Known as the “Spanish Village by the Sea,” San Clemente more than lives up to expectations. The city, tucked along the coast between Los Angeles and San Diego, boasts gorgeous hill and mountain views, beaches, resplendent Spanish Colonial architecture, and what is arguably the world’s best climate—around 342 sunny days per year.
San Clemente has a small, surf-town vibe yet is close enough to urban areas that its residents don’t lose out on all of the conveniences of city living. This easy, laid-back atmosphere is in line with the original vision for the town, founded by former Seattle mayor and developer Ole Hanson. The dream was to build an escape, a haven from the big city and the bustle of day-to-day living, and though San Clemente now has a thriving population of around 64,000, the charm of this coastal village hasn’t wavered in the slightest.
Among the nostalgic red-tiled roofs of Spanish Colonials in top-tier neighborhoods and single-family homes with second-story patios ensconced by swaying palm trees, you’ll also find new-build luxury condos with ocean panoramics, contemporary estates with five or more bedrooms, and modest townhomes.
Premier surf-hub with miles of pristine beaches
Breathtaking combination of landscapes, from mountains to ocean
Just an hour away from both San Diego and Los Angeles
San Clemente is made up primarily of family households, though not all of those include children. With its sunny, warm climate and serene vibes, it’s easy to see why couples and families would want to find a slice of paradise away from the city.
In San Clemente, luxury, quaint charm, and beach aesthetics blend seamlessly to create a one-of-a-kind retail and commercial experience. There’s nowhere better to shop than Del Mar Street—also known as Avenida Del Mar—located downtown. Just steps away from the beach, you’ll be able to browse the many surf shops, boutiques and clothing stores, and specialty shops that hold treasure troves of beautiful items.
Apart from the many shops you’ll find on Del Mar Street, the area also has a bevy of excellent restaurant options. Check out Nick’s for delicious traditional American fare, seafood, and steak—all served with impeccable service and hospitality. A mouth-watering favorite, the prime-rib dip sandwich will have you stopping into Nick’s day after day for seconds (and thirds).
San Clemente also has several other prime spots for shopping, including The Outlets at San Clemente—with over 70 designer labels—and the restaurants along El Camino Real. Grab a caffeine boost at ZebraHouse Coffee before your day of window shopping, and let their impressive iced lattes add a sweet kick to your morning.
Another hot breakfast, brunch, and lunch spot is Antoine's Cafe, a local favorite that’s been voted best of San Clemente for eight consecutive years and serves popular menu items like breakfast tacos, steak and eggs, and award-winning bagels. Wind down with the complete Wine Country experience at Vine, where you can indulge in their craft cocktails, full bar, exceptional wines, and a seasonal menu prepared fresh by the open kitchen.
With a climate this great, it’s easy to see how San Clemente would be replete with options for activities and entertainment. In addition to its great beaches, trails and hiking, and retail districts, San Clemente also hosts several exciting and enjoyable events throughout the year that pair perfectly with a paradise lifestyle. Check out the family-friendly Ocean Festival, which features a youth pavilion with live performances and games along with the many contests and competitions for watersports, all benefiting ocean conservation efforts..
A unique weekly event, South OC Cars and Coffee, takes place at The Outlets every Saturday, right next to the beach. It draws in a mix of 1,000-3,000 different styles of cars—ranging from exotics to hot rods to everything in-between—and is the world’s largest weekly car show. Music enthusiasts will want to hit up the San Clemente Fiesta Music Festival and sing-along to the local performances hosted on three stages. The event also includes food booths, kids’ areas, and a motorcycle show.
San Clemente is home to a number of excellent schools. Top educational opportunities include:
Vista Del Mar Elementary School, K-5, well-rated public elementary with small class sizes
Vista Del Mar Middle School, 6-8, well-rated public middle school with small class sizes.
Shorecliffs Middle School, 6-8, well-rated public middle school focused on developing teamwork and innovation.
Bernice Ayer Middle School, 6-8, well-rated public middle school with dual immersion