city, Orange county, southern California, U.S. It lies along the Pacific Ocean, midway between San Diego and Los Angeles. Founded in 1925 by Ole Hanson as a planned real-estate development called "Spanish Village by the Sea," the site was named for offshore San Clemente Island, which was named by the Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino to honour St. Clement. Chiefly residential, the city gained national prominence in 1969 when U.S. President Richard M. Nixon purchased property there for use as a summer White House. Casa Romantica (1928), Hanson's bluff-top home, is a popular local attraction and cultural centre. Nearby are San Clemente State Beach, San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, a unit of the Cleveland National Forest, and Camp Pendleton (a U.S. Marine base). Inc. 1928. Pop. (1990) 41,100; (2000) 49,936.
Learn more about San Clemente with a free trial on Britannica.com.