Let’s talk about San Clemente: the place everyone knows about but never seems to mention. Ever since my first Girlfriend Getaway with Luana Lani, I’ve somewhat been hooked on the idea of small long weekend getaways. To be honest, no Girlfriend Getaway has yet topped the first, but I’ve enjoyed a lot of great bonding experiences by taking these trips.
I had never even heard of San Clemente.
During an Amtrak ride to San Diego, the cutest little beach front station caught my eye as we were pulling away from it. I had been distracted earlier and didn’t catch the name. On the way back, I was adamant to know what station it was and knew I had to come and visit. It reminded me of Catalina, except I can take the train there for cheaper.
So, I dragged my friend Nancy with me. I just needed a small, quiet girly getaway with one person. Not a whole team.
I booked us an Airbnb, which turned out to be the best part of the whole trip. I’ve been back to that place twice, with at least two more visits coming soon.
It was only an overnight trip, so it went by really fast. The place (Airbnb and the town) were so chill that I really felt refreshed and relaxed on the whole trip.
So, here’s the rundown.
The trip to and from San Clemente:
I’m really a huge fan of Amtrak, although I’ve had a few minor sad moments with them. Other than that, I really enjoyed the train rides along the coast. I’ve taken it to Santa Barbara and San Diego and enjoyed both directions.
Specific to this trip, here are my few tips:
- The San Clemente stop is a really quick stop. Be ready to get out even before the station is announced or you could miss your exit. We did. We found out that not all Amtrak trains on that path stop at San Clemente, so it could be a few trains before we get to one that does.
Luckily, the next Metrolink was, so we bought an $8 ticket on that one, had a burger king while we waited, and got to San Clemente right on top. We had been hoping to arrive earlier, but… shouganai.
- Sunday was a really packed day back on the train. Just be prepared for that. It may take some help from the Amtrak staff to find some seating, which they are really kind about.
- The station is literally right next to the boardwalk, on the beach. If we didn’t have our big bags, it would’ve been great to just go straight to a restaurant, have a meal, then chill on the beach as soon as we got off the train.
In Town | San Clemente
Once we got there, we had to walk about a mile to our Airbnb. It really was a great walk, except we didn’t have the best bags with us. So, we had to stop once in a while to re-hitch it up on our shoulders. There’s a tall stairway that we had to go through because we took the path along the beach, which is in the video. We could also have taken the normal streets but we really wanted to check out the view on the way.
It was beautiful. There was a path the whole way through, part in sand, part on a boardwalk. A lot of people were walking their dogs, out for a stroll, or biking. I was really jealous of the outdoorsy nature of everyone there. We pretty much resolved to dump our stuff at the Airbnb and take another walk right away.
What really drew me to book this AirBnB was the photo of the balcony. When I got there, we both could not get over how cute the place was. It’s the perfect place for 1-2 people. I wish I had lived there. The owner, Sarah, really had an eye for design and she had a complete cosy coastal feel to it. The place was really hard to leave, even if it was just for a walk to get some food. Some photos are in the video, but it’s really worth experiencing. It is about a mile walk to/from the station/boardwalk, but it goes by fast if you’re not in a hurry.
Since we arrived late due to missing our stop, by the time we got settled down and stopped gushing over the Airbnb, it was almost sundown. By the time we arrived at the boardwalk, it was either a very late lunch or an early dinner.
Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar
The restaurant side had over a 30-minute wait and we were just starving, so we decided to sit on the bar side. It turned out to be perfect. We just chose a seat, sat down, and was immediately served. There was a great view to complement our drinks and tacos, which were quite huge that we both saved half and ended up having it for our 2nd dinner late that night.
The rest of the night was just spent chatting. We also watched some Z Nation to fall asleep to.
Ellie’s Table @ North Beach
We woke up late the next day from staying up the night before. Sarah was really cool about extending our time past the normal check-out period. As a host, I really love her. She’s easy to reach and helps out if she’s able to. Our train wasn’t coming until about sundown so she was nice enough to let us check out at 5 pm, so we didn’t have to rush out and wait 5-6 hours with our luggage around town.
Since we had time, chose a place just a short walk away. The day was so nice that we decided to make use of the balcony before we left. We got our food to go and had our last meal for the trip outside.
We got so caught up in the island time mood of the weekend, that we almost ran late in getting to the train station, arriving with 7 minutes to spare, after running down the beach path with our luggage dragging us down.
Sunday’s train ride was quite full. We couldn’t find a seat for a few stops and were just standing by the stairway. Eventually, we did get some help in grabbing some seats.
I really loved taking the train, but next time, I may consider driving. I did go back and took a car instead of the train, but both have their pros and cons.