Sunset over Catalina

Sunset over Catalina

San Clemente is a city in Orange County, California. It’s known for San Onofre and San Clemente state beaches, with their surf breaks and sandstone bluffs. Running along the coast, the Beach Trail offers sea views and green parks. Near T-Street Beach, long San Clemente Pier stretches out into the Pacific Ocean. Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens embodies the city’s original Spanish-style architecture.
Elevation: 233′
Weather: 73°F (23°C), Wind W at 7 mph (11 km/h), 51% Humidity
Population: 65,309 (2016)
source: google

San Clemente CA

Almost Paradise…

San Clemente residents often think of their town as paradise—where the 1920’s vision of a Spanish Village by the Sea still lingers, the sun shines 342 days a year and the conveniences of metropolitan Southern California are balanced by fresh ocean air and beaches untouched by time. Just 75 years ago, most of the coastal land between Los Angeles and San Diego was no more than barren rolling hills covered with mustard and sagebrush. San Clemente was no exception.


People love the beautiful things…

casaoldA unique combination of personality, foresight, luck, and a good dose of marketing savvy transformed this stretch of land. But unlike so many other communities in the region, San Clemente’s geographical isolation helped protect its small-town charm from the homogeneous urban sprawl that permeates so much of this region.

As town founder Ole Hanson said in the late 1920s, “I get credit for building San Clemente. I am doing my best, but San Clemente’s development was as natural as a well-watered and fertilized tree to grow. It is on the coast. Its climate is superb. It is far enough from San Diego and Los Angeles to fill a real necessity. Besides, people love the beautiful things.”

People indeed love beautiful places and the boom in San Clemente’s population, this year reaching 67,892 in this 80 year-old community, reflects the popularity of San Clemente and the development that has transformed all of Orange County in the past century.

However, San Clemente started and has evolved differently than many of its neighboring communities.

San Clemente was among the first master planned communities built from totally open land in the United States. Before erecting a single structure on the rolling coastal hills, Ole Hanson laid out an expansive plan based on the Spanish Colonial architectural style including restaurants, a clubhouse, residences, public parks, a public pool, a fishing pier, and even equestrian trails.

Many thought Ole Hanson had lost his mind! Many thought Hanson had lost his mind, investing so much effort to build a community an hour’s distance from either Los Angeles or San Diego, the only two major cities in Southern California at the time.

In fact, his initial plan submission to the Orange County Board of Supervisors was rejected—the Board simply couldn’t imagine funding public streets when no building had yet been built.

But that didn’t stop Hanson. He opted to retain ownership of the roads, and in a stroke of marketing genius (or perhaps deception) Hanson whitewashed the unpaved roads to make them appear as clean, new concrete in the aerial photos he commissioned for his marketing brochures.

Hanson did not allow deviation from his Spanish Village dream. On a rainy day in December 1925, Ole Hanson managed to attract 600 people from Los Angeles and beyond to hear his real estate spiel. He chartered luxury limousines to transport prospective buyers; others were attracted by the free hot meals that accompanied his presentation. That was the birth of San Clemente, when average lots sold for $300. Prime lots went for $1,500. Within the first six months, Hanson set a record by selling 1,200 lots. Hanson was as “hands-on” as land developers get. Every home ownership deed mandated that residents comply with stringent Spanish Colonial Revival style guidelines, enforcing uniform handmade red tile roofs and whitewashed stucco walls. A tile and wrought iron foundry was even established in town to meet the needs of the rapidly growing community. Hanson did not allow deviation from his Spanish Village dream. In fact, if a home was built that didn’t comply with his guidelines, he would either pay for its remodeling or purchase it himself to rebuild in accordance.

Increasingly look to the past to anchor their sense of local identity. Today, the Spanish Village by the Sea is more heterogeneous than Hanson had envisioned, but historic homeowners and current planning and development all reflect increasing esteem for his red-roofed, white-walled Spanish architecture dream.

As San Clemente grows, people increasingly look to the past to anchor their sense of local identity.

