San Juan Capistrano is an easy day trip from Los Angeles and Orange County, by Amtrak train or freeway. Tours of the Mission buildings and gardens include the ruins of the 1797 Great Stone Church, destination for the legendary swallows of Capistrano. The Los Rios Historic District has buildings open to the public, such as the 1881 Ramos House Café and the1794 Montanez Adobe. Zoomars Petting Zoo is a kid-friendly attraction in the district adjacent to the train depot. The attractive town center has interesting galleries, antique stores, shops and restaurants.
Restaurants in San Juan Capistrano
4.5 based on 1 reviews
Famous for the Annual Return of the Swallows, Mission San Juan Capistrano, historic landmark and museum, welcomes over 300,000 visitors each year. Enhance your visit with our new multi-language Audio Tour available in English, Spanish, French and German and now offered free with admission. Enjoy permanent exhibits featuring historic and religious artifacts, precious and rare paintings, and more. Experience the tradition of bell ringing daily honoring the legacy of Saint Junipero Serra, who founded the Mission in 1776. Visit the newly conserved Serra Chapel, California’s only chapel still standing where Saint Serra celebrated Mass and where the Eucharist has been celebrated daily.
I was reluctant to go at first but admission price of $10 was acceptable. I was pleasantly surprised by the gorgeous gardens. Beautiful old cacti and flowering varieties. My only complaint would be that nothing was labeled, though as I was leaving and returning the audio guide, which is included in the price of admission, I noticed there was a plant brochure available for two dollars which did list some of the plants. It wasn’t offered to us nor did I see it at the ticket counter. It would be nice if it were free or at least promoted. I would go back if I were in the area.
4.5 based on 146 reviews
The Pacific Surfliner travels 351 miles through a six-county coastal region in Southern California. Amenities include power outlets, free WiFi, comfortable seats, a cafe car, bike racks, onboard restrooms and more. Complimentary snacks, drinks and newspapers are available in Business Class. The route offers breathtaking views of the ocean, beaches, rolling hills and canyons. Station stops include: San Luis Obispo, Grover Beach, Guadalupe, Surf, Goleta, Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Chatsworth, Van Nuys, Burbank, Glendale, Los Angeles, Fullerton, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Solana Beach, Sorrento Valley, and San Diego.
My husband and I rode Amtrak between Union Station LA and Santa Barbara when the 101 was shut down. We really were thankful to have this option, and overall it was a satisfactory, uneventful journey and relatively on time... My 3 star review is because the attendants in Union Station were truly awful. Several of them at our departure gate refused to answer simple questions and one was having a full-on SCREAMING match with a customer before they boarded. It was so unprofessional. After his fight with a passenger this attendant was so engrossed telling his fellow coworkers about his fight with them that he ignored and refused to help anyone else. I overheard him say to another boarding customer “Hey can’t you see I’m busy here?” and then he turned his back on them while he continued to badtalk the other customer. I saw that so I went over to a different attendant and asked a question about which cars had first level storage areas for our heavy bags and he looked annoyed and said “you just have to look for them” and he walked away! So needless to say we did that and there was no first floor storage on the car we were on and we had to lug our 50 lb bags up the narrow steep stairs to second level. Totally unnecessary if someone on Amtrak staff would have just done their job and offered some answers. My other tip would be to bring your own food on board. Amtrak food is like elementary school cafeteria food. It’s gross. But like I said, I am appreciative that the rail option existed. It got us there and back way quicker than the 5 hour detour by car.
4.5 based on 276 reviews
This is nice beach to walk and watch surfers atempt their sport while you're walking. The beach is not as long as some of the others but beacuse you have to walk to reach to beach in certain areas it is less crowded, which was a bonus to us.
4.5 based on 348 reviews
One end of the "official" trail begins at the end of the road not too far from the San Clemente Inn and ends at North Beach. The pier, railroad tracks, sand, homes, and other view features make this totally enjoyable. But do not be confined to the trail alone: if you walk in the opposite direction (near the beginning of the trail), there is a really great stretch of beach devoid of the facilities along the trail. Make the walk and enjoy the path less traveled.
The terminus for our walk was North Beach and from there, we headed up to "town" and the funky fun shops along the way. Beach-side San Clemente is nothing but beachy, fun, retro, and so not commercialized.
