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Happiness is a Day at the Beach

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A Guide to Dana Point’s Beaches

July 6, 2023

A day at the beach is better than a day at the office! Our beaches have something for everyone. Whether you love jumping in the waves or just parking it on the sand, you can find a beach with your name on it.

Here is a beach guide for surf and plenty of sand in Dana Point!

Stay and Play

A good beach day starts with a plan. A beach stay at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Doheny Beach is and it’s easy accessibility to our beaches in Dana Point, makes planning for sunscreen, food, and full day in the sun easy as pie. It’s newly renovated rooms and sunset views from the Longboard Rooftop Lounge of Doheny State Beach will have you beach inspired. Bounce between the pool and the beach and experience the essence of a true California Coastal vacation.

Breakfast Before the Beach

Food is something that makes the day go in the right direction. Starting your day with a full belly is a must. Stop off for brunch at What a Dish Café What a Dish Café is farm to table inspired and offers bottomless mimosas, pastries, and egg dishes every which way located in Dana Point Harbor. Coffee Importers is also the perfect stop for breakfast burritos, their famous coffee, and smoothies. Located on the harbor walk way in Dana Point makes for an easy walk to Doheny and or Baby beach.

Best Beach to Learn to Surf

Cross the street and head down Dana Point Harbor Drive to Doheny State Beach. This State Beach charges hourly or full day for parking. The slow roll of the waves is the perfect spot for beginner surfers and boogie boarders alike. Surf lessons and camps are offered beachfront at Doheny State Beach. Our hotels can guide you with camp information as well as surf and boogie board rentals. Make it a full day and arrive early to reserve a “day camp spot” with a fire pit and pitch your umbrella and cooler at DOHO and experience surfing down Doheny way. and if you work up an appetite, DOHO Cafe Doheny Beach is the perfect stop with both a view and sometimes music too!

Best Beach to Paddle Out or Be a Beach Bum

Head down Dana Point Harbor Drive towards the Ocean Institute and you will find a lagoon right on Dana Point Harbor, it’s what the locals call Baby Beach. It’s an awesome beach to lie out the beach blankets, rent and learn how to paddle board and sail with a lesson on the harbor. Make sure to look down as you paddle board and check out California’s state fish, the Garibaldi that love to hide in the rocks visible along the harbor walls. The orange fish glitter in the summer sun as they hide along the rocks. Build a sandcastle or two with a view of the Tall Ships and Dana Point’s old pier in sight. Beach days make for a lifetime of memories in Dana Point.

Tide Pools and Beach Waves

If you want to jump in the waves and check out tide pools, Dana Strand Beach is the beach to gently experience sea life. A short drive up PCH to Selva Road will take you to Dana Strand Beach. It’s blue water and beautiful houses sprinkled over the sand will have you mesmerized and wanting to stay forever especially since the parking is FREE! Make sure to take full advantage of the Funicular. A cog wheeled elevator that you can pile in your beach gear as well as passengers. The funicular is slow moving and FUN, it runs up and down the hill daily from Memorial to Labor Day.

Best Beach to Fly a Kite and Picnic

Salt Creek Beach has a paid parking lot and is close to the beautiful Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel. It’s VW Bus mural is Instagram worthy along with its sprawling view as you walk down to the beach. Salt Creek Beach has a large grass area that can host a beach picnic or see an awesome Summer Concert! The downhill run on the grass and a slight breeze can make any kite fly. Take advantage of the cheap transportation (large golf cart) that is run by Young’s Snack Shack if the walk up or down with beach gear is too much and if you are lucky enough to be staying at The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, well you will have it down pat with ample transportation from the hotel and a nice shady umbrella.

Here’s to summer in Dana Point! Enjoy the sea breeze, a jump in the waves, and the sand beneath your toes!

VW Bus


by Nicole Lindstrom