On the trip home, the unreserved coach seats on the train were overbooked and passengers spilled into the stairwell. Every crevice was crammed with people coming home on Easter Sunday. If we had paid the extra $15 each for us to sit in business class, it would have been worth it to sit more comfortably during the hour long trip. Luckily, dd was passed out in the Tula carrier (toddler size; HIGHLY recommend) the entire train ride back home and we were able to catch the beautiful sunset over the Pacific Ocean from where we were standing/sitting on my bagpack at the top of the stairs. The poor guys stuck sitting in the stairwell had a constant flow of people squeezing by looking for the café car or getting on and off the train. Hopefully, they were able to find seats soon after we disembarked or were almost to their destination. Even still…Amtrak is no United Airlines. We love our train rides!
We realized that we had randomly stopped at Oceanside during one of last year’s road trips when we recognized the colored tile work outside the movie theater, as we walked out of the train station towards the beach. On our way, we saw the restaurant, Hello Betty, and decided to eat there instead of at a little hole in the wall taqueria and Jersey Mike’s along the way. They had strong and sourㅡin a good citrusy wayㅡ margaritas, shrimp cocktail in a spicy delicious sauce, and steamed mussels. The service was slow though and our toddler kept trying to wander off, which would have been fine but it really cut into the time we had left before our train would depart.
We had about an hour left to explore the pier and walk back and forth from the beach to the Amtrak station. It ended up being the perfect amount of time though to leisurely walk the pier, take in the sights and sounds, and feel the ocean breeze.
Had we known there were so many other food options along the beach and pier, we might’ve skipped eating at Hello Betty, and gone to Ruby’s Diner at the end of the pier or to one of many food stands along the beach. Our kid is a pizza and hot dog kind of gal and she would have enjoyed that much better.
Camp Pendleton is close by so there are barber shops full of soldiers getting these really nice clean crew cuts and milling around along the beachside town. The town feels young and the beaches were full of tents, surfers, and holiday goers. Compared to San Clemente pier, it felt much more active and young.