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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.

Trail/Pathway Details

Pier and beach walkways

Trailhead: South Pacific Street near Seagaze Drive

Length: Less than .5 mile

Typical Width: 4 ft. & above

Typical Grade: Mostly level or gentle

Terrain: Hard

Less 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.

Accessibility Details

The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.

Beach Wheelchair: Yes

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.

Accessible Parking: Yes

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.

Accessible Restroom: Limited Accessibility

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.

Accessible Restroom: Limited Accessibility

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: Yes

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.
Oceanside Pier
Oceanside Pier (Eileen Ecklund)

Features icon key

  • Beach Wheelchairs Available
  • fishing
  • particularly good for families
  • picnic
  • swimming

Additional Information

View Map  
Managing Agency: Oceanside Department of Harbor and Beaches
Phone: (760) 435-4020
Hours: Always open
Fees: None
Dogs: In restricted areas
Leashed dogs allowed along The Strand; no dogs on beach or pier
Public Transportation: Go North County Transit District
Reviewed by Eileen Ecklund, September 26, 2009
Access Norhtern California This web guide is a project of Access Northern California.  
California Coastal Conservancy Thanks to our partner the California Coastal Conservancy

DISCLAIMER: Although the information contained in this web-guide was believed to be correct at the time of publication, neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy shall be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, nor for information that changes or becomes outdated. Neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy assume any liability for any injury or damage arising out of, or in connection with, any use of this guide or the sites described in it.

Accessible Restrooms Icon looks like a women and men restroom signBeach Accessible
Wheelchairs Available
  Hiking icon is silhouette of a hikerHiking & Trails
Biking icon looks like person riding a bikeBicycling   Good for Familis icon is a child on a swing'Particularly Good for Families
Boating Icon is a boatBoating   Picnic Area Icon is a picnic tablePicnic
Camping icon is a tentCamping   Swimming Icon is a person swimmingSwimming
Fishing Icon is a fish biting a hookFishing   Wildlife Viewing Icon is a pair of binocularsWildlife Viewing