15 Best Things to Do in Dana Point, California

15 Best Things to Do in Dana Point, California

Imagine the strong sea and currents flowing through it. Now get a surfing board and surf along the waves.

Feel the strong wind in your hair as you surf. Dana point is one of the best surfing points in all of Southern California.

This city is also home to a lovely public harbor and a great ferry service. Marine life is abundant here and you can see many kinds of species like whales and dolphins here.

Even adventures abound here and you can enjoy lots of watersports!

Watch Whales at the Dana Point Harbor

Dana Point Harbor
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The ‘Whale Capital of the World’ is home to the greatest of the mammals, the whales! The blue and white sandy Baby Beach is so beautiful to look at with the scenic mountains and cliffs. Swimming in these blue waters is also very refreshing.

The harbor has restaurants and cafes on its front where you can buy refreshments. You can rent out yachts or sailboats to sail on the turquoise water. Sailing and diving are other enjoyable sports you can undertake.

The famous Catalina Express that ferries to the Catalina Island resort and the ferry itself is paramount and beautiful. Some festivals hosted here are the Festival of Whales, a Tall Ships Festival, the Holiday Boat Parade and more.

Relax at the Salt Creek Beach

Salt Creek Beach
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This is one of the most lavish and famous beaches all over Orange County and has some of the most beautiful beach parks.

It is located near to the Ritz-Carlton Laguna-Niguel hotel complex or also to the championship Monarch Beach Golf Links. The Salt Creek flows in the Northern end. At the Southern side, the Monarch Bay Beach Club has its reigns.

You can enjoy a variety of activities in the beach like swimming, surfing, bodyboarding and more.

Your kids will also love the place since it’s a favorite among locals for some family time as well. Picnic sites on the beach are cute and set up among a lot of space.

Parasailing high with Dana Point Parasail

Dana Point Parasail
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Soar high in the skies at above 800 feet above the sea and enjoy a spectacular view. The Dana Point Parasail company operates on the Dana Point Harbor and caters to all your needs.

There are single seater or multi seater parasailing adventures you can undertake. The airborne part is for 10 minutes while the entire trip lasts for an hour. The boat launch is also an exciting part of the experience.

The parasails are very safe and secure and all precautions are taken. The passengers are provided with lifejackets too to ensure the safest rides as you feel adventure course through your blood.

Look at nature based exhibits at the Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center

This center in Dana Point is home to various beautiful nature based exhibits made by the Dana Point Historical Society and the City of Dana Point.

These all show how wonderful the geology, ecology and history of the headlands are.

It also shows the development and history of the natural wildlife and plants of the area. Other recent ventures by all nature groups are also documented here.

The center remains closed on Mondays so visit accordingly. The center is a great conservation center and also showcases various endemic species.

Visit a ship onboard at The Ocean Institute

The Ocean Institute
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With two ships that are located on site for your exploration including a replica of the Pilgrim. The Maddie James Seaside Learning Center open to the public for all days has many exhibits that give really interesting facts about the flora and fauna of the region.

The Pilgrim exhibit is especially well known since it’s an exact replica. It is used in various educational tours as well visitor tours today. The opulent ship is open to public on Sundays so plan it accordingly.

This was founded in 1988, and today is a proud pioneer of hosting camps and lab programs. The institute hosts 100,000 children and educates them on nature and marine life every year.

The naturally abundant beachfront is spread over 2.5 acres of beautiful land and also has tide pools and other natural habitats that showcase the green wealth.

Paddle boarding at the Doheny State Beach

Doheny State Beach
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This picturesque beach is a State Beach Park near the awesome San Juan Bay. You can reach the beachfront by the Dana Point Harbor Drive and Park Lantern.

Swimming, Surfing, Paddle Boarding and other fun activities on this low lying beach. With twirling tide pools and lashing waves on the beach shore, this beach park is definitely worth a visit.

You can also look at some really amazing marine life like starfishes, and more.

The visitor center showcases very beautiful exhibits related to nature and also a large aquarium.

The nearby bay area ensures a great supply of fresh waves lapping on the seashore at all times.

Tent camping and RV camping can be done too. So, it’s great as a family picnic spot and you can even stay overnight. Imagine a nice bonfire along with your family.

Toast some marshmallows and spend the night singing and dancing. Then retire for the night to your comfortable RVs.

Have a delicious breakfast at the Stacks Pancake House

Who doesn’t love some delicious and sweet pancakes at breakfast? This multi cuisine restaurant is your one stop shop for all your breakfast needs.

Japanese and Hawaiian traditional cuisines along with some Portuguese influence make for some great dishes.

Some examples of the fusion pancakes are the banana macadamia nut pancake, etc.  Sausage and Eggs, Loco Moco, Kalua Pork, and Brown Gravy are some signature dishes.

