San Onofre State Beach is known for surfing, sunbathing, hiking, and camping. This state park is one of the most visited in the state and for good reason. The weather here is usually warm and the waves are consistently good.
San Onofre State Beach is broken up into three different beach areas.
- Surfing Beach is the main day-use area. This popular spot has many parking spaces along it’s 3/4-mile long sandy shoreline. This is the main surfing area as it has easy access and breaks that are mild enough for longboards and beginner surfers. Three different surf spots include The Point, Old Man’s, and Dogpatch (north to south).
- Bluffs is another popular day-use area, but it also has a linear campground high on the bluff above the beaches. Visitors have to hike down one of the six trails that drop about 160 feet to the narrow shore below. It feels remote when you get down there as there and with about 3.5 miles of sandy shoreline, it’s not difficult to find your own space.
- Trestles is the third beach access, but there is no parking near the beach. This one requires a mile-long walk down a gentle grade to get to the sand. It’s mostly surfers at this beach as there are five different surf spots: Cottons (only major left break), Upper, Lower, Middle, and Church (north to south). Bird-watchers also hang out down there because Trestles Wetland Natural Preserve is directly behind the beach.
Surfer at the Lowers Surf Competition at Trestles Beach
In addition to the beach areas, San Onofre State Beach has an inland area with a campground and many hiking trails. San Mateo Campground has easy access to the trails including the path down to Trestles Beach. Another hike leads up to an excellent view of the area from Pocket Mouse Hill.