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Ridin’ the Rails: Old Town to Oceanside

Ridin’ the Rails! We took Dad out for a little train ride yesterday up to Oceanside and had the best day. There’s nothing better for all my boys than trains, playgrounds and beach time! We caught the Pacific Surfliner from Old Town and 50 minutes later we were walking to the beach. Make sure to sit on the “Ocean Side” for the best views!

After we got off the train, we walked over to Mission Ave., turned left & walked 2 blocks to the beach. Where, to our delight we found an awesome playground about 50 feet from the ocean!

WHAT TO DO & WHERE TO EAT: After a little beach playground time, we walked the Oceanside Pier & watched the fisherman and surfers.

There was a 25 minute walk-in only wait for Ruby’s Diner; at the very end of the pier. It was Father's Day after all, so perhaps another day would not have had so long of a wait. When 2 little boys are hungry, that's too long to wait. So we opted to walk back into town & grabbed some Jersey Mike’s subs; which was on our way back to the station, got them to go and ate them on the train ride back.

We walked by a Domino’s Pizza and Harney Sushi had a build your own Bloody Mary bar, but that might be a trip best saved for a brunch date. ;-) There were a few other small restaurants that would have been good, as well as some beachside vendors near the pier selling hot dogs, fish and chips and tacos. A couple more blocks into town is a Coldstone, Breakwater Brewing Co. and some other restaurants.

In looking back on Google Maps, I see that we missed the "Top Gun" house! It's right on the way from the Train Station to the Oceanside Pier. It's a bright blue Victorian house at the corner of 1st St. and N. Pacific St. There's a chain link fence around it and it's the only building on the block. Not open for tours. But maybe, just maayyybee, Mr. Cruise will be there this summer while he's in town filming Top Gun 2: Maverick!

While on the train, or waiting for the train, there are some food options. Vending machines at the stations and a snack car on board the train, but you'll have to find it. If you're traveling with another adult and the kids, send one adult and one kid to go find the snacks so one person can stay at your seats to make sure nobody snags them. STROLLERS:

This would have been nice to bring, or at least the baby carrier, to walk the 15 minutes to the beach with a nap-skipping 3 year old. But since we’re at that in between phase we didn’t think about it when we left. You CAN take strollers on the train. There will be a little gap that you’ll have to “mind” or maybe lift the stroller wheels up a few inches, but it’s completely doable. Look for the cars that have a wheelchair logo (pic below) on it that has a more even access point. Those without are often raised to step up a few inches, but it can be done and there are lots of people around that you always ask for help. (see pic below)

You can either leave your stroller below if you find a limited family seat there, or fold it up & take it upstairs with you for the best views. There are luggage racks below and upstairs that it will likely fit in. Just remember which car/luggage rack you put it in. (see pic below)


Find one of these quickly!! because they fill up fast. We found a Family Seat in the back & grabbed it, but then I sent my husband up & down the other cars to find a better one. He called my cell phone to bring the kids over to Car 5 for a good spot! (family seats = 2 rows of 2 seats that face each other ;) BATHROOMS:

There are bathrooms onboard each car, but think airplane sized!


For our family of 4 roundtrip Old Town - Oceanside and back it cost $104. If you get on and off at different stations then it will cost more or less. A quick drive up to the Solana Beach station will take a 20 min train ride to Oceanside and would cost less, but you'll have to play around with it online for the costs.

Kids Fares:

1 child per adult will get a 50% discount on most Amtrak trains. Kids 2 and under ride for FREE on a parent's lap, but only 1 per paid adult. All extra child passengers will need to pay an "adult" fare. See details here.

Book your trip here.

Happy Rails!! :-)


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