Dana Point Beaches – Visit Dana Point

Dana Point Beaches – Visit Dana Point

Dana Point is Southern California’s original surf town, bringing together luxury amenities and a laid-back surf culture which makes the perfect destination.  It’s a place with class, but yet it’s casual. Casual enough where you can wear flip-flops for every occasion.

Dana Point is well-known as the Whale Watching Capital of the West and you can find a tour boat leaving daily from the harbor. Dana Point offers everything from sunset wine cruises and luxury spas to surfing and golfing. Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) and kayaking rentals, as well as “pirate ship” adventures, beach and aerial yoga classes, and deep sea fishing.   Endless opportunities for making memories.  Continue reading our Dana Point Visitors guide and start planning your Dana Point vacation today.  You can also visit all of the wonderful beaches of Dana Point here.

Weather – When to Visit Dana Point

The average daytime high temperature never falls below 67 all year and never above 79 degrees, the perfect vacation weather. At night you may see the temps drop to average lows of 60 degrees, which is not uncomfortable.

The best time to visit Dana Point is in the late summer when temperatures are still warm and hotels are more affordable. Temperatures are in the mid 70s. The busiest time is during the summer with average temperatures around 80.   Hotel rates will be at their highest during this time. The Fourth of July week (June 29th to July 7th) and the New Years week (December 29th to January 5th) are especially busy in Dana Point.

Dana Point Tours & Activities

Whale Watching Excursion

Cruise the Pacific Ocean off Dana point with a 2-hour whale watching excursion aboard a comfortable 95’ vessel. Enjoy live narration from your experienced captain as you watch for whales, sea lions, dolphins and sharks, and learn about the stunning diversity of marine life that flocks to the California coast. Listen to the distinctive calls of seabirds from a seat on deck, or relax by a window in the fully-enclosed cabin where food and drink are available for purchase.

Read More About Whale Watching Excursion

Dana Point Sport Fishing

Cast your line off the Orange County shore on a 5-hour fishing trip from Dana Point with an experienced crew. Bring your own gear, or rent a rod and reel onboard, then experience the remarkable diversity of fish that flock to the Pacific coast. Beginning and experienced fishermen can bait their hooks for halibut, yellowtail, barracuda, bonito, tuna and bass, with tips from locals who know all of Dana Point’s finest spots.  

Read More About Dana Point Sportfishing

Dana Point Kayaking & Hiking Adventure

See more of Dana Point Harbor by kayak and on foot during an active full-day tour that showcases the natural beauty of southern California. Go hiking along the Bluff Top and Headland trails, paddle your kayak around the harbor, and stop into wildlife institutes and local cafes. Your all-inclusive tour makes it easy by including snacks and lunch, admission ticket to the Ocean Institute, and kayak rental.  

Read More About Dana Point Kayaking & Hiking Adventure

Luxury Catamaran Sunset & Wine Cruise

Watch the sunset aboard a luxury catamaran on this 90-minute evening cruise from Dana Point Harbor in Orange County. Sample organic wines accompanied by cheese, crackers, fruits, and nuts while taking in the ocean views.  

Read More About Luxury Catamaran & Wine Cruise

Beach Surf Lessons

Take a ride on the beautiful waves of the Pacific Ocean in San Clemente. Get a full surfing experience from expert instructors that will cover safety, etiquette, technique, tides, ocean conditions and more. Lessons offered for beginners, intermediate and advanced surfers.  

Read More About Beach Surf Lessons

Dana Point Attractions

Baby Beach

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This is a small family-friendly beach with a swimming area for kids and lifeguard on hand. There is a grass park for picnicking with high bluffs towering overhead.  You’ll find a lot of places to walk at the harbor with sidewalks and paths that run along the edge of Dana Point Harbor. There is also a small fishing pier next to the beach and a replica of the historic ship Pilgrim. This is a popular beach for kayaking or paddle boarding around the harbor.

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Dana Point Harbor

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Dana Point Harbor offers a variety of  amenities, boater facilities, dockside dining, and shopping. You’ll find activities such as watching the migratory gray whales that frequent the coastline to enjoying the beautiful sunsets and harbor views.  Enjoy a fishing expedition, a harbor cruise, a sailing or boat charter, diving, rent a kayak or personal watercraft or head out on a paddle board.

