A Cali Beach Town

As I had mentioned in a previous post, having a car while visiting San Diego is a necessity.  Not only are sights across the city spread out but there are a number of good day trips accessible by car.  My mother, who visited San Diego three weeks prior to Samantha and I, had suggested a trip to San Clemente over and over again.  Being the good son that I am, I listened to my mother’s advice and headed to San Clemente to spend the second half of our Saturday.

The beach town of San Clemente...doesn't get much better than this. 

Located about 70 – 80 miles north of the city limits, San Clemente is a quaint little beach town home to surfers and beach goers alike.   Upon arriving, it was clear that it was the archetypal California beach town that I had seen and heard about (Yes, this may include an episode or two of the OC).   Palm trees bordered the edge of the beach, surfers awaited their perfect wave, and an old wooden pier was located in the heart of town.

Surfer catching a wave. 

When Samantha and I visited, the temperature was about 60 – 70 degrees which was much better than Chiberia, yet it was not laying out at the beach weather.  This didn’t stop us from enjoying everything San Clemente had to offer including a few cold beers, a clam chowder bread bowl and a bucket of mussels on the pier.  We also were able to go for a stroll on the beach at the perfect time of day about 40 minutes prior to sunset as the light uses the cliffs of California as its canvas.

Having some beers and seafood on the pier. 

Our walk at sunset. 
All in all we ended up spending 3 -4 hours in San Clemente.  This was plenty of time to understand why San Clemente comes highly recommended however I wish we had more time given the drive back.  On the way home, we had hit “LA Traffic” (everyone from LA was going to San Diego for Presidents Day we were told) so the 75 minute ride turned into two hours in bumper to bumper traffic which was a total buzz kill.  Had we had known this ahead of time we may have not taken the trip but we would have missed out on a perfect Cali surf town.  This being said, my recommendation to anyone heading to San Clemente is to plan a full day weather permitting; don’t just plan a few hours like we did.  Spending 6 -7 hours at the beach would have made up for the two hour drive home, especially after getting a few slices at the pizza place across from the pier…smelled delicious!

Palm trees along the beach - you will notice the train tracks as well,
kind of odd having a station on the beach but made it for a cool vibe.


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