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“I didn't want to leave!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of San Onofre State Beach

San Onofre State Beach
Off Interstate 5 at Basilone Road, San Clemente, CA 92055
916-653-6995
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Ranked #7 of 11 Attractions in San Clemente
Type: Beaches, State Parks
Activities: Surfing, Walking
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Popular with swimmers and surfers, this state park features 3.5 miles of sandy beaches.
Redlands, California
2 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“I didn't want to leave!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2012

First of all, the train is RIGHT on the beach--so cool. After we couldn't find parking at the city beach, we pulled right into a spot practically on the sand at the state beach. It seemed very private, but they did have a snack bar and bathrooms. This is exactly the beach I will go to next time.

Visited September 2012
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55 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“A few hours on the beach”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 6, 2012

I loved being here.It was relaxing even though it was busy. Everyone was having fun. The beach was clean and the facilities were good.

Visited September 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pasadena, California
Top Contributor
75 reviews 75 reviews
17 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“The Best Family Beach Ever”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 5, 2012

We love going to SanO, AKA old mans. Very special beach where you can park right on the beach. The place has bathrooms and shoers are on the sand between plants and plam trees. there are fire pits and a perfect beach for people that wants to leanr to surf. Be aware on busy weekends and holidays if you dont get there early (the gate ones at 6 am) you can stay waiting in line for a long time. The beach closes at 10 pm. Also be prepared to bring eveything you need to drink or eat. There are no snack bars, stores or anything like that. If you come to spend the day, bring everything as a day camp. We usualy get there at 6 am and cook breakfast, lunch and dinner (usually a BBQ), then spend the last few hours by a firepit dancing to our music. Also, there are rocks on the beach so awater showe can be helpful.

Visited September 2012
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Ontario, California, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“San Mateo Campground: NOT Beach Camping”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2012

We reserved a campsite through Reserve America, looking for some beachfront camping. I was hoping to stay at Doheny Beach in Dana Point, but they were all booked up. So the agent told me about San Mateo Campground in San Onofre. She told me that there was a "Walking Trail" to the beach. I have three kids: 17, 10 and 3, and so I thought, "walking trail, ok, we can do that." My husband had to work, so he just brought us down to set us up, and then headed out. The bathrooms were dirty and frequently out of toilet paper, the showers required quarters (which the reservation agent neglected to tell us) and there were no facilities in the campground for buying ice, or wood, or any kind of supplies. There was nothing within walking distance for purchasing these items - - the only supermarket, "Ralphs" had moved or gone out of business. There was a Carls Jr., hamburger fast-food place about a mile from the campground. The "Walking trail" was mostly dirt and rock, and so severely uphill that my ten year old had difficulty navigating it, and my 17 year old and I traded off carrying the 3-year old on our backs. It was a hike for experienced hikers, not a mom and three kids in swimsuits and sneakers (thank goodness they weren't wearing flip-flops), carrying towels, buckets and a small ice chest with drinks. Upon arriving at the beach, I was disappointed to find that it was "The Trestle". If I had been a surfer, or knowledgeable about surfing, instead of a mom recently transplanted from Pennsylvania, I would have known that "The Trestle" is a surfing beach, not a swimming beach. There was no lifeguard, plenty of large rocks, and an abundance of rip currents.
In the end, my kids and I had a good time together, and a miserable time at the beach. We actually laugh about HOW miserable the campground, the hike, and the beach was. Do not trust Reserve America when you make reservations for state parks. They do not know. Talk to your friends. Get their recommendations. Ask them questions. Look at their pictures!

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laguna Beach
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
12 attraction reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“A step back in time”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 23, 2012

Wish you had grown up on the beaches of So Cal back in the 50's and 60's? Here is your chance. Grab a beat up station wagon, load up the kids and the boards, and head down to the real deal. Pack some food as sunset here is tough to beat.

Visited June 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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