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Doheny State Beach

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Doheny State Beach is one of California’s most popular state beaches with almost one million visitors per year.  It also has a day use surfing beach at the northern end and an area with picnic facilities and volleyball courts. On the southern end of the state beach there are campgrounds, and some campsites are steps away from the beach. You’ll find tide pools and a visitor center with several aquariums. Surf fishing is also popular.

Ocean Institute

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At the Ocean Institute marine science and history are the focus. You’ll find indoor tanks with touchable sea creatures, a man-made tide pool and a complete skeleton of a gray whale. The Pilgrim, a full-size replica of the square-rigged vessel is also anchored here. You can tour the boat on Sunday from 10 to 2. Weekend whale-watching cruises are available year-round.

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Salt Creek Beach

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Salt Creek Beach Park is a popular surfing location for surfers. There is an offshore reef which creates some of the best left swells along the entire coastline.  Activities here include swimming, body surfing, sunbathing and tide pool exploration.

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Best Restaurants in Dana Point

Salt Creek Grill $11 – 30

Salt Creek Grill offers a “Scratch Cooking” experience through their unique mesquite-inspired menu items.  All menu ingredients are made in-house and is a signature part of Salt Creek Grille. Everything is handcrafted to ensure only the finest ingredients make it to the guests from beginning to end. Telephone: 949-661-7799 Web: Salt Creek Grill

Maison Cafe & Market $11 – 30

Their menu sources all organic seasonal produce and takes its notes from the rustic countryside of France and Italy while remaining micro local to the seasons and farms of Southern California. At Maison they believe that life is better when shared over a glass of wine and a meal. Telephone: 949-218-8431 Web: Maison Cafe & Market

Flights & Irons Urban Kitchen $11 – 30

F&I cooks nearly all of their items in cast iron, and finish them off in their wood fired oven where they burn a mix of citrus and red oak. Looking to venture into the world of craft beer or fine wine but not sure where to start? Sample one of their hand picked flights or create your own! Telephone: 949-388-3991 Web: Flights & Irons Urban Kitchen

Jack’s Restaurant & Bar $11 – 30

Jacks Restaurant & Bar features grass fed meats and wild caught fish as well as sustainable seafood, free range chicken and seasonal, organic vegetables. Jack’s also offers several gluten free and vegetarian dishes. Dinner is served seven days a week starting at 5pm. Telephone: 949-489-1903 Web: Jack’s Restaurant & Bar

The Harbor Grill $11 – 30

The Harbor Grill specializes in fresh, regional seafood cuisine, fine steaks and fresh oysters. To help ensure the mood is set just right, this is your opportunity to relax in the warm comfort of attentive service with your choice of eclectic wines and refreshing cocktails. Telephone: 949-240-1416 Web: The Harbor Grill

Best Dana Point Beach Bars

The Shwack Beach Grill

Shwack Beach Grill is the perfect spot to park your board and refuel. Serving fresh and hearty dishes and refreshing bar favorites, we blow your typical tacos, burgers, and craft beer out of the water with food that’s as vibrant as our sun-filled city. So grab your beach buds, coworkers, or family members, and pull up a chair at our bar for happy hour. Telephone: 949-218-2731 Web: The Shwack Beach Grill

Sunsets Bar

Sunsets is a place reminiscent of Cheers where everybody knows your name, but with “Aloha Style.” Enjoy tropical drinks, exotic appetizers and spectacular ocean views in a casual atmosphere. Watch a game or listen to the live music by one of Sunsets’ resident bands or DJs. In the open patio area, take in the beautiful ocean view while enjoying a cocktail, appetizer or entree. Telephone: 949-276-8880 Web: Sunsets Bar

Turk’s Restaurant

This is one of those hole in the wall bar/restaurants. Staff is super friendly and the the food is outstanding comfort food style. Menu item selection is quaint but appeals to everyone. The interior is quite limited but that’s the charm about it.  Telephone: 949-496-9028 Web: Turk’s Restaurant

