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Points of Interest

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Dana Point HarborDana Point Harbor The Harbor houses 2,500 boats within two marinas, inside a one-and-a-half mile jetty. Complete facilities include guest slips, fuel dock, shipyard, launch ramp, boat rentals, yacht sales, community class instruction, fishing, windsurfing, jetskiing, kayaking, boat charters, two yacht clubs, sailing association, ocean classroom labs, shops, restaurants, picnicking, and even a baby beach for young swimmers.

Thirty intriguing shops are loaded with unexpected treasures. Visitors discover custom-designed jewelry, Indian artifacts, art collectibles, hand-formed chocolates, unique gifts, toiletries, fragrant oils, designer perfumes and sunglasses, leisure clothing, full service hair salon, art gallery, unique cards, international coffees and teas, and quality ice cream. There are seventeen different restaurants in the Harbor to please every palate.

Dana Point is the home of the popular sport fishing and whale watching vessels.  The Ocean Institute also offers a variety of programs for the whole family. Enjoy sea adventure cruises day and evening and summer programs on the Pilgrim. The OC Sailing and Events Center attracts hundreds of people each week for its wide variety of programs. Catalina Island is just a short boat ride away. For more information on the Dana Point Harbor, please visit their website at

Salt Creek Beach ParkSalt Creek Beach Park This long, sandy beach is a popular surfing spot for the locals. Walking paths lead to the beach and to the grassy seven-acre Bluff Park, which has benches, barbecue grills, picnic tables, and restrooms.

Just south of Ritz Carlton Dr., a pedestrian gate leads through the Ritz Carlton along the bluff above Salt Creek Beach. The path, which skirts the southern perimeter of the grounds, has benches that overlook gray whale migration routes, popular surfing spots, Catalina Island, and the coastline. 

Several stairways lead from the multi-use trail to the beach, changing rooms, outdoor showers, restrooms, snack bar, fire pits, and a path along the seawall. Paths lead north and east through a golf course and along Salt Creek, a scenic corridor featuring small parks and several miles of trails.

Doheny State Beach is administered by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The 62 acre site features over one mile of sandy beach and some of the best swimming and surfing in California. During low tide, tide pools are prime for exploring. The campground features 120 developed family campsites and the picnic area has 170 picnic tables and 99 barbecue grills. For more information, visit the Doheny State Beach website.

Harbor ShotOcean Institute Founded in 1977, the Ocean Institute is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to ocean awareness and preservation. The Institute owns and operates the Pilgrim, the Spirit of Dana Point, and the research vessel Sea Explorer. The new Ocean Education Center, which has replaced the Institute’s old laboratories, now serves 135,000 students annually. For complete info visit their site at

Public Trail System and Nature Interpretive Center A public trail system, over three miles in length, links all the parks and open space areas of the Headlands. The system includes pedestrian trails, coastal and beach access, scenic overlooks, and the Nature Interpretive Center. The trails maximize public coastal access and ocean view opportunities. These trails implement the policies and guidelines of the Dana Point General Plan and provide a comprehensive system that reinforces the relationship between the Headlands, the beaches, the Harbor and the Pacific Ocean. For more information on this area, visit our page on Natural Resources.

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