San Onofre State Beach

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San Onofre State Beach
San Onofre State Beach railroad tracks.jpg
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Location San Diego County, California
Nearest city San Clemente
Coordinates 33°22′45″N117°34′21″W / 33.37917°N 117.57250°W / 33.37917; -117.57250 Coordinates: 33°22′45″N117°34′21″W / 33.37917°N 117.57250°W / 33.37917; -117.57250
Area3,000-acre (1,214 ha)
Governing body California Department of Parks and Recreation

San Onofre State Beach (San Onofre, Spanish for "St. Onuphrius") is a 3,000-acre (1,214 ha) state park in San Diego County, California. [1] The beach is 3 miles (5 km) south of San Clemente on Interstate 5 at Basilone Road. The state park is leased to the state of California by the United States Marine Corps. Governor Ronald Reagan established San Onofre State Beach in 1971. With over 2.5 million visitors per year, [2] it is one of the five most-visited state parks in California, hosting swimmers, campers, kayakers, birders, fishermen, bicyclists, sunbathers, surfers, and the sacred Native American site of Panhe.



Panhe at San Onofre is an Acjachemen village that is over 8,000 years old and a current sacred, ceremonial, cultural, and burial site for the Acjachemen people. Many Acjachemen people trace their lineage back to Panhe. It is the site of the first baptism in California, and in 1769 saw the first close contact between Spanish explorers, Catholic missionaries, and the Acjachemen people. The United Coalition to Protect Panhe and The City Project advocate for the preservation of the site. [3] In keeping with the Padres’ tradition of naming areas after patron saints, this area was named after the obscure 4th-century Egyptian, St. Onuphrius. [1]

On November 10, 2016, the Transportation Corridor Agency abandoned plans to build a six-lane toll highway through San Onofre State Beach, other nearby sensitive environmental areas, and certain Native American cultural sites. The announcement brings to an end more than 10 years of effort to build through these areas. The abandonment of this route for the toll road was part of an agreement ending several lawsuits filed by the California attorney general and a coalition of environmental groups that sought to block the project. [4]

Park attractions

The rail line for which Trestles is named Metrolink Trestles Beach S.jpg
The rail line for which Trestles is named

The San Onofre Bluffs portion of San Onofre State Beach features 3.5 miles (5.6 km) of sandy beaches with six access trails cut into the bluff above. The campground is along the old U.S. Route 101 adjacent to the sandstone bluffs. San Onofre includes San Onofre Bluffs and Beach areas; San Onofre Surf Beach, a day-use facility; San Mateo campgrounds and day-use facility; and Trestles, accessible via a nature trail from San Mateo Campgrounds. Alcohol is banned from all beaches within the park. [1]

The park includes a marshy area where San Mateo Creek meets the shoreline and Trestles, a surfing site. Whales, dolphins, and sea lions can be seen offshore. The park’s coastal terrace is chaparral-covered.[ citation needed ]


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After Sunset

A surfing and fishing camp had been there since the 1920s, before the U.S. government established Camp Pendleton, a U.S. Marine training camp during World War II. [5] Surfers using redwood boards have visited San Onofre since at least the 1940s, including Lorrin "Whitey" Harrison, Don Okey, Al Dowden, Tom Wilson, and Bob Simmons. [6]

San Onofre has several surf breaks on its 3.5 miles (5.6 km) of coast:

Former nude beach

Nudity is prohibited at all parts of San Onofre State Beach, [7] A traditional "clothing optional area" [8] was formerly at the extreme south end of San Onofre Bluffs beach, accessed via Trail number 6. [9] Since March 2010, park rangers have been citing park visitors for nudity, following the 2009 defeat of a legal challenge by a nudist group. [7] [10]

Nuclear station

Between San Onofre Bluffs and San Onofre Surf Beach is the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), which was shut down in June 2013. [11]

See also

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Trestles Bridge

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Panhe was one of the largest Acjachemen villages, and is over 8,000 years old and a current sacred, ceremonial, cultural, and burial site for the Acjachemen people. The site of Panhe, is now within San Onofre State Beach, San Diego County, California, located at the confluence of San Mateo Creek and Cristianitos Canyon, approximately 3.7 miles (6.0 km) upstream from the Pacific Ocean. The Acjachemen people fished in San Mateo Creek's extensive freshwater marshes, and practiced a hunter-gatherer lifestyle. The village of Panhe is estimated to have had a population of 300 or so before the first Spanish explorers came to the area, and is still a sacred site for the Acjachemen people.

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  1. 1 2 3 California, California State Parks, State of. "San Onofre SB". CA State Parks. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  2. Anton, Mike (2008-07-05). "San Onofre's new bare necessity: a suit". Los Angeles Times . Retrieved 2008-08-07.
  3. "Save Panhe". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  4. Weikel, Dan. "Settlement ends the threat of a toll road through San Onofre State Beach". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-11-23.
  5. Connelly, Laylan (2021-09-02). "Three-year lease extension signed to keep San Onofre State Park open to public". Orange County Register. Retrieved 2021-09-03.
  6. San Onofre Surfing Club: History of the San Onofre Surfing Club (1974).
  7. 1 2 Carcamo, Cindy. "State spent over $40,000 to fight nudists". The Orange County Register. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  8. "Russell Cahill, May 31, 1979". Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  9. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-09. Retrieved 2010-01-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)