San Clemente State Beach
Guide

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Introduction

Situated on the coast of the Golden State of California, San Clemente State Beach is the perfect destination for your next RV getaway. The area is known for its abundant wildlife and enjoyable climate year round. Most days you can expect the highs to be in the 60s and 70s, but it may drop down to the 40s when night falls, so be prepared.

The San Clemente State Beach area is also rich in cultural and natural history that would excite even the kids. The tall sandstone bluffs along the beach were formed over millions of years of wind and sea erosion, carving out the canyon walls you see today. You may even think the bluffs resemble a desert setting, and you're not the only one. The bluffs have been used to shoot several western movies and TV shows.

Aside from snapping pictures of the beautiful scenery, you can also explore the nature trails, enjoy a nice picnic, or go down to the beach and surf, swim, relax, boogie board, play, and fish. Whether you love cultural history or not, don't leave without checking out the one-of-a-kind Visitor's Center, which was originally a Spanish Colonial cottage.

RV Rentals in San Clemente State Beach

Transportation in San Clemente State Beach

Driving

The entrance of San Clemente State Beach can be easily accessed from I-5, in either direction, by taking the Avenida Calafia exit. The roads inside of the park are paved and mostly level, so they shouldn't pose too many problems while trying to drive on them. Parking is available at each campsite and there is also the day use and overflow parking lot for any additional vehicles you tow. The roads within the campground are somewhat narrow and it may be difficult to make some of the turns if you are going too fast, so slow down when you enter the park, especially if you are towing a vehicle. Towing an extra vehicle isn't necessary when visiting San Clemente State Beach, especially if you are only staying for a night or two, because the park isn't all that big. But if you plan on staying for several nights an extra vehicle may be useful so that you can easily get in and out of the park. Many visitors choose to explore the park on foot or on bike, but you should keep in mind that bikes are not allowed in all parts of the park. For example, the nature trail above the RV campground does not allow bikes.

Parking

Public Transport

Campgrounds and parking in San Clemente State Beach

Campsites in San Clemente State Beach

Reservations camping

RV Campground at San Clemente State Beach

The campground at San Clemente State Beach is any RV vacationer's dream come true. With 72 sites available with water, sewer, and electricity hook-ups, everything you need to have an enjoyable camping experience is there for you. The parking spurs at the campsites are paved and level and can accommodate RVs up to 30 feet in length. Several of the campsites can accommodate larger rigs, but you'll have to double check and make sure whatever site you reserve can accommodate your equipment.

Each site features a shade ramada, picnic table, and fire ring. Restrooms and showers are available at two different locations within the campground and a dumping station is nearby. There is lots to explore at San Clemente State Beach, and luckily it is all pretty close to the RV campground. A nature trail is located directly above the campground and the shorter Butterfly Trail is located beside it. Of course, the beach is just a short walk away as well. Your pet is welcome to stay with you at the campground, although dogs are not allowed on the beach or the trails. If you prefer to park your rig elsewhere and pitch a tent there are 55 tent-only campsites available as well.

First-come first-served

RV Campground at San Clemente State Beach

You may be lucky enough to get a campsite without reservations, but no sites are specifically first-come, first-served, so make reservations if you want to be guaranteed a spot.

Alternate camping

Seasonal activities in San Clemente State Beach

In-Season

Enjoying the Beach

The mile long stretch of beach is the perfect place to soak up some sun, whether you're on the shore or in the water. Although it may be busy during peak season, the ocean is a great place for the whole family to swim and play, while experienced surfers love the waves you can catch. However, the waves are not too big or too strong for beginners to get out there and give it a try, especially on a paddle board. So park your rig at the beach and get ready to soak up the rays of the California sun.

Fishing

Another activity many visitors enjoy is surf fishing. After obtaining a valid California fishing license you will be ready to start catching creatures such as bass and corbina. If you're willing to get your hands dirty you may even be able to catch some crabs, mussels, and grunion. You will have to bring your own fishing rods, though, because they are not provided at the park. And always exercise caution when fishing around other people.

Snorkeling

Unsurprisingly, San Clemente State Beach is a popular snorkeling destination. A whole aquatic world of sea stars and other awesome creatures await you just under the surface of the ocean. Snorkeling can be a fun way to enjoy the afternoon as a family or a great opportunity to explore solo. However, snorkeling gear is not available at the park so be sure to bring your own in your rig or rent some before arriving.

Off-Season

Wildlife Viewing

San Clemente State Beach is rich in wildlife all year long, but it may be easier to enjoy during off-season when it is not so busy. Whether you are relaxing on the shore or strolling down the nature trail you are likely to see an abundance of local wildlife including squirrels, raccoons, lizards, snakes, doves, hawks, ravens, and maybe even coyotes or foxes. Just be sure to keep a safe distance from wildlife and never feed them.

Exploring the Butterfly Trail

The Butterfly Trail is open year-round but is especially alluring in the winter during the Monarch migration. Monarchs migrate each year to get out of the cold and what could be better than this sunny warm coast of California? The Butterfly Trail is a short loop that starts above the RV campground and continues down towards the other end. The trail is handicap accessible and also suitable for bikes, making it a must for all visitors.

Picnicking

The day use and picnic areas are open year-round, providing the perfect scenic setting for any picnic or gathering when you want to get out of the camper. The picnic area sits atop the bluffs 150 feet above the beach, so you can watch the waves crash as you enjoy a meal with your friends or family. Larger group picnic areas are available, which is great for larger groups or parties, just be sure to always clean up after yourself to keep the beach and surrounding areas beautiful and to keep the wildlife at bay.

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