Experience the Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safaris

Dolphin and Whale Watching
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View Dolphins and Whales up, close and personal here. The Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safaris at Dana Point helps you does this exact thing.

Look at orcas, blue whales and gray whales from the company’s rides called Lily catamaran or the Fast Cat vessels that can accommodate 49 passengers or 12 passengers respectively.

Go on excursions hunting for many other species like dolphins, fin whales, Minke whales, and humpback whales.

Marine naturalists are your go to guides and they will give you a great tour while also providing chunks of information about marine life and species.

Picnic at Pines Park

Pines Park
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With four great outdoor spaces serving as picnic spots, this park is surely one of the best spaces to go to for a great family outing and picnic.

There is bench seating and barbeque grills available on site. So pack those meats ad veggies and set off for a great smoky evening with your family.

The Pines Park is near to the Capistrano Beach Park so, you can even go to the beach later to take a cool walk in the sandy shores. The park is filled with lots of green trees providing great spots to cool off in the heat.

It is kid friendly and boasts of play structures constructed in the playgrounds. With Climbing walls, slides and tunnel slides, this park is a treat for the children.

The green pastures of these golfing grounds span over 6,600 yards and has as many as 18 holes to practice those moves.

This award winning golfing course was designed by one of the greatest architects, Robert Trent Jones, Jr and continues to be one of the best golf courses in the whole of the United States. It has the Spanish Links theme and a par-70 layout.

Dine in at the fine diner, Club 19 Restaurant and Grill after the grueling session. For real Golf lovers, the souvenir shop is like a golf heaven where you can buy various artifacts and souvenirs to carry back to your towns.

Visit the Eco-Adventure Center at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is one of the most famous and luxurious hotels of Dana Point so this Center might be a little too expensive to visit. But the experiences you will get here are sure to leave you enthralled and astonished.

Whale watching excursions, Eco artist programs, SANDSational Sea Hikes, Beach

Banzai Bodyboarding excursions, are some of the unique activities offered at this center.

The Eco Artist program is really interesting and lets you create your own natural art works under expert guidance.

There are various naturalists who are experts at knowing and communicating all the information related to the marine life and headlands to you. You can also ask for customized tours.

Gaze in wonder at the enormous Hide Drogher

The life sized Hide Drogher art sculpture was sanctioned by a regional artist, F. Benedict Coleman in 1990. Since then, this enormous public art sculpture has become a major tourist attraction.

Located near the Violet and Amber Lantern areas, it lies along the Blufftop trail. It stands at a towering 10 feet and is made entirely of metal.

The statue itself is an ode to many of the New England sailors from the 19th centuries. It shows a sailor, called a hide drogher back then, throwing the cowhide over a cliff into a bay. This helped the waiting ship to transport goods.

Become one with nature at the Sea Canyon Park

This really awesome public park if a favorite among families. This owes to the fact that it harbors kid friendly playgrounds and caters to all kinds of age groups.

The safe play area is especially constructed only for small children having kid friendly slides, swings and more. There is another playground for older kids and it is separated very well from the younger kids to ensure that no harm occurs.

The dog park near the premises are a great place for many pet owners to walk their dogs and you can visit to play with some cute little fluffs.

The doggo love for Instagram can be showed by clicking pictures here.

And for all the men and women who still have the kid in the, the field located nearby is a soccer park too if you want to relive some fun moments with friends.

Buy fresh produce at the Dana Point Farmers Market

Who doesn’t love crunchy and fresh veggies when it comes to cooking?

Though as tourists you might want to neglect this, we would say you should visit just for buying some excellent seasonal produce which can be taken back home.

This premier market is open only on Saturdays, and between 8 am to 1 pm. Not only freshly grown vegetables, fruits or meats and cheeses, it also has people selling fresh bakery products.

These include sweet smelling breads and pastries so your breakfast scenes are sorted. Honey and dips can also be bought alongside some fresh beverages. Surprise your spouse with some fresh and blooming flowers too while you are at it.

Pay a tribute to veterans at the Veterans Memorial Park

Established in 2010, under the able guidance of the Mayor and Colonel, Mr. Steven Weinberg and Mr. Willard A. Buhl respectively, this beautiful park is a reverend reminder of people lodged in the services.

Honor the brave souls and American veterans by visiting this park and show your solidarity to the brave hearts who fought in the foreign wars.

The park itself is very aesthetically pleasing too. The central concrete path with benches on each side to sit on can make for a great quiet place to spend some quality time.

The Pacific Ocean is visible from the benches which is really ethereal. The park remains open 365 days of the year and is a sight to behold especially on Veterans Day.

Dana Point is a great place to visit if you love nature and wildlife but especially of great interest to those who love sea life.

Whales, Dolphins and what not kind of species can be observed here at the various places we have afore mentioned.

There are also some really great historical monuments as well to spend some time with typical tourist vibes. So, go pack your bags and get going soon.

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