San Clemente offers miles of shoreline with some of the most popular surf spots in Orange County. Here’s a guide to all the beaches in San Clemente.
Location: 300 Avenida Calafia, San Clemente
Located adjacent to San Clemente State Beach, beach goers find Calafia Beach a quaint option. This no frills beach features a large day-use parking lot as this is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. Calafia Beach features a café on the beach as well as several amenities including showers, restrooms, and a grassy park. Due to this beach being state owned, there is a full service campground. This beach is a great surf destination but it is sensitive to tides. Since this beach is sandy and offers numerous activities, it is family friendly with lots of play space and wading on the shore.
If you are looking for a great walking, jogging or biking path, the San Clemente Coastal Trail begins here as well and heads north for about 2 miles to North Beach.
Cyprus Cove – Cyprus Shore Beach
Location: 398 Avenida De Las Palmera, San Clemente
Nestled in the private communities of Cyprus Cove and Cyprus Shore, sits this San Clemente beach. There is a private access point through a railroad underpass that opens up to the sandy beach. This beach features a small privately owned parking lot, restrooms, and picnic tables. Cyprus Cove-Cyprus Shore Beach common activities include playing in the sand, volleyball and walking. Trestles, the popular surfing spot is just south of here while San Clemente State Beach is just to the north.
Dije Court Beach
Location: 1501 Buena Vista, San Clemente
Also affectionately known as Area 204 by surfers since the 1950s, Dije Court Beach is one of the many ways to get to San Clemente City Beach. Dije Court is a great place to walk and run because of its proximity and access to San Clemente Coastal Trail. This narrow beach is hidden between the surf and the railroad tracks and opens up into a rocky beach. Steep stairs give surfers a trek before getting into the rocky shoreline. The beach trail that attaches to this surfing oasis runs 2.3 miles and while the trail is dog friendly, the beach is not. Dije Court Beach has no amenities and parking is found locally on the public street.
El Portal Beach
Location: 1100 Buena Vista, San Clemente
Due to this beach being at the corner of Buena Vista and El Portal, locals refer to this beach by both names. Found at the end of a long public trail with stairs attached, this surfing haven is mostly covered at high tide. Situated between the portal access and north of Dije Court Beach it also runs into the San Clemente Coastal Trail which gives access to North Beach and the Pier. Parking is free and found on the street. There are no amenities at this beach either.
Linda Lane Beach and Park
Location: 380 Linda Lane, San Clemente
This family friendly park can be found on the north side of the San Clemente pier. Popular activities here include picnics, walking, running, sunbathing and, for the kids, there is a playground and an open grassy area. The San Clemente Coastal Trail backs into this beach which is a large attraction for runners and hikers alike. Linda Lane Beach is narrow yet sandy. This beach is accessible through a tunnel under the railroad tracks from the parking lot on Linda Lane. This beach also features a volleyball court at the Corto Lane beach side which is near the lifeguard building. No pets are allowed on the beach but they are allowed on the San Clemente Coastal Trail. There are restrooms and plenty of parking.
Lost Winds Beach (Lasuen)
Location: 2006 Calle De Los Alamos, San Clemente
Found below a housing development atop of the bluff sits Lost Winds Beach which can be accessed between homes off of Calle De Los Alamos which is south of Calle Lasuen (another name for this beach). Popular activities here include surfing and volleyball. When the swell is cooperating this beach has good surf to offer. Lost Winds is accessible through a long stairwell and a trail that eventually crosses over the top of the railroad tracks and then opens out to the sand. If surfing isn’t your game there are volleyball courts and a lifeguard on duty when the beach is bustling. The San Clemente Coastal trail touches this beach as well and heads north and south where it connects North Beach and Calafia beach. Restrooms are a trek up the trail and parking on the street is free.
Location: 260 W Escalones, San Clemente
This San Clemente beach is found by walking down where West Mariposa and West Escalones meet at the end of a housing development, when you get to the end of the walkway, head under the railroad tracks to the sand. If you are coming down here at high tide, most of the beach is underwater but at low tide you will be met by tide pools full of active sea life. This beach also backs into San Clemente Coastal Trail, like most of the beaches here do, and you can run or walk while taking in the beautiful shoreline. There are no amenities and no dogs allowed on the beach – they are allowed on the Trail, however. Parking can be found on the street and is free.
Location: N El Camino Real and Avenida Estacion, San Clemente
Home of the Ole Hanson Beach Club, North Beach is the largest San Clemente City Beach. North Beach ends at the southern point at the San Clemente Pier. This beach boasts lots of amenities including a playground, fire pits, a grassy park, volleyball courts, a snack bar, restrooms and a lifeguard tower. Due in part to this beach touching the pier there are boundless amenities and shops. The parking lot here is also shared with the train station. North Beach is also the starting point of the San Clemente Coastal Trail where beach goers can enjoy walking along the coast or riding a bike through San Clemente beaches. Some popular beach activities here including suntanning, fishing, surfing or just playing in the water. Parking is day use only and there is a fee due in part to sharing the parking lot with Amtrak.
