September 9-11, 2017
Tall ships sail into the harbor. Festival activities include live music and interactive living-history encampments.
Tall Ships Festival
Thursday evenings, June through August
Travels to various OC locations, including Bluff Park
Free, 6 PM to 8 PM
March 4-5 & 11-12, 2017
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
Captain Dave's Whale and Dolphin Safari
24440 Dana Point Harbor
Dana Point, CA
View whales and dolphins through underwater viewing pods aboard their high-tech catamaran.
Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari
28373 Alicia Parkway
Dana Point, CA
Teaching about the oceans through a variety of programs.
Public Hours: Saturday & Sunday, 10 AM to 3 PM
Salt Creek Beach is one of the leading surfing destinations along the Orange County coast.
Among the favorite surfing spots at the beach are Salt Creek Heroins at the north end at Monarch Beach, Gravels, Middles, and the Point. Heroins is a point break that is rarely working. It's best for experienced surfers. Rocks are a hazard.
Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.
Gravels is a little distance north of Bluff Park. Gravel's powerful waves attract a lot of experienced and competitive surfers. Like all the other spots at Salt Creek, it is very crowded.
Middles, as it name says, is in the middle between Gravels and the Point. Waves break right and left on the beach, best at high tides. It, too, is always very crowded.
At the Point between Salt Creek and the Strand experienced surfers ride the left-breaking waves. Local surfers are almost always here when the waves are up.
Sales of surfing apparel, boards, wetsuits, accessories
34320 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, CA
Sales of surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, wetsuits, clothing, surfing accessories
24382 Del Prado, Dana Point, CA
Infinity Surfboard Co.
Sales of surfing apparel
24621 Del Prado, Dana Point, CA
Killer Dana Surf Shop
Locals know that Salt Creek Beach and neighboring Strand Beach are great places for tide pool explorations. Some of the best tide pools at Salt Creek Beach are at the north end. Explorers will find a few small caves along the base of the cliffs. Another good spot for tide pools is along the foot of the cliffs south of Bluff Park. Farther south tide pools are located near the Point and about the middle of Strand Beach.
All of the tide pools along Salt Creek Beach and Strand Beach are part of a California State Marine Conservation Area. Visitors may not disturb or collect anything in the tide pools. That includes the collection of rocks and shells. Visitors are advised to tread lightly in the tide pools, avoiding stepping on any of the tiny, well-camouflaged creatures.
Every year the annual migration of whales turns the ocean right off the shore of Dana Point and Salt Creek Beach into a whale-lover's paradise. Gray whales usually show up in December and can be viewed even as late as early May as they migrate back and forth between Alaska and Mexico. The largest animals on the planet, Blue Whales, arrive in May and can be spotted through November.
Less commonly seen are Humpback Whales, Orcas, and Sperm Whales.
Other marine life often spied offshore are a variety of species of dolphins. Pacific White-sided Dolphins are often seen keeping pace with the bows of boats. The Bottlenose Dolphin can grow up to 4 yards in length. They are seen year-round. The smaller Common Dolphin is often seen in pods of several hundred churning through the water.
Bring your binoculars, watch for spouts.
The Junior Lifeguard Program at Salt Creek Beach is open to children ages 8 to 17. Daily activities include health and physical fitness, first aid training, ocean rescue techniques, presentations by local fire, sheriff and harbor patrol, oceanogarpahy, and marine biology. Recreational activities are surfing and bodyboarding, swimming, beach games and competitions, and special days like crazy-hair day.
Basic swimming skills are a prerequisite. Tryouts are held in May and June at the Crown Valley Community Park pool and Irvine Aquatic Center.
Session I: June 13 to July 1, 2016
Session II: July 5 to July 22. 2016
Session III: July 25 to August 12, 2016
Salt Creek Beach Junior Lifeguards
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