If you are a surfer – you know this beach. The Trestles is a world-renown spot with amazing waves. Last fall, the World Surf League held a competition there that brought in visitors and surfers from all over the world.
If you are a military family, you may not know this beach unless you are a surfer. But the beauty of living near or around Camp Pendleton, means you aren’t more than 30 minutes away from this surfer’s dream spot. If you don’t surf, it is the perfect spot to people watch. At low tide, it has amazing tidal pools framed by the rocky surface that your little ones can closely inspect the sea life in. This truly is a must see. And all thanks to the US Marine Corps – because they own this land, and allow the city to use it. Huzzah!
Free: Take the I-5 to the Cristianitos exit (72) – from here turn right and if you can find parking on the street here just before the San Mateo entrance to base or along the El Camino Real (almost straight shot from the exit) then park.
Fee Required: Exit off the I-5 at Basilone (71) and head west toward the coast to park at the San Onofre Beach. Note: San Onofre is pronounced San Oh-no-fre…not San ON-Oh-Fre like I have been saying for months and thankfully a local informed me of the correct pronunciation!
From Cristianitos: Walk across the I-5 bridge and then cross just before the bend down the sidewalk. Be aware that this is a road, and there are many cars and vehicles passing so be aware of this. If you have littles, keep them in the stroller. This is the stroller friendly way into the beach area and would be the recommended way in if you have or need a stroller.
The sidewalk is a bit of a walk down to the beach, but it is worth the walk and views. I keep the littles in the stroller for the walk so that they don’t tired out, and also so I can run when I want to. There are hills along this walk, so if you are not used to walking, take it slow. Keep going until you hit gravel and then turn right and follow the gravel down, under the train trestle (where you will see “Trestle” written – presumably how the beach got its name.
From San Onofre Beach: Walk north from the San Onofre beach up to the Trestles – this will also be a bit of a walk, and not stroller friendly.
I highly recommend a jogging stroller, or a three-wheeled stroller to make it through the sand. Or if your kiddos are old enough, make sure they are comfortable walking long distances. You can keep walking north and watch all the surfers. We stop when it is low tide to check out all the sea creatures or keep up on the sandy beach area to build castles and search for “hidden treasures” as my eldest calls it – she has found shells, crabs, seaweed – all matter of the ocean’s sea creatures.
Going to the Trestles can seem intimidating, but don’t be! Pack lunch, sunscreen and towels and be prepared to enjoy the afternoon…and with a walk before and after, don’t feel guilty about packing some treats!