Celebrate the Pacific in Dana Point, California

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

HAPPENING NOW

The largest gathering of tall ships on the West Coast, the Tall Ships Festival (Sep 8-9; $10, $8 ages 3-12; Ocean Institute, 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr.; 949/496-2274) includes cannon battles, living-history demonstrations, sea-chantey concerts, and public tours.

DO

Marine Wildlife Cruise Ocean Institute scientists lead excursions along the coast aboard the RV Sea Explorer to discover the wonders of sea life. INFO: 1-3:30 most Sun (call for dates); $35, $22 ages 4-12 (no children under 4), reservations required; 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr.; 949/496-2274.

Ocean Education Center On weekends, the Ocean Institute invites the public to explore its aquariums, experience working marine labs demonstrating water cycles, and board the square-rigged Pilgrim to learn knot-tying and sea chanteys. INFO: 10-3 Sat-Sun (Pilgrim open 10-2:30 Sun); $6, $4 ages 3-12, including Pilgrim admission; 949/496-2274

Kayaking Rent a kayak and poke around the harbor. INFO: UP Sports Kayak trailer, 34451 Ensenada Place, next to Baby Beach; from $20 per hour; 949/443-5161.

EAT

Cannons Seafood Grill All things from the sea at the casual blufftop restaurant with panoramic views. Live jazz on the terrace Sunday afternoons (4-7). INFO: $$$; 34344 Green Lantern St.; 949/496-6146.

Jon's Fish Market Fish and chips on the wharf; inexpensive and very fresh fare. INFO: $; 34665 Golden Lantern St.; 949/496-2807.

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