Dana Point Overview: What to Expect, Things to Do

Orange County, California, offers an ideal destination for families looking for a fun and relaxing getaway. The area features over 300 days of sunshine annually, making it easy to try new outdoor activities and exciting attractions. One top spot for adventure is Dana Point, known for its harbor, natural areas and scenic cruises. For those who have never been, we created this quick Dana Point overview about the best things in the area. Check it out.

Dana Point Overview for First-time Visitors

Dana Point Location

The city’s location between Laguna Beach and San Clemente provides easy access to all major attractions, including the San Diego Zoo, Universal Studios and Disneyland. A 90-minute boat ride takes visitors to Catalina Island. On the other hand, if visitors want to spend time lounging on the beach, they have plenty of options as well.

Outdoor Recreation Activities

Dana Point Harbor offers opportunities for water sports and relaxing on the beach. Families can enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, wind surfing, biking, jogging, rollerblading and other exciting outdoor activities. Area beaches provide a peaceful spot for picnics and swimming in the blue waters.

Top beaches in Dana Point include Baby Beach at Dana Point Harbor, Dana Strand Beach, Doheny State Beach and Salt Creek Beach. From December to March, boating excursions allow travelers to view thousands of migrating gray whales. Other attractions in Dana Point include 24 parks, which are connected by more than 3 miles of hiking trails and include scenic overlooks and access to beaches.

For added adventure, the Ocean Institute offers educational exhibits and sailing excursions on two tall ships. During the week, families take guided tours, see marine life and try hands-on activities. On weekends, the campus opens and welcomes guests to immerse in the Pacific Ocean. Encounter live animals, join animal feedings and learn about jellies. Read more about the Dana Point outdoor scene.

Shopping and Dining

When not hitting the high seas, visitors can find clothing, jewelry, art, home accessories and gifts at the more than 30 shops. Or dig into delicious seafood at one of Dana Point’s restaurants. From American traditional to Asian and Italian, area chefs will create dishes with fresh catches and lots of local flavors. The Dana Point Harbor also houses dozens of shops and restaurants in a convenient location for beach-goers. See our picks for the top Dana Point seafood restaurants.

Dana Point Rentals vs. Hotels

The Dana Point area offers several hotels and vacation rentals that put visitors in the action or off-the-beaten-path. Guests will find hotels large and small, however our Dana Point vacation rentals offer families a choice of affordable luxurious homes and condos. Enjoy more privacy with friends and family, or step outside for scenic views. Many rentals in Dana Point also have convenient access near beaches, shopping, restaurants, parks and local attractions.