Oceanside, California

During most of its history, the operations of Palomar Software were located in Oceanside, a coastal city at the northwestern corner of San Diego County. Information on the city provided here includes:

General Information

Oceanside is one of the two anchor cities of the suburban region known locally as “North County.” It is surrounded by Carlsbad to the south, Vista to the east, Camp Pendleton to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Other cities such as Encinitas, Cardiff and San Clemente are less than 20 minutes away by car.

The largest city in North County, Oceanside has a population of 161,000 (in 2000) and an area of 44 square miles.

The best source for community information is the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, which includes visitor information, community history and copious demographics. The city also has compiled a history of Oceanside since its discovery by Spanish missionaries in 1769.


Blessed with one of the mildest climates in the United States, Oceanside was once dubbed by USA Today as having the second best climate in the country. The reasons include:

  • A mean high of 75° in July and 64° in January
  • Less than 11 inches of rain every year
  • Among the fewest heating and cooling degree days in the U.S.

The main gripes about our climate (like San Diego’s) concern the “June gloom,” a period of night & morning low clouds along the coastal strip.

A summary of 30 years of reports from the Oceanside Marina can be found at the Western Regional Climate Center.

Current Oceanside weather is reported by


Oceanside has among the most affordable coastal housing in all of Southern California.

It has the least expensive housing in coastal North County because it is the furthest city from downtown San Diego, and thus a longer commute downtown. This has been somewhat mitigated recently with commuter rail service to San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles.

Housing costs are the main reason that the cost of living in Oceanside is less than other cities. As of the late 1990s, housing costs were less than San Diego (by 11%), Los Angeles (19%), Irvine (20%) and San Jose (27%), according to formulas available at Money magazine.

For information on Oceanside housing and prices, see sale listings at


Oceanside is a major transportation crossroads, linking San Diego County to the Los Angeles basin. Most of Southern California is within a two hour drive, and San Diego, Orange County and Los Angeles are available via train service.

For those in less of a hurry, Oceanside is also a major stepping off point for weekend bicylists riding south to Del Mar, north to Orange County, or east to Escondido.

Transportation-related web sites include:

  • Oceanside Transit Center provides access to:
    • Coaster commuter trains to San Diego
    • Metrolink commuter trains to Los Angeles
    • Amtrak trains throughout California
  • Airports serving North County include:

Other Resources

See also our North County regional economic and tourist information.


Located on the Pacific Ocean, Oceanside city is known for beaches, its pier, harbor and other water sports. Other recreational activities available in the region include biking, hiking, golf and skiing.


With 3.5 miles of sandy beaches, Oceanside is particularly known for its surfing. For current surf conditions and a live video feed, see Surf Line’s Oceanside Pier surf cam.

Oceanside is a stop for many surfing events, including those of

See also these Oceanside-related surfing organizations:

Oceanside Harbor

Oceanside Harbor is the only small craft harbor between San Diego and Dana Point. For 30 years (until 1999), it was home port to the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Point Hobart.

The harbor includes boat launching ramps, slip rentals, numerous restaurants and a hotel. For more information on the harbor see:

Oceanside Pier

Oceanside Pier, 1902The first pier in Oceanside was begun in 1888 at Wisconsin Street, and destroyed by storms in the winter of 1890-1891. The subsequent fishing piers were built (and destroyed) at Third Street. The current pier, at 1,954' one of the largest wooden piers in the U.S., was dedicated in 1987.

The pier has its own web page.

Water Sports

Other watersports-related Oceanside sites include:



A few key dates mark the community’s growth:

  • 1769: After founding the San Diego mission, the expedition of Captain Gaspar de Portolá passes through Oceanside in July.
  • 1798: Franciscan friars establish the first permanent settlement of Spanish settlers with the Mission San Luis Rey.
  • 1834: Governor Pio Pico seizes the mission lands, which are sold off.
  • 1883: with the construction of Southern Pacific from Los Angeles to San Diego, Andrew Jackson Myers isgranted a homestead in what is now downtown Oceanside.
  • 1888: Myers leads the successful election to incorporate the city of Oceanside.
  • ca. 1920: the coast highway is paved between Los Angeles and San Diego.
  • 1929: exclusive St. Malo beachfront subdivision is begun.
  • 1942: the Federal government purchases Santa Margarita y Los Flores for use as a military base, which becomes Camp Joseph H. Pendleton.
  • ca. 1957: Interstate 5 links Oceanside to Los Angeles.
  • 1958: Oceanside-Carlsbad High School split into Oceanside High and the newly-built Carlsbad High.
  • ca. 1964: Fire Mountain annexed into Oceanside.
  • 1983: the Oceanside Pier is damaged by heavy winter rains and declared unsafe.
  • 1987: Palomar Software, Inc. moves its headquarters to an Oceanside garage.

More detailed information is available from the Oceanside Historical Society [currently without a website].

Historical Sites

A number of sites from the city’s early history remain attractions for visitors to Oceanside.

The city’s oldest and most important historical site is Mission San Luis Rey. Established in 1798, it was the second stop in the chain of 21 missions extending from San Diego to Sonoma County. The “King of the Missions” was once the largest building in all of California.

Located near the mission is Heritage Park, a collection of the city’s historic original buildings which were relocated to the site. Between the mission and the park is All Saints’ Church and Cemetery, the community’s first Protestant church.


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