arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin

San Onofre

Rugged and unspoiled, with windswept bluffs, tidal wetlands and great surfing

A California Classic beach destination on the border of Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base

San Onofre is situated in San Diego's North Coastal region. In stark contrast to its primitive, natural side, San Onofre is also home to a decommissioned nuclear-powered generating facility and a state-of-the-art military base. San Onofre offers three unique beach areas—Trestles, Old Man's and Trails—and opportunities to enjoy them by day or overnight camping.

Where to Go

  • Lower Trestles, on the south side of the San Mateo Creek river mouth, is a world famous surf break. Many pro surfers honed their craft at Trestles, and on any given day (but particularly in the summer/fall south swell season) you can witness a three-ring circus of modern power surfing and aerial maneuvers.
  • Old Man's is an easy spot to access, with good facilities and a safe, clean, sandy beach. Like its neighbor Trestles to the North, Old Man's (also known as San Onofre State Surfing Beach) is a world-renowned surf spot. Fun, gentle waves still roll through Old Man's, making it a popular surf spot for beginners and veterans alike, while beachgoers will appreciate the neighborly, tailgate party scene in and around the parking lot.
  • Trails is the collective name for the three miles of beach fronting the San Onofre Bluffs State Campground to the south of the nuclear plant. The campground is set up in a linear fashion with campsites and bathroom facilities spaced at intervals all along the seaward side of the old Coast Highway. Beach here is predominantly sand with areas of rock reefs and tide pools at low tide.
  • San Onofre State Beach Campground is great for camping, with 380 sites for RVs or tent camping. There are bathrooms, picnic tables and fire rings but no utility hookups. Reservations are somewhat hard to get so book early


  • Parts of Trails beach are patrolled by lifeguards and park rangers, but consider yourself at your own risk in all water safety judgments.
  • Trestles and Old Man’s are patrolled by lifeguards, but not as frequently. Enjoy these areas at your own risk.

Bathrooms & Showers

  • Old Man’s offers plenty of bathrooms and showers.
  • San Onofre State Surfing Beach offers bathrooms and showers

Popular Activities

  • Surfing, surf fishing, clam digging and tide pooling
  • San Onofre Bluffs State Campground

Directions to San Onofre beaches

  • To find Old Man's and Trails, exit I-5 freeway at Basilone Road and head south. The entrance to the San Onofre State Surfing Beach (Old Man's) is a turnout on the right before reaching the Power Plant. Continue south past the Power Plant to reach the San Onofre State Beach campground entrance (Trails). The rangers at either of these gates can direct you to a parking area and provide information about availability, regulations, fees and current conditions. To get to Trestles, first-timers are advised to park at Old Man's and walk north up the beach.

San Onofre

What to Love

  • Roasting marshmallows in a firepit at San Onofre State Beach.
  • Mountain biking on marked trails near Trestles beach.
  • Bird watching and enjoying spring flowers at San Mateo Creek Nature Preserve.
  • Watching the surfers from the shoreline at Trestles.

What to Know

  • The trails through the wetlands are protected habitat and environmentally sensitive. 
  • San Mateo Campground books up fast—make reservations well in advance.
  • Alcohol is banned from all beaches within the state park.

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Deals just for you

Team Building

Show Your Badge & Save at Murder n' Mayhem

Murder n Mayhem
Valid: Jun 24, 2022 - ongoing

Save 10% on all Tours & Experiences offered by Murder n' Mayhem. Redeem online at or via phone 619-781-8013 with Discount Code: SHOWME Public and private tours...

History & Heritage

Save 10% off any San Diego Walks Tour

San Diego Walks
Valid: Jan 26 - ongoing

We offer tours of Balboa Park, Old Town, Liberty Station and Coronado. Use code BEST10 at time of booking to save 10%    

Related Articles and Features

What's Nearby

Beaches Region

Areas of Interest

Where to Stay

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up





Follow Us


English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish