Best Things to Do in Dana Point

Pacific Coast Highway Travel brings you its choice of the best things to do in Dana Point, including museums, beaches, shopping, and outdoor activities.

Dana Point in Southern CaliforniaDana Point in Southern California

If you're looking for the top things to do in Dana Point, you've come to the right place. This charming coastal city in Southern California is a treasure trove of fun activities, cultural experiences, and stunning natural beauty. So let's dive into the top must-see attractions in Dana Point.

Best Things to Do in Dana Point

Number one on our list is the Dana Point Harbor. This bustling marina is a hub of activity, with lots of shops, restaurants, and water sports to enjoy. You can rent a kayak or paddleboard, go whale watching, or simply enjoy a leisurely stroll along the waterfront.

Dana Point HarborDana Point Harbor

The harbor is also a great place to enjoy some fresh seafood. There are several restaurants along the waterfront that offer a wide range of seafood dishes, from fresh oysters to grilled fish. And with the stunning views of the harbor and the Pacific Ocean, it's the perfect setting for a romantic dinner or a family meal.

Fisherman in Dana Point HarborFisherman in Dana Point Harbor

The harbor is also home to the Ocean Institute, a fascinating educational facility that offers hands-on marine science, environmental education, and maritime history programs.

Dana Point Harbor, Dana Point, CA 92629, +1 949-923-2255, danapointharbor.com

Next up is the Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area. This 50-acre nature preserve offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and a network of trails for hiking and biking. The trails wind through diverse habitats, including coastal bluff scrub, native grassland, and coastal sage scrub. It's a great place to spot local wildlife, including the endangered Pacific pocket mouse.

Dana Point Headlands Conservation AreaDana Point Headlands Conservation Area

The area is also a great place for bird watching. The preserve is home to a wide variety of bird species, including the California gnatcatcher, the cactus wren, and the coastal California gull. So don't forget to take your binoculars!

For more information, visit.danapoint.org

For a dose of culture, head to the Dana Point Historical Society Museum. This small but fascinating museum is packed with artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of Dana Point's rich history, from its early Native American inhabitants to its development as a modern city.

The museum also hosts a variety of events and programs throughout the year, including lectures, walking tours, and special exhibits. It's a great way to learn more about the history and culture of Dana Point.

33282 Golden Lantern St, Dana Point, CA 92629, +1 949-248-8121, danapointhistorical.org

If you're a fan of the great outdoors, you'll love the Salt Creek Beach Park. This beautiful beach offers a wide sandy shore, perfect for sunbathing, picnicking, and beach games. The park also has a grassy area with picnic tables and barbecue grills, making it a great spot for a family outing.

Salt Creek Beach Park at Dana PointSalt Creek Beach Park at Dana Point

The park is also a popular spot for surfing. The beach has a consistent surf break that attracts surfers from all over Southern California. So whether you're a seasoned surfer or a beginner, it's a great place to catch some waves.

Salt Creek Beach Park, 33333 S Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, CA 92629, ocparks.com

For a unique experience, why not try a sailing adventure with Dana Point Yacht Club? They offer a variety of sailing programs for all ages and skill levels, from beginners to experienced sailors. It's a fantastic way to enjoy the stunning coastal scenery and maybe even spot some dolphins or whales.

The Dana Point Yacht Club also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including regattas, social gatherings, and educational programs. It's a great way to meet locals and fellow sailors, and to immerse yourself in the local sailing culture.

Dana Point Yacht Club, 24399 Dana Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629, +1 949-496-2900, dpyc.org

Art lovers should definitely check out the Lantern Bay Park. This park is home to a collection of public art installations, including the iconic "Dana Point Dolphins" sculpture. The park also offers stunning views of the harbor and the Pacific Ocean, making it a great spot for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.

The Lantern Bay Park is also a great place for a workout. The park has a fitness trail with exercise stations, as well as a large grassy area that's perfect for yoga or a game of frisbee. And with the stunning views of the harbor and the ocean, it's a workout with a view!

Lantern Bay Park, 25111 Park Lantern Rd, Dana Point, CA 92629, danapoint.org

Our Pick of the California Guides

Rough-Guide-California-2023.png

For a bit of retail therapy, head to the Shops at Mission Viejo. This upscale shopping mall offers a wide range of stores, from high-end fashion brands to unique local boutiques. It's a great place to pick up some souvenirs or treat yourself to something special.

The Shops at Mission Viejo also has a variety of dining options, from fast food to fine dining. So whether you're in the mood for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, you'll find something to enjoy.

The Shops at Mission Viejo, 555 The Shops Blvd, Mission Viejo, CA 92691, +1 949-364-1771, simon.com

If you're a foodie, you'll love the Dana Point Farmers Market. Held every Saturday, this market offers a wide range of fresh, locally-grown produce, as well as artisanal foods, baked goods, and handmade crafts. It's a great place to sample the local flavors and support local farmers and artisans.

Food for Tasting at Dana Point Farmers MarketFood for Tasting at Dana Point Farmers Market

Dana Point Farmers Market, La Plaza Park, 34111 La Plaza St, Dana Point, CA 92629, danapointchamber.com

Last but not least, don't miss the chance to visit the Doheny State Beach. This popular beach offers a wide sandy shore, perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. The beach also has a campground, picnic areas, and a visitor center with exhibits on the local marine life.

Surfer Carrying a Surfboard at Doheny State Beach in Dana PointA Surfer on Doheny State Beach in Dana Point

Doheny State Beach, 25300 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629, +1 949-496-6172, parks.ca.gov

So there you have it, the best things to do in Dana Point. Whether you're into nature, culture, shopping, or food, there's something for everyone in this attractive coastal city.

Sunset at The Chief in Dana PointSunset at The Chief in Dana Point

Other Dana Point Pages

  • Check our report of Dana Point Whale Watching with a sunset cruise from Dana Wharf Sportsfishing and Whale Watching, looking for wildlife in California.

    Dana Point Whale Watching

    Check our report of Dana Point Whale Watching with a sunset cruise from Dana Wharf Sportsfishing and Whale Watching, looking for wildlife in California.

  • Dana Point in California is the official start or end of the Pacific Coast Highway, and its attractions include whale watching, and Doheny State Beach.

    Dana Point

    Dana Point in California is the official start or end of the Pacific Coast Highway, and its attractions include whale watching, and Doheny State Beach.

  • For a Dana Point hotel next to the beach and near the harbor for whale watching cruises, the Doubletree Suites by Hilton with its ocean views is hard to beat.

    Dana Point Hotel

    For a Dana Point hotel next to the beach and near the harbor for whale watching cruises, the Doubletree Suites by Hilton with its ocean views is hard to beat.



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