Doheny State Beach Activities

Orange County

Events and Activities

Doheny Wood

April TBA, 2018
Southern California Woodie Club and Car Show at Doheny State Beach
South day-use area
Doheny Wood

Doheny Blues Festival

May TBA, 2018
Past performers: Bonnie Raitt, Paul Rodgers, Boz Scaggs, and more
Huge event at Doheny's north day-use area, tickets now on sale
Doheny Blues Festival

Tall Ships Festival

September TBA, 2018
Tall ships sail into the harbor. Festival activities include live music and interactive living-history encampments.
Tall Ships Festival

Dana Point Festival of the Whales

March 3-4 & 10-11, 2018
Dana Point, CA
Two weekends of festivities much too numerous to list. A free shuttle carries you to event locations around Dana Point Harbor.
Dana Point Festival of the Whales

Whitey Harrison Classic Outrigger Race

August TBA, 2018
6 AM to 6 PM
Outrigger race from Doheny to Laguna and back
Dana Outrigger Canoe Club

Ocean Institute

28373 Alicia Parkway
Dana Point, CA
Teaching about the oceans through a variety of programs.
Public Hours: Saturday & Sunday, 10 AM to 3 PM
Ocean Institute

Doheny Beach Surfing

Made famous by surfing legends and songs, Doheny Beach is one of those iconic spots along the California coast that most dedicated surfers want to experience. While the epic waves of the past may have been altered by the harbor and breakwaters, there are still plenty of great rides to be had at places like Boneyard and the Indicator. Doheny has the reputation of being best for longboards.

Unlike many beaches along California's coast, localism isn't really a problem at Doheny. Surfers of all abilities mingle and manage to get along with one another. Boneyard is closest to the breakwater. It's best with a swell from the south. A rocky reef close to the surface exposes itself at low tides. Out from the center of the main beach, Second Spot waves are usually tame enough that beginning and intermediate surfers like to gather there. Usually Creekmouth is good when the creek is flowing, which means water quality becomes an issue. Farther out Indicator needs the right conditions to produce a great wave, but at times it can make for a long ride.

Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.

Doheny Surf & Art Festival

June 23-24, 2018
Every June the Doheny Surf Festival draws large crowds to Doheny State Beach. The free event is highlighted by a 60s Longboard Contest. The festival includes a full schedule of local bands, surf demonstrations, tandem exhibitions, and all kinds of activities and exhibits for people of all ages. The festival is a chance to meet some of surfing legends. In 2018 Ocean Art was added to the festival.
Doheny Surf & Art Festival
Although the festival is free, parking in the state beach is still $15 per vehicle.

Doheny Longboard Surfing Association is dedicated to board surfing in a clean and natural environment. They sponsor a number of surfing events at Doheny Beach throughout the year.

Surfing Lessons and Camps

Girl in the Curl

Surfing lessons for ages 5 to adult at Doheny Beach, surfboard and wetsuit provided.
Surf Camps at spring break and during the summer at Doheny Beach. For girls they offer their Curl in the Curl camp, for boys they have their Boy in the Barrel Surf Camp. They have both half day and full day options.
Girl in the Curl

girl surfing

Stand-up Paddleboarding and Kayaking

Stand-up paddleboards and kayaks may be launched from the beach at Thor's Hammer (the jetty near the mouth of the creek). From there paddlers can ride waves along the coast to the south or wander as they please. Paddlers who venture north must keep at least 1,000 feet off shore. The idea is to avoid collisions by separating the surfers from the paddleboards and kayaks.

Pure Watersports

Rentals of jet skis, surfboards, wetsuits, stand-up paddleboards, and kayaks.
34671 Puerto Place, Dana Point, CA
An easy walk to their harbor location from Doheny Beach
Pure Watersports

Doheny Beach Tide Pools

Doheny Beach's tide pools are north of the mouth of San Juan Creek. At low tides areas of uneven rock are exposed. Hidden among the crevices and pockets are a variety of marine creatures, including snails, limpets, mollusks, sea stars, anemones, and crabs. All marine life is protected and should not be disturbed. Tread carefully.

Tide Chart for San Clemente

Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association Programs

The Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association promotes and appreciation for and an interest in the natural history of Doheny State Beach. They support a volunteer docent program who are involved in providing educational and interpretive activities at the beach.

Field Trips and Interpretive Programs

The Association offers year-round educational programs for school-age children as well as theme-based outings for groups such as the Scouts. Among their programs are tide pool investigations, marine mammals, birds, and water quality. These programs must be prearranged with their staff.
Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association

Summer Programs

During the summer the Interpretive Association organizes campfire programs held at the amphitheater in the campground. They also help with the Junior Rangers program offered Mondays through Thursdays for children ages 7 to 12. Junior Rangers is offered at many state parks. Participants play games, hike, observe wildlife, and learn about the natural environment. It's free for anyone camping at a state park or beach.
California State Parks and Beaches Junior Rangers

boy body surfing

Rentals and Food at Doheny Beach

The popular Wheel Fun Rentals operates a rental shop at Doheny State Beach's north day-use area. They offer a large selection of bicycles, tandem bikes, surreys, beach cruisers and more. They also rent surfboards, boogie boards, sand toys, beach chairs, umbrellas, and volleyballs.
Wheel Fun Rentals

The Boneyard Cafe is open seasonally at Doheny Beach. They offer a breakfast menu, burgers and hot dogs, sandwiches, and more. Their usual hours are 10 AM to 6 PM.

Volleyball at Doheny Beach - 2017

Volleyball courts are located along the beach at the North Day-Use Area. The courts are first-come, first-served. Any of courts 1 through 7, however, may be reserved for a $75 per court fee per court.

The California Beach Volleyball Association held several tournaments at Doheny Beach during 2017.

  • April 8 - Men AAA
  • April 9 - Women B, Women Open
  • April 29 - Men A, Women Unrated
  • June 17 - Men A, Women B
  • June 19 - Girls 12&Under, 14&Under, Co-ed Youth 14, 16, and 18&Under
  • July 7 - Girls 12&Under, 18&Under
  • July 10 Girls 14&Under, 16&Under
  • July 12 Boys 14&Under, 16&Under, 18&Under
  • July 14 Girls 12&Under, 18&Under
  • July 15 Girls 14&Under
  • July 16 Girls 16&Under
  • July 26 Co-ed Youth 14, 16,and 18&Under
  • July 28 Girls 12&Under, 18&Under
  • July 29 Girls 14&Under
  • July 30 Girls 16&Under
  • July 31 Boys 14&Under, 16&Under, 18&Under
  • August 6 - Men's B, Co-ed unrated

CBVA Schedule

Ocean Safety

California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly." Learn more about ocean safety at CA State Parks: Ocean Safety

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