About Dana Point and Orange County
On the coast about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, Dana Point is a popular hideaway for honeymooners or anyone wanting a romantic getaway. The town is perched on several miles of prominent bluffs above Dana Point Harbor. Its namesake is Richard Henry Dana, Jr., who came here as part of the crew of the early 19th Century sailing brig Pilgrim and wrote his book, Two Years Before the Mast, about the experience. A replica of the Pilgrim is moored in the harbor, operated by the Ocean Institute; visitors can tour the ship and the organization’s ocean-themed exhibits.
South of the harbor is Doheny State Beach, a 62-acre park featuring a sandy beach and waves just right for surfing. There are swimming areas, tide pools full of marine life and plenty of trails to explore.
Whale watching is one of the prime attractions of Dana Point. With gray whales cruising past from November through April, and blue whales appearing May through November, the leviathans can be spotted any time of year, and quite near to shore. Join a whale watching boat excursion led by a marine scientist for a truly up-close view, or bring binoculars and study the ocean giants from the bluffs above.