City Guide San Clemente CA

 San Clemente California City Guide

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San Clemente City Limits


San Clemente is located in the southernmost part of Orange County. This 80-year old town has gained popularity because of its idyllic weather, pristine beaches, and Mediterranean style. In 1925 a businessman and major land developer Ole Hanson marketed the site as a planned real estate development called “Spanish Village by the Sea.” It was among the first master-planned communities in the U.S. The village drew the attention of investors because of its unique white stucco Spanish houses with red clay tiles.

Rich in history and culture, San Clemente has become a prime real estate spot. In 1969, U.S. President Richard Nixon bought property in San Clemente to be used as a summer White House. Since then, the city has been sought after by those looking for family vacation spots. As of July 1, 2019, the city had a population of 66,527. Residents continue to preserve San Clemente’s Spanish architectural style and historical heritage.

Top City Highlights

List 8 city highlights that the city is known for.

  • Historic sites
  • Surfing locations
  • Pristine beaches
  • Beautiful parks
  • Art and entertainment
  • Top-ranked schools
  • Great shopping
  • Good safety record

Location: San Clemente is located in Orange County, midway between San Diego and Los Angeles. The city has an area of 19.5 square miles, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To the south of the town are San Clemente State Beach and Trestles Surf Beach. To the southwest are the Casa Romantica Cultural Center Gardens and the San Clemente Pier. The Tierra Grande Park and Rancho Mission Viejo Ecologica are located in the northeast. To the east is Rancho San Clemente. To the northwest is the Shorecliffs Golf Course. Major cities near the city include Santa Ana, Anaheim, Riverside, Long Beach, and San Bernardino.

Commutes: The average one-way commute time in San Clemente takes 25 minutes. It is shorter than the average U.S. commute time of 26 minutes. 73.7% of employees in the city travel by car, while others choose to carpool, take mass transit, or work from home. In 2017, the largest share of households in the town owned 2 cars. This was almost the same as the national average of 1.88 vehicles per U.S. household.

The city is home to the San Clemente Pier, the PCH trolley, and the Dana Headlands Public Funicular. San Clemente is a few miles away from Dana Point and Laguna Beach, two beautiful cities in Orange County.

Culture: San Clemente enjoys a booming economy. In March 2019, the unemployment rate in the city was 3%. That was lower than the national average of 3.9%. Job growth in the city is expected to increase by 32.1% over the next 10 years. San Clemente’s economy employs 32,000 people. The largest industries include professional, scientific, and technical services, manufacturing, and health care.

In 2017, the median age of all people in San Clemente was 43.4. The ethnic population is composed of eight races led by White, Latino, and Asian residents. The city’s residents enjoy a strong sense of community. They aim to preserve the city’s rich heritage.

Local Government

City Council

The City Council looks after San Clemente’s continued growth and stability. The council also leads efforts to maintain San Clemente’s architecture and style, natural amenities, and diversity. The five-member council meets every first and third Tuesdays of each month to discuss the enforcement of ordinances. Council members are elected for four-year overlapping terms of office.

Address: 100 Avenida Presidio San Clemente, CA 92672
Phone:(949) 361-8322

Mayor’s Office

Dan Bane is San Clemente’s Mayor. As the city’s chief executive, the mayor leads all council meetings. The mayor also coordinates the development, proposal, and execution of the policies adopted by the council. He has the power to influence major public policy changes. The mayor also signs proclamations for the city.

Address: 100 Avenida Presidio San Clemente, CA 92672
Phone: (949) 361-8322

Chamber of Commerce

The San Clemente Chamber of Commerce is in charge of maintaining and improving the city’s area business community. The Chamber leads efforts to ensure the city’s healthy business climate by maximizing the development of human and economic resources. The voluntary organization also provides creative business leadership and coordination to those who wish to invest in San Clemente.

Address: 1231 Puerta Del Sol #200, San Clemente, CA 92673, United States
Phone: +1 949-492-1131


Overview: There are seven public elementary schools in San Clemente serving over 3,000 students. These are Vista Del Mar, Truman Benedict, Concordia, Las Palmas, Marblehead, San Onofre, and Clarence Lobo Elementary School.

