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Whether you’re visiting just for the day or staying in a vacation rental, San Clemente, CA is one of the best beach cities to visit in Southern California.
From the delicious restaurants to the family activities, this is one city I know your family will love!
It has that small-town feel with all the conveniences of a large city and couldn’t be more gorgeous!
If you’re trying to figure out what to do in San Clemente, read on to get my city guide!
San Clemente is a great beach getaway spot!
Even though we live about half an hour from San Clemente, we love to plan beach getaways. It’s the best way to really get to experience the area.
And a weekend getaway allows you to spend the quality family time that you just can’t get with the routine of being at home.
Planning your beach getaway is easier than you think. You just need a computer to get started!
What is Vacasa?
Vacasa is an online service that is changing the vacation rental game. Whether you are searching for the perfect home to vacation in or want to list a home for others to find, Vacasa.com is the site for you!
Don’t know where to stay? Vacasa is a site that makes finding a vacation rental super easy.
They have over 13,000 homes across 30 U.S. States and 16 countries! And the site is super easy to navigate.
Need someone to manage your rental for you? Vacasa is also a full-service vacation rental management company that can make sure your guests are taken care of and take the stress off of you!
They provide the most trusted vacation rental experience by ensuring that each home in their portfolio meets the highest standards of safety, comfort and cleanliness.
Sometimes picking something from a photo online can be daunting. I love knowing that the properties have been scrutinized to make sure that I will get something that will help us make fun, positive family vacation memories.
A clean home rental for a weekend getaway
What I love about Vacasa is that cleanliness is really important to them. They’ve got their full procedures on their website which include recommendations from the CDC.
Most properties use a contact-free check in with a lockbox. Since I’m not yet ready to use air travel for vacation this year, renting a home is a great option!
Learn more on Vacasa.com!
The Vacasa site is easy to explore. Finding a vacation rental in San Clemente, CA is simple.
Simply add in your search preferences and dates and the site quickly lists the available homes in the area.
You can even put in a range of dates to easily see the prices and availability in a grid format.
Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast or looking to have a relaxing beach day, there is something for everyone in San Clemente.
It’s a great destination and easy to get to from just about anywhere in Southern California.
What to do in San Clemente
This cute beach town is the perfect place for all types of trips. Whether you are with friends or family or a mixture of both, there are some awesome spots to explore.
Where to Eat in San Clemente
Caterina’s is THE place to go for gelato. Their flavors are inventive (I had Honey Lavender and it was RIDICULOUS, my son had tiramisu! YUM!) and it is creamy and addictive!
I will be going back to try more flavors soon. They also have a great menu with avocado toast, bagel sandwiches and pizzas. Relax on their cozy patio or take it to go and explore the town.
Bear Coast Coffee
Skip the chain coffee and start your day off at Bear Coast Coffee across from the pier. Full of locals and tourists, this is a great place to go and get suggestions for how to spend your day.
The people are friendly and it’s a great meeting spot for people in the area and the coffee is delicious too.
Cafe Mimosa is a great lunch/brunch spot with a nice outdoor patio and a menu that will get your mouth watering. And, yes, they have a variety of mimosas to sip on while waiting for your table.
Looking for a place to grab a drink before dinner? Vine has a great wine list and is a local favorite. The menu is pretty great too so staying on through dinner is also an option!
South of Nick’s
South of Nick’s is one of my favorite restaurants ever! Set in the cute downtown area of San Clemente, this restaurant serves delicious Mexican food, has a really cool vibe and is a must-visit! You guys, their guacamole…
Pierside Kitchen and Bar
Pierside Kitchen and Bar is a great spot for delicious food with gorgeous views! Serving local produce and fresh seafood, this menu has everything you want to eat for a delicious evening out!
Yummy starters to share or entrees to keep all to yourself, this is a great spot to enjoy the beachy atmosphere.
And if you’re into craft beers, there are several local options like Left Coast and Lost Winds Brewing Company.
Things to do with Kids in San Clemente
Explore the Pier
The San Clemente pier is easy to get to (just use the tunnel to go under the train tracks!) and offers stunning views.
With a few restaurants, a souvenir stand and coin-operated telescopes, the pier is a fun place to stroll with the family.
Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens
If you are looking to add a little culture to your visit, check out Casa Romantica. It sits on a bluff overlooking the ocean and was once the home of the founder of San Clemente.
