San Clemente, Calif.
-- If you're looking for Americana, head to the San Clemente Pier. It's the best
of Southern California in a very laid back experience that makes you feel glad
to be alive. It doesn't hurt to arrive on a sunny day with the temperature
hovering around 74 degrees and the a light, gentle breeze keeping the sky ever
so blue to match the shades of the water below you. This wooden pier is a dream
come true for those (like myself) who get caught up in work, traffic and endless
lists of things to do. Sometimes you know you're going to blow a fuse if you
don't slow down and take time to smell the ocean, watch the seagulls and share
moments with buddies. I snatched away a friend whose husband was out
playing golf at one of the 100 or so Southern California golf courses. He took
the Porsche Boxter and her son, Danny, had borrowed her Lexus. So like a hundred
friends who've found comfort in my Toyota Avalon, I did the driving and she
commented on what a comfortable car I had.
We arrived at the
pier in less than an hour from Sunset Beach and the weather was ideal. Combining
Mary's need for food with my desire to walk on this pier, we combined our wishes
and both got what we wanted. Strolling
on the San Clemente Pier is like rolling back time to a different era. There
aren't fancy stores, colorful flags and urban noise to pollute this pier. It's
new wooden planks are seamlessly set and easy on the feet so you don't trip.
The railings are painted blue to match the ocean. And the lifeguard tower is
raised for clear viewing of the beaches below, offering the assurance that
someone's looking out for those children, moms and dads, all frolicking in the
enter the pier, there's a restaurant on both sides of the pier. Are they
different? One offers a bar with cocktails and the other doesn't. Voted "The
Best Seafood in San Clemente," both sides of the restaurant have the same menu
and great views. The Fishermans Restaurant and Bar dining makes for a pier
immersion experience. You can sit, watch, taste, smell and enjoy. It's well
worth the time and money to peruse the extensive, affordable menu and taste
fresh preparations, hearty servings and ambience beyond compare. Location: San
Clemente Pier, 611 Avenida Victoria, San Clemente, CA 92672. Phone:
If you fancy a cocktail or cold beer, you can
enjoy something frosty to whet your thirst on a hot summer day or cool Socal
night. You don't have to dine at the pier to enjoy its charms, however.
Just take some walking shoes and wander to the end of this family-friendly pier
for some fresh air, scenic views and a truly good vibration.
Note: For years since
two sisters from San Clemente published a book about Orange County Beaches, I've
been wanting to visit their home town and explore the many beaches and coves
that make up the southern reaches of wealthy, laid back Orange County,
California. Once I managed to grab an hour to explore this coastal gem and
former Western Whitehouse for Richard Nixon. But an hour just isn't enough
time to walk on a pier, dine with the ocean at your feet and explore the hidden
secret of Orange County, San Clemente.
In several weeks
I made the effort to head to It takes anywhere from 50 minutes to just over
an hour to get from North Orange County (Sunset Beach) to San Clemente. Depending on the stoplights and if it is rush hour,
the drive on Pacific Coast Highway or San Diego Freeway can take the same amount
of time. But there's absolutely no comparison...the coastal route is the
preferred choice for scenery, hands down.