Our avocado ranch is about 18 miles inland from the coast of California. In fact, on a clear day we can actually see the Pacific Ocean from the ranch! I have always wanted to go spend some time near the surf…open the windows at night and hear the crashing waves…get up early in the morning and enjoy the deserted beaches. The best time to go to the coast is after school starts in September when the summer tourists are gone. Now that my children are grown up and we don’t have school schedules to keep, I decided it was time for me to get some time at the beach.
I was lucky enough to find a timeshare condo at the Southern California Beach Club. Unfortunately, we had a record-breaking heat wave that week, and the timeshare has no air conditioning. Usually that would not be a problem, but the temperatures were way beyond reasonable (104 at home, 95 on the coast) so I decided to stay at the ranch where we do have air conditioning. Later in the week I checked into a two-bedroom unit on the top level of the complex. Open windows and ceiling fans were perfect for evenings, but during the hottest part of the day it was just too warm to be inside.
The Southern California Beach Club has direct access to the beach, and offers all the equipment anyone would need to enjoy the beach: chairs, umbrellas, towels, beach toys, bicycles, surf boards, and boogie boards. Parking is underneath the building, but after a harrowing experience trying to get my Yukon in and out of that structure, I was relieved to get a parking pass for the street. (I still haven’t stopped shaking..it was traumatic!)
Next time I’ll try to get a one-bedroom unit that has a balcony right over the beach. From my 2 bedroom unit I had a nice panoramic view of the beach from the upstairs bedroom, but the main level of the condo opened to a rather bland deck. There was an easy chair in the bedroom, so I stationed myself in front of the window to enjoy watching the surf.
I loved waking up in the the middle of the night and looking out at the beach in the dark. Except for the trains passing through, I could imagine what the coast of California must have been like before people built houses here.
Oceanside Beach has a one-way road called “The Strand” where bicyclists, walkers, and vehicles can drive right next to the crashing waves. On Saturday morning it was busy with weekend warriors working out with their bootcamp instructors, but during the weekdays there was very little going on…so peaceful. A few riding bicycles, people walking their dogs, beachcombers…
Mornings are usually overcast and cool. The blazing sun tries to burn through the clouds, but usually it is mid to late morning before the clouds are gone.
The surfers and the fishermen arrive as the sun rises. The pier is the perfect place to watch the surfers…it’s possible to stand just above where they are waiting for the waves and imagine the power of the water as it picks them up.
The smell of the ocean, the fresh breeze, and the sound of the water as the waves break near the shore….such a relaxing place to be early in the morning!
I need to mention the food….there are lots of places to eat within walking distance. I enjoy having breakfast out at the end of the pier at Ruby’s, a diner that plays music from the 40’s and feels like a step back in time. They have a cinnamon roll french toast combo that is enough for 2 to share, and the multigrain and nut pancakes were especially tasty. During the day they serve great burgers and milkshakes. The restaurant wasn’t busy just after 7 am, and the waiter would visit with me as I sipped my coffee, pointing out a school of dolphins playing in the waves. It’s fun to watch as the fishermen pull up their catch on the pier just outside the windows of Ruby’s.
Just across the street from the Pier is 333 Pacific, an upscale eatery with a wonderful happy hour, lunch and dinner. They had a special for $15 that included 3 Kobe beef sliders and a flight of three craft beer samples. On Thursday nights Oceanside hosts the Sunset Farmer’s Market in nearby downtown…just a stroll away. There are cafes, bakeries, ice cream and yogurt shops, and a large movie theater in the vicinity of the pier as well. The train station is right there…easy to get on board for a trip to San Diego or even north to Los Angeles or Santa Barbara.
I’d love to get up early some morning and just drive over to the beach, but it’s so much nicer to have a place to stay for a few nights and get away from the routine of the ranch. Oceanside beach and pier is a great place to do that. Who’s coming with me next time?