Dana Point

Dana Point is a city located in southern Orange County, California. The population was 33,351 at the 2010 census. It has one of the few harbors along the Orange County coast, and with ready access via State Route 1, it is a popular local destination for surfing.

The city was named after the headland of Dana Point, which was in turn named after Richard Henry Dana, Jr., author of Two Years Before the Mast, which included a description of the area. Dana described the locale, including neighboring San Juan Capistrano, as "the only romantic spot on the coast".[9] Although Dana described the anchorage as poor, it is now a developed harbor and contains a replica of his ship, the Pilgrim. The Pilgrim is used as a classroom by the Ocean Institute, which is located at the harbor. This area is designated California Historical Landmark #189.



The city is served by Capistrano Unified School District. It includes Dana Hills High School, one of the oldest high schools in the area, which opened in 1972.


R.H. Dana


Marco Forster Middle School


Dana Hills High School
Capistrano Valley High School

Dana Point - Points of Interest

Whether you are in Dana Point for a weekend or a lifetime, there are plenty of options to fill your time actively, relaxing or simply Harboring the Good Life.

Dana Point Harbor

The Dana Point Harbor offers specialty shopping, fishing and whale watching excursions, kayaking, Catalina transportation, and a variety of restaurants from coffee shops to fine waterfront dining. Across the bridge to Dana Island, more walking paths lead to yacht clubs, a restaurant and a continuation of the quiet waterside parkways.


Dana Point beaches are among the finest in the world. Dana Point is rich in surf history and is popular for surfing, tide pool exploration, walking and ocean enjoyment. Come and play at Salt Creek Beach, Doheny Beach, Baby Beach, or Capistrano Beach!


Monarch Beach Golf Links has recently been acknowledged as having the "Best Playing Conditions" in Orange County. A Conde Nast Traveler readers' poll named the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort the #49 ranked of "Top 100 Golf Resorts" around the world.

Ocean Institute 

The Ocean Institute is an incredible educational resource with children’s day camps, overnight experiences, and boat excursions from themed pirate ship trips to wildlife cruises. The Ocean Institute has several educational sea exhibits. Located on a secluded beach with tide pools, and accessed from the Dana Point Harbor, the entire experience is a hands-on, authentic ocean experience. For more information, contact the Ocean Institute at (949) 496-2274. 

Whale Watching

Dana Point is known as the “Whale Capital of the West” because several types of whales use the point as a navigational landmark on their migrations north or south. Dana Point Harbor whale watching boats provide amazing experiences with these majestic animals off the Dana Point coast. 


Dana Point has been known as a rich fishing area for centuries. Fishing boats out of Dana Point Harbor offer excursions for young and old, for new and the most experienced fisherman. Check out the latest fish counts!


Dana Point has many shopping options for locals and visitors. Specialty shops abound for surfwear, home décor, gifts, flowers, candy, apparel or general goods. Small centers and independent boutique shops and the Dana Point Harbor satisfy the shopper’s needs and wants with unique items.

Farmers Market 

Each Saturday, California farmers bring fresh produce to sell at the Dana Point Farmers Market from 9:00am to 1:00pm. The Dana Point Farmers Market is located in La Plaza Park on Pacific Coast Highway near the Clock Tower.

Area Listings

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Updated: 26th March, 2023 3:11 AM (UTC).