Welcome to our Recommended Itineraries Page!
Here you will find sample itineraries we have put together to help you enjoy beautiful Dana Point Harbor to its fullest!
Suggested Itinerary for July Through September
The warm months of summer are perfect for long strolls or brisk walks around the harbor. Time to take in the beautiful harbor views and enjoy the many activities provided by merchants who love our locals and tourists alike!
1 Day Itinerary
Before you enjoy a lazy summer day in the Harbor, enjoy breakfast amongst friends at the family-owned Proud Mary’s restaurant where you’ll enjoy your meal overlooking the harbor. Add their signature Bloody Mary and you’re off to a good day. After you stroll around the Dana Point Yacht Club and Aventura Sailing Association, do a little dream shopping at Dick Simon Yachts…who knows, maybe you won the lottery when you bought that lucky ticket at Super Stop Liquor! Visiting the Harbor isn’t complete until you stop by The Downstairs Store, where you’ll enjoy a treasure hunt shopping experience filled with delightful gifts, clothing, home decor and more. Take a dip at Baby Beach and enjoy and ice cream from Scoop Deck while basking in the sun and enjoying the warm water and beautiful weather for which Dana Point is known. Feel like Mexican food for dinner? Head over to El Torito for an authentic meal – and don’t forget to order their famous guacamole, made table-side. They have been voted the “Best Margarita” several years in a row.
3 Day Itinerary
Need some excitement and activity during your stay? Get on down to the Embarcadero Marina and rent yourself some fun! Nothing beats a day on the water. The Marina rents those fun Electric Duffy boats, so even novice sailors can get out on the water and have fun. Or, if Jet Skiing sounds more thrilling, head over to Dana Point Jet Ski & Kayak and spend the day on a jet ski, kayak, stand-up paddleboard or surfboard! Don’t worry, they’ll give you the low down and safety features, so you’re sure to have a good time! Re-fuel with a slice or two at Beach Cities Pizza, and call it a good day. Take a relaxing stroll around the Harbor and treat yourself or your better-half with something special from Harbor Jeweler where you’re sure to find a unique piece to fit your style. Nothing goes better with new jewelry than stylish resort wear that is as comfortable as it is unique…Country Fox offers Italian Comfort shoes, official Life Guard Products, wood wick candles, pet lovers’ products, and more! Catch the exclusive Orange County Wine Cruise on Friday and Sunday nights at Dana Wharf, where you’ll taste a flight of wines from the Organic Wine Cellar (including their featured wine by Wyland), perfectly paired cheeses, crackers, nuts and goodies, enjoying the cool evening breeze while softly cruising the beautifully lit Dana Point Harbor.
5 Day Itinerary
Catalina is just a short 90-minute ride aboard the Catalina Express, and is a featured destination for locals and visitors alike. Hop aboard and explore the Island for a day or two…but be warned, you’ll want to stay longer to enjoy the rich heritage and quiet demeanor for which the Island is known. The Island features activities of all kinds, including ziplining, horseback riding, hiking, and numerous water sports. Favorite to many is simply laying in the beach, enjoying the lapping of the ocean onto the sand and people watching while enjoying the delicious sandwiches you brought from the Harbor Deli & BBQ.
Head over to Baby Beach and make yourself a little picnic…pick up some fresh fish from Jon’s Fish Market and BBQ it up, enjoying fresh fish, fresh air, and the cool ocean water. This time of year is perfect for whale watching…while Dana Point’s beloved Gray Whales are migrating South starting in November, they head back North with their babies around April and often can be seen into July. The Magnificent Blue Whales make their appearance from May – November and are often joined by Minke Whales, and others who spy hop, breach, fluke for whale watchers. Dana Wharf Whale Watching offers daily, 2-hour trips. Take advantage of their 1/2 price trips every Tuesday, and special, $25 twilight trips that depart at 5pm. Certified Naturalists narrate while expert captains find the fun! Board the Flagship 95 ft. Dana Pride or the 65 ft. custom-built luxury OCean Adventures Catamaran for your unforgettable ocean adventure. Accommodations at the Marina Inn provide the only full Harbor stay experience – with shops like Top Brass, White Pelican, Gift Chateau, Mille Fleurs, Chez Nevine and Bella Sea just a short walking distance away and sprinkled among great eateries like Turk’s Restaurant famous for it’s local flavor and fun atmosphere, good food and even better cocktails!
Suggested Itinerary for April Through June
Start your day dockside with Coffee and breakfast at the quaint Coffee Importers where you’ll enjoy homemade pastries, fresh bagels, sandwiches, gourmet coffee and more. Don’t want to leave your four-legged buddy at home, bring them on down and enjoy breakfast on the patio at The Brig. Afterwards, head to Dana Point Jet Ski and enjoy the California sun and the Pacific Ocean cruising the harbor on a Kayak or standup paddle board or get out on the water for some fast spins aboard one of Capo Beach Watercraft’s Jet Skis. Enjoy a fabulous French inspired lunch at Gemmell’s and don’t forget to order their amazing Gran Marnier soufflé. It will make you think you took a wrong turn and are in Paris.
Spring can be breezy, so if you’re a bit chilled check out The Woody Hut for your souvenir T-shirt and Sweatshirt combo for only $35. Dana Point is the Whale Capital of the West so migrate over to Dana Wharf Whale Watching for an incredible adventure enjoying the splendor of a variety of marine mammals like Gray, Blue, Minke Whales or other marine species. Dolphins love to surf the bow of the boats and the sea lions love to hang out on the buoys. All that adventure can create an appetite and Harbor Deli & BBQ knows just how to satisfy! Check out their New York Pastrami Sandwich and amazing cheesecake and get stuffed. Why not top the night off with a specialty coffee at Coffee Importers. Their Café Royale is a favorite.
