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San Clemente Beach Activities

Orange County




Caution: Before setting out, always check with rangers that conditions are safe for your planned activitites.


San Clemente Beach Surfing

Four miles of beach in San Clemente provide a string of good surfing spots.

Surfers at North Beach find a sandy bottom and moderate waves. Boogie boarders like the area. At 204 the beach break is fairly consistent. Offshore reefs produce a variety of waves from swells coming from different directions.

It can get crowded around San Clemente Pier where the beach break produces some good waves, breaking left and right. Surfers often find excellent conditions north of the pier. During the summer the south side is closed to surfing.

T Street is the most popular spot along the San Clemente coast, but during the summer when the beach is crowded there are restrictions on the hours for surfing. No surfing is permitted from 10 AM to 6 PM during summer weekends, and 11 AM to 6 PM on weekdays (June 15 to September 15). An outside reef here kicks up some good waves along the with beach break.

At Riviera surfers find decent surfing without the crowds. Along the state park coast shallow sandbars can produce some nicely shaped waves. South of the state park a spot known as Toads attracts experienced surfers.

Surfing Lessons and Camps

JPs Surf Camp

JPs Surf Camp offers instruction for anyone 6 years old through adults. Small group instruction in 3-hour classes focuses on the individual. Surfboards and wetsuits (if needed) are provided. Instructors are CPR and first aid certified. Classes meet at North Beach and 204 Beach.
JPs Surf Camp

San Clemente Surf School

San Clemente Surf School teaches surfing skills to everyone from beginners to advanced surfers. They have 2-hour private lessons, surf camps at spring break and during the summer, and a surf team. Surfboards and wetsuits are provided. Instructors are CPR and first aid certified. Classes meet at Stewart Surfboards, 2102 S. El Camino.
San Clemente Surf School

Surfboard Rentals

Stewart Surfboards

Rentals of a wide range of surfboards. Surfboard sales.
2102 South El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA
1 (800) 265-8882
Stewart Surfboard Rentals

San Clemente Surf School

Rental delivery service of wetsuits and surfboards.
San Clemente Surf School

Surf and Skate Supply

Rental delivery service of surfboards and stand-up paddleboards.
Surf and Skate Supply



The San Clemente Beach Trail

The 4½-mile San Clemente Beach Trail extended from North Beach to Calafia Beach. Sometimes boardwalk, sometimes crushed granite, the multi-use trail parallels the railroad tracks close to the beach. Hikers, joggers, and cyclists can pick up the trail almost anywhere along its course. With restrooms and refreshments available at several key points, the path makes a great way to enjoy the coast without tramping through sand.

San Clemente State Beach Activities

San Clemente State Beach offers a variety of activities for visitors. Their Visitor Center, located next to the day-use parking area, showcases local birds, animals, and marine life, along with a history of the park.

Other programs at the park include Junior Rangers (ages 7-12), Ranger Buddies (ages 4-6), campfire programs, guided hikes, and nature walks.

Hike the Trestles Trail to San Mateo Point

A 3-mile round trip hike to San Mateo Point makes an interesting beach adventure. Start at the Calafia parking area and head south toward Trestles Beach. Along the way watch for shorebirds. You are certain to see plenty of surfers and body surfers too. At San Mateo Point a creek empties into the ocean. Birds such as herons and egrets are often seen among the rushes here. Ambitious hikers can continue south toward San Onofre State Beach.

San Clemente Ocean Festival

July 15 - 16, 2017
Every summer the San Clemente Ocean Festival draws large crowds to San Clemente's main beach. Known as The Greatest Show on Surf, the festival attracts top athletes, local residents, and visitors from afar to participate in the 2-day event near the San Clemente Pier.

Festival Highlights


Free parking is available at San Clemente High School and shuttle service delivers visitors to the beach. The San Clemente Ocean Festival is a volunteer organization that promotes ocean safety, the environment and the community through its popular family event.
San Clemente Ocean Festival


San Clemente Pier

San Clemente Pier

The 1,296-foot San Clemente Pier was built in 1928, but over the years storms damaged portions of it. The pier was rebuilt, always stronger than before. The pier is open from 4 AM until midnight. It has lights, fish-cleaning stations, and benches.. Also on the pier is a small combination fishing tackle, souvenir and snack shop: the San Clemente Pier Shack & Grill. Restrooms are located about half-way out on the pier. A lifeguard station is near the foot of the pier.

Fishing on the Pier

Anglers do well on the pier, landing a wide variety of fish. An artificial reef constructed near the end of the pier improved fish habitat. Among the fish seen here are barred surfperch, guitarfish, corbina, yellowfin croaker, halibut, jacksmelt, and bonito. Out at the end of the pier sharks are hooked along with occasional rays.



San Clemente Junior Lifeguards

The San Clemente Junior Lifeguards program is offered to young people ages 9 to 17. Participants enjoy a variety of beach and ocean oriented recreational and educational activities. Among the activities are ocean safety, first aid, rescue techniques, surfing and physical fitness.

Classes meet on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays at the Marine Safety Headquarters, just north of the pier. Morning sessions run from 9:00 AM to noon, afternoon sessions from 1 PM to 4:00 PM. Prospective participants must pass a swim test held at the San Clemente Aquatics Center in April.

2017 Junior Lifeguard Sessions

Session I - June 12 to June 30, 2017
Session II - July 3 - July 21, 2017 (no class on July 4)
Session III - July 24 - August 11, 2017
San Clemente Junior Lifeguards

Nearby
Events and Activities

Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens

415 Avenida Granada
San Clemente, CA
A living demonstration of California history, culture, and ecology.
Year-round programs and concerts
Casa Romantica

Surfing Heritage Foundation

110 Calle Iglesia
San Clemente, CA
Dedicated to preserving, presenting, and promoting surfing's heritage
Museum hours 11 AM to 4 PM, Monday through Saturday
Surfing Heritage Foundation

San Clemente
Fiesta Music Festival

August 13, 2017
Avenida Del Mar
Food and game booths, 3 stages with live music, contests, arts & crafts, classic car and motorcycle show, clowns, jugglers, and more.
9 AM to 7 PM
Fiesta Music Festival

San Clemente SeaFest

October 1, 2017
San Clemente Pier
Chowder Cook-off, Fisherman's Lobster, Arts & Crafts, Surf contest, entertainment, Coast Guard Search and Rescue Demo.
San Clemente SeaFest

Dana Point Festival of the Whales

March 4-5 and 11-12, 2017
Dana Point, CA
Two weekends of festivities much too numerous to list. A free shuttle carries you to event locations around Dana Point Harbor.
Dana Point Festival of the Whales

Whitey Harrison Classic Outrigger Race

August TBA, 2017
6 AM to 6 PM
Outrigger race from Doheny to Laguna and back
Dana Outrigger Canoe Club

Of Interest for
San Clemente Beach



Ocean Safety

California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly." Learn more about ocean safety at
CA State Parks: Ocean Safety


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