Top 10 Surf Spots In San Clemente, California

surf spots in san clemente

There is no better place to spend your vacation than in San Clemente, California. Here you will get the opportunity to explore some incredible attractions which includes Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, San Clemente Pier, Surfing Heritage and Culture Centre, Vista Hermosa Sports Park and many other attractions. In addition to exploring, visitors are also exposed to incredible activities to indulge in such as surfing, sunbathing, bird watching and fishing. Even though there is so much to discover, most visitors come here for surfing thanks to the countless beaches in the area. Check out some of the best surf spots in San Clemente, California.

1. San Onofre State Beach

Posted by Anthony Pranger on Monday, 20 January 2020

If you love surfing, and you are looking for the perfect place to surf while you are in California, you can head to San Onofre State Beach or San O. The beach is a popular surfing spot. It is located next to Camp Pendleton in San Diego. This is a spot for both professional surfers and beginners. If you are not into surfing, there are other fun activities that you may indulge in including sunbathing, hiking, volleyball, fishing and entertaining yourself with bonfires. The beach is also perfect, and they are great for camping thanks to the 380 sites for both RVs and tent camping.

San Onofre State Beach

Address: 5200 S. Pacific Coast Hwy, San Clemente, CA, 92672

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

2. Church (Trestles)

Posted by Sthella Silva on Tuesday, 10 April 2018

If San Onofre State Beach has not met your standards, don’t worry, you have plenty of beaches to enjoy in California. For instance, Trestles is another beach known for attracting visitors from all over the globe just to surf on its water. Trestles is located along the tip of Sa Mateo Point and it has grown to be a surfer’s paradise thanks to its strong waves throughout the year. The best thing about the beach is that there are no houses around, which means you will enjoy some peace and quiet at the beach, also, you will not find super-rich property owners who are always eager to have your car towed.


Address: 3929 S El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

3. T-Street Beach

Posted by John Flash on Sunday, 18 August 2019

Located at the west end of Esplanade Beach, T-Street Beach is another beach worth checking out whenever you are ready. It might not be as exciting as San Onofre State Beach or Trestles but it does not mean that you will not enjoy yourself here. The beach is mostly known for its fine white sand but the true selling point of this beach is that it is located in a secluded area hence less crowded, making it perfect for surfing, without compromising your privacy. Always remember to keep your dog on a leash if you may wish to bring it along.

T-Street Beach

Address: 339 W Paseo De Cristobal, San Clemente, CA 92672, United States

Website: T-Street Beach

4. North Beach

Posted by North Beach Community Association, San Clemente on Thursday, 13 June 2013

If surfing is your preferred way of spending your vacation, there is no better place to enjoy it than at North Beach. Located at the north end of San Clemente, where the Pacific Ocean meets with the Avenida Pico, the North Beach is famous among surfers thanks to its strong waves. Apart from surfing, North Beach is also the perfect destination for swimming, bodyboarding, and many other watersport activities. When you are done enjoying the water activities, you can choose to bask in the sun or enjoy a delicious lunch at the North Beach Burger.

North Beach

Address: 1850 Avenida Estacion, San Clemente, CA 92672, United States

Website: North Beach

Opening hours: 4am - 12am (daily)

5. San Clemente Pier South

Posted by Western Surfing Association on Thursday, 6 December 2018

As its name suggests, San Clemente Pier South is located on the south side of San Clemente and is famous for being the ultimate sport for surfing. The only negative side about the beach is that sometimes it experiences high currents. Daring surfers might find this spot appropriate because of the high tides but before committing to this daring act, always keep in mind that the beach has been responsible for countless lifeguard rescues. Because of its unpredictable tides, the beach is normally closed during the summer.

San Clemente Pier South

Address: San Clemente Pier, San Clemente, CA 92672, United States

Opening hours: 4am - 12am (daily)

6. San Clemente Pier North


Posted by STANDUP PADDLE MAGAZINE on Saturday, 11 February 2017

On the north side of San Clemente, you will find another surfing spot worth trying out. One factor that makes this site a more appropriate surfing spot is its proximity to the parking lot which is located at the Avenida Del Mar. Depending on the size and peak of the waves, surfing at San Clemente Pier North can be really unpredictable but that does not deter surfers from enjoying this amazing spot, you will always find one or two. Other activities that can be enjoyed here include swimming, jet skiing, kite surfing, and wakeboarding. It is always recommended to arm yourself protective gear whenever you visit the beach.

San Clemente Pier North

Address: San Clemente Pier, San Clemente, CA 92672, United States

Opening hours: 4am - 12am (daily)

7. Doheny State Beach

Sisters tandem at Doheny State Beach. Photo: @jordananast

Posted by The Surf Channel on Thursday, 27 July 2017

Located on the south side of San Juan Creek, Doheny State Beach is the perfect spot for enjoying surfing for all levels. Even though the beach is not as fancy as the north beach, it features some incredible facilities such as picnic tables, fire rings, lifeguards, a campground and a lagoon which is perfect for swimming. You will have to pay for an ample parking space but if you rather have a free parking space, you can try your luck along the Coast Highway, close to the pedestrian overpass. Please note that dogs are not allowed on the beach.

Doheny State Beach

Address: 25300 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629, United States

Website: Doheny State Beach

Opening hours: 6am - 10pm (daily)

8. Cottons

Posted by Maverick Breaking Point on Sunday, 2 February 2020

Located in San Diego County, Cottons Point is a guard gated community in the most northern break of the Trestles area. The beach is known for its reefs and point break that are perfect for surfing. The best time to visit the beach is during the summer when the waves are strong hence attracting lots of surfers all armed with bigger boards, longboards, and big-guy fun boards. Given what it offers to the surfers, the beach may get overcrowded at times. Additionally, please note that the rocks are a hazard.


Address: 2358 S El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672, United States

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

9. Lower Trestles

Machado cutback, Lower Trestles, California
Source: Photo by user Mikefairbanks used under CC BY-SA 3.0

For many years, suffers have been crowding Lower Trestles just to enjoy the waves of this little paradise. Located less than 10 minutes’ drive from San Clemente, Lower Trestles offers every surfer the opportunity of enjoying surfing in strong waves. Despite being one of the most crowded surf breaks in Southern California, Lower Trestles is the perfect place to enjoy training and experimentation sessions. What makes Lower Trestles perfect for surfers is the fact that it is possible to enjoy surfing here every single day of the year. Apart from surfing, lower Trestles also features incredible wildlife and cultural features for visitors to discover

Lower Trestles

Address: 3929 S El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672

10. Upper Trestles

Posted by Larry Erman on Saturday, 1 February 2020

Upper Trestles is another surfing spot that you have to check out whenever you are visiting. Even though suffers mainly focus on the Trestles, Upper Trestles also has some amazing features to offer every surfer. One feature that makes Upper Trestles so unique is the consistent waves that make it perfect for surfing every day of the year. The surfing spot shifts with the movement of the sand and the cobblestone which helps in smoothing out the wave and letting it connect for longer rides. This surfing spot is perfect for both longboarders and shortboarders and for all skill sets.

Upper Trestles

Address: 3929 S El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Surf on the coast of San Clemente, California

Exploring a given town can be fun but it may come a time you may feel like you have exhausted all of your destinations. When that time comes, you should spend your extra time surfing on the beaches named above.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Irene Mwikali is a graduate student in Kenya who has a passion for travelling and exploring the world. Currently, her love for travel has taken her to several destinations including South Africa,...Read more

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