Location: 2300 Plaza A La Playa, San Clemente
Also known as Montalvo beach, Riviera beach is a hard to find spot that is hidden under the railroad tracks and is the end point for two creeks that drain from the canyon and can pool up here. Like most of San Clemente, the San Clemente Coastal Trail passes through here and leads to the pier where you can find boundless amenities and quaint shops after a run or a bike ride. There are no amenities specific to Riviera Beach but it does feature a large sandy area and fire pits for a family friendly get away. Parking is found at the top and is free public street parking.
San Clemente Pier City Beach
Location: 622 Avenida Del Mar, San Clemente
This quarter mile long wooden pier is the perfect place to enjoy the Orange County sunset on a hot summer day after relaxing on the sandy beach. The beach is a family friendly point where there are boundless amenities ranging from volleyball courts to restrooms to nearby restaurants and hotels. The pier has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times, yet it is a strong symbol for this sleepy Orange County beach city. The San Clemente Pier Beach is a popular surfing spot on the north side while swimming and boogie boarding reigns king on the south side. Fishing is permitted off the pier with a fishing license. There are numerous parking spots but during the summer, San Clemente Trolley offers a drop off point at the pier when parking is more impacted. Parking is metered from 9am to 5pm.
San Clemente State Beach
Location: 225 Avenida Calafia, San Clemente
This state beach features a large campground as well as a day use parking lot. The park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1934 to 1937 while the surrounding area grew. The San Clemente State Beach sits on high bluffs and cliffs which makes it a great hiking area. This beach is narrow and sandy and sits in front of the railroad tracks below the steep bluffs. San Clemente Coastal Trail begins at this point and leads bikers and runners out north along the surrounding beaches. Camping here is open to RVs and tents and features a full service campground. This beach features a lifeguard tower, showers, restrooms, and fire pits to name a few. Parking is available for a fee by the campground and reservations are required for this campsites.
San Onofre State Beach – Bluffs Beaches
Location: Old Pacific Highway, San Clemente
Situated between Oceanside and San Clemente is the main drag of this state park dubbed Bluffs Beach. This beach, which features a continuous parking lot on the bluff above the beach, has six separate trails from the parking lot down. Bluffs Beach has an RV Campground along the parking lot. Trail 6 is the beach that is known as the clothing optional area but since the state park beach is secluded, clothing is optional everywhere. Amenities include the fee parking, campgrounds and restrooms. Activities include hiking, biking, whale watching, surfing and sunbathing.
San Onofre State Beach – Surfing Beach (Old Man’s)
Location: Old Pacific Highway /Beach Club Road, San Clemente
The official state park name here is San Onofre Surfing Beach which is next to Camp Pendleton in San Diego County. This beach is accessible through the Old Pacific Highway coming from San Clemente. Nicknames for this beach include San O or Old Man’s and is located on the north side of the decommissioned, yet famous nuclear plant. This surfing beach has a consistent break and is considered one of the top surf breaks for beginners in Southern California. Amenities here include restrooms, volleyball courts, a lifeguard on duty, and firepits. There is a fee to park. Dogs are not allowed here, but there is an area that offers RV and tent camping.
T Street Beach
Location: 340 W Paseo De Cristobal, San Clemente
Found off of Esplanade Street, T Street can also be referred to as Esplanade Beach. Entering here is definitely the San Clemente way, there is a pedestrian overpass over the railroad tracks which leads from the parking at the T. The palm tree lined beach features various amenities including picnic tables, restrooms, and the San Clemente Coastal Trail. T Street is the perfect beach to catch a glimpse of the iconic San Clemente Pier just to the north. While surfing is a popular activity here, there are regulations as to when surfers rule the waves. Activities also include swimming, sunbathing, walking, biking and running.
Location: La Rambla and Boca Del Canon, San Clemente
The Hole, known also as Boca del Canon Beach, is another popular surf spot. Sitting between the San Clemente Pier and Calafia Park Beach, this beach is difficult to access from Boca del Canon but can be found by a short walk south from T Street Beach. This sandy yet narrow beach is piled with rocks lined by the railroad tracks. Amenities here include the San Clemente Coastal Trail which allows runners and bikers an accessible path along the sand, restrooms, and free parking. This is a good spot for sunbathing, surfing, and body boarding.
Location: 3929 S El Camino Real, San Clemente
Probably one of the most popular surfing points in Southern California is Trestles Beach in San Clemente. Locals flock to this beach and the best of the best surfers monopolize the waves. Other names for this beach include San Onofre State Beach, Trestles Wetland Natural Preserve, Uppers, Lowers, Middles and Cottons. While this is a predominately surfing beach, bird watchers also flock here. The beach is a long trek from the parking lot but the popular spot is worth the hike down. Free parking can be found at the intersection of El Camino Real and Cristianitos Road and no dogs are allowed on the beach. San Mateo Campground is also near the beach trail parking lot if surfing isn’t your game.
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Rebecca has an undeniable love of writing and recently graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. She enjoys watching hockey, scuba diving, swimming, and working out.