TRAVEL: Without pier, Oceanside is a trip

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While Malibu has its pier, it is outsized by Oceanside’s. This landmark planks in at a whopping 1,942 feet, making this the longest over-the-water wooden pier in California.

This pier is a good starting point for Oceanside’s three and a half miles of sandy beaches such as Breakwater Bay, Pier View North and South, Wisconsin Street Beach and Buccaneer Beach. Bikers will fall in love with six miles of beachfront roadways shared with joggers and rollerbladers. Walk to the edge and take in a gorgeous view of the Pacific. Off to your right is the U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Pendleton, the largest of all USMC amphibious training bases.

When you check into the 158-unit Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort say good-by to your car as many of the A-list places to visit and dine are within walking distance.

The resort, which is comprised of two six-story towers, has 116 spacious two-bedroom units, some with stunning ocean views. If you have a group, consider the three and four-bedroom Presidential Suites. Within walking distance are several military stores on and near Pier View Way selling an array of Marine inspired shirts, pins, uniforms in all sizes. G.I. Joe’s Army and Navy Surplus (404 Pierview Way) have an exceptional selection with fair prices.

Stroll over to the California Surf Museum (312 Pier View Way) for a look at surfer history. We were in time to view the Woman on Waves exhibit, which was a wonderful splash of nostalgia. If you remember the mid-century “Gidget” movies, this will bring a smile to your face.

Make it a priority to try 333 Pacific (on the first floor of the Wyndham), where the Happy Hour gives you a choice of seven appetizers at $7 each. That alone will have you returning for dinner where their scrumptious Lobster Cobb Salad or Grilled Veggie Stack looks as gorgeous as tastes.

Operated by the Cohn Restaurant group, 333 is one of seven equally popular Pacific- inspired restaurants along the coast such as Blue Point Coastal Cuisine (www.dinecrg.com).

For a blast to the past, stop by 101 Cafe (631 Pacific Coast Hwy). Established in 1928, this is the epitome of traditional American home-cooked meals with milk shakes worth the calories count.

If you’re in the mood for a detour before or after the beach scene, investigate a mesmerizing sculpture garden known as Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in the Iris Sankey Arboretum within Kit Carson Park in Escondido. This is the only American sculpture garden created by Niki de Saint Phalle, a French American artist with a flair for the unpredictable who gifted it to the park. It opened in 2003 and has enchanted children of all ages ever since. The sculpture garden’s eye catching 400-foot-long Snake Wall has one entrance into the garden with a mazelike passageway. The walls scream for attention with bold patterns of black, white and mirrored tiles. This fantasy is homage to the child in all of us with a splash of mystical mosaics.

And who is Queen Califia? She was the Black Amazon Queen believed to rule a terrestrial island paradise of gold and riches. “The mosaics here are sourced from agate, turquoise, hematite and petrified wood, and imported from around the world,” said Susan Pollack, public art consultant.

What better way to put a spin on a peachy beachy getaway?

www.visitoceanside.com

Pamela Price is the co-author of the first edition of “Day Trips from Los Angeles.”