Fall Events - People around the fire in the sand

What to Look Forward to in Oceanside This Fall


By Suzanne Davis

SoCal beach towns like Oceanside have been major lures in summer for generations, thanks to their coastal breezes and the soft, seemingly endless sands that provide cooling respite for the inland heat. But we’ve found that Oceanside is just as — if not even more — appealing as summer transforms into autumn


For one thing, the crowds have all but dissipated. For another? Most of the summertime’s thrills are still offered, and are equally fantastic as pumpkin spice season descends. To help you plan an indulgent autumn getaway, we’ve rounded up a few of our must-dos during fall in Oceanside, from exploring the San Diego Zoo to hitting Surftoberfest (BYO lederhosen).


Image full of beautiful orange pumpkins


It’s Pumpkin Patch O’Clock

Starting mid-September, it’s time for one of autumn’s trademark excursions: a day at the pumpkin patch. Each year, Pumpkin & Polar Palooza draws Oceanside residents of all ages to Carlsbad with glee. What they find is an autumnal fantasy sprung to life, complete with inflatable slides, archery, movie nights, food trucks, and thousands upon thousands of gourdgeous pumpkins to choose from. Orange you excited? 


Kids Free October

Littles already rule the month of October, thanks to their uncanny ability to acquire copious amounts of gratis candy from strangers and get their parents to don all manner of unflattering costumes. But in Oceanside, the red carpet gets rolled out for kids even more. During the Kids Free October celebration, kiddos can have all manner of fun without spending a nickel, including taking a free whale and dolphin watching trip (with the purchase of two adult tickets) and even exploring the San Diego Zoo Safari Park (with the purchase of one adult ticket). 



Imagine if the dreamy Octoberfests of Bavaria took a much-needed vacation in Oceanside, and you get Surftoberfest. Postponed for the past two years, the event is planning on coming back on October 1 2022. The (typically) annual occasion includes live music overlooking the Pacific Ocean and unlimited brew tastings (served in your take-home tasting glass, natch). Previous year’s vendors included Oceanside’s own Breakwater Brewing Co. and The Lost Abbey, famed for their Belgian sours, with each brew all the more delish given the menu options of bratwurst with sauerkraut and beer pretzels. Even cooler: knowing that the event benefits the health of veterans, single parents, and folks in need.


If you want to get out on the waves yourself, August through November sees the best swells and plenty of ways to try surfing for the first time or level up your skills. Check out some of the best surfing for all ages here


Taste of Oceanside

Make sure to get a ticket to Taste of Oceanside on October 1 from 2-5 p.m. now. It’s the ultimate feast for anyone who loves a nibble — and a tipple! — and has sold out for two years running for good reason. You’ll be able to whirl around town on the Taste Trolley, stopping for samples of food and drink everywhere from Piper to Petite Madeline Bakery & Bistro. Did we mention live music will serenade you along your quest?



Typical skulls for Dia de los Muertos


21st Annual Oceanside Dìa de los Muertos Festival

Día de los Muertos — or the “Day of the Dead” — may have largely originated in Mexico, but Oceanside goes all out in celebration, too. At the 21st annual Dia de los Muertos Festival on October 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), you’ll be able to wander altars of loved ones strewn with marigold flowers, candles, and their treasured mementos, create your own memorial at the chalk cemetery, and enjoy live entertainment ranging from a parade to traditional Mixtec dancers. 


The San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Leaf peepers who plan long drives in Maine may want to re-route. At this iconic 1,800-acre zoo in nearby Escondido, the annual Autumn Festival (2022 dates TBD) often includes cheeky scarecrows to interact with, Southwestern-themed mazes, and even a floating lantern ceremony that wows after dusk. Plus, many of the park’s trees turn into mesmerizing gold and red shades.


O’Side Turkey Trot

Rise early on Thanksgiving morning to get out and move at the annual O’Side Turkey Trot. Recognized as one of the country’s “top trots” by both Runner’s World Magazine and The Los Angeles Times, the popular local event includes a five-mile run, plus a 5K run or walk and children’s race options. Starting on the Coast Highway and ending at The Strand, the scenic beachside course passes right in front of The Seabird. Registrations are now open on the O’Side Turkey Trot website.


Local Perks for O’Siders

If you’re a card-carrying Oceanside local, we’ve got great news. You get to “hang ten” with us…as in, take 10% off (cha-ching!) at some of our top restaurants and spa. Stop by Piper one morning for delicious, healthy dishes (get the acai, bee pollen, and chia seed granola superfood bowl), or join us at The Shore Room’s seafood bar for west coast oysters topped with salsa verde and citrus mignonette. Alternatively, head to The Rooftop Bar at our sister hotel, Mission Pacific, is the spot for sweeping views of the sea, live DJ performances, and Buccaneer cocktails (with bourbon, amaretto, amaro, sage, and lime).


You can also upgrade your Sunny’s Spa booking to get VIP treatment.