Celebrate the Pacific in Dana Point, California

Settle into the quiet O.C. beach town and just enjoy the ocean

Dana Point, California's Ocean Institute and Tall Ship

Schoolchildren heave-ho on the Ocean Institute's tall ship, the Pilgrim. Open to the public on Sundays, the ship is a replica of the 1800s vessel in which Two Years Before the Mast writer Richard Henry Dana sailed around Cape Horn.

David Fenton

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Lacking the bling of Newport and the art legacy of Laguna, Dana Point is the often-overlooked stepsister along the Orange County coast. Which is a shame.

Its unpretentious charm and ocean-oriented character have much to offer ― quiet tidepools, a busy marina, a sportfishing wharf, and the family-friendly Ocean Institute, where you can explore all things salty, from sailing to plankton.

Getting out on the water with a kayak or aboard a wildlife cruise is easy, and in September, the weather and water are still warm and the crowds are nonexistent - the perfect time to check out the life aquatic.


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