Calafia Beach, San Clemente

Calafia Beach is a part of the San Clemente State Park but is also open to the public year round.

It is the type of beach that has everything, a snack bar nearby, bathrooms, showers, and parking (although metered.)

On this second weekend in September, the day was bright making the Pacific Ocean sparkle in a bluish green hue.   It was the perfect kind of afternoon where everything looked more colorful.  The water as mentioned ,had the prettiest tint, the coast line was as clear as I have ever seen it. There were multicolored umbrellas looking extremely vibrant, and even the sand had a sparkle.

Everything seemed to sparkle on this perfect day

With the coast in California sometimes socked in with a gray marine layer, this day was like someone turned on a bright light across the Southern California coast.

So with the weather still perfect, we decided to give this place a try.

To get there and after you park your car, you walk by the Calafia Beach Café and head toward the waves.  There is a pathway that allows you to safely pass over the railroad tracks where Amtrak and Metrolink pass by from time to time.

The tracks run right near the beach

I liked Calafia Beach a lot and so did a lot of other people.  Summer was rapidly coming to an end but the days were still warm which brought in the crowds for the weekend.

Although the humidity was long gone, it was a nice enough day to cool off in the ocean.  The water temperature was far from warm but still refreshing enough to take a dip.

Except there was one problem and the only negative I would say about this beach …you can put your body in jeopardy just by going in the water!!   A huge negative for me as that is what I like to do best, take a swim on a hot day like this.

With the risk of sounding over dramatic, the waves were pounding on the shore, I mean exploding!

Waves pounding near shore

Other than down the way a bit where there were surfers, nobody was farther out than ankle deep in the water.  Parents were holding on to their kids tightly as not to let them get scooped up by the receding wave and then brought back in by the next angry breaker.   I can’t really say that this is the way it is every day though. However, the sand is sloped and it looked like there was a drop off that didn’t appear to be very user friendly if you wanted to go swimming.

Nobody went in further than their ankles

It didn’t look like a family beach, although there were plenty of kids.  There were large groups under tents with picnics going on, yet there were plenty of places to set up your spot.

Calafia Beach is not too far from the San Clemente Pier but is more secluded while hidden between the bluffs near the state park.

Other than the café, there is nothing else there.

It is all about the beach.

As I mentioned, I don’t know if the waves are always that tumultuous. However, if you want a beach where you can let your kids run amok in the breakers, this may not be the place for you.

Other than that, it is an amazing beach and worth a visit.

Story and photos: Debbie Colwell


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