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Dana Point, CA: Things to Do, Places to See

Orange County Coastline Aerial

You’ll never run out of things to do in Dana Point, CA. From whale and dolphin watching, to boating and sunbathing, this coastal city offers a wide range of outdoor activities. Located between San Clemente and Laguna Beach, Dana Point offers laid-back luxury amidst breathtaking scenery



As the “World’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital”, Dana Point is one of the best places to observe these majestic sea creatures from a safe and non-intrusive distance. Book a private cruise for the chance to see whales and sea lions soaking up the rays. If you’re lucky, you’ll witness the Dolphin Stampede — a delightful phenomenon in which thousands of dolphins can be seen jumping from the waves.

Dana Point is also the first recognized Whale Heritage Site in the Americas, which means that it offers responsible, respectful, and authentic whale and dolphin watching experiences. Travelers can view marine life in their natural habitats on eco-conscious tours that value sustainability.

Another cetacean-friendly highlight is the Festival of Whales, an annual event that celebrates the return of California gray whales to Dana Point’s coast during their yearly migration.


Dana Point Harbor offers numerous opportunities for fishing, boating, sailing, and paddle boarding. You have the option of fishing from a short pier or the outermost jetties without a license. However, other areas will require a license and permission from the property owner. You can also book a half or full-day fishing charter with friends or family.

Join a luxury cruise to explore the coastline and surrounding waters. There are several companies offering public and private charters for groups. Whether you’re in the mood for a romantic sunset cruise or a fun celebration on the water, Dana Point Harbor is the place to start. You can also sign up for sailing lessons or rent a boat.

The city is a boater’s dream with annual events like the Tall Ships Maritime Festival and the Holiday Boat Parade.


Spend a memorable day on the beach and in the water. There are several beaches in and around the city:

  • Salt Creek Beach is a famed surfing destination encompassing over 18 acres along the shores of the North Pacific Ocean. In addition to world-class surfing, the beach is also a fantastic spot for beach volleyball, kite flying, and nature viewing with marvelous sea creatures in the tidepools.

  • Doheny State Beach spans over 250 acres along Dana Point’s coastline and welcomes a staggering 850,000 visitors each year. Popular activities include surfing, camping, sand volleyball, sunbathing, and exploring the tide pools.

  • Dana Strands Beach offers free parking and has seasonal lifeguards. This gorgeous beach is perfect for surfing, swimming, sunbathing, and picnicking. It is also one of the best places to watch the sunset in Dana Point.


Board a cruise ship and go on a guided tour of Catalina Island, which is approximately 22 miles off the coast of Dana Point. The cruise offers sweeping views of the water and provides access to Catalina Island’s beautiful beaches and nature trails. Highlights include Rancho Escondido, Avalon Bay, and Two Harbors. Activities include bison viewing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, zip lining, kayaking, snorkeling, and scuba diving.


Live close to these Dana Point, CA attractions and activities when you buy a home in the area. Get in touch with me, Robyn Robinson, at 949.295.5676 or send a message here. I’m a local expert with over 40 years of experience. I can’t wait to show you everything Dana Point has to offer.

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