Oceanside by Land, Sea and Air
By Greg Aragon
A highlight of my recent trip to Oceanside was being able to see it from different angles and speeds. Besides the fascinating walking tour I discussed last week, I also experienced the town by kayak, Batman-type car, and via a fat-tire electric scooter.
The kayak adventure began shortly after a delicious dinner at Masters Kitchen & Cocktail Restaurant (mastersoceanside.com). From here our group drove to Oceanside Harbor (oceansideharborvillage.com), where we embarked on a Full Moon Guided Kayak tour. The nocturnal paddling sessions take place on full moon weekends during warmer months and allow visitors to revel in the beauty and romance of Oceanside’s quaint harbor under a moonlit sky. Tours include kayak, paddle, life jacket, headlamp and a knowledgeable guide who will prepare newbies and experienced kayakers for the excursion.
Our paddle was a wonderfully serene trip across calm, moonlit water that took us past a herd of barking seals and sloops filled with million-dollar yachts, old junkets and the twinkling lights of the Harbor Village. Along the way, our guide told us about the rock jetties that protect the harbor and pointed out interesting harbor facts. For more information on the Moonlight Paddle, call the City of Oceanside Parks and Recreation at (760) 435-5041
Back ashore, I headed back to The Fin Hotel for a restful night’s sleep. In the morning I walked to Petite Madeline Bakery and Bistro (petitemadelinebakery.com), where I enjoyed a smoked salmon croissant and a cup of coffee a couple blocks from the beach. From here it was off to Oceanside Municipal Airport, where I got to climb in a helicopter and ride in a futuristic Batman mobile-looking, three-wheeled car known as a Polaris Slingshot.
Driving the car was Kurt, founder and owner of Waverider Helicopter Tours. A Coast Guard veteran and a dual-rated commercial pilot in helicopters and airplanes, Kurt loves to show people Oceanside by land and air.
Kurt’s company provides a memorable experience for those looking to view the beautiful beaches and captivating backcountry of San Diego County, coastal Orange County, and Temecula Wine Country from a unique perspective. Waverider Helicopter Tours offers several tours, ranging from 10 minutes to over one hour. The Robinson R44 helicopter seats four and each passenger gets a Bose noise-canceling headset to listen to the pilot and talk while flying.
The company is now taking reservations for its new Holiday Light Tours, which offer a bird’s eye view of San Diego’s coastal light displays along the coast from Oceanside to Del Mar. The 30-minute light tours run Dec. 8 through Jan. 1. For more info call (760) 691-9144 or visit waveriderhelicoptertours.com.
And then there is the Slingshot mobile. During our trip in the space age convertible, we cruised down Coast Highway by the beach and pier, listening to the Beach Boys and turning heads. If you like flashy cars, with high-powered engines and jet-like feel, this is a great way to see Oceanside.
The last adventure on my tour of Oceanside was a ride to Mission San Luis Rey in an electric, fat-tire scooter provided by Ride O’side (rideoside.com). Designed for active and eco-conscious guests, the scooter are “100 percent electric and 1000 percent fun.” The new 2018 model, like the one I rented, has a 20Ah battery a top speed of 20 miles per hour. It includes Bluetooth for listening to cell phone music, boasts 18-by-9.5-inch fat tires for added stability, and a front hydraulic shock that yields an unbelievably smooth ride.
My 13.9-mile round trip ride to Mission San Luis Rey began near Oceanside Pier, where I picked up the San Luis Rey Bike Trail, a Class 1 bicycle trail completely isolated from motorized traffic. Along the way I passed memorable natural scenery and a variety of bird species while following the San Luis Rey River. At the Mission, I opened my sack lunch and read about its history.
The largest of the 21 California missions, Mission San Luis Rey was built in 1789. Its grounds feature hand carved wooden doors, bright and colorful hand painted walls and murals, and a mixture of Classical and Baroque reredos.