The instructors at Canvas, Paint and Wine, Oh My! edify budding artists in their spirited 2.5-hour workshops, which yield canvas-and-acrylic images of sunsets, cresting waves, death-metal album covers, and other pleasant images. In classes often held at Luggatti's Italian Grill, teachers help guide students' brushes across the canvas with step-by-step instruction as students imbibe wine and absorb appetizers.
At times, the atmosphere at Waterbabies Swim School is almost ethereally idyllic; clouds drift overhead as wriggling youngsters dive through hula hoops and parents cradle their infants to embark on a first float. More than 20 years ago, Wendy Gallagher developed the model for this utopic swim academy—lauded by CBS Local as having some of the Best Swim Lessons in Orange County in 2011—in a backyard pool in Capistrano Beach. She noticed how the intimate setting helped children enjoy lessons and eased the anxieties of parents watching their offspring submerge and surface as fully-grown otters. Guided by that experience, she installed modern facilities on the grounds of a quaint, 1920s white-stucco bungalow. The changing rooms feature kid-sized bathroom fixtures and, out in the backyard, a saltwater pool remains heated year-round to a balmy 92 degrees for both swim lessons and parties, staying clean via an Ozone system that instantly kills bacteria.
In Gallagher's aquatic curriculum, water safety is paramount, followed by a loving approach and the conviction that parents of infants can teach their babies how to swim. As a certified Pilates therapist, she quickly sees and corrects improper alignment, and as a mother of four, she knows how games and songs can be used to make lessons more fun and more effective. Instructors are equally sensitive as a result of training with Gallagher and are all certified in infant swimming by the United Swim School Association, a continuing-education organization. To ensure safety and personal attention, lessons max out at three students, and there are never more than two lessons occurring simultaneously in the pool.
The friendly staff at OceanaFit tinkers with its patrons' postures and the studio's thermostat to achieve homeostatic relaxation. With a schedule of more than 40 classes a week, even people without pencils can find time to pencil in sessions. OceanaFit's class offerings include introductory sessions, which focus on the alignment, postures, and breathing central to Vinyasa-style yoga, and subsequent classes apply those skills in hotter environments. OceanaFit makes both yoga veterans malleable as warm wax and neophytes unable to touch their toes feel equally welcome.
The classes at Bikram Yoga San Clemente bring the heat—105 degrees of it, to be exact. The Bikram-certified instructors there perform a set sequence of 26 hatha yoga poses developed by Bikram Choudhury. These poses encourage students to develop muscle strength and flexibility, aided by the heat, which further stretches sinews and encourages detoxification. After class, students can hop into the on-site showers or simply wring out their t-shirts to water the palm tree that stands outside the building.
A women-only gym serving San Clemente, Dana Point, and San Juan Capistrano, Fitness Elite offers all kinds of athletic options, which include kickboxing, aerobics, Pilates, a spin studio, and hot yoga. The sleekly designed, 22,000-square-foot facility is home to a wide range of fitness classes, a massive weights room, and caretaker services for children or shaved golden retrievers. A landmark of wellness for two decades and counting, Fitness Elite helps busy women balance all aspects of their lives.
At San Clemente Gym, cardio and strength-training sessions build bodies anew from the ground up. Here, guests forge strong abs, arms, or legs, in addition to burning off excess weight during convenient workout times. And after an intense session, guests step into the infrared sauna to soothe and refresh sore muscles.