On our walk back to San Clemente Inn, we passed such fun shops (second hand mostly) where we steeped ourselves in the local flavor of this unique community. Like Aretha Franklin said, "what you want, baby I got it ..." these little shops drew us in.
Step outside the boundaries, color outside the lines, and exeprience life as the local live it. San Clemente was a vibrant and fun place to kick about for a week.
Like the terminator said ... "I'll be back !!!"
4.5 based on 898 reviews
Active busy gathering place for both sailors and land lobbers. Thousands of boats of every description. A wide variety of shops and eateries with ample parking. Modern California at its best.
4.5 based on 134 reviews
We're one of a kind and hay bales of fun. We're good times, friendly animals and the happiest folks you'll ever meet. For the past 30 years our little zoo has charmed more than three million visitors
Zoomars Petting Zoo is just a short walk from the train station in the San Juan Capistrano Historic district. The first thing that we noticed was a large area with picnic tables for birthday parties. You will need reservations in advance to schedule your party. There are pony rides and feedings areas. Food is available for feedings as you enter the zoo. Guinea pigs, goats, sheep and an emu will keep the kids entranced.
4.5 based on 211 reviews
Catalina Island is just an hour away aboard our fast and sleek boats out of Long Beach, San Pedro and Dana Point. We are committed to offering the most advanced, state-of-the-art watercraft available while maintaining a high level of dedication to safety, customer satisfaction, and quality of service. Today, the fleet consists of 8 high-speed vessels. More than one million passengers set sail to Catalina Island each year on board Catalina Express, and with year round service and up to 30 departures daily, you can easily join them.
We experienced no motion sickness on the vessel, so that was great. The boat is clean, and you have a choice of riding on a very tiny upper deck or in the cabin, which is air conditioned. After the boat takes off, you can order a soda or beer if your heart desires. On one of the NOAA buoys, we saw sea otters resting. They were so cute. The crew helps with your bags if you're going for an overnight stay in Catalina.
4 based on 170 reviews
Very comfortable seating, sub-standard audio / video - volume generally kept too low so if you want to catch all the dialog, forget about it. Food is way over-priced and below average. Movie experience for 2 (Tickets, Drinks and some food) will easily cost $100 and it ain't worth it ! There are many better alternatives. It was a good concept years ago when it originally opened but not anymore....
4.5 based on 34 reviews
Lots of hiking trails, camping spots, bathrooms, Nature center, gorgeous views, varying landscape (cactus and trees), and a really great playground for kids! I took our 3 yo and 6 yo on the Nature Trail hike, it was perfect for them (easy) and we all enjoyed the landscape. After, the playground was a hit. It's a really nice playground...next time I'll remember to bring shovels for the fossil dig in the sand. It's 3$ for the day pass entry to Casper's Wilderness Park.
4 based on 412 reviews
Located adjacent to a popular campsite, this scenic beach provides a peaceful outdoor experience.
Our expectations were met, exceeded, and then some. The vast expanse of pure white sand, the high level of the facilities, the proximity to camping (for those so inclined), and just the "everything-ness" of this fine beach sets it heads above the rest. There's a touch of history (1930's CCC project monument) and there is its proximity to the San Juan Creek Trail, and then there are the first-class vollyball facilities, and the list just grows.
Our first impression was that this beach felt like it should be on Maui; the quality was that high. There is also an aquarium in the near area and a delightful butterfly garden on the grounds. There is something for everyone!
Access to the beach (from the other side of the highway) is by means of an extraordinary and truly spectacular pedestrian bridge. This was an architectural structure worthy of recognition. The murals on the side delighted us and we paused so often to take pictures of this magnificant structure. Well done, Dana Point. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and these eyes thank you.
For us it was a departure point at the beginning point of the first-class San Juan Creek Trail (2 1/2 mile or one hour, hike and/or bike) to San Juan Capistrano. For travelers who do not travel this path, then that is their loss (rethink this, seriously, you gotta do this) It was a true highlight of our trip here. There was so very much to see along the way.
Just a heads-up, there are homeless folks here and, at the end of the day, they do congregate on the benches along the path from the pedestrian bridge to the beach. We did not find this to be a problem for us (or for them).
Doheny Beach State Park is a real treasure. Take some time to explore.
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