First, it is a great place for a romantic stroll or a family walk - long, level, well maintained and with lots to see. Get to the end where it Ts out or just lean against the rail anywhere along and look back at a very pretty part of San Clemente, including Ole Hansen's landmark Casa Romantica and what's called the Pier Bowl. Watch the surfers (some groms, some first-timers and occasionally some world-class locals), check out the buckets where the fisherman keep their catch, watch for dolphins that are often seen here.
Near the outer end, you can play chess on a table-sized board while you enjoy a snack at Shleppy's (terrible sounding name for a food place, but it was named for a long-lived local - a pelican that used to hang out here). Or go back to the beginning, where you will find a decent fish restaurant on the south side (very popular, so there is a wait at usual meal times) and a bar that serves lunch on the north. Both have outdoor seating - hanging over the surf - with a view from every table.
It's an important feature of San Clemente. What else would you want in a pier??
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