The surf is up in San Clemente, CA. This quaint beach town, just a few miles south of your Laguna Beach vacation rental, offers excellent views of South Orange County from a 1,300 feet pier into the Pacific Ocean, a romantic spanish village, some unique historical sites, and of course, excellent surf conditions – with occasional surf competitions throughout the year.
Sunday’s are good for a day trip to San Clemente. Park or ride to the San Clemente Pier and take a walk out over the water. Before you head for town, stop for brunch at The Fisherman with “the best view in South Orange County” from right on top of the historic pier. And if you feel like walking off that hearty brunch – head south towards San Clemente State Beach to catch the local surfers riding the waves.
When you get back to downtown, check out the gardens and estate Casa Romantica – former home of San Clemente developer Ole Hanson – for some San Clemente history before leisurely strolling up Avenida Del Mar to check out the shops and Farmer’s Market. Taste and buy some wine from the San Clemente Winery. And grab a box of hand-dipped gourmet chocolate at Schmid’s Fine Chocolates. Then take one last look at the beach at the sun begins to set, and head back to Laguna Beach. End your special day trip back at your vacation rental, making dinner in your gourmet kitchen with your fresh groceries, fine wine and chocolates.
By Bicycle: South CA-1/Pacific Coast Hwy (map it) – Estimated 75 min
By Car: South CA-1/PCH to south Interstate-5, exit right Avenida Plazida, left N. El Camino Real, right Avenida Del Mar (map it) – Estimated 22 min
By Bus: Pick up the southbound OCTA – 1 on PCH to Ave Del Mar – Estimated 45 min
Casa Romantica: Former home of San Clemente developer, Ole Hanson, Casa Romantica looks out over the San Clemente Pier. There are spectacular views from its cliffside gardens and a cultural center in the estate home.
Casino San Clemente: If you love art deco and big band music, then head over to this surviving ballroom, The Casino San Clemente, where Benny Goodman played while being broadcast live via radio.
San Clemente State Beach: Trestles and the state beaches of southern San Clemente are famous for their top notch surf conditions. Be prepared to hike, but the views and waves are worth it.
Schmid’s Fine Chocolates: Owner and chocolatier, Kim Maya, is handcrafting luscious chocolate confections at this longtime San Clemente establishment. Stop in to indulge in a single gourmet chocolate-dipped fruit or go home with a box of Belgian truffles from Schmid’s Fine Chocolates.
Farmer’s Market: Every Sunday (9am-1pm) there is a fresh fair and farmers market in old town San Clemente. Pick up some fresh greens, seafood caught that morning and various treats from local vendors.
San Clemente Wine Company: Stop into the the San Clemente Wine Company any day of the week for a wine tasting. Pick out your favorite bottle to enjoy back at your vacation rental.
The Fisherman: Eat at one of Orange County’s best restaurants, The Fisherman, for fresh California seafood located on the historic San Clemente Pier