San Onofre State Beach

UPDATE (July 16, 2020) - California State Parks continues to work with locals on a phased and regionally-driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. Even though the department has increased access across the State Park System, the need for Californians to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the outdoors remains critical.

As such, State Parks continues to ask visitors to plan ahead, avoid road trips and stay close to home, maintain physical distancing, wear a face covering when a physical distance of six feet from others who are not from the immediate household members cannot be maintained, and avoid congregating. This means no gatherings, picnics or parties. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance. Full details on the guidelines are available at parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Here are some guidelines for people visiting San Onofre State Beach:

What is open now?
  • All day-use parking lots are open at full capacity.
  • Camping is now available at San Onofre State Beach, San Mateo Campground and San Onofre Bluffs. Group campsites will remain closed. For more information about camping, visit www.parks.ca.gov/COVID19Camping.To make a reservation, visit www.ReserveCalifornia.com or call 800-444-7275.

What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this Park:
  • San Mateo Campground Group camp
  • San Onofre Bluffs Group camps 1 and 2

Are there any new visitor guidelines?
Yes, please see below:

  • Stay Local: Stay close to home. Walk or bike into the park. Parking is very limited. Do not take road trips to parks and beaches or to neighboring states.  
  • Stay Active: Keep walking, jogging, hiking and biking. Watch for one-way trails.
  • Stay Safer at 6 Feet: Maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Gatherings, picnics and parties are not allowed. Visitors will be asked to leave if there are too many people at the park, beach or on trails to allow for the required physical distance.
  • Stay Clean: Be prepared. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash.
  • Stay Covered: The state now requires you to wear a face covering in most indoor settings and public outdoor spaces when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more from people outside of your immediate household. For details, please visit CDPH’s guidance here. Visitors should also abide by their local county health orders.

Thank you for your patience and continued support of California State Parks as we work to limit your risk for exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors. For more information, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.

Phone Number

(949) 492-4872

Max. Trailer Lengths

Trailer: 25 Feet
Camper/Motorhome: 25 Feet

Park Hours

Surf Beach
  (4/15 - 9/31) 6:00 AM -10:00 PM
  (10/1 - 4/14) 6:00 AM - 8:00 PM

Bluffs/Trails 
  6:00 AM - Sunset

San Mateo Campground
  6:00 AM - 10:00 PM

Dogs Allowed?

Yes
Except for service animals, dogs not allowed in buildings or on the beach.

Driving Directions to San Onofre SB

The beach is three miles south of San Clemente on I-5 (Basilone Road.)

Camping and Lodging

Visitors will be able to reserve campsites and lodging six months in advance from the current date. Bookings may extend from the arrival date to the desired departure date – based on availability and the park’s maximum stay rules.

Upcoming Park Events

No events scheduled at this moment.

OVERNIGHT FACILITIES
En route Campsites
Family Campsites
Group Campsites
Primitive Camping
RV Sites w/Hookups
RV Dump Station
RV Access
TRAIL USE
Bike Trails
Hiking Trails
DAY-USE ACTIVITIES & FACILITIES
Picnic Areas
Exhibits and Programs
Fishing
Interpretive Exhibits
Scuba Diving/Snorkeling
Beach Area
Swimming
Nature & Wildlife Viewing
Windsurfing/Surfing
Family Programs
Geocaching
OTHER FACILITIES & VISITOR INFORMATION
Parking
Restrooms / Showers
Restrooms
Outdoor Showers
Drinking Water Available
Wheelchair Accessible

In an effort to protect public health and the safety of our visitors, volunteers and staff as the state responds to the continued threat of COVID-19, California State Parks is temporarily closing the District Office, Sector Offices and Visitor Centers within the Orange Coast District. While we are not directly affected by COVID-19, we are monitoring the situation carefully and are committed to being responsive and following California Governor’s updated policy on social gatherings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The parks will remain open for Day Use and Camping. We recognize the importance of visiting all the parks and beach within Orange Coast District represents an opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy fresh air with family and friends and escape from our daily routines. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause your visit. We thank you for your patience, trust and continued support. We’d also like to thank our volunteers and staff for their commitment and dedication as public servants through these challenging circumstances. For the most up-to-date information, please follow our Facebook page California State Parks – Orange Coast District.

 

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#SanOnofreStateBeach

Surfine State Beach Web Cam graphic

 San Onofre State Beach is one of California's most popular beaches and hosts surfers, swimmers, sunbathers, campers, kayakers, birders, fishermen and bicyclists. It has almost 2.5 million visitors per year and it is one of the top five most-visited state parks in California.  Whales, dolphins and sea lions can be seen offshore from time to time. Governor Ronald Reagan established San Onofre State Beach in 1971. The state beach has three distinct areas: the San Onofre Bluffs, the San Mateo Campground and the San Onofre Surf Beach. 

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 Onofre - San Mateo Campground is at 830 Cristianitos, San Clemente, CA, 92672 a short distance inland from the 3.5-miles of sandy beaches within 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 which 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 includes a dump-station, hot indoor showers, and flush toilets. Camping is available year-round.

San Onofre Surf Beach offers a world renowned and historical surf break. This area of the beach is only for “day-use” and there is no camping. Chemical toilets. cold showers, and a limited number of fire pits are available. Note: Alcohol is not permitted on any beach area at San Onofre. No vehicles over 25 feet are permitted at this location.

San Onofre has several surf breaks ranging from beginner’s gentle breaking waves to one of the premiere surf breaks in the United States at Trestles
.
• Trestles - Trestles is inaccessible by vehicle; a long walk via a nature trail from either the north or south end passing under the Trestles Bridge is necessary for access. This world-famous surfing area is known for its consistent waves.

• Church - Located near the Camp Pendleton Beach Resort, Church provides sunbathing and bird watching. The name refers to the long-gone chapel which was located near the site.

• Surf Beach –The area of beach is divided by the locality (named from north to south) into three breaks spots known as “The Point,” “Old Man’s,” and “Dogpatch.” 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.

• Trails - Trails is the most southern of surf spots in this region and includes both rock bottom and sandy breaks. Trails is also the last point to camp at San Onofre. Camping is on the bluffs with cold showers and 'flush' pit toilets nearby.

Surfline provides an internet source of beach weather and surf reports, including live streaming video feeds, and is Proud Partner of California State Parks.


Location-Directions

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)


Native America History: Panhe

San Onofre State Beach is the site of an ancient sacred California Indian village called “Panhe.” It was a large village and burial site of the “Acjachemen” people over 8,000 years ago. Many Acjachemen people trace their lineage back to Panhe. The site continues to be a sacred, ceremonial and cultural location for Acjachemen Indians. It was the site of the first baptism in California, and in 1769 saw the first close contact between Spanish explorers, Catholic missionaries and the Acjachemen Indians.

The “United Coalition to Protect Panhe” and “The City Project” advocate for the preservation of this important historic site.

San Onofre State Beach
San Onofre State Beach exemplifies the joys and challenges of living on the fragile coast. The scenic beauty derives from the panoply of geologic processes, many of which can be hazardous and difficult to manage. Landslides, massive erosion, and earthquakes are the results of a long geologic history that is readily on display within the park.

San Onofre SB
(Photograph by Mike Fuller)

The full Geo Gems report  |  Geological Gems of State Parks

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