We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
The latest reviews. The lowest prices. The perfect place to shop for hotels.

“A few hours on the beach” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of San Onofre State Beach

San Onofre State Beach
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Popular with swimmers and surfers, this state park features 3.5 miles of sandy beaches.
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“A few hours on the beach”
5 of 5 bubbles 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
1 Thank Rene M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

118 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Pasadena, California
Level Contributor
75 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“The Best Family Beach Ever”
5 of 5 bubbles 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
2 Thank Helena M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ontario, California, United States
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“San Mateo Campground: NOT Beach Camping”
1 of 5 bubbles 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
7 Thank Dawn B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laguna Beach
Level Contributor
26 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“A step back in time”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 22, 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
Thank Lagunakahuna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
24 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“San Onofre Bluffs Camping”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 27, 2012

San Onofre bluffs are right along the I5 and railway tracks but really it is not hard to sleep if you bring ear plugs even while sleeping in a tent. Think of it as overflow camping for all of southern California and you should get the picture... Employees are great as is the surf nearby.

Visited July 2012
6 Thank Tyler T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed San Onofre State Beach also viewed

San Clemente, Orange County
San Clemente, Orange County
San Clemente, Orange County

Been to San Onofre State Beach? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing