There might not be a more aptly-named city than Oceanside, California. Tightly hugging the Pacific Ocean on it’s western edge, pristine waves roll to shore and create the perfect conditions for surfers. When you walk out onto the 1,942 foot long city pier you feel like you’re out there with the surfers bobbing in the waves. In fact, when you reach the surfers you’re only halfway out to the end.
Camp Pendleton is right next to Oceanside, and the two are forever associated with each other. The US Marines train at Camp Pendleton and I know several people who came here to train before being deployed elsewhere. As neighbors, Oceanside is a military town and you see it in the stores that cater to the Marines, and especially in the barber shops with their rows of chairs ready for customers on leave. The city is changing as more and more people are attracted to this place, but this will be a military town as long as the Marines stay next door.
While the military vibe is tangible, Oceanside’s other neighbor is the Pacific, and it dominates the conversation of identity. Health, fitness and outdoor living are also a vibe here. There’s a surfing museum of note here, and surfers dot the water on either side of the pier. Oceanside hosts an Ironman Triathlon and they were set up for it during my visit. Walking around you find a cool vibe, exceptional dining options and friendly, fit people.
I have a friend who moved to Oceanside, prompting a visit to see him and linger in town for a couple of hours. I can see that the place has transformed him into a happier, healthier person. Walking around in this pristine city I can see exactly how he got there. And sure, it’s easy to imagine living here too. This place where every day is paradise seems pretty tempting indeed.