A mid-sized city in Orange County, San Clemente, California, is located near the southern tip of the county, about halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles. As of 2005 estimates, the population of the city was nearly 66,000. It lies six miles south of San Juan Capistrano and is home to the north entrance of the Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton. The city is bordered by Cleveland National Forest to the east and San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point to the north.
Before it was settled, the area was inhabited by tribes of Juaneño Native Americans. When the Mission San Juan Capistrano was established in the late 18th century, Spanish and Native American settlers came to the area and set up new villages. The city began its recent-day evolution in 1925, when a former mayor of the city of Seattle purchased 2,000 acres and designed a community within it.
Children raised in the city are served by the Capistrano Unified School District, which here consists of six elementary schools, three middle schools and one high school. There is also a virtual public K-12 school, Capistrano Connections Academy, which offers a more flexible schedule to students. The San Clemente Historical Society can provide a historical perspective of the city and the area, and introduce residents to the traditions and culture of San Clemente. Most of the city’s restaurants are strung along or nearby to Del Mar or El Camino Real.
Parks here include San Clemente State Park, on the bluffs looking out over San Clemente State Beach, San Mateo State Park, located just a mile inland, and San Onfore State Park, about three miles south of the city. There are four golf courses in the city: City Course, Shorecliffs, Talega and Pacific Country Club. The Ole Hanson Beach Club Pool is a summer favorite. The Philharmonic Society of Orange County Capistrano Committee provides musical performances for residents, and the Cabrillo Playhouse is the setting for plays and productions. The Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens is also the site for events and programming, and the San Clemente Art Association sponsors a number of festivities and art-related activities.