Oceanside Pier and Beach
Oceanside is a classic southern California beachfront community, with 3.5 miles of white sandy beaches, good surf breaks, and a 1,942-foot wooden recreational fishing pier. The beach is backed by stately palms, with apartment buildings and houses just behind the beach and extending up the hillside. Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner, and other trains, rumble by frequently a few blocks inland. You can easily while away an afternoon picnicking at the beach, enjoying the broad expanses of sand in a beachchair borrowed from the lifeguard headquarters, and exploring downtown, with its shops, restaurants, and the California Surf Museum. The Art Deco-style pier, opened in 1987, is Oceanside’s sixth since 1888; earlier incarnations were destroyed by storms. The pier itself is only somewhat accessible: to reach it you must take one of two moderately steep walkways, the surface becomes extremely rough less than halfway out, and the railings may obscure views from a wheelchair.
At beach level, which you can reach via a long ramp two blocks south of the pier, you can follow a concrete walkway along The Strand for several blocks both north and south of the pier. Between the pier and Seagaze Drive, The Strand is closed to motorists, so that pedestrians and bicyclists enjoy its full use. The beach south of the pier is Oceanside’s most popular; here you’ll find an amphitheater where contests, concerts, and other special events are held, as well as several small parks on the inland side of The Strand. North of the pier the beach is wider and less crowded; a few volleyball courts are set up on the sand, but the main activities are sunbathing, strolling, and wading in the surf.
Pier and beach walkways
Trailhead: South Pacific Street near Seagaze Drive
Length: Less than .5 mile
Typical Width: 4 ft. & above
Terrain: HardLess than halfway out, the pier’s surface becomes extremely rough and difficult to negotiate in a wheelchair.
Entry to the pier is down a moderately steep slope, but the pier is otherwise level. The walkways behind the beach, along The Strand, are level, but streets from downtown Oceanside and its parking areas to the beach are quite steep; either park in one of the beachfront fee lots or take the long wheelchair ramp that begins two blocks south of the pier, on South Pacific Street near Seagaze Drive, and winds down through a small park to a sidewalk near the beach.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
Two manual chairs are available on a first-come, first-served basis,
8 am-5 pm; pick up at the lifeguard headquarters below the pier.
There are several fee lots at beach level: below the pier, at the foot of Seagaze Drive, and at the foot of Wisconsin Avenue. More fee lots are scattered near the waterfront in downtown Oceanside; to reach the beach, take the wheelchair ramp from South Pacific Street near Seagaze Drive. Downtown Oceanside also has plentiful metered street parking.
The most accessible restroom along The Strand, which runs behind the beach both north and south of Oceanside Pier, is just south of Surf Rider Way; it meets all our criteria except there is no turnaround space.
Restroom buildings at the Municipal Bathhouse and at Tyson Street Park require a tight turn and the stall doors are only 30” wide, but otherwise meet our accessibility criteria.
Accessible picnic tables are on concrete pads at the back of the beach here and there along The Strand, including some with shade shelters.
Other Things of Interest
If you want to extend your tour of the Oceanside area, the western trailhead for the 7.2-mile San Luis Rey River Trail
is five blocks north of Pier View Way (Third Street), off Neptune Way near North Cleveland Street.