Dana Point Travel Guide

  • St Regis Resort Monarch Beach
    by Usctwin
  • St Regis Resort Monarch Beach
    by Usctwin
  • St Regis Resort Monarch Beach
    by Usctwin

Dana Point Highlights

  • Pro
    807Wheaton profile photo

    807Wheaton says…

     Ideally located as a reference "landmark" for the whales. 

  • Con
    janika profile photo

    janika says…

     Deep, cold water with huge waves. 

  • In a nutshell
    janika profile photo

    janika says…

     If you don't like over-crowded beaches, than Dana point is for you. 

Dana Point Things to Do

  • Catch Festival of Whales (seasonal)

    In late winter at the harbor, whales greet Dana in their annual migration, which originates in Alaska and ends in Mexico. Special whale watching excursions run during the 2 weekend event, ranging from about $30-$250 (general and private boats). pre-booked reservations are recommended.March 1-2; 7-8 , 2014-- a must do for me!See website for future...

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  • Nice relaxing spot on the way to San...

    While we were going to San Diego from Los Angeles we stopped by Doheny state beach for a break. It was a nice spot for kids to get out of the car to burn some calories and for all of us to watch sunset.

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  • If not staying in, walk by Ritz Carlton

    Well, I don't think i will be able to write a review on personal accomodation experience at the Ritz Carlton in Dana but can mention the lovely walking experience that can be had right off the property. Caution: there is a seriously steep road leading from the hotel to the beach (as first pictured)

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  • Do Doheny- The State Beach

    For the Orange county visitor seeking a more local, less congested perspective, low-wave Doheny is a great option to see. Doheny is mentioned in the popular Beach boys tunes, "Surfin' safari" and "Surfin' U.S.A.". On a bad note, this beach is one of the most polluted in the greater Los Angeles area. Never haveIi seen the water very blue, more murky...

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  • Do Doheny!- The Camp & Outdoors

    Doheny State Beach is an beautiful and exciting beach especially for the active beach goers. The main Dana Pont beach is a beloved spot for campers and nature conservation lovers. Many pitch their tents during special park events like the Haunted Campground, just in time of Halloween but revellers can enjoy the area all-year round. If nature is...

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  • Stroll at the harbor

    Dana Point has a charming harbor area, featuring two marinas and a wharf. It's perfect to explore with a nice stroll during the day or evening. The harbor is the water adventure spot where visitors can embark on a sail, ferry to Catalina or sportfish. On land, try one of a dozen or so choices for dining or have a snack. The most breathtaking aspect...

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Dana Point Hotels

Dana Point Restaurants

  • A coffee lover’s paradise

    Headed out on a motorcycle ride up the coast and wanted to get a bite to eat as well as a good cup of coffee. So went online and found great write-ups about J.C. Beans Coffee House. Since we were going to ride through Dana Point, we decided to stop in. Great choice as we enjoyed the traditional ambiance (unlike Starbucks), a store furnished with...

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  • Great Food, Amazing Service

    We had eaten at a few Michael Mina restaurants in Los Angeles and San Francisco in the past, so when we heard Stonehill Tavern was his Orange County restaurant, we figured this was a good time to try it. We did not make reservations, but didn't have any problems walking up to the bar to get a seat. And we're glad we did because we had the most...

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  • Get a bevy of drinks at popular Dana...

    Coffee Importers is a top multi-treat Dana stop in the morning and throughout the day. Located at the harbor, CI enjoys regulars and new visitors alike to get a good fix of premium coffee, espresso, smoothie and entrees, including a variety of sandwich and salad offerings. A good part of the menu is healthy -wheatgrass, garden burgers, whole wheat...

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  • Almost Too Big !

    Tucked in the back of "Reastaurant Row" in the harbour, you have to look for this place. It's very plain, but the food is fantastic. They offer freshly baked NY Rye bread, that you usually have to wait for as it's comming out of the oven. The sandwiches are huge and make 2 meals (or share only with someone special). The chicken soup is home made,...

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  • A neighborhood bar/restaurant

    Turk's is a cute little place near the water. It's one of many places you can get a bite to eat or a drink. I had a clam chowder and crab filled mushroom caps. My friend had the fish & chips. All of it was excellent!

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  • Splashes

    Splashes is this great restaurant at the Surf and Sand Hotel, an upscale hotel in Laguna Beach. The restaurant is literally RIGHT on the beach. There are actually stairs from the restaurant that will take you onto the sand!! The service is great and the view is SPECTACULAR!! This place is known as one of the most amazing views in town!! Actually,...

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Dana Point Transportation

  • marinarena's Profile Photo
    Dana Point road, California

    by marinarena Written Mar 3, 2012

    Dana Point can be reached by public transit easily. Notably, the OCTA 1, which runs along PCH. Route 85, 90, 91 and 187 also run through here. If traveling by train, exit San Clemente Amtrak of SC Metrolink Station and catch the 1 bus heading north.

