San Clemente is the real Southern California beach town. If you want a beautiful beach and great surfing options, San Clemente is the beach town for you. We lived here back in the 60's and have been coming here for week long beach vacations since the late 90's.
The most amazing thing to us is that "Old Town San Clemente" hasn't changed a bit. Sure, up in the hills there's houses galore and all the shopping you could ask for. There's even a huge outlet shopping center being built as I write this in October of 2015.
When we come to San Clemente we stay at the Sea Horse Resort. The family who owns the Sea Horse have been advertisers with us since the late 90's. There's only a few beach lodging opportunities in San Clemente. All the other hotels are a mile or more from the beach. We started coming to the Sea Horse because it is a condominium style resort. Though there are several excellent restaurants on the same street, we like to have the option of cooking our meals.
Now, Im going to share with you a trip report I wrote about our visit to the Sea Horse Resort a few years ago.
Trip Report - San Clemente, CaliforniaFlash - Update: 6:52 p.m. April 9
It's hailing now as I write this at the beach in San Clemente, California. Only in California could you experience the weather we've had in the past 72 hours. Now, I'll flash back to the beginning of our trip.
Saturday - We live in the San Bernardino Mountains, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles. I woke up around 7 a.m. to find snow falling at a fast pace. Our daughter Dorea needed to be at the Ontario airport by 10 a.m. and this is our weekend to go to our favorite beach place - the Sea Horse Resort in America's secret beach town, San Clemente.
Chains are required to get out of town. Cars with less prepared people are stranded on the road as we plowed our way through the snow and around the stalled cars. Finally we are below the snow line and take off the chains. We get Dorea to the airport on time, take time for breakfast at Michael J's in Ontario and then head off to San Clemente.
Our condo suite at the Sea Horse is like a second home to us. Our car is packed like we're staying for a month but we're only going to be here for three nights. It rained here earlier in the day but the storm has passed. Pat and I settle in for an evening of relaxing in our ocean front suite and listening to the pounding surf.
Sunday - The sun is out like it has never seen a cloud before. It's cool in the shade but toasty warm in the sun. Today is Farmers' Market on the main street of San Clemente. It's too early, though, for shopping the market place. So, I go to Winchell's for a doughnut or maybe three doughtnuts.
Pat and I finish off the doughuts. It's about 11 a.m. We walk up the street a few blocks to the Farmers' Market. This is a real Farmer's Market with no junk stuff allowed. We're greeted with a hugh display of fresh cut flowers, boxes and boxes of dark red plump strawberries just picked early this morning, freshly baked breads, and an assortment of fresh produce, the likes of which you can't buy in the supermarket.
With a three pack of strawberries in hand we return to the Sea Horse. We eat several strawberries and then gather our beach gear and head off to the beach, which is just across the street.
Pat bought some new high tech beach chairs at Costco. This is our first day to use them. We only walk down the beach about 50 yards to have the beach to ourselves. The new chairs open easily and we plop down into them to soak up the warm sun.
Monday - The sun is gone and the clouds are back. You wouldn't believe that yesterday we were basking in the rays of the sun. Today is just a hang around day. It's cold outside. Taking our daily walk on the beach, we need to bundle up. First, we stop at the little market to grab a cup of coffee. All gathered here on this little beach street are several restuarants, a pizza place, and the tiny market.
On the beach we find a nice place to sit, sip coffee, and watch the several surfers out catching the waves. Then we head up off the beach an into town,about a five minute walk. The main street is quiet and invites you to strool leisurely while enjoying the variety of shops and places to eat.
Back in the Sea Horse, we pull our chairs up by the huge picture windows to read and watch the changing ocean scene. Squalls stretch across the horizon obscuring Catalina Island.
We have plenty to eat in our Sea Horse condo unit, but Pat suggests a margarita and snacks at the Fisherman Bar and Restaurant on the pier across the street. The earlier rains have chased everyone off the outdoor patio. So, for a few minutes we have it all to ourselves. Surrounding the patio to keep the wind off of you is plexiglass about waist high. Propane gas heaters are placed all around the patio tables to keep us cozy warm.
Both of us order margaritas, hot sourdough bread, and large prawns. As we sip and nibble we watch a squall to the north. It's moving slowly. In the distance, but quite clear, is Catalina. Two margaritas later, it looks like the rain won't hit us. Big fluffy colds are hovering over and above my left shoulder.
The patio sits right above the water. To my left the pier juts out into the ocean. Two surfers enter the cold water and paddle out to catch the sketchy waves. Just when we're sure there will be no rain, we feel sprinkles on our faces. Others abandon their tables quickly and seek shelter under the eaves. Pat and I remain to enjoy the light rain. Then the gentle drops turn to a a driving downpour and even we seek shelter. About five minutes pass and the rain slacks off to a sprinkle again. This is as good as time as any to walk back to the Sea Horse.
Not two minutes pass and the sprinkle turns to hail. It's so intense that you imagine gods are hurling the white pellets down on us to amuse themselves. Hail at the beach, can you believe that? It keeps up for almost five minutes. There's not enough to cover the crowd but enough to scoop up an toss. Only in California - snow, sunny beach, hail.