Longboard Rooftop Lounge

Longboard Rooftop Lounge offers spectacular ocean and sunset views. It’s the perfect place to celebrate the end of a good day, every day. Savor the sunsets with good friends, good drinks, and the best appetizers available in Dana Point. Telephone: 949-661-1100 Web: Longboard Rooftop Lounge

Pepi’s Sports Bar & Grill

Pepi’s is simply the best sports entertainment bar and grill in South Orange County! Happy hour every day 7am-11am/4pm-7pm. Free Pool Mondays 7pm-10pm. New at Pepi’s Tequila Tuesdays.  Free taco night Wednesday 6pm-8pm (all you can eat taco bar). Telephone: 949-272-5957 Web: Pepi’s Sports Bar & Grill

Best Dana Point Hotels

Monarch Beach Resort

This AAA Five-Diamond sanctuary offers guests an variety of exclusive activities and experiences that personifies Southern California’s coastal lifestyle. From championship golf links and restorative spa services to water sports and celebrated dining, discover the allure of this premier luxury resort.

Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa

Sitting on top of the cliffs of Dana Point overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Laguna Cliffs Resort & Spa has 2 year-round heated swimming pools which have child-friendly areas. This resort has an onsite restaurant and full-service spa. Access to the beach and harbor is just 1,500 ft. away.

The Avalon Hotel Catalina Island

The Avalon Hotel on Catalina Island features a rooftop with breathtaking, 360-degree views of Avalon and its harbor.  Continental breakfast is served each morning. Other amenities include a fire pit, secluded seating and beautiful landscaping.

Best Western Plus Marina Shores Hotel

This hotel features a year round outdoor pool and guest rooms with free Wi-Fi. It serves a daily continental breakfast. A flat-screen cable TV, an iPod docking station, a refrigerator and a coffee maker are also included in all rooms.

Capistrano Surfside Inn

Enjoy ocean views from their outdoor swimming pool located directly across from Doheny State Beach off scenic Pacific Highway 1. A fitness center is on site and each room includes a full kitchen.



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26 Comments

  1. Strahinja

    Wow, you really covered everything here. I’ve never visited this Dana Point Beaches, but I am planning on doing so when I visit California this summer. That is how I stumbled upon your website to be honest. I was worried about finding the best accommodation there but you seem to be way ahead of me.

    I am looking forward on visiting California and thanks to your amazing article I going to have a wonderful time there.

    Strahinja.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome and you will have a wonderful time!  Please let me know if you need any additional information.  Thanks for visiting Dana Point Beaches .

      Reply
  2. Mark

    This is beautiful! I haven’t been able to travel much over the past few years, but I plan to do some more of that soon. I love beaches, so this looks ideal. I live in West Texas, so while it is a long drive, I’ve driven to California enough times that I don’t find it necessary to fly. Those bars and restaurants look pretty awesome, too! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Mark.  I have driven from Texas (used to live there) to California and it is a pretty great drive actually.  You would love Dana Point for sure.  Thanks for stopping by beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  3. Matthew

    Hi again, I hope you don’t mind me writing on your website again but after reading your Michagin Beach Towns post I just had to have a nose around to see if there were any other places I might like to visit when I am next in California and Dana Point looks like it could be a winner for me!

    I have always wanted to learn to surf but never got round to it so maybe I could test out the water, so to speak, and give it a go when I get to Dana Point

    It looks like there are plenty of restaurants there but my kids are fussy so are there any fast food places around that area as I can imagine my children would much prefer to go to those?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, Matthew there is always a variety of fast food places for the kids.  I totally understand that.  I tried surfing and it is hard, but I did it!  So you can too 🙂  Thanks for stopping by and visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  4. Lee

    It looks so beautiful. I love state parks. Every time I take my family on vacation we are usually on a tight budget and having access to the beaches through the state parks usually makes things affordable. Baby beach and Doheny State Beach would be very appealing to us the next time we head out west toward LA.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, checking out the state parks and the beaches….my top choices hands down.  And you are right, definitely a little more budget friendly especially for a family.  I think you would truly enjoy Dana Point beaches.  Hopefully you and the fam can visit Dana Point soon!  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  5. Todd Matthews

    67-79 is perfect weather, especially in the late summer which is always my favorite time to take a vacation. With it being an original surf town, Dana Point definitely has a history, which would be up my alley. The hotels all look attractive as well, especially with their four and five-star ratings. Which hotel offers the most complete deal? That would be the final decision in my search for a place to stay if I vacation at Dana Point. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I would have to agree with you Todd!  I would have to say that the Best Western Plus Marina Shores is gonna provide a great deal, with a great location at a great price and the reviews are really good for this particular hotel.  Please let me know if you need any further information.