There are three public middle schools, one public high school, and one private high school that serve San Clemente. The public middle schools in San Clemente are Shorecliffs, Bernice Ayer, and Vista Del Mar Middle School. San Clemente High is the city’s public high school. Private schools serving the San Clemente area are St. Michaels Christian Academy, Our Saviors Lutheran School, and Our Lady of Fatima School.

San Clemente is served by the Capistrano Unified School District. The student to teacher ratio of the public schools is 23:1. In 2019, San Clemente ranked 107th out of 822 places with the best public schools in California. The highest rated schools in the city include Truman Benedict Elementary School and Vista Del Mar Middle School.

Elementary Schools

San Clemente has seven public elementary schools. Three of these schools are highly rated. At Vista Del Mar Elementary School, 73% of students are proficient in math and 78% are proficient in reading. 68% of students in Concordia Elementary are proficient in reading and 67% are proficient in Math. Las Palmas Elementary, meanwhile, is known for its dual immersion program.

Middle Schools

All three of San Clemente’s public middle schools are highly rated. 83% of students in Vista Del Mar are proficient in reading, while 73% are proficient in math. At Bernice Ayer, 75% of students are proficient in reading and 59% are proficient in math. 67% of students in Shorecliffs Middle School are proficient in reading, while 53% are proficient in math.

High Schools

The San Clemente High School serves over 3,000 students in grades 9-12. It has an average student-teacher ratio of 26:1. The school is well-known for its advanced placement courses and skilled athletics programs, and diverse clubs and organizations. The school has an average graduation rate of 98%.

Private Schools

There are three private schools that serve the San Clemente area – St. Michaels Christian Academy, Our Saviors Lutheran, and Our Lady of Fatima School. St. Michaels serves 80 8th grade students. Our Lady of Fatima has 169 students also in the 8th grade. Our Saviors Lutheran has 191 students in Pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade.


Overview: Properties in San Clemente are among the most expensive in California and in the U.S. In December 2019, the median home value in San Clemente was $974,166. Home values in the city have gone up by 1.3% since 2018 and are predicted to increase by 1.1.% in 2020. The homeownership rate in San Clemente is 65.7%, which is higher than the national average of 63.9%. In 2017, the median household income in the city was $101,843. This represents a 4.77% growth from the median income of $97,210 recorded in 2016.

The quiet and relaxing town is considered as one of the 50 safest cities in California. More than 200 stunning homes in luxurious communities are for sale in the area. Nearly 60 percent of properties in the area are single-family homes. Other housing options include townhomes, small apartment buildings, and mobile homes.

Housing Options

Single Family Homes

Single-family detached homes are the most common types of housing in San Clemente. This housing option accounts for nearly 60% of the city’s housing units. The median listing price of homes in the city is $1.18M. The average price of a 3-bedroom home is about $800,000, while a 5-bedroom home can cost up to $1.9M.

New Construction

New construction in the city’s most luxurious communities has been consistent. These new properties feature dozens of exclusive home designs and styles. The prices of new homes in the area range from $2.4M to $5M. The properties range from three-bedroom, three-bathroom homes to seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom homes.

High Rises

High rise houses and townhomes account for nearly 16% of housing units in San Clemente. These popular styles offer new home designs and views of the ocean, nearby hills, and mountains. Prices of townhomes range from $495,000 to $2, 499, 000.


There are numerous small apartment buildings and homes converted to apartments in San Clemente. Luxury apartments offer exclusive access to community amenities such as a resort-style swimming pool and spa, poolside lounge with cabanas and fire pit, and fitness studios. Prices range from $1,970 to $6,000 a month.

Homes for Sale

If you’re interested in buying a home in this area, we invite you to search homes for sale on our website. You are also welcome to check out the following resources listed below. If you would rather speak directly to a professional and licensed Realtor, feel free to contact Morales Team.

