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Riviera Beach in San Clemente


One of our very favorite beaches in Orange County is Riviera Beach in San Clemente.  Riviera lies South of the pier and North of San Clemente State Beach and Campground, and is a great beach for kids due to it’s sandy bottom and outside break.  It can get swells, too, when conditions are right, so it’s popular with the surf crowd as well.


Access to the beach is through the Riviera residential district.  Parking, found only on neighborhood streets, can be in short supply on busy summer days and the weekends, so it can be a bit of a walk from the car, but completely worth it. There is a turn around in the cul de sac directly above the access point, so dropping kids and beach gear and then parking is possible.


Beach access is to the far right of the double cul de sac on Plaza a la Playa.


This is what to look for from the street. Ah, just look at that view; paradise waiting for you!IMG_6924

There are two flights of stairs to get to the beach, so while this precludes strollers, wagons, etc. it’s a walk that even my two year old can easily handle.


At the bottom of the stairs, you’ll find a tunnel under the railroad tracks and San Clemente Beach Trail. The beach can, of course, be accessed by walking in on the San Clemente Beach Trail from North or South.IMG_6928

Once on the sand, this is your view North towards the pier.IMG_6946

And your view South towards State Beach.IMG_6948

When picking a spot on the sand, be aware that on busier days lifeguards have been known to zone one side for swimming and one side for surfing, so check for signs before setting up camp.

Once settled, let the kids run wild!

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The shoreline is fairly deep (depending on tides, of course) so barring extremely high tides, there is plenty of room on the sand.

One hit activity for my kids is digging for sand crabs, which seem to be plentiful.


The train is also entertaining since it passes in close proximity, similar to most San Clemente beaches.


One thing to note about Riviera is there are no restrooms available.  The closest available are located South at State Beach, but that is a bit of a walk, so plan accordingly.

Riviera Beach is located at the cross streets of Avenida la Costa and Plaza a la Playa. Directions from the I5 South are:
Exit Avenida Calafia, continue straight through stop.
Hard right onto S Ola Vis.
Left onto Avenida de la Riviera.
Right onto Calle Monte Cristo.
Left onto Avenida la Costa.
Right onto Plaza a la Playa.


Weather you come in the morning for some swimming and boogie boarding with the kids, or in the evening for a sunset picnic and bonfire (a few fire pits are available), you’re sure to love your time at Riviera Beach.

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Riviera Beach San Clemente

Mollie is a wife to a wonderful man and stay at home Mama to two beautiful and energetic little girls. She has lived in South Orange County for most of her life and enjoys crafting, running, clean and natural living, party planning, and being involved in her community and church. She believes that being a Mom was and is her highest calling and attempts to give her girls a wide array of different experiences. From soccer cleats to tutus, running races to finding the perfect hair bow, she wants them to grow up knowing that they can be both girly and strong.
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