How to Spend 1 Day in Dana Point
The scenic community of Dana Point is a perfect destination for travelers who want to enjoy California's greatest treasure: the Pacific Ocean. Whether you love fishing, wildlife cruises, or exploring nature, there's no better place to spend your time. Here’s how to get the most out of one day in Dana Point.
Morning: Fishing and Whale Watching
Start the day on the water with an early morning fishing adventure. Rent a rod and reel and cruise out on the Pacific to cast a line—whether you're a beginner, or seasoned angler. Though tours typically provide the bait, you need to secure a fishing license before you head into open waters. Alternatively, book a whale-watching tour to enjoy the ocean breeze and spot local wildlife, including whales, dolphins, and sea lions. For the best experience, opt for a tour led by a marine naturalist.
Afternoon: Bluff Hikes and Beach Walks
Once you're back on shore, don't miss a walk on the scenic Dana Point Bluff Top Trail, which offers views of the water and cliffs. Remember to bring your camera—it's the perfect place for snapping a selfie. Next, head over the hill to the Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center. Check the calendar to confirm when you can join one of the center's public walks. Alternatively, take a stroll to Doheny State Beach and check out the surfers riding the Pacific waves, or visit the nearby Ocean Institute to learn about California's maritime history.
Night: Wine Cruise and Dinner
If you haven't had enough of the water, then put away the fishing gear and use your evening for a more luxurious experience: a wine-tasting cruise from Dana Point Harbor. Most tours offer wine tasting and snacks included in the price. Once you're back, grab dinner at one of the harbor's restaurants within in walking distance, and be sure to order a meal that features local seafood.