Introducing San Clemente
Just before reaching San Diego County, PCH slows down and rolls past the laid-back surf town of San Clemente. Home to surfing legends, top-notch surfboard companies and Surfing magazine, this unpretentious enclave may be one of the last spots in the OC where you can authentically live the surf lifestyle. Right on, brah.
A quick detour inland, the Surfing Heritage Foundation tells the history of the sport by exhibiting surfboards ridden by the greats, from Duke Kahanomoku to Kelly Slater. Call for directions.
Otherwise, turn south off PCH and follow Avenida del Mar as it winds south through San Clemente’s retro downtown district, where antiques and vintage shops, eclectic boutiques, cafes, restaurants and bars line the main drag. Keep curving downhill toward the ocean until you hit San Clemente City Beach, stretching beside the historic 1296ft-long San Clemente Pier, where Prohibition-era bootleggers once brought liquor ashore. Surfers go north of the pier, while swimmers and bodysurfers take the south side. Further south along the coast, at the foot of Trafalgar Street, T-Street is another popular surf break.