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Tips for Visiting The Tall Ships Festival in Dana Point

Tips for visiting the Tall Ships Festival

It’s that time of the year again for the Tall Ships Festival to return to Dana Point Harbor. The ships will be sailing into the harbor tonight and sunset, and will be available for families to explore throughout the weekend. We have attended the Tall Ships Festival for many years, and these are some helpful tips before bringing your family down to the harbor this weekend.


I *do not* recommend going directly into the harbor for parking. You’ll be driving around in circles for hours looking for a parking spot, and there are crowds of people holding up traffic. There is a free shuttle that runs from 8:30am to 9:30pm at Strands Beach (PCH and Selva Road) and Dana Hills High School. Just look for the signs for the shuttle pick-up in the parking lot and a bus will be coming every few minutes to bring families down to the harbor.


There will be lots of people dressed in costumes. If your kids love pirates, feel free to get them in the spirit by wearing their favorite pirate costume. (Make sure your kids wear closed toe shoes – there are a lot of places for them to stub their toes)


It is expensive, but worth purchasing a ticket. Your kids can see the ships for free from the dock, but there is a cost to tour the ships. Tickets last year were $10 for adults and $8 for children to board the boats.


There will be lines and crowds. Once your family purchases tickets to board the boats, be prepared to wait in long lines. They only allow a few families on the boat to avoid overcrowding, so bring snacks to keep the kids busy while waiting to get on the ships. Once your family is on the ships, you are allowed to take your time exploring!


Throughout the streets of the harbor, there will be vendors, food, music and fun. All of this is complimentary for your family to enjoy the fun while admiring the beautiful ships on the water.

Tonight! Your family can see the ships coming into the harbor best from Doheny State Beach. I recommend packing a picnic dinner, go to the beach to admire the ships sailing into the harbor tonight.

Curious about the experience? See what it was like when we visited last year. Have fun visiting the 30th Annual Toshiba Tall Ships Festival!

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