San Clemente Ocean Festival

Beach runs, dolphin dashes, and more sandy fun awaits.

BEACH TIME: There are those who head for our state's sandier stretches hauling a picnic basket, a blanket, and an umbrella. That's the most physical effort they intend to put into the day, a day they hope will be languorous and relaxing and devil-may-care. San Clemente's Ocean Festival, however, is the opposite of all that. People run down the beach and surf and go paddleboarding and take part in a fishing derby and trot off in a dolphin dash and stay busy, busy, busy over the two-day beach bash. But this activity makes sense, given the long-running event's ties to the Orange County Beach Games and local lifeguards. The Ocean Festival is about the ocean, yes -- the name is true -- but also our recreation in and around it.

DATES AND DETAILS: The 2013 festival is ready to don its board trunks and compete on Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21. The schedules each day are nicely packed. Highlights from day #1? A pancake breakfast, the California Waterman & Waterwoman Championships (paddleboard sprints and surf ski races are involved), bodysurfing clinics (totally free to attend), and many, many to-dos for the young'uns. Beach party and live music -- again, totally free -- round out the night.

A GOOD MISSION AT HEART: The Ocean Festival has its roots in the '70s and its ability to keep on keepin' on is rooted in a few things. One? Locals love it, but people also come up to watch and compete from San Diego and head on down from LA. And two? It promotes ocean safety and awareness while also raising funds for several area programs, including a few devoted to lifeguards. Hooray, lifeguards! And yay to ocean awareness and beach-based athleticism. We're all for a lounge-y day on the sand, but seeing the surf put to full, fun use by all ages is a pleasure of living close to the great Pacific, too.

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