Hit the Road: An outdoor adventure to San Clemente, California 🚗

San Clemente, California

We’ll just leave this here: San Clemente State Beach. | Photo via @pinkpulpito

Table of Contents

Drive time: ~1 hour + 15 minutes from downtown San Diego
Est. population: ~65,000
Avg. high in June: 71º

🌊 Things to do

San Clemente State Beach, 225 Avenida Calafia
This mile-long beach is located at the south end of San Clemente, perched below a steep bluff, so you can imagine the views. It’s a popular spot for surfing + camping (although, campsites book up quickly). It’s open daily from 6 a.m.-10 p.m. 🏝️

San Clemente, California

San Clemente State Beach is a nature lover’s paradise. | Photo via @pinkpulpito

San Clemente Pier, 622 Avenida Del Mar
Us SoCal folks sure love our pretty piers. This quarter-mile pier is perfect for a quick stroll and offers epic sights of the Pacific. Surfers wait for the waves on the north side, while boogie boarding + swimming is allowed on the south side. 🌊

San Clemente, California

A pier-turesque moment on San Clemente Pier. | Photo via @jessica_photography_19

Vista del Sol Park Loop, 111 Avenida Costa Azul
This 1.7-mile trail is an easy hike and takes about 40 minutes to complete — that is, depending on how many times you stop to admire the breathtaking scenery. 🥾

San Clemente, California

The Vista del Sol Park Loop is a gorgeous hike with a view. | Photo via @skyeblueoceans

San Clemente Beach Trail, North Beach
Walking, biking + jogging is a must on this dog-friendly, 2.3-mile trail that gives you easy access to the shoreline. You can access this trail from the parking lots at North Beach, San Clemente Pier, or Calafia State Park. 🐕

Rancho San Clemente Ridgeline Trail, Camino del Rio
This is a 5.7-mile, moderately challenging trail where leashed dogs are allowed. We’ve heard there was once a “rock snake” here, too — a line of colorful, painted rocks added by community members. 🥾

San Clemente, California

The Rancho San Clemente Ridgeline Trail is certainly one to explore. | Photo via @nickflacroix

Surfing Heritage and Culture Center San Clemente

We’re stoked: The entrance to the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center. | Photo via @surfingheritage

Surfing Heritage and Culture Center, 110 Calle Iglesia
With 800+ surfboards in its collection — and just under 150 currently on displaySHACC is a must-see destination in San Clemente. The rotating exhibits offer a true glimpse into Southern California culture, and also feature photos, wetsuits, surfboard shaping tools + videos detailing the history of surfing. As of June 2022, SHACC curator + creative director Barry Haun tells us the current exhibit in the gallery room is about the history of surfing in Africa. Up next, “Don’t Stand Up” will fill the gallery — all about bodysurfing, kneeboarding, bellyboarding and mat riding, and that should be on display through August. SHACC open Tuesday-Saturday, from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Keep an eye on SHAAC’s calendar for special events — like a book signing on Thurs., July 7, with “Surfer” magazine publisher Steve Pezman. 🏄

Surfing Heritage and Culture Center San Clemente

Inside SHACC: This past exhibit was dedicated to female trailblazers in surfing. | Photo via ©Barry Haun/SHACC

Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, 415 Avenida Granada
This registered historic landmark is the former estate of Ole Hanson, the founder of San Clemente. Today, the Spanish Colonial Revival site serves as a nonprofit that hosts 100+ community events and programming annually — from arts and music, to horticulture and literature. The views, as you might have guessed by now, are everything. Casa Romantica is open Tuesday-Thursday, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. + Friday-Sunday, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 🌿

San Clemente, California

Casa Romantica Cultural Center + Gardens is on the site of the former estate of the founder of San Clemente. | Photo via @casaromanticasc

San Clemente, California

he view from Casa Romantica. | Photo via @sarainsanclemente

🍽️ Fuel up after hiking

Pizza Port, 301 N. El Camino Real
An extension of San Diego’s Pizza Port Brewing Co., this spot will feel familiar. Grab some “grub + grog” daily starting at 11 a.m. 🍻

San Clemente, California

Pizza Port San Clemente hits the spot. | Photo via @derek_mahoney

La Galette Crêperie, 612 Avenida Victoria
This French eatery opens daily at 7 a.m. and is known for its sweet + savory crêpes, like the smoked salmon crêpe with capers or the crêpe with berries and cream. Peep the menu. 🍓

San Clemente, California

A crêpe from La Galette. | Photo via @reinamorancie

Vine, 211 N. El Camino Real
Feeling fancy? This restaurant is inspired by Napa Valley Wine Country and offers a stellar collection of 100+ bottles of wine from around the world (many available by the glass). The menu also features craft cocktails, seasonal dishes, seafood, and more. 🍷

San Clemente, California

Craft cocktails, anyone? | Photo via @vinesanclemente

🏕️ Cute cottages + campsites

Mermaid Cottage by the Sea
This 4BD, 3BA VRBO rental is located within walking distance to the beaches and features a deck on the patio so you can soak in the nice weather. It costs $575, on average, per night.

VRBO San Clemente

The open concept living area opens to the kitchen + dining room. | Photo via VRBO

The Luxe: Expansive Ocean + Whitewater Views
This 2BD, 3BA VRBO rental is a Craftsman-style villa with sweeping ocean views from every room. There’s a deck off the main living area and another off the master bedroom on the lower level. It costs $625, on average, per night.

VRBO San Clemente

The entrance to the villa. | Photo via VRBO

San Clemente State Beach Campground, 225 Avenida Califia
This campground is located on a bluff overlooking the ocean and features 159 campsites, 72 of which have full RV hookups. Five vintage trailers are also available for rent — advertised as being “350 steps to the sand.” Campsite reservations can be made online via California State Parks — but plan on booking advance because the sites fill up fast. 🏕️

San Clemente, California

Camping is an option at San Clemente State Beach. Photo via @pinkpulpito

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