San Clemente Newcomers Guide

San Clemente Beach ClubIt’s difficult to imagine a more relaxed lifestyle than settling in San Clemente, the jewel of Orange County, California. A gorgeous mid-sized coastal town offering Old World charm just a stone’s throw from expansive Pacific Ocean beaches, San Clemente's official city slogan is "Spanish Village by the Sea." In particular the area caters to those seeking higher-end luxury homes.

The local population of fewer than 100,000 inhabitants ensures tranquil day-to-day living with sufficient modern infrastructure for meeting employment, shopping, dining and entertainment needs. An idyllic location midway between Los Angeles and San Diego provides easy access to both metropolitan areas while avoiding the traffic, pollution and noise associated with urban living.

The city’s roots begin with the establishment of Mission San Juan Capistrano by Father Junipero Serra in 1776 but the area remained mostly undeveloped for many years save for a collection of small enclaves of Juaneño natives and Spanish colonials. It wasn’t until 1925 when the former mayor of Seattle, Ole Hanson, spearheaded a major 2,000 acre land development initiative when San Clemente was truly born.

Hanson’s vision was to create a Mediterranean resort-style paradise for residents of Southern California tired of the big city. He felt the area’s blend of pleasant climate, beautiful beaches and stunning mountain views would combine for the perfect lifestyle.

After incorporation the town maintained an ordinance that all new construction must follow strict Spanish-style architecture guidelines. While the rule has long since been repealed, Hanson’s dream of a San Clemente by the sea still lives on today.

Relocating to San Clemente

San Clemente BeachSan Clemente is the surfing media capital of the world and a major surf destination, home to Surfing Magazine, The Surfer's Journal, Longboard Magazine and the famous Trestles break among many others. But don’t let the city’s laid-back surfer attitude disguise its strength as a business and employment hub. As of the last Census the median family income of $87,200 was nearly twenty thousand dollars higher than numbers registered for the state as a whole. Overall demographics point to San Clemente as an exceedingly affluent area. According to demographic makeup contains a higher percentage of upper middle class and wealthy households compared to the rest of California. The city’s unemployment rate is a full 1.9% lower than the national average.

An outdoor lover’s dream location, residents enjoy the famous pier as well as a broad collection of beaches, water sports, state parks, cultural centers, historical sites and shopping facilities. The Beaches, Parks and Recreation Department administers 324 acres of recreational space encompassing 21 parks, 13.8 miles of hiking trails and two miles of public beaches, as well as a 133 acre award-winning golf course.

San Clemente Real Estate

San Clemente Mission San Juan CapistranoAccording to the local real estate market is categorized as “healthy.” With a median house price of around $800,000 the region has been targeted by luxury real estate developers as a destination for major resort-style community projects.

Sea Summit by Taylor Morrison, an incipient community situated on the coastal bluffs raises the bar on luxury living. Offering 309 unique luxury properties priced from the mid $1 millions to the low $3 millions, this master-planned community will feature a private resort club and an upscale shopping center with more than 70 high-end shops and ocean-view restaurant.

Sea Summit is specifically geared towards those who prefer a more balanced, holistic lifestyle, blending sun, sea and nature with the comforts of modern architecture and design. Grounds include 116 acres of protected canyon habitat with an expansive network of trails for exploring and being at peace with Mother Nature.

San Clemente Economy

San Clemente LobsterSan Clemente offers a thriving business-centric economy with 22.5% of all industry pertaining to the management/finance field (National Average = 14.4%). Over 43% of all households report earnings greater than $100,000 and 15.3% exceed the $200,000 mark, reinforcing the city’s reputation as a haven for the upper classes.

Cameron Health & ICU Medical, two medical device manufacturers are headquartered in San Clemente along with TrafFix Devices, Pickup Stix and Rainbow Sandals.

After the Capistrano Unified School District, ICU Medical, Inc. is the top employer in the region. The company operates globally, developing and manufacturing innovative medical technologies used in vascular therapy, oncology, and critical care applications.

San Clemente Schools

There are eighteen K-12 schools (12 public, 6 private) in the San Clemente area, divided into two districts, Capistrano Unified School District and Fallbrook Union Elementary School District. gives the city’s schools the high overall rating of 8 with many individual schools attaining even higher scores. Vista Del Mar Elementary and Vista Del Mar Middle School earned rankings of 9 and 10 respectively.

The central location between Los Angeles and San Diego puts an incredible 92 colleges and universities within a short 50 mile distance, including local Saddleback College.

San Clemente Living

San Clemente GolfSan Clemente offers a more artsy scene compared to the rest of Orange County with a broad collection of art galleries across all mediums. A new breed of boutique shops and gourmet restaurants have become a fresh feature, which adds to the town’s charming relaxed ambiance.

With a quaint stucco architectural feel and popular civic buildings such as the Ole Hanson Beach Club, the Community Center, and the Harborside Pier, San Clemente is truly a delightful place to call home.

Weather-wise you can’t do better. 300+ days of sunshine every year makes planning outdoor fun simple and easy. Some say San Clemente enjoys the best climate in the entire country.

The area offers a wealth of things to do, including the Cabrillo Playhouse, Farmer’s Market, live music at Sunsets, Iva Lee’s, OC Tavern, Beachfire Bar & Grill and The Coach House, Art Walk on Historic Avenida Del Mar, Mission San Juan Capistrano, multiple golf clubs, Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, miles of beautiful beaches and more.

Make Yourself at Home in San Clemente

For more information about Sea Summit in San Clemente send an email request to Taylor Morrison’s Internet Home Consultant or join the VIP Interest List.

Photo credit:
San Clemente Beach: Neil Kremer flickr cc
San Clemente Beach Club, circa 1920: Photo courtesy Orange County Archives flickr cc
Mission San Juan Capistrano: Tim Buss flickr cc
Lobster at the San Clemente Seafest: Ricardo Diaz flickr cc