Little Man Pedicures to teen facials that include deep pore cleanses and enzyme exfoliation (read blemish be-gone.) Lifelong habits of self-care start young! And don’t forget to add on temporary hair paint…which is even more fun when parents decide to turn it into a twinning moment.

Explore By Bike

You won’t hear “Are we there yet?” when you trade in your four-wheeled car for a two-wheeled bike. The Seabird’s fleet of bike rentals (available at Pedego on the grounds of our sister property, Mission Pacific Hotel, just across the street) allows you and your kids to ride along Oceanside’s mile-long paved Strand with the sea breeze in your hair.

Don’t Overpack

It’s easy for parents to bring everything and your new farmhouse-style kitchen sink, but it’s not worth it. With kids, you’ve got plenty to keep an eye on—so the smaller your luggage, the better (not to mention, the easier to lift).

Get Some R&R

Sometimes busy and exhausted parents forget to put on their own metaphorical oxygen mask first. So, while you’re vacationing with your little ones, be sure to make time for YOU. Running after kids—whether toddlers or tweens—is not always easy. If you’re traveling with a partner and can take turns watching the children while the other partner gets a break, do—it’s worth it to sneak away to the hotel gym or book a spa appointment at Sunny’s Spa (get the deep sea manicure, complete with a seaweed soak). Even better? Even better? Send them to the Little Seabirds Kids’ Club (every Friday and Saturday night from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. They’ll have a blast with indoor and outdoor activities and craft projects that they can take home with them, and you can kick back and relax, knowing that they’re in great hands with our experienced staff.