Dana Point, California

A year-round destination with a historically deep connection to the ocean

Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, Dana Point is named America's first Whale Heritage Site, as well as trademarked the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World®.

The southern start of California’s iconic Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), Dana Point is home to pristine beaches, cliffside eateries, renowned whale watching, world-class boating and endless seaside activities catering to all types of travelers.

With nearly seven miles of coastline along six beaches, two dozen parks and miles of beach-side trails, the destination offers a variety of other seaside adventures at the Dana Point Harbor – from stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) and kayaking to deep sea fishing, sailing and evening wine cruises.

Dana Point features more than 10 oceanfront lodging properties, including signature resorts – such as the Five Diamond Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Beach Club and The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel and the Four Diamond Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa – with elevated onsite dining, rejuvenating spa services, pools and golf courses. While in town, visitors can also explore the destination’s downtown, known as Lantern Village, for its elevated shopping and dining scenes. 

Trademarked the Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World® and named the first Whale Heritage Site in the Americas by the World Cetacean Alliance, Dana Point offers visitors year-round opportunities to embark on whale- and dolphin-watching excursions with local outfitters. The destination is home to one of the greatest concentrations of blue whales and dolphins on earth, with many whale species using Dana Point as a landmark during migrations. In March, Dana Point celebrates the migration of the California gray whale with exciting events and attractions at the beloved Festival of Whales.

Dana Point also has strong roots in California’s surf heritage, with the world’s first retail surf shop, Hobie Surf Shop, which opened in 1954 by famous surfer Hobie Alter; and the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC), which houses the world’s most important and authoritative archive of surfing artifacts, surfboards, and memorabilia. One of California’s most popular and first state beaches still frequented today for surfing, Doheny State Beach is where visitors of all ages can take surf lessons with Girl in the Curl Surf Shop.

Perfectly situated just 20 minutes from Orange County’s John Wayne Airport (SNA) and an easy drive to the best attractions Southern California has to offer, Dana Point combines relaxed luxury with coastal cool for an elevated California holiday.

Posted on: 01/02/2024

Visit USA newsletter

Get more inspiring US travel ideas, news and offers in our newsletter.

Sign up here to receive USA Travel News, the regular Visit USA e-mail newsletter with the latest news and information

By providing your email address and clicking “sign-up” you consent to be contacted by Visit USA with offers and updates which we feel may be of interest to you. To opt out, use the unsubscribe link or email Find out how Visit USA safeguards user information by reading our Privacy Statement.