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Calafia Beach in San Clemente


Calafia Beach in San Clemente

Orange County beaches are world-famous. But with miles of coastline & too many beaches to count – that’s no surprise. And while you probably already have a favorite beach, if you’re looking for something new, or feeling adventurous check out Heather’s favorite… Calafia Beach In San Clemente.


Calafia Beach in San Clemente

San Clemente is one of the last Southern California surf towns. It’s one of the only cities along PCH that still maintains that quaint beach town vib , not yet overtaken by million dollar mansions, Starbuck’s, Ruby’s and chain stores. In fact, although I am an Orange County native (well…North OC), I didn’t know too much about this town other than we would pass through it on the way to Sea World and Vacation Village in Mission Bay. And I think the natives want to keep their precious secret.

I am now lucky enough to call this town home. And despite growing up on the sands of Huntington, Newport and CDM, I now think San Clemente is home to the best family beaches.

My favorite spot is Calafia State Beach. With two kids under the age of seven, it features all of the beach day necessities every mom needs – from clean restrooms, showers, mild waves , easy parking and a minimal walk from the car to the sand.


Here is why it ranks top on my list:

* Easy Parking:  Nothing kills the beach day buzz than fighting to hold your wiggly kids’ hands in the parking lot, while also trying to carry coolers, chairs, boogie boards and sand toys. And if you have to walk for more than five minutes, or go tackle dozens of stairs…even worse! Most days, if you arrive by noon at Calafia, you can get a space up close so you can get from your car to the sand in less than three minutes.

* Mellow Waves: Perfect beach waves for the boogie board and body surfing grom.

* Flat, Large & Soft Large Sand: There is always lots of room for you to spread out and a good amount of distance from the entrance to the water’s edge so even during high tide you don’t have to worry about getting swept out. It also is flat and relatively soft – perfect for sand castle building, laying out and picnics.

* Get Your Sweat On Before: Calafia is the last stop on the San Clemente beach trail – a 4.5 mile roundtrip path that starts at North Beach, goes past the Pier, and ends at Calafia. Perfect for runners or beginner bike riders. Often times we will run the trail first, and end with a beach day.

* Trains: Perfect for toddler boys, the train tracks border the beach so every 30 minute sor so, your choo-choo-loving son can see the Amtrak fly by.

* Clean Restrooms & Showers: Nothing is worse than being at the beach with kids who have to use the potty every 30 minutes and having the restrooms smell like a sewer – YUCK! I’m not going to say that the facilities are like the Ritz Carlton, but they are pretty darn clean for the beach. And the showers are awesome – it is on concrete far away from any sand so you can shampoo and soap your kiddos before heading into the car, keeping your car from  looking like a sand box.

* Easy Freeway Access: it is super easy to get to – less than 3 minutes from the freeway exit. No having to battle PCH or Newport Blvd. traffic.


Calafia Beach Tips & Tricks

* Yes – parking is easy, but get there early as spaces do fill up. In my experience, get there before 11:ooish on weekends; noon on weekdays.
* Bring quarters for the meters! Although they are installing electronic meters for credit cards, I don’t know when those will be up & running.
* If you have a state parking pass, bring it for FREE parking!
* Bring food – the snack bar is just treats, ice cream and popsicles (at least early in the season). This is healthier and less expensive anyhow.
* Don’t want to pack goodies? Stop by the Bagel Shack or Humphrey’s Sandwiches for sandwiches to go. Hungry on the way home? Grab a cookie from Sugar Blossom Bakery or grab a skinny cucumber margarita at South of Nicks.

Calafia Beach in San Clemente Directions

5 Freeway South. Exit Ave. Calafia in San Clemente. Get in the middle lane as you will want to proceed straight on Ave. Calafia. Keep heading straight until you see the parking lot and metered spaces.

xoxo, K & Heather

Meet Heather: I am a part-time blogger, part-time PR gal and full-time OC mom & housewife. My blog Sixty Minute Housewife offers tips, projects, ideas, recipes and products that help women become more creative, saner, knowledgeable, stylish, and ultimately (I hope!) happier housewives in 60 minutes or less each day. Each project, recipe or tip can be accomplished while your tinys are sleeping, while they are at preschool, or in between doing the dishes and when your {insert favorite guilty pleasure show} comes on. Follow heather on Twitter at @60MinuteHsewife or connect with her on Facebook.

ps. What’s YOUR favorite beach in Orange County? Is it now Calafia Beach in Dana Point?


About the author

Just Spotted is a family & kid oriented guide to living, visiting and dreaming about Orange County. Written by two real moms (Coleen & Kelly), living real lives, in the real OC. Coleen & Kelly seek adventure in the everyday, and Just Spotted is the place where they highlight those adventures. Just Spotted, the premiere family guide to Orange County, is a free public service and online resource offered to provide Orange County residents and visitors a wealth of knowledge with daily posts on things to do, where to go & places to shop in Orange County. xoxo, C & K

More posts by | Visit the site of K & C



  1. cecilia says:

    Thanks for this post! We are new to California and discovering the beaches closest to our home in Temecula. Heading here today with our 4 kids!

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