Historic homeowners must abide by city codes that protect the aesthetic spirit and style of early San Clemente. New development east of the 5 freeway now elevates Spanish Colonial Revival architecture to new interpretations, incorporating red roofs, balconies, and promenades as the demographics of San Clemente shift and new residents are drawn to the Mediterranean charm of this community. City development officials have leveraged new growth to funnel money into programs that reinvigorate and restore the historic downtown.

Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens Perhaps the best example of San Clemente’s increasing appreciation for its past is the exciting restoration underway at the Casa Romantica, which was Ole Hanson’s bluff top home at the time of the City’s founding. The Casa Romantica was completed in 1928, and after Hanson lost it to the bank during the Great Depression, the Casa passed through various owners. The wear and tear of time and neglect took its toll and at one point the outstanding landmark seemed destined for demolition. Fortunately, a group of local activists pushed hard for the Casa Romantica’s rescue, and directed its destiny away from commercial alternatives and toward a use that will benefit all of the community—that of a Cultural Center and Gardens.

The Casa Romantica project has garnered attention from a wide-range of San Clementeans. In addition to the lengthy list of donors who are funding its restoration, nearly 100 residents have offered to volunteer as the future site of performing and visual arts, educational programs, and world-class gardens.


San Clemente Pier

San Clemente Pier

San Clemente Pier is an icon of the city and one of the best spots to visit in Orange County. A great place to dine, watch a sunset, enjoy the beach, and more. The pier was originally built in 1928 at 1,200 ft. in length, and then rebuilt in 1985 and now spans 1,296 ft. long. San Clemente Pier is located at the end of Avenida Del Mar along Avenida Victoria. There is a paid parking lot adjacent to the pier from 9am to 5pm daily, and is otherwise free. There is also metered parking along streets near the pier. Fisherman’s Restaurant is located on the pier and is great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Casa Romantica has one of the best views of the San Clemente Pier. The pier is accessible via the San Clemente Trolley.


The San Clemente Pier is 1,296 feet in length and was rebuilt out of wood in 1985. The original San Clemente pier was built in 1928 spanning 1,200 ft. In 1939 and again 1983 heavy storms severely damaged the pier making it necessary to rebuild the structure. San Clemente Pier is currently home to Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar located at the entrance of the pier. The pier has always been a popular place for surfing, sunsets, and relaxing at the beach.


SoCal beaches

SoCal beaches

San Clemente Pier Beach is the main city beach of San Clemente, California. The beach is a wide sandy spot on both sides of the pier between T-Street Beach and Linda Lane Beach. Although the railroad tracks run right behind the beach, it is a nice setting with palm trees and grassy areas near the pier entrance. A large parking area at Parque del Mar City Park provides access to San Clemente Pier, the beach, and many shops and restaurants. Street parking is available when the lot fills up. The San Clemente Coastal Trail runs north and south from here to access all the beaches between San Clemente State Beach and North Beach (2.5 miles end to end).

Monterey CA coastline

Monterey CA coastline

Breath taking drive…beautiful day…priceless

Highway One is the best-known scenic drive in Monterey County, and one of the top scenic drives in the world. It’s a National Scenic Byways Program All-American Road and a State Scenic Highway. It’s been named one of the best scenic drives in the U.S. by (among others) Forbes, ShermansTravel, Falcon Guides, SmarterTravel, GORP, and Lonely Planet, one of the world’s best drives by London’s Sunday Times, and a “Drive of a Lifetime” by National Geographic Traveler.

Highway One through Monterey County shows off a wide range of local geography. At Monterey County’s northern border, you’ll see the flat wetlands of Elkhorn Slough and the working fishing port of Moss Landing. As you head south, you’ll pass artichoke fields and rolling sand dunes on your way to Monterey. Head south of Monterey, and you’ll see cypress forests followed by the breathtaking craggy coastline of Carmel Highlands. Drive even further south and you’ll see the towering cliffs, beautiful redwoods and stunning bridges of Big Sur