The famous sea diarist Richard Henry Dana Junior, for whom Dana Point is named, once called this area around the Capistrano Bay "the most romantic spot in all of California." Located along the southern coast of Orange County, Dana Point features coastal bluffs and rolling pacific hills that have drawn visitors to the area for centuries, even though the town was officially established only a couple decades ago. Half way between Los Angeles and San Diego, Dana Point has now become a popular escape for vacationing families from both of these cities. Nature enthusiasts come here to go sea kayaking and bird watching or to explore the teeming tide pools along the coast of Doheny State Park. There are also plenty of luxurious spas, golf courses, and shopping districts close to the Dana Point Harbor. After the sun goes down, the elegant bars and world-class seafood restaurants in the area offer creative cuisine centered around the freshest offerings of the Pacific coast.
Here are a few additional suggestions of things to do in Dana Point:
-Take a whale watching tour: Tour boats leave Dana Harbor on a regular basis to provide visitors with amazing dolphin and whale encounters. You will also see different migratory species depending on the season.
-Take a sport fishing excursion: Dana Point is a popular destination for those who wish to pursue large game fish in the deep waters away from the coast.
-Visit the Ocean Institute: Learn more about marine science and maritime history at this museum and educational programming site, which is open to the public on weekends.
-Play on the beach: Doheny State Beach, adjoining the Doheny State Park, is a perfect place to soak up the sun and explore the tide pools. Surf, swim, build a sandcastle, or just relax with a good book.
-Play a round of golf: Dana Point is known for its emerald green courses with famously challenging designs, including the links at Monarch Beach.
-Visit Dana Point Harbor: Stroll the boardwalk, shop, and enjoy the nightlife after the sun goes down. Some visitors like to take a harbor dinner cruise, complete with live music.
No matter what you decide to do when you arrive here, you'll need a place to stay. Find a sleek condo near the glittering nightlife around the harbor, or find a vacation rental close to the shopping districts of Orange County. Or, you may want to rent a summer beach house big enough to host your family and friends and come back year after year.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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