There's something different about San Clemente. Depending on the time of day, it can get as crowded as other area beaches and the waves are still hefty, but it has a unique, small-town vibe. It probably helps that, when looking behind you, instead of seeing the usual beach houses, hotels, bars and restaurants, you see nothing but small, rocky cliffs. (Or the Metrolink train rumbling by every 30 minutes or so; the tracks are perched above the cliffs.) Spend the day building sand castles and boogie boarding — at San Clemente there's not much more to do than hang out and enjoy the beach.