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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Know for

Stand Up Paddle
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Handicap Accessible
Picnic Area



Leave a Review

🥇Top Contributor

6 months ago

Iconic spot

Iconic surf spot in California. Very popular for longboarders

🥇Top Contributor

10 months ago


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.

🥇Top Contributor

11 months ago

Great surf, good vibes.

This beach is one of my favorites. Great waves!


🥇Top Contributor

almost 3 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.

🥇Top Contributor

almost 3 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, 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.

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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