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San Clemente, United States jessi-pena

We visit “the Spanish Village by the Sea” to bring you a piece of this Californian paradise

Words: Emily Georgieva

Photography: Jessi Pena

07 November 2019

If you’ve got that Orange County lust, then visiting San Clemente is a must for you. Located halfway between San Diego and Los Angelis, this charming town combines the best of both locations – it is chilled, stunning and sunny nearly all-year round. What more can you ask for!

San Clemente is more than just a postcard-like place where you can take cool photos for your social media’s feed. It combines different traces of nature to shine some light on what impeccable taste Mother Nature has. Known for the mountains, the hills and the ocean views, this city is heavily influenced by the Spanish movement so being there will give you a distant feel of the sunny part of Europe. The architecture, which was inspired by the Spanish colonial style does bring an extra something to the place. The facades of the buildings seem to compliment the nature surrounding them. If you take a casual walk down the sidewalks and pay attention to the houses on the little hills and the ocean spilling graciously behind them, you might feel a sort of sweet nostalgia.

The city gets its name based on its purpose. It was founded by Ole Hanson in 1925. Ole wanted to build a space for real-estate development and found the perfect spot for the purpose. He named the city after the San Clemente Island, which in its turn had previously received its name from the Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno.

San Clemente is cool in a modern and very Orange County sense of the word. Although the cost of living is a bit more expensive compared to other places in the nearby area, San Clemente definitely defends its reputation. You can pick between exploring the nature by hiking, climbing or visiting some of the national reserves. If you are after a relaxing visit, make sure to spend a day at the beach in a true Californian style or get to know the area better by walking to the famous 1296ft-long San Clemente Pier, which has become something of a symbol of the place.

The hot weather and the deep turquoise water are enough to make any sun-chaser pack their bags and go under-the-radar at this Californian paradise. However, there is something we cannot help but recommend doing whilst there. You guessed it, it’s surfing! If there is one thing that you must try to do while exploring San Clemente is to grab a surfboard and try to catch up with the dance of the ocean’s waves. It is not without a reason that the city is a famous surfing spot. It goes without saying that there are plenty of spots to practice your skills. If you live for that surf break life, then the protected San Onofre State Beach is the place to start. This world-renowned place will have you come back for more surf experiences and even if you aren’t a big fan of catching the waves, chances are you will join the community after visiting this trendy ocean spot.

San Clemente, United States jessi-pena

Standing its ground as a one of the coolest surf places, San Clemente is also the home of many surf legends. There surfing is a culture, a lifestyle, a mantra. You will have the opportunity to learn so much about where surfing originates from and how it became so important for the locals if you make your way to the Surfing Heritage & Culture Center. The Centre explores surfing through generations to see how it changes people’s life and how locals and tourists surf enthusiasts alike share their passion for riding the waves. You will have access to the archives where you can find over 100,000 photos tracing back the history of surfing back to its roots by following the stories of some of the greatest surfers in the world.

San Clemente is a vivid place with an attitude. Travellers can find a sunny piece of California dreaming there. Visit it if you want to surf in the spots where surf legends made their names or if you are simply looking for a restaurant by the ocean to get you in a tropical mood.


Here is our recommendation of how to make the most out of a day in the city:
   I. Camp at the beach by hiring one of the cabanas in the morning.
   II. Explore the trendy coffee shops during the afternoon.

   III. Grab a chilled glass of rose wine as the sun sets down in a restaurant overlooking the ocean.


Does San Clemente sound like a paradise spot to you already? Let us know what your favourite thing to do at San Clemente is by emailing us at



NOMADSofORIGIN is an independent annual publication with a focus on sustainable travelling and global cultural values. Each issue features interviews, engaging articles and photo guides, which take our nomadic readers through different destinations and introduce them to local people's perspectives.



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