OCEANSIDE — The city is holding its second annual Valentine Week celebration now through Feb. 14. During the week the entire city gets involved in Valentine events and sweet business discounts.
“February can be one of the best times to visit our beach destination with warm days, beautiful sunsets and fewer crowds,” said Leslee Gaul, CEO and president of Visit Oceanside.
The annual Valentine Bike Ride Feb. 11 anchors the week. The recreational bike ride offers two routes. One a scenic 5-mile ride along The Strand. The second is a new 25-mile route encompassing the city’s spiritual triangle.
The longer ride takes cyclists past the Rosicrucian Fellowship, Mission San Luis Rey and Prince of Peace Abbey. Bike riders are celebrated at each stop with a blessing or medal.
Another highlight of the week is free beachside Military Mondays elopement ceremonies Feb. 6, which will marry four couples.
The Feb. 2 and Feb. 9, “Sweetheart” Sunset Markets will feature a 25-foot inflatable heart, and horse and carriage rides.
There is also a car cruise Feb. 9, free outdoor family movie and concert at the Pier Amphitheater Feb. 11, and free Show the Love fun run Feb. 14.
Not to mention Oceanside Museum of Art’s Tango at the Museum Feb. 10, and specials on hotel packages, whale watching, wine cruises, tandem skydiving, helicopter tours, and couples surf lessons. Nineteen businesses are offering Valentine Week deals, and some are extending discounts to the end of February.
“This 12-day celebration has been a wonderful opportunity to showcase the range of activities that Oceanside has to offer, and generate new business during a traditionally off-peak season,” Cerina De Souza, Visit Oceanside director of marketing and communications, said. “We view Oceanside Valentine Week as an opportunity to celebrate all things love.”
Last year the week was a magnet for visitors, and the same is expected this year. Vacationers flocked to Oceanside from Riverside, the Inland Empire, the Palm Springs region and Phoenix.
“Anecdotally, we know that lodging saw an uptick in business, and several of the activities sold out including the Champagne Cruises by Oceanside Adventures and the Tango at OMA,” De Souza said.
Last year weekend hotel occupancy increased by 28 percent the first week, and 25 percent the second week, which is a good indicator businesses also did well.
“According to research, lodging represents 28 percent of total visitor spending, so it’s safe to say Oceanside’s restaurants and attractions were positively impacted,” De Souza said.
To help visitors plan their weekend Visit Oceanside has four activity-themed itineraries posted on its website, oceansidevalentinesweek.org.