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Lori Donchak
Lori Donchak

By Councilmember Lori Donchak

What would you do with an extra day? It’s Leap Year, which means 2016 is 366 days long instead of the typical 365 days. How would you spend a free day? There’s no shortage of unique things to do in San Clemente with a free day. These are a few of my favorites for the weeks ahead.

  1. Adopt-a-Beach. Did you know that sections of San Clemente beaches can be adopted by individuals or teams to remove trash from the beach? Adopt-a-Beach is easy, fun and free. To select your stretch of sand, call 949.366.2326.
  2. Visit the Casa Romantica Cultural Center & Gardens. This beautiful, historic home built by San Clemente’s founding father is surrounded by beautiful botanic gardens with a wide-variety of succulents getting ready to bloom. For a nominal fee, enjoy the stunning views and landscaping, interesting history, photo exhibits and regular programming. For more information and hours, call 949.498.2139.
  3. Get a library card. Obtaining a library card is easy when you use the online library card application link at and complete the application. Your library card will be ready in 48 hours and you can lose yourself in novels, e-books, music and more.
  4. Take a hike. Inspire yourself to reach the flag pole up high on the Forster Ridgeline Trail, which can be accessed at the end of Camino De Los Mares. Or hike to San Clemente Summit, the highest elevation in town, accessed from the end of Avenida Talega.
  5. Have a pool party. The friendly city aquatics center staff takes the party planning out of your hands with a convenient, no fuss party package –especially good for birthdays. Call 949.429.8797.
  6. Learn to Hoola-Hoop. Hooping is back and better than ever as a non-impact exercise. Consider attending one of the City’s two-hour “Hoola Hooping Happiness” classes being held on April 23 and May 14 at Max Berg Plaza Park. To register,
  7. Wednesday is Bingo! Day: Check out the Dorothy Visser Senior Center at 117 Avenida Victoria every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Cards are available for purchase at 1 p.m. and players must be at least 18 years of age. Cash prizes are available. Call 949.498.3322 for more information.
  8. Learn CPR. On May 24 the American Safety and Health Institute provides this course at the Community Center on CPR and the Heimlich maneuver for adults, children and infants with a manikin. You’ll also learn how to use an AED and receive a certification card. Sign up at
  9. Unlock your inner child. Head to the Linda Lane Park playground with direct beach access and ocean views, visit Courtney’s SandCastle Playground and Sensory Gardens, or play at Max Berg Plaza Park or any of San Clemente’s great playgrounds and 21 parks. Bring a picnic and make a day out of it.
  10. Rent a Bicycle and Pedal the Coastal Trail. The bike rental shop is near the Metrolink train station and you can rent a beach cruiser and ride along the scenic Coastal Trail, and make stops along the way for lunch or shaved ice. The bike shop hours are Friday through Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Most bikes have wire baskets to hold your belongings. For information, call 949 492.5737.

I’d love to hear your ideas of things to do in San Clemente. Drop me a note at and we’ll get another list going to share.

Lori Donchak was re-elected to City Council in 2014 and is the Chairwoman of the Orange County Board of Directors. Donchak is also the city’s liaison to San Clemente’s Orange County Library.

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