37 OF THE BEST THINGS TO DO ON CAMP PENDLETON
By Chris Walker
IntroductionCongratulations! You’ve received orders to Camp Pendleton, California, one of the most beautiful installations in the country. The weather is perfect all year round, there are gorgeous beaches and the communities in Orange County to the North and San Diego County to the South feature hundreds of amazing restaurants, parks, beaches, and things to do. You have hit the military installation jackpot. Here is a starter list of 37 of the best things to do while living on or near Camp Pendleton.
Suggested Read:Camp Pendleton California: In-Depth Welcome Center (2020 Edition)
COVID-19 NoticeDue to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, many businesses, venues, and parks may be temporarily closed or operating under restricted hours. Many, if not all, of the ones listed here, are likely subject to such restrictions for the time being though new re-openings and closings occur all the time. Therefore, a place we mention here may not currently be open or available for the time being. Check individual websites provided in each section or call to find out each place’s current hours and situation.
37 Things to Do Near Camp PendletonKnow what you are looking for? Click the number(s) to go right to where you want to go: (1-4) Beaches (5) Golfing (6) Paintball Park (7) Shooting Range (8-9) Parks, Fishing, & Hunting (10-11) Sports (12-25) Gyms (26) Movie Theaters (27) Bowling (28-35) Attractions & Theme Parks (36-37) Breweries & Wineries
Camp Pendleton Beaches
1. BeachesThere are two recreation beaches on Camp Pendleton. Only military members and families with access to the base can use these beaches which keeps them from every being overly crowded.
2. Del Mar Beach3200 Camino Del Mar Del Mar, CA 92014 1 (858) 755-9313 This beach is on the southern end of base with access just past the main Del Mar gate to Camp Pendleton. There are restrooms and changing facilities as well as grills available on a first come, first serve basis. Family parties can be arranged to reserve some areas through MCCS. There is also an RV campsite and cottages available to rent when you call 1 (855) 732-2118.
3. San Onofre Beach5200 S. Pacific Coast Hwy, San Clemente, CA, 92672 1 (760) 763-7263 or 1 (760) 763-7873 Located just across from the San Mateo Gate on the North end of base is the San Onofre beach. Home to “Trestles”, this is considered one of the best surfing spots in Southern California. You may see young surfers standing by the San Mateo gate trying to hitch a ride with military members to gain access to the beach. This beach also offers RV parking and beach cottages for rent when you call 1 (760) 763-7263 or 1 (760) 763-7873.
4. Del Mar MarinaBuilding 21550 B St, Oceanside, CA 92058 1 (760) 725-7245 The Marina at Del Mar offers many activities such as sailing and power boat rentals, kayak, stand up paddle board, and pedal boat rentals, adult and youth sailing classes, deep sea fishing charters, paddle excursions, slips and boat storage. A full calendar of Marina events can be found here.
Camp Pendleton Golf Course
5. Marine Memorial Golf CourseBuilding 18415 Mainside, Camp Pendleton, CA 92005 1 (760) 725-4653 Open all week from 7am to 5pm, this full 18-hole golf course features a driving range, locker room, and pro shop. During normal operations, lessons are available and tee times are staggered every 15 minutes. Golf carts are available but in limited numbers. There is also the Windmill Canyon Restaurant with indoor and patio seating available.
Camp Pendleton Paintball Park
6. Paintball Park1700 Vandegrift BLVD, Oceanside CA 92055 1 (866) 985-4932 Open for walk on games or group reservations, the paintball park is available for a day outing or group parties. The park caters to both airsoft and paintball enthusiasts looking to have an adventurous day. Reservations can be made on their online portal located here.
Camp Pendleton Shooting Ranges
7. Recreational ShootingLocated at Range 216 South of Camp Horno across from Deer Park. 1 (760) 212-1973 The range is open to active duty and dependents, retirees, and authorized DoD personnel and guests. This range offers pistol and rifle ranges with pistols to rent and ammunition available for purchase. Rifle targets are available out to 660 meters. Personal firearms are welcome, however, they must be transported properly in accordance with California law.
Parks, Fishing, & Hunting
8. Stepp StablesBuilding 15016, San Luis Rey (Across from the Paintball Park) 1 (760) 725-5094 The Camp Pendleton Stepp stables boasts some of the best trail riding in Southern California. Boarding, training, lessons are all available. Private lessons are available for children 3-6 and one-hour group lessons are available to children 7 and up and beginning to advanced training. Facilities include three arenas, three round pens, miles of trails, pasture boarding, wash racks, and turn outs.
9. Lake O’NeillBuilding 26080 Oceanside, CA 92058 1 (760) 725-5611 Lake O’Neill offers fishing, RV and tent camping, kayaking, hiking, rowboats, playgrounds, basketball, softball, miniature golf, and a peninsula that can be rented for group activities. All reservations, pricing information and events calendar can be found here.
Camp Pendleton Sports
10. Hard Corps Race SeriesWhile currently only offering virtual challenges due to COVID-19, the Hard Corps Race series has hosted many famous events including the Heartbreak Ridge Half Marathon, the Hellfire and Fat Tire Bicycle Race, the Camp Pendleton Mud Run, and the Marine Raider Challenge. These races are largely responsible for inspiring adventure races such as Tough Mudder and Spartan Races. Check their site here for announcements of these fun and challenging events.
