San Onofre State Beach
San Onofre State Beach is a wonderful place for any van lifer to spend time camping and surfing on the California coast. The park is a 3,000-acre and 3 miles south of San Clemente on Interstate 5 at Basilone Road. The state park is leased to the state of California by the United States Marine Corps. Governor Ronald Reagan established San Onofre State Beach in 1971. This is a must visit location for any van lifer wanting to explore SoCal.
San Onofre State Beach is locally known as “Old Mans” and is one of the most popular surf spots in Southern California. The beach offers surfing, swimming, sunbathing, camping at San Onofre Bluffs, fishing and cycling. All perform best on a south swell, though the beach takes any surf and slows it down to a very slow pace. The entire area is covered by a rock reef, often making walking into or out of the water difficult.
About a mile north of San Onofre Beach is the world-famous “Trestles”. Trestles is inaccessible by vehicle so you have to walk but if you’re a serious, surfer this is the best surf break in SoCal.
Located directly north of San Onofre is the Camp Pendleton Beach Resort “Churches”. The name refers to the long-gone chapel which was located near the site.
“Trails” is the most southern of surf spots in this region and includes both rock bottom and sandy breaks. Trails are also the last point to camp at San Onofre. Camping is on the bluffs with cold showers and ‘flush’ pit toilets nearby.
San Onofre Bluffs is located at 5200 S. Pacific Coast Hwy, San Clemente, CA, 92672 and offers camping and day-use parking along Old Highway 101 adjacent to the beautiful sandstone bluffs. This beach below is popular with swimmers and surfers with six rugged dirt access trails cut into the bluff above. All campsites include a fire pit and picnic table. The campground offers cold outdoor showers and chemical toilets. No RV hookups are available, however, there is a RV dump-station.
San Mateo Campground is at 830 Cristianitos, San Clemente, CA, 92672 and is a short distance inland from San Onofre State Beach. A 1.5-mile Nature Trail connects the campground to “Trestles Beach,” the world-class surfing site. Surfers using redwood boards have visited San Onofre since at least the 1940s; San Mateo Creek flows just east of the campground outward towards the ocean creating key riparian and wetland habitats that host some rare and even endangered species. All campsites include a fire pit and picnic table. RV Hookup sites are available with electricity and water. Other amenities include a dump-station, hot indoor showers, and flush toilets. Camping is available year-round.
This state beach is 3 miles south of the city of San Clemente on Interstate 5 at Basilone Road. San Onofre Bluffs and San Onofre Surf Beach are located south of San Clemente on I-5 (Exit Basilone Road). The San Mateo Campground is located on the outer edge of San Clemente; 1 mile inland from I-5 (Exit Cristianitos)