You’ll find everything from pristine beaches to annual festivals and world-class amenities.
From recreational mountains to laid-back beaches to high-end real estate, San Clemente is for those ready to escape into Orange County's most luxurious community.
The southernmost enclave of Orange County's famous coastal cities, San Clemente is the definitive California beach city. The Santa Ana mountains frame the city to the east as the range's foothills sweep down across the abundant luxury neighborhoods and green spaces before disappearing into the Pacific Ocean.
Though the southernmost city in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, San Clemente feels a world apart. Exactly 60 miles from Los Angeles and San Diego, the affluent community exudes a rustic, seaside luxury rare among Southern California's more glamorous, urbanized coastal cities. San Clemente promises its population of 65,000 residents an experience more akin to Mediterranean elegance than Hollywood opulence.
With mountains and ocean, long, uninterrupted stretches of beach, a bounty of green spaces, and near-perfect weather the entire year, life happens outdoors here.
But even the most ardent adventurer requires refuge from their refuge. Single-family or condo, San Clemente real estate is some of the most coveted in Orange County. Or California, such as the reputation of San Clemente's graceful seaside escapism. The majority of homes follow the Spanish Revival school of design, and many more feature nods to the timeless style. But there's plenty of variety within the inventory, though you may find yourself competing for it.
San Clemente has a strong independent streak, primarily informed by the city's geography. Los Angeles and San Diego are both an hour's drive from downtown San Clemente. Though there is a train stop for the San Diego-bound Pacific Surfliner steps from the beach, the urban elements of two of the country's largest cities have little impact on San Clemente's pastoral beachside setting.
Even when comparing it to fellow Orange County coastal cities, San Clemente offers a wholly unique experience. The two largest cities in Orange County, Anaheim, and Santa Ana, are 45- and 30-minutes from the heart of San Clemente, respectively.
That implied seclusion serves the city exceptionally well. Similar to living full-time in an all-inclusive luxury resort, San Clemente meets every desire a homeowner could have. But far from pretentious, residents appreciate the laid-back luxury, hometown feel, beachfront living, and San Clemente favors an extremely active outdoor lifestyle.
Want access to hiking and biking? Or less than a five-minute walk to the beach? Maybe you'd rather walk directly from your back door and onto the sand. Or a golf course. You can have it in San Clemente.
San Clemente's picturesque, Spanish-influenced architecture recalls the region's origins as host to Spanish missions. The desirable location and stunning variety of landscapes push San Clemente's real estate to the top of many buyers' must-have lists.
The average single-family price is $3 million, and the average home size is 3,500 square feet. Condo prices come in around half of the standard home value.
Even with a population nearing 65,000 residents, San Clemente's serene, tucked-away footprint helps retain a distinctive small-town vibe. Once you explore further the city's neighborhoods, you realize that connection extends from neighbor to neighbor.
Single-family estates overlooking the ocean, beachside cottages, a five-minute walk to the San Clemente Pier, and low-maintenance condos in the heart of town can be found in San Clemente. Prefer a more secluded living arrangement? Browse gated private communities where solitude is the central amenity.
Whatever property type you’re seeking, you’ll find it in San Clemente.
The neighborhoods are equally diverse and often carry a greater influence on your home purchase than the house itself. You'll find custom homes on large lots in communities such as La Ladera and Cottons Point, the latter being famous as the post-White House home of Richard Nixon. Well-appointed estate homes in the planned gated community of Marblehead in the central part of San Clemente, or Forster Ranch just to the North. More modest luxury is on display in the Coast District, but with quiet streets, sweeping ocean views, and access to downtown.
San Clemente is synonymous with Spanish-style architecture. The "Spanish Village by the Sea," downtown San Clemente and its numerous shops and restaurants showcase Spanish Revival's stucco walls, asymmetrical façade, rounded arches, and low-pitched red-tiled roofs.
The Ole Hanson Beach Club, named for the city's founder and first major developer, and the Ole Hanson home, Casa Romantica, are prime examples of the Spanish style's timeless charm and elegance. Many of the area's oldest homes have seen meticulous updates and renovations to maintain the distinctive Spanish character and keep the city's history alive.
Though Spanish Revival remains the community's common architectural thread, recent times have introduced more modern design aesthetics. Contemporary homes are the most popular of these, with their ability to complement San Clemente's natural surroundings to fit any homeowner's need with ease. Other popular styles include updated takes on the Cape Cod and California Ranch and the occasional mid-century modern.
There's no mystery to San Clemente's appeal for homeowners, whether they're seeking a primary residence or a second or third home away from home. The lifestyle is a never boring brand of bucolic. All of your necessities and indulgent splurges are within 20 minutes.
Architectural aficionados will appreciate the prevailing Spanish influence throughout the city. Others will relish the prevalence of homes perched upon bluffs overlooking the Pacific, with endless views extending from California's northern horizon to where it disappears in the south. In between Catalina Island and wave after soothing ocean wave.
San Clemente's premier neighborhoods feature easy beach access and walkability to town. Some homes are oceanfront, and some offer panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. There are some great gated private communities as well.
This is the most desired area in South Orange County; there are excellent schools and activities for families. It's a place you can surf or sunbathe and hike, bike, or even ride horseback, among many other outdoor pursuits. It's not pretentious and feels more like a hometown that happens to be in a fabulous location—a very Californian lifestyle.
San Clemente proffers many forms of luxury for would-be residents to consider. Newcomers may find it challenging to match the right combination of luxury homes and exemplary neighborhoods to ensure they get the most from San Clemente's enviable lifestyle.
That task requires experience, someone who understands the nuances of each lot, street, and neighborhood and where your dreams for the future are a perfect match.
That experience is easy to find with Doug Echelberger and his team at The Echelberger Group. Throughout his 28-year career, Doug has guided $1.8 billion in sales. For the past 17 consecutive years, Doug has been the number one agent in sales and volume in San Clemente.
Most importantly, his knowledge of San Clemente comes from a very personal place and hard to march space—he's been a lifelong resident, calling the area home for 52 years and counting. That's invaluable when searching for your perfect San Clemente home.
Between hiking, surfing, golfing, or just lounging on the beach looking cool, you'll work up a considerable appetite living and playing in San Clemente. And honestly, you can't go wrong with where you choose to live in this part of South Orange County.
But we do have our favorites, and we're confident you'll enjoy many of these top pics as well:
It may not possess the physical size or population of Orange County's northern cities, but San Clemente packs an impressive array of activities within its 19 square mile footprint. It is not hyperbole to say there truly is something for everyone in San Clemente, even if that something is chilling out on the patio of your multimillion-dollar home overlooking the Pacific.
If you're the type who's ready to get out and explore, the shortlist of things to do in San Clemente is impressively long:
San Clemente's natural landscape is a primary reason for the city's enduring popularity. You can take advantage of it and the region's idyllic year-round climate in numerous ways:
If golf is a passion or hobby of yours, you’re in luck in San Clemente! There are four golf clubs in the area:
Exceptional schools are a hallmark of Orange County's coastal enclaves, and San Clemente features three of the region's top public schools, all part of the Capistrano Unified School District. These include Concordia Elementary, Vista Del Mar Middle School, and San Clemente High School.
Should you want to send your children to private school, St. Margaret's Episcopal School is rated as one of the top private institutions in the Los Angeles—San Diego region. Located in neighboring San Juan Capistrano, the school is ten minutes from the heart of the community.
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