“Elsa, you kind of set of an eternal winter” Oh boy, Disney must have shelled out some major bank for this Frozen inspired spring the midwest has been hosting. We were not accustomed to polar winters when we moved to Chicago this past December but we definitely got a taste of Chitown’s infamous glacial winds. With the wintry season supposedly wrapping up we took flight for a weekend cruise to Mexico and a little getaway to Palm Springs, however this unexpected blackberry winter delayed our return to the frozen tundra so we skipped out on our return flights and decided to flirt with the title of snow bird. Three weeks into our extended stay the temperatures were approaching triple digits and the hipsters and Hollywood wannabes were swarming in from all corners of the Earth for Weekend 1 of the globally recognized Coachella Festival. This boisterous musicale event caters to a horde of 90,000 unconstrained kids, and is regrettably held a block from where we stay, therefore we took a much desired mini-vacation from our winter vacation.
We’ve previously resided in the coveted oasis of Orange County, mostly in Lake Forest, Irvine and Dana Point so revisiting “home” is a comforting feeling. This stay-cation we spent exploring the, new to us, captivating beach town of San Clemente that is home to small business lined streets, surfer bro’s, marine families (Camp Pendleton) and multimillionaires. It’s an eclectic town with a good bit of tourist traffic down towards the pier- a good spot to watch surfers, fisherman and even the occasional few dolphins off in the distance. There are traditional souvenir shops filled with salt water taffy, lifeguards shirts, and post cards, as well as the occasional surf board and skateboard shop, clothing boutiques, furniture consignments stores and some amazing restaurants, including but not limited to Tequila’s Chophouse and Cantina, Antoine’s Cafe (breakfast), Carbonara Trattoria Itali, Tina and Vince’s (for pizza), Avilas El Ranchito, and the always busy and slightly overpriced Nick’s Restaurant.
We lodged at the Holiday Inn San Clemente (CP) off of the Ave Palizada exit of the 5 Freeway which was a perfect location to walk, shop, eat, and take a relaxing stroll down to the Pier(1 mile). A more adventurous stay option for us could have been the Family Camping Grounds among the open saltwater air at the California State Parks which is easily accessible from the AmTrak however we had our seventeen month old with us so it wasn’t practical. We did catch some waves of adventure with our stroke of luck happening upon the sunday morning Certified Farmers Market and then Jacob met up with a mate and took off on a sunset excursion to beach cave dwellings to reflect on struggles of being a believer while I attended my longtime women’s fellowship group. All in all it wrapped up to be a blessed weekend expedition for our little tribe of three.
Family activities within driving distance from San Clemente :
- Disneyland in Anaheim
- California Adventure in Anaheim
- Knottsberry Farm in Buena Park
- Midieval Times in Buena Park
- Raging Waters in San Dimas
- Legoland in Carlsbad
- Seaworld in San Diego
- San Diego Zoo
- Universal Studios in Hollywood
- Laguna Beach
- Newport Beach
- Huntington Beach
- Doheny State Beach
- Carlsbad Outlets
- Mission Viejo Mall
- Irvine Spectrum Center
- South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa
- Fashion Island in Newport Beach
Here are some snaps of our fun… if you want to plan a trip to SC, California and need some suggestions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and we will answer as best we can.
Driving out from Palm Springs.
Avenida Del Mar is a great walking street of shops and restaurants.
^(This is a Flickr photo but I wanted to show the exterior of Avila’s for familiarity)
Fresh Chips, Salsa and Guacamole, it was delicious.
Chicken Quesadilla with excellent refried beans and rice.
This was a perfect sunny and 75 degree day for a walk to the beach.
Avenida Victoria by the Pier.
San Clemente Pier and The Fishermans restaurant which we have previously been to for delicious Fish and Chips, there is also an Oyster bar there that I’ve heard is quite good.
Everbody’s gone surfin’ surfin’ USA!
We spotted our friend Nick on Lifeguard duty so they had to take a cheesy picture.
(Not our picture but again wanted to show the storefront for familiarity.)
Italian House Salad from Carbonara.
This Filet Mignon Carbonara was to die for with perfectly mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.
Cheese Tortellini in a creamed mushroom sauce.
Joey loved the bread and potatoes.
Paitiently awaiting his food.
This lucky boy had Mickey Mouse Pancake at Antoine’s Cafe.
Talk about Cafe Royale, I would have preferred a mug with a handle though.