Located approximately halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, Dana Point is known for nearly seven miles of spectacular coastal bluffs and rolling hills along the Pacific Ocean. From some of California’s most popular beaches to luxury resorts, check out our list for the best things to do in Dana Point.

Dana Point Harbor

Dana Point Harbor is one of the most significant landmarks along the Orange County coastline. The Harbor provides slips and mooring for over 2,500 boats and has numerous specialty shops and popular restaurants. 

The Harbor is a favorite of tourists and Dana Point locals for shopping, sport fishing, biking, parasailing, and other outdoor activities. There’s something for everyone at the Harbor with families, young professionals, students, and visitors enjoying all it has to offer. 

Image courtesy of thelog.com

The Ocean Institute

The Ocean Institute’s mission is to “use the ocean as our classroom and inspire children to learn” through in-depth marine science, maritime history, and outdoor educational programs and  interactive exhibits.

With state-of-the-art teaching labs, historic ships, and an oceanographic research vessel, the institute is perfect for school field trips, family outings, and visits for marine and wildlife lovers. Don’t miss this fun and educational institution during your visit to Dana Point. 

Image courtesy of DanaPointHarbor.com

Image of Doheny State Beach courtesy of CaliforniaBeaches.com

Doheny State Beach

Doheny State Beach attracts over one million visitors to its sandy shores every year. The southern end of the state beach has public campgrounds located just steps from the beach. 

The beach is a perfect family-friendly destination with year-round lifeguard services and plenty to explore for a day or an entire weekend. 

Luxury Resorts at Monarch Beach

For those with a taste for the finer things in life, a visit to the Monarch Beach area is a must to explore luxury 5-star hotels, such as the Monarch Beach Resort, Ritz Carlton Hotel, and St. Regis Monarch Beach. 

The Monarch Beach Resort—one of Orange County’s most luxurious coastal resorts—covers 175 acres, which includes oceanfront golf links, a private beach club, world-class spa services, and upscale dining.

The area is so high-end that homes near the resorts can sell for over $20 million. Fortunately, the unparalleled views and luxury amenities make the price tag worth it!

Image of St. Regis Monarch Beach courtesy of St. Regis

Image courtesy of TrailLink.com.

Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center

The Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center provides some of the most beautiful hikes in Orange County. Enjoy a workout while walking the center’s 2.5-mile trail and admiring the breathtaking views.

The center’s staff is friendly and eager to educate visitors on local wildlife and nature conservation. Just be sure to watch out for rattlesnakes—warning signs are posted throughout the area!

Salt Creek Beach

Salt Creek Beach is a popular Orange County beach for a good reason. The sandy beach is located below the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel Beach Resort and Monarch Beach Golf Links. The beach park has picnic tables and walking paths throughout its grassy areas. 

Spend a day soaking up the sun or swimming in the waves of one of the best beaches in Orange County!

Image courtesy of CaliforniaBeaches.com 

Image courtesy of Missionsjc.com 

Mission San Juan Capistrano

With over 240 years of history, Mission San Juan Capistrano tells stories from before the area’s establishment as Dana Point. Founded by Junipero Serra in 1776, the mission is a place of historical, cultural, and religious significance. 

Today, this landmark serves as an inspirational and educational center and cultural destination experience. Visitors can learn about the compound’s history and preservation, as well as explore featured exhibits, artworks, and events scheduled throughout the year.  

Bluff Top Trail

Bluff Top Trail is a historical trail along the Dana Point Bluffs. The walk offers picturesque views of the Dana Point Harbor. Residents and visitors can enjoy running or walking along the trail while learning about the history of Dana Point. 

Bring friends along for sunset photos with Dana Point Harbor in the background. The path offers bench seating and is lit in the evenings and early mornings. Visitors can access the trail during operation hours from 6 AM to 10 PM.

Image courtesy of Danapoint.org

Sportfishing and Whale Watching

Dana Point is one of the only places in the world to observe whale watching year-round. This world-class experience is one of the unique activities in Dana Point that allows locals and visitors to see giant blue and humpback whales, as well as wild dolphins, in their natural habitat. 

A variety of local companies offer tours to catch whales near Dana Point, including Dana Wharf Whale Watching, which began in 1971 as the first whale watching company in Orange County. Experience the importance and breathtaking beauty of these awe-inspiring animals during your stop in Dana Point.

Image courtesy of Dana Point Chamber of Commerce

Interested in learning more about Dana Point and other Orange County communities? Contact Ashley Rosenhain today. Her motivation and passion as a Southern Orange County realtor will streamline the process of finding the perfect piece of Dana Point real estate to meet the needs of any homebuyer!

*Header Image courtesy of CoastalLiving.com