It is a historic landmark, set on 2.5 acres of gardens and hosts all kinds of events to enhance your trip.
From self-guided or docent-led tours to morning yoga and live music, Casa Romantica is awesome.
Just next to the pier, you can find swing sets set right in the sand! An ocean view swing session is just what the doctor ordered for your little ones!
Or you can find a surf school to enroll them in.
Take the Train
The San Clemente train station is very close to the pier and is a great way to explore more of the coast if you don’t want to drive.
Zoomar’s Petting Zoo is a one stop away in San Juan Capistrano (which has another cute downtown area to walk around). And there are often promotions where the kid’s ride free with a paid adult.
San Diego is also just an hour away by train if you want to spend the day down there, or you can use Vacasa to find a rental property there!
There are also a few museums with art and surfing history plus a great public library (the building is super cute) to keep you busy if you’re looking for things to do.
Aside from all the San Clemente specific spots, you’ll find everything you can want in a beach vacation like candy shops, palm trees, grassy areas for picnics, etc.
Creating memories is easy with all the picturesque spots. San Clemente is super charming.
San Clemente Beaches
There are several beaches in San Clemente making it a great place to spend time with the family! The areas on both sides of the pier are super easy to get to and great for hanging out with young kids.
With a relatively short sand area, you can easily watch your kids in the water. Or you can take a short walk down the beachside trail and explore other beach spots.
San Onofre is a short drive from downtown and known as a prime surfing area.
People travel from all over to surf these waves and it’s great for watching or trying it out for yourself.
You can rent all kinds of equipment from several places around San Clemente, but one of the easiest is right across Avenida Victoria from the pier on the left of Bear Coast Coffee.
You’ll see all the boards lined up against the wall!
There are also surf schools in the area should you want your family to have more formal lessons before jumping into the water.
The Outlets at San Clemente
The Outlets at San Clemente are a fairly recent addition to the area and the outdoor shopping center is beautifully designed and a great place to hang out if you are looking to dust the sand off your feet for a little while.
Novella Royale is one of my favorite brands and they have a brick and mortar store in a cute San Clemente A-frame building. With breezy summer looks and some curated vintage pieces, this is a perfect spot to shop for your summer outfits.
Kindred is another really cute spot to shop. You’ll find all the Southern California casual looks you need for your beach vacation.
Check out even more fun things to do in San Clemente.
When you book with Vacasa, you get the whole team there for you during your vacation including 24/7 customer care and local staff to help you with anything that you need.
I love that the website offers 3D virtual tours so you can see exactly what you’ll be getting.
And you’ll have an online trip manager that will give you all the details about the home including early check-in availability and even how to light the fireplace if the home has one.
My San Clemente Vacasa Picks!
Vacasa has some awesome homes to choose from that are perfect for a San Clemente getaway! I love that each rental has honest reviews so you can quickly see what other guests thought and if it would be a good fit for your family.
And they are always clean and stocked so your family can begin your fun family getaway immediately.
Casa Granada Unit B
This Casa Granada unit sleeps 6 and is 1/3 mile to the San Clemente pier. This condo is modern in style and comfortable to spend the weekend in!
That couch looks super inviting even though you’ll probably be spending as much time at the beach as possible.
San Clemente Hideaway D
This smaller rental, Hideaway D, is a one bedroom condo, and sleeps 4 which is great for smaller families. It’s also really close to Casa Romantica making it a great location to soak up some culture and keep you very close to the beach!
While there is a kitchen, you area also in close proximity to great restaurants if you’d rather take the night off.
San Clemente Hideaway A
This updated rental is a short walk to the beach and has been fully updated. It sleeps 8 making a great place to take your larger family.
San Clemente is full of beach cottages and these rentals are clean, cool and right where you need to be!
Browse rentals, book confidently, and always get the guaranteed best price on Vacasa.com.
And, if you or someone you know owns a vacation rental, consider having Vacasa professionally manage your home.
Not sure where you want to travel to? Check out this Summer Travel Trends Report.
San Clemente is a great place for a weekend getaway where there is as much or as little to do as you want. It’s charming and relaxing and has a variety of activities that everyone in the family will love!
Vacasa can help you find the perfect rental property so you can start planning your visit ASAP!
Pin these weekend getaway ideas for San Clemente for later
Now that you know what to do in San Clemente, CA when are you planning your trip? Whether you stay in a home or condo, Vacasa has the perfect property for your family!