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Dana Point Shopping

  • A Nice Gift Shop

    The Downstairs Store is one of my favorite shops in the Mariners Village at Dana Point Harbor. It has lots of cards as well as a nice selection of gifts. They sell home decore items, quality clothing , fine soaps and scented candles. A lot of the merchandise has a beach/shell and nautical theme. This is one of two stores with the same owners. The...

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  • Sea Shells, Gifts and Nautical Decore

    The Bella Sea is a great shop in the Mariners Village at Dana Point Harbor. You can find some very reasonably priced trinkets and gifts with an Ocean theme here. I like to get Christmas ornaments made from shells during the holidays. This is a great place to buy souveniers because the selection is big and the prices are low.

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  • Dana Point Hotels

    12 Hotels in Dana Point

    866 Reviews and Opinions

Dana Point Local Customs

  • 807Wheaton's Profile Photo
    Festival of Whales Brochure

    by 807Wheaton Updated Mar 25, 2005

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    The season for whale watching begins Thanksgiving weekend and ends the 2nd weekend of April.
    In the winter, thouands of California Gray Whales leave the Arctic Seas and follow the coast line to the warm, calm waters of Southern California and Baja. This is a 10,000 mile trip. The migration brings the majority of the Gray Whale population past Dana Point where they can easily be seen and photographed.

    The picture is from the Festival information.

    The Festival of Whales is usually the first two weekends of March.

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    • Whale Watching

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Dana Point Warnings and Dangers

  • janika's Profile Photo
    Burned Janika

    by janika Updated Apr 26, 2003

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    There are several beaches at Dana Point. Try going to the one where you pay a minimal fee for parking. Beaches like that are cleaner and have rest rooms, showers and free of bothering vendors and beggars.

    It is imperative that you protect your self from the sun. It might not feel hot at the time but trust me, you will burn. I had a second degree sunburn. About 80% of my body was burned to a point where I couldn't even pull socks on me feet. It was hurting so much.
    If you are from a northern climate like us and your skin is very white, you will burn in less than 10 minutes. We were there for over 5 hours. Immagine that. Have a white T-shirt on and fully protect your self with a 30 or above rated sun-screen lotion. Stay in shade if possible. Just look at me on this picture.

    A red lobster would beg me for a recipe! :)

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    • Beaches

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Dana Point What to Pack

  • janika's Profile Photo

    by janika Updated Oct 4, 2002

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    Luggage and bags: You have to bring a very strong sun screen with you. If not you will burn in a matter of minutes. I guarantee it. We burned so bad I couldn't pull sucks on my feet for a week.

    Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bading suits, Big umbrella. Also bring slipers or some kind of light shoes for the beach since there are rocks.

    Photo Equipment: Camera. Digital or traditional 35-mm.

    Miscellaneous: Bring food with you. You will get hungry.

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Dana Point Off The Beaten Path

  • Stroll a park, not just the coast

    To relax, play or for exercise, Dana has a few dozen of lovely, exiquisitely landscaped parks, including the Lantern Bay Park, located at the intersection of Golden Lantern and Dana Point harbor.This park is open from 6 in the morning, 'til about 10 PM.

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  • Watch the locals

    I had fun watching the locals rollerblade. Some people were jogging or just walking.You see skateboarders and people on bicycles as well. Not too many locals care about the beach or the water. Some of them just come down to the beach to meet up with others, friends, etc. I've seen an old guy coming down to the beach in his old, beat up pickup truck...

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Dana Point Sports & Outdoors

  • Cammel11's Profile Photo

    by Cammel11 Written Jun 27, 2005

    The Turkey Trot is the famous 5k/10k race held every year on Thanksgiving Day. Every year is always more fun than te last. The whole community gets involved. Many people from out of town even come to race here! If you are around Dana point in November you should give it a try!

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Dana Point Favorites

  • Help keep Doheny protected

    Dana's Respect of Marine areaThe city prides herself in protecting Doheny State beach, esp. in relation to the many tidepools (large saltwater puddles) located in the beach area. Signs posted at the beach remind visitors to heed to tidepooler guidelines, which include to not remove animals from the water and not to turn over rocks

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  • Love the handsome architecture of Dana...

    A visual highlight of Dana Point is the architecural aspect of many of the city's commercial and residential buildings. In a county that is often described as homogenous externally, O.C.'s Dana sits quite distinctively with its East coast Americana inspired exterior featuring solid colored homes (often in light blue or tan) with white-painted...

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  • whatson's General Tip

    Sunset 11/11/90 - I have never seen a sunset like this, the ocean turned an unforgettable teal color with a fluorescent pink sky, when the sun finally went down the entire beach, the sky,and the water was flooded with super saturated deep orange-red color coming though the darkening clouds. Glad I had a camera but of course the photo is nowhere...

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