It's more than just a pretty beach townBy Patti Pietschmann
Just about a three-hour drive from Los Angeles, or two-hours by Amtrak, Oceanside, California is a pretty, little mecca for beach goers but it also offers plenty of adventures such as:
Waverider Helicopter Tours
The newest attraction offers exciting and unforgettable experience promises stunning aerial views of San Diego beaches and back-country scenery, as well as local highlights including migrating whales and blooming Carlsbad Flower Fields. The versatile and luxurious Robinson R44 helicopter seats 3 passengers and includes leather seats, heating/air-conditioning and noise cancelling Bose headphones for easy conversation with the pilot. Passengers enjoy crystal clear, unobstructed views and can choose from a variety of tours ranging from a quick eight-minute surf check to a 45-minute coastal exploration and seasonal holiday light tours. It's a one-of-a-kind experience on the Southern California coast. www.waveriderhelicoptertours.com
101 Proof Speakeasy
The town's newest night life attraction 101 Proof, a modern speakeasy that pays homage to the Prohibition era. Setting up shop in a former bank vault in the catacombs of Urge Gastropub and Whiskey Bank Oceanside on Coast Highway, the journey begins at the exclusive vault door entrance. 101 Proof features copper penny floors, a copper ceiling and hits capacity at 35 guests. The cocktail lineup utilizes hand-pressed juices and hand-carved ice; patrons, however, can also indulge in a carefully curated beer and wine list and mouthwatering small plates by the Urge culinary team. Reservation-only is the name of the game at 101 Proof. Guests can plan ahead for Thursday - Saturday from 6 p.m. to midnight. Weekly passwords available by following @101ProofOceanside.
Vital Climbing Gym
Visitors can enjoy some "hang time" at Vital Climbing Gym, a new, state-of-the-art bouldering gym. This beautifully designed 8,100 square foot climbing gym on Coast Highway has roll-up garage doors and four 16 foot climbing structures to entertain both children and adults. No special equipment or knowledge is necessary for this social style of climbing, which is done low enough to the ground that the only safety equipment needed is a pad to land on. The facility features a snack bar, lounge area and a range of climbing clinics and yoga classes.
Miller's Table is a great choice for an intimate, farm-to-table dining experience. This tiny, 24-seat restaurant draws inspiration from weekly bounty collected from nearby farms, including the organic Cyclops Farms in South Oceanside. The menu changes daily and is always paired with a stellar wine or beer selection. Miller's table also serves up fresh "boxed lunches" for visitors to purchase and enjoy at the beach or other outdoor location.
Goat Hill Park Golf Experience
Following an extensive $2.5 million renovation, Oceanside's Goat Hill Park has reopened for locals and visitors seeking to experience what Golf Channel recently called "one of the top five short courses in the country." Saved from redevelopment by golf apparel designer John Ashworth, the ocean view course has drawn a celebrity following (Kelly Slater, Bill Murray and Mark Wahlberg to name a few) and is the perfect place for a fun round of golf- even in flip flops. The historic, coastal course includes a new pro shop, new greens, native landscaping, new golf carts, a drought-friendly recycled irrigation system and even a disc golf course. It is also home to the North County Junior Golf Association geared to making golf fun, affordable and educational for children.