Capistrano Beach has been a favorite of the locals since 1928. It is located in San Juan Capistrano, California, on the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean. The beach is operated by the city and is open to the public.
Capistrano Beach has a wide beachfront, with plenty of sand, a playground area, and picnic tables. There are no restrooms or showers at this beach. At low tide, there is a large mudflat area that attracts many birds. The access to this beach is from Camino Capistrano at the end of N. El Camino Real, which intersects with Del Obispo in downtown San Juan Capistrano.
The beach can be accessed from the street by taking a short walk down to the bluff’s edge overlooking the ocean and then walking down a staircase that leads to the beach area below. The width of this beach is about 200 yards and there are several benches for resting or watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. There are also several grassy areas that are great for picnics and family outings. This little city-operated gem offers peace and tranquility in an otherwise fast-paced world.
San Juan Capistrano is a city in Orange County, California. The population was 35,269 at the 2010 census, up from 34,837 at the 2000 census. It became known as “The City of Flowers” when it was incorporated in 1927 and today the city celebrates its floral heritage with an annual “May Blossom Festival” every May.
It was originally named “Dove Beach.” In 1925 residents voted to change the name to “Capistrano Beach”, because many of them had visited the religious shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi in Italy, and had been touched by Saint Francis’ love for nature. The City Council then unanimously voted to change the name officially to Capistrano Beach on January 8, 1926.
In 1769, Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portola led a group of colonists to the area now known as San Juan Capistrano. They built a mission there, which became the center of an agricultural community that eventually formed into present-day San Juan Capistrano. In 1818, Spanish governor Jose Figueroa officially declared the area as “La Villa de San Juan Capistrano”. The coastal land surrounding the town was known as Rancho del Rincon del San Jose. Over time, it became known simply as Rincon Del San Jose. The beach, which is between the two points, was labeled on maps as Mission Beach, but locals called it “Capo Beach”, meaning cape beach in Spanish. In 1910, a new highway was built that connected Santa Ana to San Juan Capistrano. It passed through the town and went along what is now Old Coast Highway/Ortega Highway.