Visit USA - America's Best Travel Guide

Capistrano Beach

Palm trees line this rocky beach right off the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) about two miles south of Doheny State Beach in Orange County. Capistrano is a family friendly beach with something for everyone.

Capistrano is one of Orange County’s small town beaches. Most of southern OC beaches are not as popular with the tourists as the beaches up north. This area has generally narrower stretches of sand at the base of hills and cliffs. Unlike its neighboring San Clemente and San Onofre beaches, Capistrano has easy access from the highway and cheap parking, while maintaining that quaint beach look and feel. There are several picnic tables, barbeques and fire rings for a day picnic or night bonfire. Although some of the beach is rocky, there is enough sand to layout and soak up the sun.

There is a lot of free parking along the PCH, but there is closer metered parking ($1.00 per hour) right on the beach. An annual county day use parking pass can be purchased and is valid at most County Beaches. It is worth it, if you plan on spending several weeks beach exploring or surfing, as parking in many of these areas is around $10 dollars a day.

Surfing is popular at most beaches in Orange County, but is somewhat mild at Capistrano beach. Better surf conditions are located a few miles south of Capistrano between San Clemente and San Onofre. Keep at watch out for high surf advisory: Green (light), Yellow (medium) Red (heavy).

There is a great bike path which is part of the Pacific Coast cycling route. You may catch a glimpse, or cruise by touring cyclists, packed down with their gear making there way down or up the West Coast.

There are volleyball and lighted basketball courts available. You can rent the balls and other beach supplies such as surf boards, umbrellas, rollerblades, bikes, boogie boards, etc at the snack shop south of the restrooms (only open on weekends). It might look like Capistrano beach has camping, as you may see RVs aligned along the beaches coastline, but in fact these campsites actually belong to Doheny State Beach.

Anytime of the year is great to visit. Capistrano is not on the standard tourist route, so it remains a quiet and out-of-the-way local spot.

Open 6am-10pm
No dogs
No glass containers/alcohol
No camping
No vehicles on the beach
No boat launching
Fires in fire rings only
Public restrooms and showers are available