Oceanside is the northern-most residential community in North San Diego County, about 1.5 to 2 hours south of Los Angeles, depending on traffic, and about 45 minutes (around 40 miles) north of downtown San Diego non-rush hour. With somewhere around 170,000 residents, Oceanside is one of the largest San Diego County communities covering an area of about 41 square miles.

There are 6 miles of beaches, which adds to Oceanside's appeal as a vacation spot and a vibrant, and a growing, downtown commercial area as well as other good sized commercial, retail and industrial pockets mixed in with the diverse residential communities as far inland approximately 12 miles.

The major thoroughfares are the 5 freeway, running along the coast, historic Route 101, Oceanside Boulevard and Mission Road (which run east and west) and the 76 and 78 freeways both running east and west.

Oceanside has the only marina with access to the ocean in North San Diego County; you have to go far south to the Mission Bay area near San Diego to find similar marinas for boats.

Oceanside has a long history, with early development beginning with the founding of the Mission San Luis Rey, one of the Spanish missions founded in California. The downtown area was developed in the 1890s and growth continued, especially after the development of Camp Pendleton in 1928 which has resulted in a significant business and residential emphasis associated with military personnel.

The train station in Oceanside, at Tremont and Michigan, is the end point of The Coaster, a commuter train running to San Diego, and Amtrak has a number of trains that come stop on the way north and south. The light rail train, The Sprinter, runs from Oceanside inland to Escondido from a location further south of the main train station.

The popular and well-known Oceanside Pier, the longest wooden pier on the West Coast, was built in 1888, and the community has remained a popular vacation spot due to the beautiful beaches which stretch for miles.

In addition to private homes, condos and apartment, the coastal area west of the Coast Road is a popular investment property and rental area and densely developed. One popular residential/rental community with ocean views and beach access is North Coast Village on Pacific.

Another popular tourist attraction in downtown Oceanside is the California Surf Museum, a collection of surfing memorabilia providing excellent overview of the history and influence of surfing on Southern California.

There are many opportunities for shopping, with strip and larger malls scattered along the major roadways and the presence of many of the major "package stores" like Best Buy, Wal-Mart and similar retailers. Shopping is also prevalent in neighboring Carlsbad, San Marcos and Vista.

Oceanside has a number of outdoor festivals, like other communities - jazz, art, ethnic and holiday fairs are common in the downtown area.

Resident children in Oceanside attend one of 4 school districts, depending on address: Carlsbad Unified, Oceanside Unified (with two high schools), Bonsall Union, and Vista Unified. You can check for information on school ratings and much more on SchoolDigger.com and GreatSchools.org.

Housing in Oceanside is diverse, with apartments, mobile home and RV parks, condos and town homes, detached homes, beach front properties, and 55+ communities (Ocean Hills Country Club and Oceana are two of the better known communities for seniors). Many tract home neighborhoods were built in the 1970s and 1980s. Housing in Oceanside has traditionally been more affordable than its southern coastal neighbors; prices escalated significantly from 2000 to late 2005, as they did elsewhere, but have undergone significant price reductions in the last 5 years.

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