T and I Love Cali Sunshine so much we’ve made it an annual trip. In the past we’ve always flown from Heathrow to LAX though this time we decided to fly to San Diego and what a good idea it was! We were met with a very short line at immigration – a far cry from the hoards of tourists at LAX ( After an initial flight cancellation and an 11 hour flight with our 18 month old any time saved waiting in line is indeed a welcomed blessing!).
We arrived at the Beach Comber Inn after a long delay picking up the rental car due to our flight delay issues departing London, hence the very somber look on my face below LOL in spite of the magnificent views.
However just needed me some carbs and I was jumping for joy in no time.
Being a sunshine deprived Londoner meant that visiting even in Winter in our jumpers was still a treat. T and I headed straight down to the jetty for a stroll and to lunch at The Fishermans Restaurant. We had some fresh oysters overlooking the beach with sporadic surfers dotted about in the ocean. Seagulls wind surfed above our heads in the cobalt blue sky as the palm trees swayed in the wind.
It was time to get some groceries after lunch, as our lovely little room had a fully equipped kitchen perfect for travelling with young toddlers or even for the keen cook who doesn’t want to eat out every single night.
If you are looking for somewhere to stay thats not pretentious, budget friendly and family friendly (travel cots are provided upon request), then this is the perfect beachfront spot. The kitchen had a stove, oven and microwave,a large sink for sterilising those milk bottles and an american sized fridge to boot. So off we went to the nearest Ralphs, a short 8 minute drive from the Inn to stock up on baby snacks ( Z absolutely loves Gerber’s Yoghurt Melts) and some marshmallows for our late night (after baby is asleep) s’mores session by the fire.
Every year in the OC, we always make a pitstop at our favourite casual Japanese restaurant Gen-Kai at Dana Point. This time Dana Point was about a 20 minute drive from San Clemente. If its your first time to the area there are some lovely wild whale and dolphin watching tours that depart from Dana Point harbour. Though sightings are always luck and season dependent.
The last time we visited, we stayed at The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Nigel which is perched on a cliff and makes for amazing views. If staying the night is not an option, Afternoon tea which starts with a Bellini and ends with a delicious Grand Marnier chocolate cake is always justifiable.
Nick’s is a great village chain with a big city feel to it. I love the Asparagus fries, Baby back ribs and Buttermilk Fried Chicken.
South of Nick’s is a winner if you are looking for a taste of classic Mexico with a welcoming fireplace. Try the Shrimp Salad, Seafood Chimichangas and Pork Carnitas. Portions are very generous so sharing is advised.
The Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar ( a 5 min walk from the Inn), for fresh oysters and a gargle of France’s best with a view from the pier. Shrimp as the Americans call it and clam chowder are also worth a taste. For lunch, why not try the fish and chips!
Cafe Mimosa is a great little brunch spot in a quiet neighbourhood opposite the local library. I had the Creme Brûlée French Toast with Rasberry Compote drizzled over the top. Yum!
Gen-Kai Sushi | 34143 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, CA 92629 | for a fairly priced family-friendly casual Japanese dining experience . High chairs are available upon request and complimentary parking is available at the back of the restaurant. Yes the perks of American living!
If carbs are your friend try Stack’s Pancake House! When I’m in the States I gotta have my Fried Chicken and Waffles and this place didn’t disappoint! If you’re a Londoner and are big on the Fried Chicken and Waffles at The Breakfast Club (a little hole in the wall place near Oxford Street Station), then you’ll surely like Stack’s.
A Room With A View
This was the view we woke up to every morning from our American sized bed. I love beds in America they are so big that I don’t have to be shoulder to shoulder with my husband at all times which is sometimes a plus (hehe sorry T).
As the sun began to set, the mercury like gleam of the ocean was so therapeutic and calming as I sat awaiting to exhale infront of our little porch in room 11.
We watched the sky glisten with streaks of neon pinks and oranges as we prepared our skewers of marshmallows… what a perfect way to end the day, hot cocoa in hand by the fire… Just Heavenly!
Shop My Wardrobe
Some useful Travel Guide books for the area can be found below|
And if you are travelling with kids here’s a good one|
Styling and Photography | Shan Lee