Oceanside, CA is less than one hour from San Diego, so of course we had to visit.
The town had a cool vibe!
Border Field State Park
This state park is on the US-Mexico border, and happens to be the most southeastern point in the continental US. Since it was the winter, we had to walk over a mile to get to the beach and fence (in the summer, you can drive right to the picnic area).
Once we got there, the Border Patrol officer was extremely pleasant to chat with and told us a lot about the start of the 2,000 mile border. She even stopped the ATVs from coming at us when we accidentally walked on the wrong part of the beach (oops)!
There are two fences, and in between is government owned land. This part of the border opens up for four hours every Sunday (10-2) so that family members can be reunited and talk through the fence. There’s no passing of anything in either direction (it’s really hard, the holes are really small). It was touching to see the people on the other side and how some were excited to talk to their friends/family.
We were told that multiple people try to climb the fence every day (always at night). They can hop both 20 foot fences in 30 seconds flat. Cameras are everywhere and Border Patrols guards on ATVs can quickly reach them. The Coast Guard works with the Border Patrol and, with underwater surveillance, they can catch anyone that attempts to swim around the fence. They often have to rescue swimmers because of the rough undercurrents that the fence produces.
The border patrol also told us that there are free border tours for the public, but you have to reserve them a month in advance and they’re usually quickly filled up. I’d love to go back and learn all about this border. It’s intriguing!
Being so close to Tijuana, we decided to cross the border to check it out. We parked at a border parking for $7, and walked over.
We walked through some turnstiles, took a few turns, and we were in Mexico. Nobody checked our passports or asked what we were doing. It didn’t seem right, but we followed people and no one was around to check on us. Very sketchy that no one knew we were in Mexico!
The only downside about going over the border is getting back. We stood in line for just over two hours to have our passports checked and stamped. I don’t think we’ll be returning to Tijuana at any time in the future, but it was a neat experience to be unknown in a country for a day.