      Reply
  6. Kenneth

    Oh, wow! Your description of this one-of-a-kind beach resort makes my head tingle with excitement. Tucked away from the city this looks like the ultimate destination to spend a fabulous weekend or a vacation. We normally go to Florida because it is within driving distance but there are no waves to go surfing in Florida. I am bookmarking this site so as we can plan out next vacation to California.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I live in Florida Kenneth.  You must go to the west coast LOL.  The east coast of Florida has plenty of waves and surfing competitions!  Any way of course you will find waves in Dana Point and it will be a great trip with some variety from Florida.  Please let me know if you need any further information.

      Reply
  7. Norman

    This is the first time that I have heard of this place but from what you have described it seems to be a place which is filled with so much activity where you can have fun while connecting with nature in the great outdoors. I am sure that those who come across your post will be most interested in what you are sharing again your post is informative. This place seems to be a great getaway.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is a great getaway Norman!  When visiting this part of California, then stopping in this quaint beach town is definitely a must.  I know you would enjoy 🙂  Thanks for the visit to Dana Point Beaches.

      Reply
  8. Daniella

    I had unforgettable holidays thanks to your website that helped me plan my vacation. Now I am referring your site to many friends of mine. Anyway, my son and his girlfriend want to travel together and visit Dana Point beaches. As they are both still students, they are on a budget. Which of these hotels on the list is cheaper? I see they are affordable restaurants, that great!
    Thank you for this excellent post!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Daniella, as far as hotels go, it really depends on time of year when they travel. Some hotels have deals and some don’t. If you look at the map widget at the bottom, it lists the area hotel prices. You can look at the list and determine which one might be a better fit for their budget 🙂 Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  9. Tricia

    Dana Point looks like a great place to go. With how long it is it shouldn’t be hard to find a fairly quiet spot to sit even during busy times. The tide pools and rocky sections look great too…it can be a lot of fun to explore them and see what treasures they hold. So many different kinds of beaches and things to see and do you’d never have to leave the beach! Sounds amazing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I think you would find Dana Point amazing Tricia!  I hope you can visit Dana Point soon.  Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  10. Louise

    Hello,

    Dana Point sounds wonderful.

    My kind of holiday as there seems to be plenty of activities but also opportunity to relax and chill out with a nice drink and picnics on the beaches. I like to have different things to try and places to explore on holiday and Dana Point certainly has lots to offer. A good range of eateries and bars too to choose from.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I do believe that it is a wonderful place.  Thanks for stopping by beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  11. Selenity Jade

    Nice post! I’ve never heard of Dana Point before! Perhaps because I’m not a surfer? It looks so amazing though! Whale watching and hiking are more my thing with some lazing around the beach. You even included the nearby restaurants and bars! Super neat, thank you! You’re making me wish I could hit a beach now. 

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Selenity, glad you enjoyed reading. I hope you can visit Dana Point soon!

      Reply
  12. Bex Arnold

    Yet another travel destination in Southern Cali I had no knowledge of! I love the fact that Dana Point is California’s first surf town and I have never given aerial yoga a try so I am stoked to see how much appeal this destination spot gives off. I have always found whales a fascinating and majestic species. I look forward to checking this one out Leahrae! Thanks once again for the great post!

    Cheers!

    -Bex

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Bex and I am glad you enjoyed my Dana Point Beaches article. Hope you can visit Dana Point soon! Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  13. Effie

    I like being casual when I travel. This is the reason why I always travel with two pairs of flip flops and a pair of snickers. No high heels no evening clothes. Your description of Dana Point made me feel free and freedom is associated with holidays in my mind. I like it! Thanks for this article, Leahrae! I am looking forward to visiting Dana Point!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Effie! Exactly how I travel. My closet is full of flip flops and a pair of sneakers for mowing the lawn 😀 And this is the perfect place for casual and fun!

      Reply

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