At the turn of the 19th
century, Dana Point was the only major harbor between San Diego and
Santa Barbara. Now the harbor sports a modern marina which is a popular
spot for departure of boats offering whale watching cruises from
November through March. The harbor also offers restaurant dining with a
harbor view and gift shops for taking home gift souvenirs from your
vacation. Guest slips, launch ramps, boat rentals, yacht instruction,
fishing, windsurfing, jet skiing and diving charters are available
there. Founder Richard Henry Dana: "The only romantic cove in
California." Date: 1818
Web guests often ask where they can
find romantic ocean views for a wedding ceremony. Dana Point has a few worth
considering. Dana Cove Room, Lantern Bay Park, Salt Creek Beach and the Overview
Gazebo at the end of Blue Lantern Street all provide those ocean and beach
views. Check out www.ocparks.com for more information on who to call to rent
abound in the natural cove that author and seaman Richard Henry Dana
called, "The only romantic spot on the coast." Dana landed here during
the hide trading days of the 1830's and described the charm of the steep
cliff cove in his renowned book, TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST. In the days
of the square rigged sailing ships, the rugged cove was known as BAHIA
CAPISTRANO and was the major port between San Diego and Santa Barbara.
It seemed only natural that this scenic cove was destined to become one
of the most beautiful recreational harbors on the west coast.
Dana Point Harbor and marina were built
and officially dedicated in 1971. Divided into two basins, the East Basin and
West Basin each operates as a separate marina, holding a total of 2,500 slips.
Also, included in the harbor are fifty quest slips for visiting guests. There is
a ten lane launch ramp, dry boat storage hoist, fishing pier, shipyard, marine
fuel dock, three yacht clubs and a commercial sports fishing operation which
also offers whale watching trips during the migration season.
restaurants and stores offer good food in a beautiful setting in either
Mariner's Village or the Dana Wharf areas. The Orange County Marine
Institute, located at the far west end of Dana Point Harbor, is a unique
educational experience for both children and adults. The facility
provides classroom instruction, wet laboratory equipment, display tanks,
and exhibits to study marine life. A 70 foot research vessel "Sea
Explorer" provides daily cruises to study and observe marine life
offshore. Just beyond the base of the breakwater lies the Marine Life
Refuge, a protected area for observing marine life in the tidepools at
the base of the majestic bluffs overlooking the ocean.
Institute also displays the brig "Pilgrim" which is a full-sized replica
of the square rigged vessel on which Richard Henry Dana sailed into this
cove. The Pilgrim is docked adjacent to the fishing pier and offers
school children the experience of life aboard a sailing ship in the 19th
Dana Point Harbor
offers the recreational boaters and county residents alike, numerous
events which attract thousands of spectators and participants each year.
Starting with the February "Festival of the Whales" and its many
activities for a three week period. Other events during the year
include: the Classic Wooden Boat Festival, offshore powerboat races in
June, July 4th fireworks show from a barge offshore, Tallship Festival
in September, an Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot Race and an annual
Christmas Boat Parade.
Dana Point Harbor
is a County Park located within the City of Dana Point. Dana Point
Harbor is located on Capistrano Bay in Dana Point, California. To reach
the harbor take the 5 Freeway or 405 Freeway to Dana Point and exit at
Camino de las Ramblas/Pacific Coast Highway. Follow the signs to the
Things to Do:
Doheny State Beach in
Dana Point has a five acre lawn with private picnic facilities rentals plus a
sand beach and plenty of restrooms, volleyball courts, food concessions,
showers, etc. It is located off Dana Point Harbor Drive, charges a parking fee
of under $10, and has 121 tent sites for RV parking and tents.
The 62-acre park,
administered by the California Department of Parks & Recreation,
is at the mouth of San Juan Creek. With over a mile of whitewashed
sandy beach and some of the warmest water and best swimming
and surfing in California, it's no wonder that people return here year
after year to vacation.
Where to Stay: We've visited and
written hotel reviews on some of our favorite Dana Point hotels that
Laguna Niguel ;
St. Regis Monarch