The historic Oceanside Pier is a prized community resource as well as a monument to its citizens’ persistence in seeing that a pier remains a part of its oceanfront recreational facilities. At its current 1,942 feet in length, it remains one of the longest wooden construction recreational piers on the West Coast. From its reach, viewers can peer into the entrance channel of Oceanside Harbor, a 900 + boat recreational marina that sits along the northwest borders of the city. The pier is a recreational common ground for Oceanside, a place where young and old, fisherman and surfer, tourist and residents mingle, stroll, and sit to watch the waves or the sunset while enjoying the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. While a fishing license is required for surf fishing on the beach, no license is needed for fishing off the pier.
Oceanside’s love affair with its pier began 125 years ago when the first piling was driven into the sand at the end of Couts Street. The remnants of that first pier are still there, occasionally making a rare appearance during minus tides and low sand levels. In 2012 several pilings were exposed for a brief few days, which had not been seen for over 20 years.
In 1916 a flood devastated San Diego County, wiping out roads, railroads and bridges and killing several people countywide. The Oceanside pier played an important role in getting much needed food and supplies to Oceanside and the surrounding area. Coal for the Santa Fe railroad was shipped in; The Swift Packing Co. sent several tons of meats for Oceanside and neighboring towns and the Pacific Coast Biscuit Co. landed about two tons of miscellaneous groceries and meats. Because this activity necessitated heavy equipment and cranes, the damage they did forced the closing of the pier for a short time after the emergency. In conjunction with the recent storm damage, the steel pier had taken more than it could withstand. However, it would take over a decade to build a newer, better pier.
After being rebuilt many times because of strong storms, on September 27, 1987, the pier was dedicated and opened with the public invited to inspect Oceanside’s newest pier. Balloons were sent off and after the mayor and City Council made their opening remarks, residents could now take the long awaited stroll along the wooden planks. Thousands of people walk out on the pier each year. It is one of the most photographed landmarks in Oceanside and San Diego County. Oceanside’s first pier is gone but it has been written deep into the history of Oceanside. We are proud of our beautiful pier and the history it represents. We are equally proud of the citizens who have persevered and have dared to dream. Oceanside has always loved its pier and it would not be the same without it.