Best Things To Do At the San Clemente Pier

One of our favorite spots to hang out in all of Southern California is the San Clemente Pier! If you are planning a visit or vacation to Southern California, San Clemente has many beautiful beaches, great food, and endless activities. This blog post will go over the best things to do at the San Clemente pier and downtown area, especially around the Pier area or Pier Bowl as locals call it. 

San Clemente has that “small-town” feel that a lot of us remember from our younger days. This is almost impossible to find in Southern California today. This is why we like San Clemente so much and why we’ve called it home for the last few years. San Clemente has a Spanish flare, it’s affectionately known as a “Spanish Village by the Sea” but also that beachy small-town feel that we love.  


For couples planning a trip or vacation to sunny Southern California, we highly recommend you consider a stop or a long weekend visiting the laid-back town of San Clemente. Before we moved to San Clemente, every weekend we would visit beach towns up and down the Southern California coast in the quest to find that special town we could call home.  One of the things that sold us on San Clemente was driving down to the beach or the pier and routinely seeing surfers running up and down the streets in their bare feet to get to the ocean and catch a few waves. Whether it was 5:30 in the morning and freezing cold or a beautiful sunny day in the summer, they were always ready. 

If you’re planning to visit San Clemente make sure you check out the pier area or “The Pier Bowl” as referred to by the locals.   

Beach Walking Trail, Restaurants and Pier

Why not take a leisurely walk to the end of the pier??

We’ve spent tons of time walking up and down the pier. It’s a beautiful walk, especially during sunsets.  They do allow fishing at the end of the pier. Occasionally you’ll see someone catch a fish; you’ll see lots of pigeons and a few runners. Be aware the pier is not dog-friendly, so if you do bring your dog on vacation this is not the place you’re going to be able to walk with your dog. Towards the end of the pier is Pier Grill and Tackle. They have fantastic burgers, and you can rent fishing poles for the day if you’d like.

Here is the fishing cam link to check fishing conditions on the pier. 

Are you ready for some exercise??

There are walking paths along the ocean, on both the north and south sides of the pier.  The trail going north goes directly to North Beach, with the San Clemente North Beach train station at the end. It’s probably a 15 – 20-minute walk from the pier. If you’re looking to take the train, there will be more options at the North Beach Station over the San Clemente Pier Station. If you walk south on the trail, you will pass by T Street Beach, which is a big area for surfers.  At the end of the trail, you will come to San Clemente State Beach. Both trails are beautiful and have ocean views.

San Clemente Pier

Here is a video of the San Clemente Pier and Fishermans Restaurant

Restaurants and Transportation

Great Restaurants in the “Pier Bowl” area:

These are few restaurants by the pier that we seem to gravitate to for different reasons:

The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar

So being honest, Fisherman’s on a scale of 1 to 10 in regards to the entire menu is probably a 6 to 7.  However, there are other reasons we enjoy Fisherman’s.  It is located on the pier which only a handful of cities can claim in So. Cal. We love to go just before sunset, sit on the patio with the crashing waves below, have a drink and a bite to eat while enjoying the beautiful view.   The beach next to Fisherman’s is one of the most famous surf spots in San Clemente, so while watching the sunset, you can watch the surfers catch the waves as well.

Also, Fisherman’s has one of the Best Happy Hour Specials we have found in any town or city of Southern California. Where can you find $1 oysters??? Where can you find dinner for $5??? Not very many places on the beach in California… I can guarantee you that!!  Another thing that is amazing is their Mud Pie dessert.  I think it’s around seven or eight dollars and it’s literally a pound. LOL. If you read the reviews, some of them aren’t the greatest, but the ambiance, views, and location into account you really can’t go wrong. Where else in Southern California can you sit on a patio, watch the sunset, watch the surfers, have good drinks and a meal for two people for under $45??

Do you like brunch?? Well, I can assure you that Fisherman’s brunch on Sundays is not only well prepared, but also a fantastic value. If you are the Mimosa type check this out…. you can get a decent bottle of champagne for $9!!  For people that love the ocean, there’s something to be said about waking up, having breakfast on the ocean with a couple Mimosa’s to start your Sunday Funday!!

Cosentinos Pizza

This is a great Pizza joint, but we always seem to order the same pizza. It’s called the White Wash Pizza; it has two or three cheeses with tomatoes. They also have a couple of varieties by the slice, if you want to run up from the beach.

Bear Coast Coffee

Bear Coast Coffee is a trendy spot down by the pier. Full disclosure I’m the guy that hates spending $5 on a cup of coffee, so 99.9% of the time I make it at home.  If you have company or want to treat yourself, it is fun going down, grabbing a coffee sitting on the front patio while people watching. It’s dog-friendly which is cool. Everybody has always been super friendly and you will drum up a few conversations I am sure.

LA Galette Creperie

Although we are not huge breakfast people, we understand that some people love it. We have been here a few times, and it’s fantastic every time! Everything we have ordered has been excellent, but we rave about the Banana Nutella Crepe… OMG LOL. The staff is always friendly, and again, you can bring your dog.


There are two train stops in San Clemente, San Clemente North Beach Station and San Clemente Pier. The majority of drop-offs and pick-ups are at the North Beach stop,  but definitely check the pier schedule as the Metrolink stops there during the weekend. It’s a great option if you’re looking to go to San Diego for a day trip. It also stops in different cities along the way going south. Check out the Metrolink website to make sure everything is running on time.

Beach Access

For those visiting be aware, there are specified areas for swimmers and surfers. To the right of the pier is for surfers. If you plan on bringing your children or plan on swimming yourself, you’re going to have to go to the right of the pier past the building with the clock on it. Anything to the left of that you will be called up by the lifeguards, because that area is reserved for surfers. Personally, I like going to the left of the pier. It seems to be less crowded, and you don’t have to be worrying about where you can or can’t swim. You also have to be aware of the rocks on the beach in San Clemente. Many other beaches in Southern California do not have the issue of rocks while swimming.



Hopefully, this helps you navigate the pier area. There’s a ton of stuff to do. Please follow us at @2travelinglovers on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. We have tons of useful information for people who love to travel.  We do videos daily on Youtube @2travelinglovers  to help our viewers decide on where they’re next adventure might take them!

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