List of  San Clemente Real Estate Listings by Property Types

List of  San Clemente Real Estate Listings by Popular Searches

If you’re interested in selling your own property, contact Morales Team, your go-to local real estate company, by clicking the link below:

Real Estate

Overview: The San Clemente neighborhood offers a large number of residential choices, from studio apartments and single-family homes to large townhouses. Many of the housing units and master-planned communities in the city were built from 1970 to 1999. Residents have preserved the city’s aesthetic spirit and Spanish style. Spanish architecture is incorporated into modern designs.

Single-family detached homes with three and four bedrooms are the most common types of housing in San Clemente. 65% of homes in the city are owner-occupied.

The median property value in San Clemente was $974,166 in 2019. That was an increase of 12.8% compared to the median property value of $849,300 recorded in 2017. Between 2016 and 2017, the median property value increased by 6% from $801,100 to $849,300. San Clemente also ranks among the cities with the highest home appreciation rates of any community in the U.S. San Clemente real estate appreciated 56.55% since 2000.

Things to Do

Overview: San Clemente is home to scenic coastal views, pristine beaches, and lush green parks. Residents enjoy a breathtaking Mediterranean feel and stunning Spanish architecture. Those who seek a break from the busy cities can rely on San Clemente for a more relaxed lifestyle.

Whether you’re craving for local delicacies or a fine dining experience, San Clemente’s restaurants have it all. Numerous must-try restaurants offer a great selection of local and international cuisine.

Residents also do not run out of recreational activities. Adventure seekers get their fill of hiking trails and surfing spots. San Clemente is well-known for celebrating the sport of surfing. The worldwide surfing destination hosts the World Surfing League and surfing lessons for all ages and levels.

The city has an abundance of entertainment and local happenings. Residents can appreciate art and culture by visiting the art galleries, wineries, and breweries. The city is also perfect for strolling and shopping.

Retail & Entertainment

Parks & Recreation

San Clemente has over 324 acres of recreational space. Families get to enjoy spacious picnic areas and the relaxing views of the ocean. The San Clemente Beach Trail lets tourists explore the city’s coastline. Dog owners, joggers, and cyclists love to use the trail because it passes by beaches, the San Clemente Pier, basketball and volleyball courts, and many restaurants.


Those looking to shop for high-end items can satisfy their cravings at San Clemente’s Spanish hacienda-style outlets. The outdoor shopping center features over 45 high-end retailers. The Avenida Del Mar is also popular for its trendy boutiques, designer and brand stores, and deluxe services.

Art & Culture

The Casa Romantica Cultural Center is a crowd favorite because it is lined with a variety of unique exhibits about the state’s history and culture. The center also features musical concerts and live performances. Tourists also get to enjoy interpretive exhibits and art galleries.

Night Life

Those looking for nightlife fun can have a cocktail at any of the San Clemente bars. From classy and sophisticated to rustic and contemporary, the wine bars feature specials that make for an amazing night. The bars also offer a variety of good music, nice ambiance, and exquisite food.


Whether casual or fine dining, San Clemente boasts of must-try restaurants for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The Vine Restaurant has a menu of dishes made from locally sourced ingredients. The food is paired with award-winning wines from the Napa Valley and other wine-producing regions.


San Clemente has various neighborhoods that offer old and new residential estates as well as vacation homes. These neighborhoods are located in specific zoning areas that feature distinct homes. The four areas are the Southwest San Clemente area, the Southeast San Clemente area, the North San Clemente area, and the Central San Clemente area.

Communities in the central area include the Mira Costa Villas, Broadmoor, Hillcrest, Pacifica, Presidio Point, Rancho Margarita, Reef Gate West, Villa Granada, and Villa Grande. Prices of homes in this area range from $500,000 to $1 M depending on proximity to the beach. One and two-story homes with ocean, canyon, and mountain views can be found in the Coast District area. Communities in this area include Marbrisa, Ponderorsa, and Vista Del Verde. Home prices range from $500,000 and up.

Newer construction homes are located in the Talega community. Affordable two to three-bedroom townhomes can be found in the communities of Alassio, Verano, and Santalana.

List of San Clemente Neighborhoods

Local Pros

List of San Clemente Local Pros