With a population of about 35,000, Dana Point, California is a tiny coastal town that lies mid-way between Los Angeles and San Diego. With 7 miles (11 kilometers) of coastal bluffs and sandy beaches that offer many ocean-filled adventures, Dana Point is like nature’s water-themed park. Much of Dana Point’s lifestyle is geared toward the water or at least in close proximity to the ocean. So for you sea-lovers, here are the 10 best things to do in Dana Point, California.
1. Satisfy your sea-loving sense of adventure at Dana Point Harbor
Dana Point Harbor is the spot where all of the action happens. With a myriad of choices, an exciting day is always on-hand at Dana Point Harbor. Experience oceanic living by taking a cruise along Dana Point’s delightful coastline or do some pier fishing, kayaking, or even take a sailing lesson. Dana Point Harbor offers great underwater action with wonderful diving facilities.
Dana Point Harbor
Address: 23921 Dana Point Harbor Drive, 92629 Dana Point, California
Website: Dana Point Harbor
2. Dana Point's Beaches; scenic stretch of paradise
Dana Point’s beaches are some of the finest in the world. Two of the most traversed are Doheny State Beach-North Beach; there’s also a Doheny State Beach-South Beach, however, North Beach is the better bet and Dana Point Harbor Beach. Doheny State Beach-North Beach features over a mile (1.6 kilometers) of sandy shores and some of the best swimming and surfing in California. At low tide, explore magnificent tide pools. Doheny State Beach-North Beach also has campgrounds, picnic areas, and barbecue grills.
Dana Point's Beaches
Address: 25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive, 92629 Dana Point, CA (Doheny State Beach-North Beach), 24300 Dana Point Harbor Drive, 92629 Dana Point, CA (Baby Beach)
Website: Dana Point’s Beaches
3. Thrill of a lifetime: Dana Wharf Sportsfishing & Whale Watching!
No visit to Dana Point is complete without a true whale watching expedition. And you’ll experience a heart-stopping thrill ride at Dana Wharf Sportsfishing & Whale Watching. The first of its kind in the area, Dana Wharf Sportsfishing & Whale Watching has, since 1971, provided the first-class whale watching adventure that’s certain to leave a very lasting impression. Dana Wharf Sportsfishing & Whale Watching has expeditions year-round and offers specials, like half-price Tuesdays. Dana Wharf Sportsfishing & Whale Watching also provides fishing tours and various types of fun cruises, such as evening excursions around Dana Point Harbor.
Dana Wharf Sportsfishing & Whale Watching
Address: 34675 Street of the Golden Lantern, 92629 Dana Point, CA
4. Cast off worries and sail on the historic Schooner Curlew
Recognized in 2009 by the city of Dana Point as a historic vessel, the 1926 John Alden-designed Schooner Curlew is a remarkable relic of the golden days of wooden boat construction, racing, and sailing. The vessel has been meticulously restored to its original brilliance and today serves as an amazing tourist attraction. Whether it’s an outing with family and friends or a romantic sunset sail for couples along the shoreline, spend a remarkable time aboard a genuine classic and enjoy a first-class sailing adventure.
Address: 34675 Street of the Golden Lantern, 92629 Dana Point, CA
Website: Schooner Curlew
5. Shop like a local at Dana Point Farmers Market
There's no better way to Kick Start your Saturday Morning but with a Fresh Pressed "Nature's Euphoria" from the Fellas...Posted by Dana Point Farmers Market on Saturday, 13 August 2016
Held every Saturday of every month is the Dana Point Farmers Market in La Plaza Park. The small park, located in the heart of the La Plaza Shopping Center, welcomes local, organic produce sellers and unique wares from vendors of Dana Point’s many businesses. If you’re heading toward the beach, make a stop at Dana Point Farmers Market and pick up some healthy snacks, like fruits, veggies, nuts, freshly baked bread, and even tamales! And as an extra bonus, on the second Saturday of each month, Dana Point’s many arts and crafts merchants join the festivities.
Dana Point Farmers Market
Address: 34118 Pacific Coast Highway, 92629 Dana Point, California, CA (La Plaza Park)
Hours: 9.00am to 1.00pm
Website: Dana Point Farmers Market
6. Sea explorer fanatic? Ocean Institute is the prime place
The Ocean Institute is an educational organization that offers ocean science and maritime history programs for students and their teachers, as well as the public. With Ocean Institute’s award-winning approach to learning, students and the general public learn first-hand what it’s like to be tall ship sailors, oceanographers, and research scientists. While at the Ocean Institute, visitors can explore various sea-life exhibits.
Address: 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr, 92629 Dana Point, CA
Website: Ocean Institute
7. Must-see view atop Bluff Top Trail!
Bluff Top Trail is an amazing cliff-side pathway that rewards visitors with spectacular views of Dana Point. Bluff Top Trail is perched above Dana Point Harbor, where you can view the harbor’s beauty and the surrounding area. Bluff Top Trail is a historical area that leads along Dana Point’s 150-foot (46-meter) high bluffs. The Trail is a short distance and easy to manage.
Bluff Top Trail
Address: 34342 Street of the Amber Lantern, 92629 Dana Point, CA
Website: Bluff Top Trail
8. High-sea shenanigans on board The Pilgrim!
I dig this view of the Brig Pilgrim that I was able to paddle to. Can see the bow carving in good light, and the rigging seems to meld into one.Posted by Omar Simsek on Friday, 12 May 2017
The Pilgrim also referred to as Brig Pilgrim is a historic tall ship docked at Dana Point’s Ocean Institute. Used today as a floating classroom, The Pilgrim was a sailing brig active in the California animal hide trade of the early 19th century. The Pilgrim offers guided tours, where docents, dressed in historical garb, greet and guide guests through the exciting era of high seas adventure. While aboard The Pilgrim, sing along to sea chanteys, listen to seafaring folklore, and help raise The Pilgrim’s sail. Stroll the decks and take in the nautical vibe as the smell of sea air whips around you.
Address: 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr., 92629 Dana Point, CA
Website: The Pilgrim
9. Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park: Hikers' and bikers' ultimate journey's end!
Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park is a 15-minute drive from Dana Point and is home to many rare and endangered plants and animals. Designated as a wildlife sanctuary, Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park comprises approximately 4,500 acres (1,821 hectares) of wilderness and natural open-space land. Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park also offers more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) of hiking and mountain biking trails. When exploring Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, don’t miss the popular Dripping Cave Trail.
Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
Address: 28373 Alicia Parkway, 92677 Laguna Niguel, CA
Website: Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
10. Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area
Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area is a protected marine nature preserve that offers sandy beaches, tide pools, and extensive ocean views. Comprised of over 60 acres (24 hectares) of the best nature has to offer, Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area is a wonderful family-friendly place to explore; with over 150 species of plants and animals that are native to coastal southern California. Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area has easily managed trails and a visitor and educational center called the Nature Interpretive Center that is jam-packed with historical, cultural, and natural history exhibits.
Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area
Address: 34558 Scenic Dr, 92629 Dana Point, CA
Epic mix of land and sea: Dana Point
With its limitless ocean attractions and nature-loving activities, Dana Point is the perfect city to enjoy Mother Nature’s treasures.
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