sunset by the beach with a view of the oceanside pier

Winter Fun in the Sun: Family Vacations in Oceanside 

Like it or not, winter is upon us. Have you made plans for keeping the winter blues at bay? We’ll let you in on a little secret: Oceanside California. With mild weather throughout the season (think sunny days in the mid-60s), activities to please all ages, and an easygoing, small-town vibe, Oceanside is the perfect spot for a family beach vacation. 


The best part: Oceanside is easy to access: it’s about a 90-minute drive or two-hour train ride from Los Angeles, and the San Diego airport is just 40 miles away.  


Your home base? The Seabird Resort. Our oceanfront hotel has stunning Pacific views, sophisticated dining options, and a full roster of activities from surf lessons to our fun and educational program for kids, Little Seabirds.


Here are seven ways to make the most of a winter stay in Oceanside. 


1. Go On a Whale Watching Adventure

Mid-December through April is one of the best times of the year to see whales in the wild, as more than 20,000 gray whales swim right past Oceanside as they migrate from Alaska to Baja California, Mexico. Head out on a whale watching tour with Oceanside Adventures to spot grays as well as minke and humpback whales, dolphins, and sea lions.


2. Spin Around the Rink

It may be too warm for snow, but you can still take part in a frosty winter tradition. Lace up your skates and glide around the ice rink during the daily open skate sessions at Icetown Carlsbad, less than 20 minutes away from the Seabird Resort.


3. Visit the San Diego Zoo

A must for animal lovers — and sure to convert anyone who isn’t — the 100-acre wildlife park an hour south of O’side is home to more than 12,000 rare and endangered animals. Beyond the cheetahs, chimps, and Chinese alligators, there’s always something new happening at the zoo, like the Jungle Bells series of holiday events (through early Jan.), or other special experiences and tours available year-round. 


4. Build Sand Castles

The only things interrupting the Pacific Ocean views from the Seabird Resort is a long stretch of sand and Oceanside’s iconic, picturesque pier. With the beach right out front, it’s easy to get your sun & sand fix without having to pack a day’s worth of beach gear. Make sure to stop by the Beach Rambler to grab complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas.


5. Stroll Through the Sunset Market

The outdoor Oceanside Sunset Market takes over the streets near the pier every Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m. With a dizzying variety of food vendors serving everything from lobster rolls to empanadas to Thai street food — plus local crafts and artists, live music, and a game-filled kids zone, you can easily spend an evening exploring all the market has to offer.


6. Go Fishing Off the Pier

With no fishing license required, the pier is not only the perfect backdrop for your family sunset selfie, it’s also a convenient spot to try fishing with your family. There’s even a bait shop located right in the middle of the pier to rent rods and all the gear you need to drop a line. 


7. Keep the Little Ones Busy

To ensure even the youngest members of the family stay engaged, the Seabird team hosts daily interactive activities through the Little Seabirds program. From clever arts and crafts (like building your own stuffed bear) to stimulating art scavenger hunts, the kids can discover a different side of Oceanside while you take some time for yourself. Little Seabirds participants can also eat free when booking our special package in advance.