A classic Southern California beach town, San Clemente boasts charming waterfront boutiques and a popular fishing pier. This oceanfront Orange County enclave also has first-class surfing, family-friendly parks and romantic seafood restaurants.
Things to do in San Clemente
San Clemente Pier Beach straddles both sides of the iconic wooden pier. Fish off the pier to reel in your supper, which you can sizzle on a beach grill or fire pit at nearby T-Street Beach. You’ll pass plenty of surfers, beach shops, ice-cream stalls and water sports stands.
Seeking a romantic evening on the waterfront? Snag an ocean-view table at Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar in front of the pier. Arrive in time for Sunset Happy Hour, then order a feast-style shared platter of salmon, Dungeness crab or mesquite-grilled prawns. Save room for the signature fudge walnut San Clemente Brownie.
Kids will love running wild in Vista Hermosa Park, which features an aquatic centre with splash pools and slides. Bring along a picnic for some quiet time at Courtney’s Sandcastle, a sensory garden inside Vista Hermosa. Music and art are highly prized in San Clemente, where you can browse the work of local artists at Von Lortz Sidestreet Gallery.
Downtown San Clemente is organized into eight sectors, with the largest number of boutiques, galleries and espresso shops gathered on Avenida Del Mar and El Camino Real. At the Sunday farmers’ market downtown, you can mingle with locals selling everything from handmade musical instruments to vintage clothing, flowers and fresh produce.
Getting around San Clemente
Buses, rideshares and taxis offer transportation around town and to the beaches. Rental cars are available at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, about a 25-minute drive away.