San Clemente lies about 65 miles south of Los Angeles and 60 miles north of San Diego. To reach San Clemente's downtown district, exit I-5 at Avenida Presidio, turn right on El Camino Real, then left at Avenida Del Mar.
Another option is Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner (from $14 one way from L.A. or San Diego; www.amtrak.com or 800/872-7245), which stops twice daily at the San Clemente Pier, a short walk from downtown.
Antoine's Café. Locals' favorite gathering place for breakfast or lunch. Simple dishes―burgers, salads, and quiche―in a friendly, surfer-oriented environment. $$; breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Thu-Sat. 218 S. El Camino Real; 949/492-1763.
BeachFire. The restaurant that brought new life to the downtown area still draws big crowds, particularly on weekends. It's more about the vibe than the food, but do save room for the s'mores. $$$; lunch and dinner daily. 204 Avenida Del Mar; 949/366-3232.