Stay at The Marina Inn in Dana Point Harbor for just $79 per weeknight (plus tax) and you’re in walking distance to all Harbor activities, restaurants and shopping! Board the Lilly Catamaran at Captain Dave’s Dolphin Safari and get up-close and personal with marine mammals, including whales and dolphin in their exclusive viewing pod. Savor a patio Sunday Brunch at the infamous Wind and Sea Restaurant or Proud Mary’s. Take time to enjoy a walk around the fantastic boutiques and check out the array of wonderful items you can bring home. DaVine Food & Wine stocks wines from small boutique wineries of California and have wonderful cheeses and picnic items. The Golden Galleon is known for their wonderful selection of ladies apparel and shoes. If you forgot your shades at home, Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Raj Perfumerie both offer great brands and styles. And it cannot be Spring without a visit to the lovely Spring Boutique and check out their one of a kind ladies wear.
Enjoy the thrill of sportfishing and a day out on the water – board a Dana Wharf Sportfishing vessel for 1/2-day, 3/4-day, full-day, or overnight sportfishing trip. Walk on down to the Ocean Institute for a day of tidepools and on the weekends, their hands-on exhibits, then head on over to El Torito Restaurant for a well deserved Margarita and fantastic chips and salsa while you dine on fine Mexican food overlooking the Harbor.
Make the most of your visit to Dana Point – charter your own boat for whale watching, sportfishing or simply cruising the historic Dana Point and Laguna Beach coastline. Riviera Yacht Charters offers 20% off a weekday charter. Hop on Catalina Express for a day or two visit on Catalina Island. In a couple of hours, you can be transported to this scenic and historic island. Filled with beauty and history, you can enjoy ziplining, bike riding, hiking, touring the famous Casino, or simply relaxing. Enjoy a leisurely Champagne Brunch at Harbor Grill, then spend the day at Baby Beach basking in the sun and try sailing or paddle boarding with Westwind Sailing. Take a beautiful Sunset music cruise of the Harbor aboard Dana Wharf’s luxurious OC Adventures Catamaran and enjoy a dockside dinner at Harpoon Henry’s.
MOMS, DADS AND GRADS!
Harbor specials celebrating Moms, Dads and Grads!
Take Mom and Dad Whale Watching (May 9-11, June 13-15) and save 20% at Captain Dave’s Whale and Dolphin Safari.
Enjoy 1 hour of free kayaking when you purchase the first hour at Dana Point Jet Ski and Kayak Center May 10-11, June 14-15).
Spoil Dad with a Father’s Day Brunch featuring Steak and Eggs at Harbor Grill.
Celebrate by chartering a boat for your party! Cruise the harbor, go whale watching or sportfishing with your friends and family! Charters are available through many Harbor businesses, including Riviera Charters, Dick Simon Yachts, Dream Catcher Yachts, Mariner’s Yacht & Ship Brokerage & Charters and Dana Wharf. Consider renting the OC Sailing and Event Center next to Baby Beach or Wind & Sea, Harpoon Henry’s or Proud Mary’s Restaurant overlooking the Harbor for your party!
Suggested Itinerary for January through March
Start your day dockside with coffee and breakfast at Coffee Importers and see why they have been the locals’ favorite for over 30 years. Come and celebrate the migration of the magnificent Gray Whales by enjoying any one of the many activities scheduled during the annual FESTIVAL OF WHALES (March 1, 2, 8 & 9) Stop for lunch at Beach Cities Pizza and visit Chocolate Soldier for a hand-made chocolate treat. Shopping in Dana Point Harbor is truly a unique experience. Say goodbye to the box store and enjoy wonderful selections of art, jewelry, housewares, nautical gifts and all things Woody, available at Art Sea Gallery, Gift Chateau, The Upstairs Store, the White Pelican, or the Woody Hut. The Woody Hut is offering a souvenir T-shirt and Sweatshirt combo for only $35. Now that you have shopped till you dropped, stroll on over to Harpoon Henry’s for Happy Hour where you’ll find a nice assortment of specials available weekdays from 4-7pm and Saturday from noon-4pm. If you want a patio experience, stop off at The Wind & Sea and enjoy the cool breeze while you snack on their amazing Kalua Nachos. Top off your day with a sunset walk around the Harbor and a cocktail and dancing at Turk’s.
The Dana Point Marina Inn is located right in the heart Dana Point Harbor. Give them a call for their fantastic weekday rates and affordable weekend rates (949) 496-1203. On the weekend, check out the Ocean Institute’s touch tanks and marine exhibits. Walk on over and check out The Brig Pilgrim and then top off your day with a tidepool walk. Winter is just a state of mind in California, so why not have some fun and jump on a Jet-Ski for the ride of your life! 9 and Capo Beach Watercraft both have jet-skis available so you can get out on the water and having fun in less than 5 minutes. You may even spot a migrating Gray Whale while you are out there! Since you have been in and on the water, why not enjoy a fish dinner? Check out Jon’s Fish Market for the catch of the day or get it mesquite grilled at The Harbor Grill.
Click on the photos to get the full printable version of the Driving Tour of Dana Point!