SHOP HOURS - M - F 1-6; SAT & SUN 10-4
This local surf guide will provide information on local spots found around the area and withing a 20-30 minute drive. We start at the South end of San Clemente head North, then visit Oceanside.
Bottom is mostly sand with pockets of cobblestone throughout and occasional small rocks. Typically less crowded. A long stretch of beach located at the south end of the San Onofre area. It is considered a state park and requires a fee upon entry. It consists of 6 different trails that lead down to the beach. Its a good 10 min walk down each trail. Trails breaks year round on all swells, but is probably best with a combo or South swell. Each trail has several steep declines/inclines. With that expect the crowds to be less, and you have the chance to find your own little peak. Camping is also available at this location during the summer months.
Bottom consists of cobblestone rocks with an occasional sandy patch. “San O” offers a laid back and surf friendly atmosphere. It is a state park that requires fee upon entry. It is well worth it (especially if your bringing the whole family with BBQ’s and all). Parking is somewhat limited and is right on the sand. During the weekends and summer months, it can be a long wait to get into the park. It’s a long stretch of beach with multiple peaks. The waves are friendly and best for long boarding. The peaks are spread out offering both lefts and rights. Breaks best on S and SW swells and lower to mid tides. Crowds can vary from light to heavy, depending on swell and which peak you decide to surf.
Favorite beginner spot at Sano.
Best on south swells and is located at the only split in the beach road (palm trees in the middle of the road). Most spread out and friendly spot in Sano.
Just north of old mans. 4 Doors is a more lined-up right with a more compressed take-off zone. The wave has become a favorite of the young longboard crowd.
The spot you see as you come down the dirt driveway and make your way on to the stretch of beach.
The Point features a right on the south end and a left on the north end. The Point likes south swells but can also break on swells from the northwest and west.
Great for intermediate to advanced surfers.
It’s a cobblestone rock bottom right hand point break that is accessible thru the San Onofre parking lot. It is located North of “San O” on Camp Pendleton. The 15 min walk along the sand to church can be well worth it, especially during a good NW groundswell. When the surf is up the crowds can get heavy, consisting of both long and short boarders. There also can be a left at the top of the point that is much less crowded.
Great for beginners to intermediates!!!
This cobblestone rock bottom break is located between Church and Lowers. It breaks best on NW swells in the Fall/Winter, but can still break on South swells. Middles offers mostly rights and the crowds vary from light to moderate. If your an advanced surfer you can still get good waves (its like a slower version of Church).
Not a good place for beginners.
Located just North of Middles, Lowers is comprised of mostly cobblestone rock. It is a very reliable world class wave, great for intermediate to advanced surfers. This point break delivers an "A" frame peak with long rippable lefts and rights. Lowers breaks year round, but is best on S or SW swells. Crowds are usually heavy with very experienced surfers.
Great for Intermediate to advanced surfers, NOT suitable for beginners.
Uppers is a long right hand point that breaks over a cobblestone rock bottom. It is the point just to the South when you walk down the main trail to the beach. It’s very consistent and breaks year round. Best swell direction is from the W or NW, and it favors a low to mid tide. Crowds are not as bad as Lowers, but still pretty thick.
Great for all surf levels.
'Barbs" features a cobblestone rock bottom with some sea grass. It’s located between Cottons and Uppers. It is a semi-friendly spot that offers sectiony waves with quick lefts and rights. Breaks year round, but best when swell direction is a small to medium combo of S-SW swell and W-WNW. The lefts are more favorable to S-SW. Crowd is little more spread out making it easy to paddle out and grab a few waves rather quickly. Usually there is a less crowded peak just between Barbs and Cottons.
Great for all surf levels (if under head high).
Cottons is a cobblestone rock and sand bottom left hand point break. It is located just a few hundred yards North of Upper Trestles. Best during the summer season, and most fun when breaking overhead. Crowd is a little more spread out than Uppers, and it offers peeling lefts on S and SW swells. There is an occasional right hander out there from time to time.
Not good for beginners (unless very small).Great for high-intermediate surfers if small. if bigger reserved for advanced to expert surfers.
Beware of locals.This punchy beach break has a sand bottom with a few large rocks in the line-up.This beach has a convenient pay parking lot right near the beach, making it easily accessible. The San Clemente State Campground is above on the cliff. This beach break favors left handers. Crowds are usually light to moderate.
Great for all surf levels.During the summer months this beach is blackballed, where surfing is only allowed during the morning and evening hours. CHECK WITH LIFEGUARDS.
Crowds can be moderate to heavy. Meter parking is available above the beach in the neighborhood, or you can park in the lot at the pier and walk South. T-Street is a super consistent friendly break, that offers both lefts and rights year round. It is best during a medium tide. South end of the beach “beach house” is all sand and likes South swells. The middle “main” peak is sand just on the inside and then turns into rock reef and also likes Souths. The peak to the North, “Cropley’s” is a good right on West and NW swells that breaks over reef and ends on the inside over sand.
Great for beginners when small – intermediate to advanced surfers otherwise.
This beach break has a sand bottom that delivers both lefts and rights. It has a convenient pay parking lot (after 10am), making it easily accessible. It also has protection from South-East wind. It is fairly consistent year round. Crowds can be moderate to heavy when surf is up. NOTE: best to not surf next to pier unless an expert surfer – Beware of Locals.
Great for beginner and intermediate surfers.
This sand bottom beach break offers both left and rights.Located directly in front of the lifeguard headquarters just north of the pier. Parking is available at the pier lot. Breaks on all swell directions. Crowds can be light to moderate.
Great for beginners!
