Peachhead™ Approved Vacations: Vacation in Oceanside, CA – Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort, June 2012
My kids love going to Legoland, so this summer we decided to explore Oceanside. We stayed at the Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort. This is a wonderful property with units ranging from studios to one- and two-bedroom units, as well as Presidential suites with one, three, and four bedrooms. It is a vacation ownership property, but they also rent out rooms by the day. We had a 2-bedroom unit, which was very spacious. Our room had a full size kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a living room with a pull-out sofa. The room also had a washer and dryer. Because this is a vacation ownership property they have wonderful activities going on every day, such as arts and crafts, games, watermelon eating contest, ice cream social, etc. They even had a social hour one evening with wine, cheese, and even margaritas. The hotel has a game room with pay-as-you-play games that include a pool table, air hockey, and video games. There are also DVDs that you can borrow for a nominal fee and the activities center has games you can check out and take to your room. The pool and Jacuzzi is located on the second floor overlooking the beach. The pool is open til 11:00 p.m. every night for guests; however, kids are not allowed after 10:00 p.m. The fitness room is also located on the second floor and it has a sauna as well. On the 7th floor there are 2 sky lounges with panoramic views of the coastline. You are welcome to bring in your own refreshments and enjoy the view. You can also take a nighttime stroll along the pier which is across the street from the hotel and watch the sunset. The Oceanside Pier is the longest wooden pier on the western United States coastline. There is plenty of underground parking and complimentary wi-fi. The customer service at this hotel was impeccable. Anytime I asked for something they would follow up with a phone call to make sure I got what I needed.
The hotel is located across the street from the beach so we rented a surrey bike from www.wheelfunrentals.com and rode up and down the beach for an hour. The girls enjoyed riding a bike with a “steering” wheel. It was strange though as cars can also drive on the path along the beach (but they go real slow and I guess they are used to bikers because we didn’t get honked at). We were about a mile down from Oceanside Harbor so we took a boat ride into the harbor for an hour. Boat Rentals of America rents everything from paddle boards, to kayaks, to pedal boats, to electric boats. We went out on the electric boat. It reminded me of driving the boats at Legoland but it went faster and was much more fun as you bounce around in the water with the waves. After our boat ride we had lunch in the harbor at Joe’s Crab Shack. A block from the hotel in town is a Surf Museum. This was interesting as it displayed great photos, as well as a display of surfboards dating back to the 1800s and even skateboards. There was also a tribute to Bethany Hamilton, the 13 year-old girl who lost her arm to a shark attack and the movie “Soul Surfer” is about. They had her actual surfboard which the shark took a bike out of and a video playing where she talked about the incident and how her life has been since the accident.
Since Carlsbad is so close to the hotel we decided to run over to the Carlsbad Outlets and do a little shopping in the evening. I was very surprised by how many good restaurants they had there so if you do plan on shopping you don’t have to worry about eating beforehand.
The next morning we got up early and had breakfast at 101 Café. What a great place. It is a little diner that has been around for many years. In fact, it used to be a drive-in diner. I had the most wonderful omelet and hash brown potatoes. They have a kids' menu and Jasmine really enjoyed her Mickey Mouse pancake. They even made it using a chocolate Hershey bar.
After breakfast we headed to Legoland for a fun-filled day. Even though my kids are older (11 and 14), they still love going on many of the rides. After spending a few hours going on rides, we headed to the water park, which is located inside Legoland. You need to purchase an additional ticket for this park which is $15.00. The park has a wonderful lazy river, water slides, log jam ride, a little kids water play area, a sandy beach area, and so much more. There were plenty of chairs to relax in, and you can rent a locker for your clothes. They give you a wristband to wear which you slide over an area and your locker automatically opens. It is a great concept. The only problem I find with it is that you can’t send your kids or partner to the locker because only one person can wear it and it doesn’t come off. Other than that, it works great because you don’t have to worry about losing a key and you don’t have to remember your locker number. I also like how they have a changing area in the locker area so you don’t have to use the restrooms to change.
The following morning we visited the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. We got there early so we saw the gorillas just as they were coming out to begin their day. They have a baby gorilla named Monroe who just turned one year old. He had quite the birthday celebration the weekend before….check out the video of him celebrating his birthday. After visiting the gorillas we visited the elephants. I found it very interesting that a baby chimpanzee weighs 5 pounds when it is born and an elephant weighs 220 pounds at birth. We then took the caravan safari which takes you through Africa and Asia. You drive right by all of the different animals while they are hanging out in their habitat. The highlight of the day was feeding the giraffes. I was surprised at how comfortable the giraffes were hanging out with us getting fed by everyone. The park is very large (1,800 acres) so plan your trip ahead of time, as there are a number of different options when visiting the park. You can take the tram ride around the perimeter of the park, which is included with your admission; however, there are a number of additional options to choose from to get a more personal experience, such as the caravan safari, cart safari, zip lining, roar & snore safari (overnight camping adventure), and more.
The next morning we headed down to San Diego to Balboa Park to visit the different museums. We stopped in at the San Diego Natural History Museum, where we enjoyed seeing the life-size dinosaurs. Next we stopped in at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum, which is the is the world's largest operating model railroad museum. If your kids love trains, they will love this museum. Our last visit is always my kids' favorite, the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, which has over 100 hands-on science exhibits. The kids can spend hours in here exploring, as well as the adults. It also has an IMAX theatre. After we finished with the museum, we were driving home and decided to stop at the San Diego County Fair. Between the shopping, rides, entertainment, and food, there is something for everyone. One of the highlights of our day was seeing Mark Yuzuik, a hypnotist, perform. His show was very entertaining--so much so, that we attended his show a second time later in the day. If you ever have an opportunity to see his show, I highly recommend it. He will be performing at the Orange County fair, so if you make it there, definitely check him out.