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Dana Point Family Travel Guide


Dana Point is the perfect place in Orange County for families to create long lasting memories together. The city is home to some of the best beaches in Orange County and luxurious resorts. When looking for the best place to plan your next family staycation, Dana Point is one of the top choices to have a getaway full of sun and fun. Check out the International Drivers Association before planning your upcoming trip.

Where to stay

There are many resorts in Dana Point that each offer a different vacation experience. The DoubleTree Dana Point is just a few steps away from the beach. They have luxurious suites and guest rooms that offer beautiful ocean views. Your family can rent a bike and cruise around Dana Point when staying at the DoubleTree Dana Point.

If you’re looking for a luxurious resort on the cliffs over the pacific ocean, The Ritz-Carlton is the ideal destination. The resort offers the best dining experiences in Orange County; a beautiful sandy beach just steps away from your hotel room and luxurious guest rooms. Your family will want to spend every minute of your staycation at the resort when staying at the Ritz-Carlton.

For the families looking to incorporate golf or spa into their staycation, the Monarch Beach Resort is the perfect place. The resort has one of the best golf courses in Orange County, a beach shuttle, and a beautiful pool. One of the perks of staying at this resort is that your family will have access to the exclusive Monarch Beach Club that offers stellar dining and a private beach.

Where to dine

There are a lot of choices when it comes to having breakfast in Dana Point. One of our favorite places to go in the morning is Proud Mary’s. The restaurant is located in the Harbor so families can enjoy beautiful ocean views while savoring a filling breakfast. There is usually a wait on the weekends, but your kids will be kept entertained while looking at the sea life swimming in the harbor. If you don’t want to dine out, room service is always a favorite for the kids.

If you’re staying a the Monarch Beach Resort, then you’ll want to have lunch at the Monarch Bay Club. The restaurant is exclusive to club members and resort guests and is located right on the beach. The food is stellar, the views are spectacular, and the service is phenomenal. Your family can spend the day at the beach and then take a short break for lunch at the Monarch Bay Club restaurant.

When it comes to dinner, your family will want to enjoy food from the best restaurant in Dana Point, Raya. The restaurant is located in the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. While on our recent staycation, we had a sunset dinner at Raya and the food was the best that we have ever had. The entire meal was an unforgettable experience.

Where to Play

A new activity that recently came to Orange County is Dana Point Parasailing. You don’t have to go to Mexico, Hawaii or the Caribbean to parasail anymore, and can now do it right in our backyard. Your children can soar over Orange County and enjoy beautiful coastal views while parasailing. The company offers a photo package to capture memories, and the experience takes about an hour.

One of our favorite things to do in Dana Point is to go sailing. Westwind Sailing is located right in the harbor and offers private lessons for families. While learning to sail in Dana Point Harbor, we saw dolphins and sea lions and had the time of our life.

If your family has a set of boards, Dana Point is the best place in Orange County to go paddleboarding. The harbor has the perfect loop around the harbor that is the ideal distance for a family to experience paddleboarding for the day. Your family can take a break at Baby Beach in between boarding. If you don’t have boards, your family can rent them from Westwind Sailing.

One of our favorite parks in Orange County is Lantern Bay Park in Dana Point. It has a large play structure, plenty of grass space and ocean views. Bring a picnic lunch and spend the afternoon playing with your children at this beautiful OC Park.

Nature Center
Your children can learn about the nature in Dana Point at the Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center. The center has volunteers who will educate children about the wildlife, and they offer complimentary binoculars for children to see sealife from the bluffs. There is a short nature path at the center that your children will love.

Butterfly Garden
One of the biggest hidden gems in Orange County is the Dana Point butterfly garden. It is located in Doheny State Beach and is a natural butterfly garden. There are picnic tables to have lunch while surrounded by thousands of beautiful butterflies. There is also a small nature center located next to the garden where children can learn more about the sea life living in the ocean.


Baby Beach
If you have young children and want a safe beach experience, then Baby Beach is the place to go. There is a lifeguard during the summer and a roped off swimming section. This is also the best place to launch your paddle boards or kayaks.

Strands Beach
A popular place to spend the day at the beach is at Strands. The beach always has plenty of parking and great waves for body surfing. You’ll want to pack light because there are a lot of steps getting down to the beach, and there are restrooms for your kids.

Salt Creek Beach
My favorite beach in Dana Point is Salt Creek. Your family can park your Kia Sorento and then walk through a beautifully painted tunnel on your way down to the beach. If you’re staying at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, you’ll be able to take a shuttle down to the beach, and the resort offers chairs and umbrellas for guests. There is a snack shack located at this beach and a large grass area for families to have a picnic lunch.

Sea Caves
If your family is looking for a little adventure, then you’ll want to check out the Dana Point sea caves. You’ll want to wait until the tide is low and then walk along the rocky beach to discover magically hidden caves.

One of the best-kept secrets in Dana Point is the Dana Point waterfall. If you happen to be in Dana Point while it’s raining, then take your kids for a short drive down to the harbor to see a beautiful waterfall flowing off the cliffs. This waterfall is exclusive to rainy afternoons.

Dana Point has everything your family needs to have the staycation of a lifetime. Have fun exploring Dana Point!

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