Lively beach town with harbor views and upscale resorts
Dana Point is a lively beach town with harbor views and a strong boating culture. The community has a gorgeous landscape of rolling bluffs and beaches stretching for seven miles along Orange County’s Pacific coastline. Dana Point Harbor offers cruises and whale watching excursions. Premier oceanfront resorts provide first-class amenities and ocean-view fine dining.
Dana Point’s neighborhoods feature gorgeous homes dating back to the 1920s and modern masterpieces in luxurious newer developments. Many properties enjoy sweeping panoramic views over the Pacific.
What to Love
Lively beach town
Gorgeous coastal landscape
Dana Point Harbor
Numerous beaches and ocean-view parks
Living in Dana Point
Dana Point is a welcoming community combining upscale refinement with laidback Californian coastal charm. Dana Point’s beaches, resorts, and harbor provide this pretty coastal town with endless recreation options.
Dana Point Restaurants
Dana Point offers a vibrant downtown area packed with shops and eateries and waterfront restaurants overlooking the city’s beaches and Dana Point Harbor.
In the downtown area,Coastal Kitchen serves sophisticated steakhouse and seafood fare alongside a fine choice of Napa Valley and European wines, local craft brews, and handcrafted cocktails.Luciana’s Ristorante is a longtime local favorite for housemade pasta and other freshly prepared Italian dishes. This welcoming restaurant features an outdoor patio and a roaring fireplace inside.The Shwack Beach Grill is a laidback eatery open for breakfast through dinner for signature omelets, burgers, tacos, sandwiches, salads, and surf and turf entrees.
On the waterfront,Harbor Grill serves mouthwatering mesquite-grilled seafood on an outdoor patio with great views of Dana Point Harbor.Chart House sits atop the dramatic ocean bluffs overlooking the harbor. This upscale white-tablecloth restaurant offers a refined selection of steaks, prime rib, and seafood alongside some of Dana Point’s finest ocean views. From the Chart House’s elevated position, diners can watch migrating whales, dolphins, seals, and countless vessels moving through the Pacific. Close to the harbor at Dana Wharf,Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern is a relaxed and family-friendly choice for delicious burgers, salads, and seafood specialties.
The five-starWaldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort extends over 175 acres across the seaside blufftops, encompassing a Robert Trent Jones Jr. links golf course and six restaurants. The resort’sMonarch Bay Beach Club sits directly on Monarch Bay Beach. Guests watch waves crash to shore as they dine on refined Californian coastal cuisine.Bourbon Steak Orange County is the resort’s premier steakhouse, pairing a sublime selection of steaks and seafood with a curated choice of wines, whiskies, and cocktails.
The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel resort also offers exquisite fine dining close to the sands of Salt Creek Beach.180blũ combines panoramic ocean views and live music with Pan-Latin coastal dishes and signature cocktails in an upscale lounge setting with patio fire pits. The Ritz-Carlton’sRaya restaurant serves a similar menu of chef-driven Pan-Latin cuisine in a luxurious space with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Pacific.
Things to Do in Dana Point
Dana Point hosts numerous signature events and festivals throughout the year.The Annual Boat Parade of Lights is a holiday season tradition with a colorful tiki theme held over two weekends in December. In March,Dana Point Festival of Whales marks the arrival of migrating grey whales with a variety of whale-watching cruises and special events at Dana Point Ocean Institute.Dana Point Ocean Institute also hosts a popular summer camp alongside other year-round educational programs and excursions. May’sDoheny Blues Festival at Sea Terrace Park is a two-day music festival featuring some of the finest contemporary blues bands and musicians.
Hilltop Conservation Park is a half-mile trail running through the Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area with spectacular ocean views.Dana Point Harbor extends along the oceanfront beside the Headlands Preserve. This highly active boating destination offers experiences such as whale and dolphin watching excursions, fishing trips, diving tours, parasailing, stand-up paddleboarding, and more. Atop the sloping hills behind Dana Point Harbor,Heritage Park features soaring pine trees, grass lawns, and a dog run.
Baby Beach at the west end of the harbor enjoys calm waters and great views of all the boats. This relaxing spot is a wonderful place to enjoy beachfront picnics and BBQs. Just beyond the eastern edge of the harbor,Doheny State Beach is one of the most popular beaches in California, attracting over one million visitors every year. Popular activities at the beach include surfing and surf fishing. Doheny State Beach is also dotted with tide pools and features a five-acre grass park with volleyball courts plus a campground at its southernmost end.Salt Creek Beach is a wide and scenic sandy stretch beneath the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel resort and Monarch Beach Golf Links.
Strand Vista Park rises above the sands of Strands Beach with stunning panoramic views of the Headlands and across the ocean to Catalina Island. Every Saturday morning,Dana Point Farmers’ Market features local vendors selling fresh organic produce. These vendors are joined on the second Saturday of each month by booths selling various unique arts, crafts, and food items.
The Capistrano Unified school district serves Dana Point.