San Clemente is a beautiful coastal resort, and for good reasons. There are lots of things to do in San Clemente, whether you’re looking for a terrific surf spot, delicious restaurants, charming boutiques, or miles of sandy beaches. While this city is small, it packs a punch in terms of weekend activities.
The town of San Clemente is located about an hour south of Los Angeles and an hour north of San Diego. The climate is nice throughout the year, making this a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts. A day trip is possible if your time is limited, but a weekend getaway is far preferable.
What You Should Know Before Visiting San Clemente
San Clemente is a great place to visit all year. Summer is a highly popular season, so make reservations well in advance if you intend to come in June, July, or August.
If you plan to spend the weekend on the pier, consider taking the train to San Clemente. Amtrak has a station directly across from the dock. A variety of hotels, restaurants, and beaches are all within walking distance. If you plan to stay farther away from the pier or travel further away, you’ll need to bring a car.
San Clemente is small enough to fly under many people’s radars while still offering much to explore. It is one of Southern California’s hidden beach treasures as a result of this combination. You will not want to leave after spending a weekend here.
Iva Lee’s in San Clemente
Iva Lee’s is the place to go if you’re looking for warm, tasty cuisine and a casual, relaxed environment.
The tiny little restaurant, named after Iva Lee, was born and bred in the South and serves some of the best Southern cuisines in the area, including fried green tomatoes and jambalaya and sweet potato fries meatloaf. Iva Lee’s serves dinner Tuesday through Saturday and features relaxed blues and jazz on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
Pair the exquisite cuisine with a variety of wines and spirits from the bar menu, and then conclude with the signature dessert of handcrafted bread pudding topped with Jack Daniel’s sauce.
Soak in the sun at San Clemente State Beach.
San Clemente State Beach is one of Orange County’s most well-known beaches, located in the city’s southern portion.
Furthermore, the State Beach is a popular beach camping location, with 160 campsites, 72 of which have full hookups.
The campground has some incredible amenities, such as hot showers, picnic areas, and an amphitheater.
Furthermore, the beach is well-known for a range of recreational activities such as whale watching, surfing, snorkeling, and hiking.
The beach offers breathtaking views of the ocean, hills, and mountains, as well as a setting ideal for relaxation and rejuvenation while soaking in the golden sunshine of California.
Talega Golf Club in San Clemente
Talega Golf Club is located high above the San Clemente hills, with a par 72, 18-hole championship golf course, a Spanish colonial clubhouse, and spectacular views.
The Golf Club, which opened in 2001, has 18 holes, a driving range, a gorgeous Spanish colonial clubhouse with a bell tower and village courtyard setting, a restaurant and bar, a pro shop, and a gift shop.
The Signature Grille and Bar at Talega Golf Club provides breakfast “on the go” each morning at the Deli and lunch in the dining room or on the patio during the summer. The Signature Grille and its private patio accept private parties, and the Grille’s bar serves a variety of libations to complement the food.
Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens
Casa Romantica Gardens Casa Romantica is a historic home erected in 1927 for the city’s founder, Ole HansoToday, Casa Romantica’s Cultural Center and Gardens are open to the public. The house is located on a rock overlooking the ocean and the San Clemente Pier.
You’ll journey through time and learn about the region’s history and culture while staying in this spectacular seven-bedroom house. You’ll see stunning architecture, ancient furnishings, and a variety of antiques as you walk around the inside.
The house is surrounded by five acres of beautiful grounds with walking pathways and a plethora of vegetation, including cacti and shrubs. There are guided tours of the house and garden available and the option to explore the grounds on your own.
There is a gift shop on-site, and numerous activities, such as concerts, presentations, and workshops, are held throughout the year.
San Clemente Pier
One of the city’s most well-known attractions is the San Clemente Pier. It is located towards the end of Del Mar Street. The pier and its famous clock tower, surrounded by kilometers of sandy beaches and pounding seas, give spectacular views of the coastline and city both day and night.
There are numerous chairs along the pier where you can rest and enjoy the beautiful views while listening to the waves crashing on the shore. During the summer, the pier’s sides are packed with surfers looking for the perfect wave, while locals enjoy lounging in the sun and people watching.
Fishing is another favorite sport on the pier, as seen by a large number of fishermen along the borders. Furthermore, the pier offers a variety of dining choices, ranging from fast service to sit-down dining with magnificent sea views. The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar serves fresh seafood, and the Oyster Bar is perfect for sundowners.
Del Mar Street: Eat, Drink, and Shop
Del Mar Street in Downtown San Clemente is the city’s main street, dotted with restaurants, retail stores, boutiques, art galleries, and wine bars.
It’s conveniently located next to the San Clemente Pier. The street is one of Orange County’s most beautiful main thoroughfares and is known as the city’s throbbing heart.
You might spend the afternoon walking and visiting the many locations on the street, as well as shopping to your heart’s delight.
After shopping, dine at Carbonara’s Trattoria or La Siesta for delicious Italian or Mexican cuisine.
After breakfast, visit one of the many wine bars on Avenida Del Mar Street to try the finest wines.
Visit the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center.
According to the Center for Surfing Heritage and Culture on Facebook, San Clemente’s surf culture is prospering. The Surfing Heritage & Tradition Center honors the sport by preserving its history and culture.
This museum promotes this culture via a variety of displays that trace the history of the sport from its beginnings to the current day. There are several items on display, including pictures, documents, videos, and surfboards from various eras.
The site conducts a variety of events, including educational programs, throughout the year.
You can try local craft beer at the Artifex Brewing Company.
At Artifex Brewing Company, you’ll discover a lively and welcoming atmosphere ideal for socializing over some high-quality, delectable brews.
Relax in a lovely setting with eye-catching design elements within the brewery. Outside, on the patio, you may relax and take in the scenery as well as the fresh seaside air.
There’s a wide range of beers on tap, including Afternoon Tea Brown Ale and No Name IPA. Food trucks are stationed outdoors on certain days of the week, allowing you to match your beverages with some tasty snacks.
San Onofre State Beach
San Onofre State Beach is a 3000-acre state park in San Diego County, about three miles south of San Clemente. It is one of California’s most popular parks, and it has a lot to offer.
It had over 2.5 million visitors in only one year. It’s great for biking, swimming, kayaking, surfing, fishing, and sunbathing, among other things.
It is also a popular camping spot. The state park is located on the California coast and provides spectacular views of the magnificent and everlasting Pacific Ocean.
The white sand beaches are always drenched in golden sunlight and are excellent for relaxing while admiring the blue sea and its spectacular waves.
The Best Places to Stay in San Clemente
Stay at one of San Clemente’s best hotels, ideally near the beach, to make the most of your weekend in the city. However, because all of these highly-rated hotels are popular with visitors, reservations should be made well in advance.
Stay at the Beachcomber Inn, which is only a few feet from the pier and have great ocean view. The bedrooms and patios of each villa overlook the ocean. Make use of the on-site BBQ grill and bonfire.
San Clemente Cove offers oceanfront apartments with private balconies, many of which have views of the ocean. This hotel is also just feet from the beach and has on-site barbecue grills with a range of daily activities.
The studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom accommodations at Sea Horse Resort are all within walking distance of the beach. Enjoy a full oceanview room and watch the sunset every evening. Spend some time relaxing on the garden terrace, which also boasts great views.