A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego

At the beginning of November Nick and I took a few days off to fly out to California. While we were visiting family, we also snuck in some much needed relaxation. I have to say, it's definitely a perk having family in Southern California!

Two years ago when we visited California we did what felt like ALLL of Southern California. We ate and shopped our way through LA, drove the coastal highway through every little beach town, hit up Disneyland, and explored San Diego. While I love a good trip that wears you out (LOL but still so true), this trip needed to focus on relaxing more than sightseeing. 

Nick and I stayed in Oceanside, CA, a friendly beach town about 35 minutes north of San Diego. It was pretty quiet and everyone we met as we walked around was pretty friendly. We were able to walk to most things, which was good since we didn't rent a car. We just relied on family which worked out just fine. Remember, we were taking it easy! 

Our Oceanside Favorites

A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego

Bagby Beer Company - this Oceanside brewery was our favorite spot to hang out for a few reasons: it was a quick stroll from our Airbnb, the food was excellent, and the beer was extensive and delicious. It also had the perfect California vibe: laidback indoor and outdoor seating options. 

Revolution Roasters - located away from the touristy area near the Oceanside pier, Revolution Roasters was hopping on Friday morning. It's easy to understand why: the coffee is amazing and the limited breakfast options are so, so delicious. Again, total California vibes with a garage door opening in the front and outdoor seating options. There were also plenty of people inside working away on their computers. I literally could have stayed there all day, soaking in the sun and working on my blog. 

The Coffee Cup - our first morning in Oceanside we popped down to this spot, just two blocks from the beach, for breakfast. It was full of locals so we knew it was going to be good. They have avocado toast, breakfast sandwiches, a full selection of baked goods, and really, really delicious coffee. Apparently at night they serve beer so, yup, this place is awesome. 

Clothe + Arrow - this little boutique across the street from Revolution Roasters had a beautiful array of clothing, gifts, home, beauty, and children's items from smaller brands. They had really pretty embroidered jackets but there was barely any room in my suitcase so, unfortunately, I had to pass. 

Captain's Helm - part vintage clothing store, part coffee shop, part hipster hangout, Captain's Helm was fun to dig through. They had great vintage finds, from Levi's to 60's funky florals. There are also a bunch of little gift items and accessories from indie brands. Then head outside to their walk-up coffee bar for a pastry and a cold brew. 

Wild Habit - situated next door to Captain's Helm is a boutique with an artisan work space right out in the open. I loved this concept since many of the vendors also produce their crafts on site. Cool, right?

And now for San Diego and the beach towns!

Though we stayed in Oceanside, most of our time was spent exploring different areas in and around San Diego. I was really excited to see more this time around. Last time felt like a blur since we split our time between San Diego/Carlsbad and Los Angeles. This time we could really dig in and see more. 

A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego

We took this trip with my brother and he likes breweries as much as Nick and I do. As much as I love the breweries in our area, there is nothing like the beer culture out in San Diego. You practically stumble over breweries there. Good weather and laid back vibes are the perfect ingredients for beer culture. The breweries we visited this trip: Stone Brewing in Escondido, Port Brewing/Lost Abbey in San Marcos, Modern Times in San Diego, Green Flash Brewing in San Diego, Karl Strauss in Carlsbad, and Iron Fist in Vista. Lots of beers, all of them good. 

Other fun things to do in the San Diego area

A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
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A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego
A Long Weekend in Oceanside and San Diego

Hike Torrey Pines State Park - now I'm not a girl who goes hiking. But I can become that girl when the views are Instagram-worthy which Torrey Pines has plenty of. Does that make me basic? Probably but I was still recovering from a cold and was super achy for most of our trip so I needed some motivation to get my butt moving. The views on Razor Point with the blue green ocean stretched out from the yellow orange cliffs are totally worth it. 

Lunch at Liberty Public Market - while I would not recommend visiting Liberty Public Market on a beautiful Saturday like we did, it's definitely a great foodie experience. There are so many choices from tacos to poke to pop-tart ice cream sandwiches. I didn't say they were all healthy choices. There are also some really nice shops with handcrafted and local goods. We popped into Moniker General that gorgeous lifestyle and home goods along with a coffee bar and regular bar in a bright, airy setting. 

Grab an iced coffee or dried flower wreath at Communal Coffee - as a visual person, Instagram is my wing woman when it comes to planning trips. Communal Coffee with its bold "Coffee + Flowers" wall popped into my feed a couple of times so it went on my list. It didn't disappoint, both in terms of being really, really pretty and the coffee was really, really good. Communal Coffee adjoins with North Park Nursery and it was absolutely lovely sitting in the sun surrounded by plants. 

Explore North Park - San Diego is made up a bunch of different neighborhoods. We loved getting a chance to explore the funky neighborhood of North Park. It has lots of different restaurants and great shopping. We grabbed burritos at Lucha Libre which were omgsh the best but did not leave room for the ice cream sampler at Hammond's or matcha at the pretty pink Holy Matcha. But I finally made it to Pigment. I turned to Nick and told him that I basically wanted to live in the store. It was such a dream!

Wander Balboa Park at dusk - we visited Balboa Park on our last trip and spent a good morning wandering through its gardens and on its trails. This time we went at dusk, witnessed no fewer than three wedding parties, and enjoyed the cooler temperatures as we wandered. 

Spend a really long time watching the dozing seals in La Jolla - visiting the seals is a MUST on my list when visiting the San Diego. They're like big puppies on the sand! Besides being ridiculously cute, it's also really relaxing. La Jolla itself is a an upscale town but great shopping for whatever you can afford. You can also drive along the coast and have gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean.

Part of what I love about visiting California is the opportunity to just be. With the weather almost always hovering around 70 degrees and little to no humidity, it's easy to want to be outside. And even though we've now been to the San Diego twice in two years, there are still so many things on my list!

Tell me: have you been to Southern California? What do you love about the area?