Camp Pendleton GymsCamp Pendleton offers 13 gyms with outdoor HIIT centers and indoor weight and cardio rooms. Gyms are normally open to all active duty and dependents, retirees, DoD authorized personnel, and guests. Many have locker rooms, showers, and saunas plus several that offer comprehensive massage therapy. The perfect San Diego weather allows for outdoor workouts all year round. And you can check out this map to see which ones are closest to you.
Note:All gyms are currently affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Some are currently closed, others operating with shortened hours, and strict distancing policies. Check the MCCS site for updates and specific guidelines for each gym.
12. Paige Field House (Mainside)Bldg 1110 1 (760) 725-6394 Features a regulation track and football/soccer field.
13. 14 Area Fitness CenterBldg 14013 1 (760) 725-5941 One of five locations on base offering massage therapy.
14. 21 Area Fitness CenterBldg 210750 1 (760) 725-2951 Massage therapy available.
15. 22 Area Fitness CenterBldg 22160 1 (760) 725-3163 Massage therapy available.
16. MCAS Fitness CenterBldg 2369 1 (760) 763-1353 Massage therapy available.
17. 31 Area Fitness CenterBldg 31A30 1 (760) 725-2678
18. 33 Area Fitness CenterBldg 330362 1 (760) 725-8737
19. 41 Area Fitness CenterBldg 4159 1 (760) 725-2033
20. 43 Area Fitness CenterBldg 430320 1 (760) 725-3468
21. 52 Area Fitness CenterBldg 520415 1 (760) 725-7262
22. 53 Area Fitness CenterBldg 530301 1 (760) 725-7404
23. 62 Area Fitness CenterBldg 620411 1 (760) 725-7421
24. O’Neill Fitness CenterBldg H-94 1 (760) 725-1366 Massage therapy available.
25. 13 Area PoolBldg 1315, Vandegrift Blvd 1 (760) 725-4344 The 13 Area pool is open for lap swimming as well as unit PT. Check the site here for a complete schedule of open hours and policies.
Camp Pendleton Movie Theaters
Note:Though temporarily closed due to COVID-19, the theater normally features movies daily in both regular and 3D at very low prices. Check the site here for more information about reopening, prices, and schedules.
Camp Pendleton Bowlinghere.
Attractions Near Camp Pendleton
28. Latitudes Travel & Information, Tickets & Tours (ITT)Building 20846 Pacific Plaza Camp Pendleton, CA 92058 1 (760) 725-5805/5863 1 (760) 763-3183/3184 Building 15102 Mainside (ITT Mainside) 1 (760) 725-2218 Building 520410 (ITT School of Infantry) 1 (760) 725-7094 The ITT office offers discounted and special offer tickets to theme parks, tours, attractions and events throughout the area. Steeply discounted tickets and passes to Disneyland, LEGOLAND, harbor cruises, skiing, whale-watching, sporting events, and island tours are just a few of the offers the ITT provides. With three locations on Camp Pendleton, this office is a great resource for seeking out new adventures and area information. The Latitudes Travel office is a full service travel agency to help you book vacation packages, cruises, airfare, car rentals, and hotel reservations for your next vacation at special military rates.
29. Hot Air Balloon Rides1969 Villa Cardiff Dr, Cardiff, CA 92007 1 (760) 292-3163 Sunset hot air balloon rides with a glass of wine may be one of the most romantic dates you could ever go on. You may notice these balloons hovering in the ocean mist at sunset on spring nights and the view is truly breathtaking.
30. Gaslamp San DiegoThe historic Gas lamp district of San Diego is home to the San Diego Padres’ Petco Park and the world famous San Diego Comic-Con. There are many bars and restaurants that make this district a vibrant night time spot.
31. San Diego Zoo and Safari Park15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, California 92027 1 (760) 747-8702 For over 100 years, the San Diego Zoo has been at the forefront of bringing creatures from all over the world to southern California so locals can see and appreciate them. Come by and see these natural wonders, learn about them, and help contribute to their preservation.
32. SeaWorld500 Sea World Dr, San Diego, CA 92109 1 (619) 222-4732 Part amusement park, part aquarium, part marine animal rescue facility, and all kinds of fun. SeaWorld San Diego is an amazing place to spend a few hours or a whole day enjoying rides, meeting dolphins, and learning all about the oceans.
33. LegoLandOne Legoland Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008 1 (760) 786-0034 Few toys are as universally loved by kids and adults alike as Legos. This massive, colorful amusement park built entirely around (And, in many cases, out of) those iconic bricks is a delight to Lego lovers of all ages.
34. USS Midway Museum910 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101 1 (619) 544-9600 With 47 years of service under her belt, the USS Midway was the longest serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century. Now she sits in San Diego harbor as a massive and amazing museum, full of exhibits, and activities from tours to flight simulators.
35. Balboa Park and Botanical Garden1549 El Prado, San Diego, CA 92101 As if the average stretch of southern California countryside wasn’t beautiful enough, the Balboa Park and Botanical Garden takes that natural splendor to a whole new level. From the beautiful plants and animals to the multiple museums within the park complex, there’s no shortage of things to see and enjoy.
Breweries & Wineries
ConclusionThere are so many things to do on Camp Pendleton that you can stay on base for weeks before needing to venture out into the surrounding towns. Once you do, Southern California is a rich and diverse environment where one can snow ski in Big Bear Mountain one day and surf in Oceanside the next. Enjoy your new home and have fun exploring!
The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.
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