The bottom is all sand, and breaks on all swells. A pay parking lot is available, making this spot easily accessible. Linda Lane is a fairly consistent beach break that offers friendly lefts and rights. The crowd is usually spread out and light. It can be blackballed during the summer season, where surfing is only permitted during morning and evening hours.
Great for beginners when small and good for intermediate to advanced surfers when there is a swell.
204's features an all sand bottom with very occasional rocks. Located just South of North Beach. Easy beach access is available by parking at North Beach and walking south. It is fairly consistent year round, but does best during Summer season with S-SW swell. Conditions can vary depending on the sandbar and how it changes throughout the year. Waves offer both lefts and rights and are best with a mid tide. Crowds can be light to moderate.
Great for beginners and Longboards alike.
The small waves at “Doho” are ideal for long boarders, and those who are just learning.The bottom is all cobblestone rock with occasional patches of sand.This state beach is located in Dana Point, just North of San Clemente. It requires a fee upon entry, and has a convenient parking lot (making it super easy to access the break). The wave typically breaks slow and mushy, breaks on any tide and favors South swells. Crowds can be moderate to heavy. Camping is also available at this location. NOTE: there is also a small “metered” parking on the far side of the beach closest to the harbor.
Great for intermediate to advanced surfers, not a good beginner break.
Salt Creek has a convenient pay parking lot above, making beach access easy. Point: Sand bottom with some large and small rocks closest to the rock point.The point delivers very consistent surf and works well all year. Works best on S-SW and favors lefts.
Gravels: Very advanced surfers frequent this peak. Beware! Great for intermediate to advanced surfers. This beach break is best on W-NW and favors mostly rights.
There is another city and “region” that can be a great place to go for a lower crowd and a change of pace. Cool little city beach scene there and it is a 20 min drive south of San Clemente.We described a couple of “main” spots below but keep in mind that there are a lot of peaks in-between South jetty and the pier. There are also miles of beach south of the pier with neighborhood parking. Typically these areas are more spread out and less crowded.NOTE: There is a “immigration” check point on the freeway coming back. It opens up randomly and it is a smart idea to give yourself extra time when you are coming back into town from Oceanside (if you have time sensitive arrangements).
Great for beginners when small and great for intermediate and up during a swell.
Sand bottom beach break. Beware of Locals right next to the pier! There is plenty of pay public parking available in lots surrounding the pier, making this beach easy access. The pier is fairly consistent and produces fun lefts and rights. Both sides of the pier can get crowded on good days. South-side of pier has a lot of peaks!
Great for beginners when small and great for intermediate and up during swell.
Beware of locals right next to the jettys. Both Jetty’s are sand bottom and work all year round. The jetty’s produce both lefts and rights, and do best on a medium tide.
The North Jetty prefers a strong South swell, where long right handers can peel all the way to the beach. The South Jetty can also have fun surf, but tends to be more crowded at times.
San Clemente has a diverse offering of restaurants for all tastes and budgets. The list below features just a few of our favorites and all are located close to Downtown San Clemente.
-Healthy Start or Lunch-
Active Culture - Lots of healthy bowls and wraps.
Captain Mauri's - Amazing smoothies and sandwiches.
Banzai Bowl - They feature Acai smoothies and bowls.
Cafe Rae - Fresh inspired breakfast and lunch.
Antoines - The go-to for all things benedict.
Cafe Mimosa - Elegant Breakfast/Bruch/Lunch spot on Del Mar.
-Best Patios / Dog Friendly Spots-
Nomads - Best patio in town! Great guacamole and poke.
Avila's - Traditional Mexican fare with delicious margaritas.
Cafe Calypso - Breakfast and lunch, lots of healthy choices.
HH Cottons - Brunch, lunch & dinner, nice americana bar/restaraunt.
Bagel Shack - The go-to bagel joint.
The Grill - Inexpensive and hearty portions, full breakfast and lunch. Great outdoor seating!
Cassanno's - The original family owned pizza spot in town. Only open for dinner.
-Sushi / Poke-
Muse Sushi - Super fresh and very inventive, right on Del Mar.
808 Poke - Order your Poker bowl exactly how you want it. On Del Mar.
9 Style Sushi - Serving the locals fresh sushi for years.
Pedros - Local taco stand, 2 locations in town, a San Clemente tradition.
La Siesta - Family owned and operated, Taco Tuesdays are crazy.
South of Nicks - Elegant, upscale Mexican cuisine.
Sonny's - A San Clemente favorite for over 30 years.
Brick - Downtown SC's wood fired pizza spot.
Laroccas - New York style slices and pizzas, right downtown.
Guicho's - Take-out pasta, salads and sandwiches. Very fresh and delicious!
Vine - Rustic wine bar pairing Californian-Mediterranean bites with a stellar wine list
Nicks - American comfort food with a great cocktail menu.
Roccos - Beautiful presentations of Italian and Latin cuisine.
San Clemente has a diverse offering of hotels, motels and yes.... Holiday Inns. You can also utilize your favorite online private rental services like VRBO and AirBNB.
Always Inn - Cute Bed & Breakfast in the heart of Downtown
Beachcomber Inn - Amazing views right above the pier. Walk to everything.
The Seahorse Resort - Across the street from the pier with amazing views
The Volare - Fully renovated Downtown hotel.
Hampton Inn and Suites - Clean, reasonable rates and conveniently located.
House of Trestles - San Clemente only true hostel.
C-VU Motel - Newly renovated quaint charming motel.
Best Western Casablanca Inn - Great location, well reviewed, walk to the beach.
Holiday Inn Express - Nice family hotel, friendly courteous staff.
Rodeway Inn - Good value hotel near the beach.