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San Clemente, No Car Necessary

Take Amtrak 1.5 hours north for an authentic beach town vibe.

San Clemente's train "station" deposits you right in front of the pier.
San Clemente's train "station" deposits you right in front of the pier.

Halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles is the charming coastal town of San Clemente, CA. Somewhat akin to San Diego in its wholesomeness, San Clemente also boasts beachside ambiance without the pretensions commonly found in more posh Southern California destinations.

The Amtrak Surfliner stops right on the beach a couple of times a day, so a train adventure up the coast is a definite go. On the other side of the tracks is the wooden-planked San Clemente Pier (at left) with the wonderful Fisherman's Restaurant (611 Avenida Victoria) perched right above the waves. A walk on the pier is a great way to work off some calories before or after dinner and enjoy some fresh air and beautiful scenery.

I stayed at the Spanish-themed Beachcomber Motel (533 Avenida Victoria) overlooking the train tracks. The themed gardens and exotic landscaping were entrancing. Across the street is the quaint Seahorse Resort (602 Avenida Victoria), and very close by you’ll find the most delicious crepes ever to find their way into your mouth at La Galette Creperie (612 Avenida Victoria)! Beach Ice Cream (624 Avenida Victoria) has the tastiest hot chocolate around.

Winter view of the Pacific from San Clemente's Beachcomber Motel.

If you are detecting that all these business lie within close range of one another, you are correct. It’s possible to kick back right on the beach and have a host of attractive culinary options to chose from.

Up the road, the town's business district holds a few worthy stops. My daughter went crazy at Cottage Bliss (211 S. Avenida Del Mar), a shop full of dazzling and entrancing glittery collectibes and feminine objets d' art.

A getaway to San Clemente is close enough to feel convenient – and just far enough away to pique your wanderlust.

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San Clemente's train "station" deposits you right in front of the pier.
San Clemente's train "station" deposits you right in front of the pier.

Halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles is the charming coastal town of San Clemente, CA. Somewhat akin to San Diego in its wholesomeness, San Clemente also boasts beachside ambiance without the pretensions commonly found in more posh Southern California destinations.

The Amtrak Surfliner stops right on the beach a couple of times a day, so a train adventure up the coast is a definite go. On the other side of the tracks is the wooden-planked San Clemente Pier (at left) with the wonderful Fisherman's Restaurant (611 Avenida Victoria) perched right above the waves. A walk on the pier is a great way to work off some calories before or after dinner and enjoy some fresh air and beautiful scenery.

I stayed at the Spanish-themed Beachcomber Motel (533 Avenida Victoria) overlooking the train tracks. The themed gardens and exotic landscaping were entrancing. Across the street is the quaint Seahorse Resort (602 Avenida Victoria), and very close by you’ll find the most delicious crepes ever to find their way into your mouth at La Galette Creperie (612 Avenida Victoria)! Beach Ice Cream (624 Avenida Victoria) has the tastiest hot chocolate around.

Winter view of the Pacific from San Clemente's Beachcomber Motel.

If you are detecting that all these business lie within close range of one another, you are correct. It’s possible to kick back right on the beach and have a host of attractive culinary options to chose from.

Up the road, the town's business district holds a few worthy stops. My daughter went crazy at Cottage Bliss (211 S. Avenida Del Mar), a shop full of dazzling and entrancing glittery collectibes and feminine objets d' art.

A getaway to San Clemente is close enough to feel convenient – and just far enough away to pique your wanderlust.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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