Beach Day at San Onofre

Added by Scotti Shafer

San Onofre offers great waves, beach volleyball courts, and picnic tables with fire pits. The beach is also dog friendly, so pack up your car and head over.

This spot is no secret but it’s by far one of the best beaches California has to offer and has been regarded since the 1950s as a friendly surfing sanctuary. The beach is divided into three surf spots (named from North to South), known as “The Point,” “Old Man’s,” and “Dogpatch.” To access the beach you drive down a hill and onto the hard packed dirt road that parallels the beach. There is parking all along the beach so you just pick a spot to pull up and spend the day.

The Point - This wave (along with the other two) works best on a South swell but picks up any swell direction and is fun even when the surf is small. The beach area is rather small as it’s mostly eroded on the North end but the waves are fun. The wave breaks right and left and is popular among the classic longboard crowd.

Old Man’s - This is a great spot for learning to surf and a fun wave for surfers of all levels. The wave usually breaks on the outside and then reforms closer to the beach, naturally dividing the more experienced surfers (on the outside) from the newbies (on the inside).

Dogpatch - The South end of the beach (just past the beach volleyball courts) is reserved for Stand Up Paddling and Kayaking. There are fun waves and a good stretch of beach to hang out on. Just past the end of the road, there are a few hundred yards of beach between there and the power plant where dogs are allowed to run and play off leash.

NOTE: San Onofre is an extremely popular hangout spot in the summer and fills up fast. As such, the park rangers limit the number of cars that can enter (only allowing additional cars one at a time as cars leave the beach), so I recommend going early. On sunny summer days, the beach is usually full by 8:00am. If you’re not an early riser, this spot is still worth checking out, you’ll just have to wait in line for others to leave (the line usually moves quickly and rarely takes more than an hour), but I recommend bringing a snack and something to read while you wait. We usually grab breakfast-to-go at Bagel Shack in San Clemente and eat it while we wait.

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Tags

Stand Up Paddle
Chillin
Surfing
Kayaking
Swimming
Bathrooms
Beach
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area

Reviews

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🥇Top Contributor

3 months ago

Classic

It is such a classic California beach. It's a popular longbaording wave, and really reminds me of what surfing use to be like back in the day.

🥈 Contributor

4 months ago

Great surf, good vibes.

This beach is one of my favorites. Great waves!

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

about 2 years ago

Excellent Waves

San Onofre offers excellent waves, beach volleyball courts, and picnic tables with fire pits. Pack up your car and head over.

Admin

🥇Top Contributor

over 2 years ago

Quintessential California

If you're looking for everything you've ever imagined a California beach day to be, this is it. Surf, chill, V-Ball, BBQ, swim, etc. you can do it all. You'll find longboards, shortboards, SUP's, alias, bodyboards...you name it, it's here and everyone is having a good time. Bring a positive attitude and leave the beach better than you found it.

First Surf Experience, Sikk Vibes

Went here the first time I ever went to Cali, it was insane. We camped at the camp spot and walked down to the rocky beach and right then and there I decided I have to move to Cali. Then we some rad dudes that took me surfing for the first time on some 7-8 footers (way outa my league) but I caught one and had a story to tell for the rest of my life! One of the greatest places so check it out

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