Marine Resources

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The 7.5 miles of coastline of Dana Point offers access to a variety of marine habitats. The coastal waters and shoreline are rich with animals and plants associated with sandy beach, rocky intertidal, rocky subtidal, and kelp forest ecosystems. Each of these habitats is rich in species diversity and includes the unique boulder fields and bedrock bench tidepool areas around the Headlands and the largest kelp forest in Orange County at Salt Creek.


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Marine Protected Areas(MPAs) 

Dana Point’s coastal habitats are currently designated as three section so of California State Marine Protected Areas. The marine resources at Doheny State Park are protected by the Doheny Beach State Marine Conservation Area and include an offshore under water park: the intertidal and subtidal areas around the Dana Point Headlands are protected by the Dana Point Marine Conservation Area: and the Niguel State Marine Conservation Area stretches from South Strands to Three Arch Bay encompassing all of the Salt Creek kelp bed. Within these three MPAs it is illegal to take any intertidal marine resources and only certain finfish and invertebrates may be taken under permit.

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The Dana Point Tidepool Interpretive Program (TIP)

The TIP provides an interpretive education program for all visitors to the rocky intertidal areas of the  Dana Point Marine Conservation Area. This program is sponsored by the City of Dana Point in concert with the Ocean Institute.

At this time, our Tidepool (TIP) Docent Volunteer Program is full; however if you are interested in becoming a Docent at the City's Nature Interpretive Center, applications are currently being accepted. You an view and fill out an application here (PDF).


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Tidepool Group Reservation Program

The City of Dana Point welcomes all visitors to the tidepools of Dana Point. To ensure your trip is enjoyable as well as safe for both participants and for marine life, we require that advance reservations be made for all groups of 15 persons or more who visit the Dana Point Marine Conservation Area. 

Reservation Policy:   Please refer to the Orange County Marine Protected Area Council website for all Dana Point Marine Conservation Area researcher or educator use and return your completed form to the contact listed.