Distance: 85 miles one-way.
In Hollywood terms, the script for the rebirth of downtown Oceanside has been in turnaround for years. The city's redevelopment efforts have been hit or miss (it's still slightly seedy); the recession has taken its toll as well.
For travelers, the sporadic redevelopment is good news: There are still mom-and-pop eateries and funky dive bars to enjoy and, at the same time, recent gentrification has brought new fine dining, drinking and entertainment options to savor. It makes for a good mix.
-- Irene Lechowitzky