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San Clemente State Beach City Beach

Located south of Capistrano beach off the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and Calafia Ave, is San Clemente State Beach. This is a one of a kind beach built on rugged sandstone cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

San Clemente State Park has a wonderful campground. It is a tranquil and secluded park nestled in a small forest off the PCH. There are a total of 157 campsites, 72 with RV hookups available. Several sites on the cliffs overlook the ocean and provide a spectacular view. There are more isolated sites among the trees off the cliffs. There are campsites for RVs as well as tent camping. The state park respects each campers right to have peace and quiet, so they have implemented quiet hours between 10pm-6am. There are several large picnic areas available, which make this campground great for large parties.

Trails from the campgrounds lead to a mile long stretch of sandy beach, which is popular with many surfers. The ocean dominates San Clemente’s outdoor activities. The scenic views and the beautiful waves are alluring to many visitors and accommodate a wide variety of water sports; like swimming, surfing, boogie boarding and body surfing. The most popular being surfing. San Clemente is home to many of Southern California’s best surfers. The experienced surfers appreciate the beaches challenging surf breaks, while several spots along the coast offer smaller and calmer waves for beginning surfers.

One of San Clemente’s famous surf spots is Trestles. The waves can be first rate, but you often have to share them with intense crowds during the summer months. The only way to get to the beach at Trestles is a lengthy walk down the bluff. The famous surf spot is located off the Christianitos Fwy exit. If you get confused, just look for all the people carrying surfboards headed toward the beach. Chances are they are all headed to the same place you are.

Two miles north of the San Clemente State Park is the city beach, also known as Parque del Mar. This beach is closer to the small city of San Clemente and is great for an easy day out at the beach. There is hourly parking available ($1 dollar per hour) in the lot on the bluff overlooking the pier, metered parking along the street and free parking in the surrounding neighborhood. There are several shops and restaurants close by the beach and the charming, old downtown is just up the hill.

The 1,200-foot long pier and the main street, Avenida del Mar are popular attractions and great places to just stroll. Fishing off the pier and surfing are the main activities. There is a bait and tackle shop at the end of the pier and surfboard and boogie board rentals across the street from the pier.

The summer months are the best to visit San Clemente as the beaches and the town hosts a variety of fairs and art shows, the most popular being the annual Ocean Festival held on July 16-17, offering a Woody car show, a beach party and concerts. It’s not a very tourist packed town, so summer months are bearable, the weather is superb and the waves are world class.

Open 4am-midnight
NO dogs on the beach (but are permitted on a 6-foot leash in the campground)
Fires are permitted in provided fire rings only
NO glass containers/alcohol on the beach (OK in the campground)
NO vehicles on the beach
NO bikes on dirt trails