San Onofre State Beach
  • San Onofre State Beach
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There’s one thing I don’t understand about San Diegans: why would you want to go to the beach on the 4th of July when you can go there 365 days a year?

I mean the fireworks from the beach are nice, but personally I hate going there and feel as if I’m packed like sardines in a can. People, pollution, tourists, drunks, crying kids are not quite my scene. Other than that, I love going to the beach; so Independence Day weekend I was in search of one for my own liking.

I don’t know if I can consider San Onofre State Beach a local San Diego beach, but it’s only 16 miles past Oceanside, by Camp Pendleton. I assume that the $15 a day entry fee scares most of the people away, because I finally found my peace and quiet.

The beach is only a short walk down through the bluff; once you’re down there you feel completely isolated from the rest of the world. It’s a perfect spot to learn how to surf or just watch the surfers as they gracefully ride the waves, read a book, play a game of chess, swim, walk along the beach holding the hand of your loved one, or just hear, breathe, feel the serenity of the ocean.

The power plant nearby (or the “giant boobies,” as they tend to be called in the folklore) is a little anticlimactic, but I look at them as part of 21st century architecture and I still have yet to see a three-headed dolphin there.

After a long day in the sand, if you still don’t want to leave, there is camping available where you can have a fire, a BBQ and a beer. The campground is $35 a night and pets are welcome. During the summer I'd advise to make a reservation in advance, as they fill up fast.

The camping spots are not nearly as idyllic as the beach below, but we have to acknowledge that we live in one of the most populous places in the U.S. and San Onofre State Beach is a great spot for a quick jaunt away from society – if that’s what you're looking for.

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