One of my all time bucket list items is to backpack all over Europe using their extensive public transportation systems, specifically all the train options. I've been meaning to take the Metrolink to San Clemente Pier ever since I kept seeing advertisements for it on social media (see, our phones really are eavesdropping on us!) After finding a free Saturday to do this, and doing a bit of research into how it works (because it's been that long since I've taken the Metrolink), I was ready to enjoy a traffic-free ride to the beach!
There is a wealth of information on how to take the Metrolink and what areas it services here. On the weekends, it is $10 to ride the Metrolink to anywhere it goes. You can go as far south as Oceanside! This is a steal, depending on where your destination is! There were two possible departure times available, and I chose the later departure time because I wanted to sleep in a little. From what I've observed, these departure times are pretty consistent barring any delays, so I liked that I could plan a trip ahead of time. Living in SoCal, car culture is typically the way most people get around, and with that comes traffic. Not gonna lie, this only appealed to me for two reasons: 1) not being in traffic on the freeway and 2) being able to sit there and zone out (haha, my needs are simple)
It was a beautiful day, and there was just enough cloud cover to keep the sun from beating down on us. I didn't plan, however, for the humidity. Luckily, I made it through the day without buying a $20 t-shirt that I was never going to wear again!
Once you get off the train, you can either head to the shops/restaurants, or cross the tracks to where the pier is.
I really like how the painting isn't even from the perspective he's painting from LOL. 😃
Not sure when it gets super busy, but around noon, we had lunch on the pier and there was still plenty of seating outside overlooking the water.
This person has the right idea. I plan on doing a lot of this in the summer!
After ice cream, we decided to head to San Juan Capistrano. However, one of the downsides of taking the train is that the train runs in the morning and late afternoon, and not in between. We ended up taking a Lyft to the San Juan Capistrano Mission area for about $12 - not bad!
The mission was closed for a Mariachi contest, so I only was able to get a glimpse from the gift shop.
If you like expensive coffee, you can get some at Hidden House Coffee. I love their cups (and also that you don't need a straw to drink your iced coffee!)
Not too long after our coffee break, there was a swarm of prom-goers outside taking photos. There were also a bunch of people who were in the area for a wedding. It got to be a bit too crowded, so we decided to go check out some of the shops near the mission.
This is one of the large antique shops down the street from the mission. I love looking at stuff in antique shops. It's like rummaging through the homes of tons of people that lived in various decades. In fact, that's exactly what it is LOL.
It had to keep reminding myself that I had no real use for this, except for the fact that it was SOOOO cute! Don't worry, I did not go home with it. 😞
One of the best parts of this antique shop was rummaging through these Life magazines. It's a pretty extensive collection, and the best part? They were organized in chronological order! It was like seeing history unfold right before your very eyes. I loved looking up what was going on in the world when I was born or seeing what life was like in post World War II America. The issues ranged from about $20 to $60 depending on their condition.
We decided to take the last train back home. It gave me a bit of anxiety though. While we were there well in advance of the departure time, none of the trains that stopped announced their destinations, so we simply had to go by what time it was to determine if we were getting on the right train. There wasn't anyone around to answer questions, which made it frustrating as well. All in all, I would probably do this again. Here are my pros and cons for doing something like this (on a weekend):
- affordable, $10 for all day use
- don't have to sit in traffic or drive
- able to enjoy scenery or get work done on the train
- environmentally friendly
- no control over when you get there or when you leave
- limited service in morning and late afternoon only
- annoying people on the train doing everything the Metrolink website says you shouldn't do on the train (listening to music without headphones, leaving stuff in the aisle, having loud conversations, taking up seats with stuff so people can't sit in them, etc.)