Dana Point Guide
Credit: Craft House
Dana Point Guide
Credit: Craft House

Your Guide to Spending a Summer Weekend in Dana Point

From Luxury Accommodations to Decadent Dining, Look No Further Than Dana Point!

Nestled on the cliffside of southern Orange County lies the dreamy, irreplicable town of Dana Point. Incorporated in 1989, Dana Point is a relatively young city, but it’s not without its local institutions that draw people in from all over the region. Thanks to its exclusive eateries, artistic flair and some of the best surf breaks in SoCal, this town is the ultimate blend of upscale luxury and laid-back beach vibes. Planning on spending a few days in this charming seaside community? We don’t blame you! Here is our guide to Dana Point.


Top-Notch Eats

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Dana Point Guide
Credit: Craft House

Anyone who’s been to Craft House knows to expect two things: sustainable, delicious food and an out-of-this-world bar menu. Serving up locally sourced ingredients with a Southern flair, it’s easy to see how Craft House became a local staple since opening its doors in 2016. With Owner/Chef Blake Mellgren and Chef de Cuisine Keene Vasquez at the helm, it’s clear that the Craft House team’s mission is to make you want to come back on a regular basis—especially now that there will be new cocktails between the brunch and dinner menus to look forward to every week! Aside from mouthwatering dishes (the fried chicken dinner and the grilled meatloaf are a couple of our favs), cozy atmosphere and extensive and rare whiskey collection, Craft House is also known for its community presence and sustainable business practices.


Local Events + Live Entertainment

Dana Point Guide
Credit: Ashley Osborn

Set for Sept. 29 through Oct. 1 on Doheny State Beach, Ohana Festival will be returning to rock out and hype up the bustling crowd. Taking place over three days and across three stages, Ohana Fest is an iconic music festival where the community comes together to celebrate music, art and Dana Point’s surf culture. This year’s edition features a lineup that includes The Killers, Haim, Eddie Vedder, The Chicks, Foo Fighters, Suki Waterhouse, The Pretenders and more. Alongside these can’t-miss musical performances, festival goers can enjoy exhibits, panels and storytelling from conservationists, ecologists and surfers and, of course, plenty of treats from local eateries!

Local Insight: Other Dana Point events to keep an eye out for include Doheny Surf Festival (end of June) and the Festival of Whales (beginning of March 2024).


Staycation Time

Want to create a truly memorable and luxurious experience for upcoming romantic getaways, family vacations or spontaneous staycations? Book a room at the one and only Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is a luxurious coastal retreat nestled along Dana Point’s pristine shores. Known for breathtaking views and impeccable service, this iconic resort offers a serene and tranquil ambiance, elegant accommodations, top-of-the-line amenities and plenty of activities and experiences to fill your days and evenings. Indulge in a rejuvenating massage at the beautiful spa, get your blood pumping at the state-of-the-art fitness center or take a dip in the sparkling oceanfront pool. Then, refuel and satiate your cravings at the resort’s acclaimed dining options: RAYA, 180blu and EnoSTEAK.


Date-Night Destination

Night Destinations Galore
Credit: Palm & Ocean

If you are looking for a luxury dining experience with an admirable ambiance, then what are you waiting for? Make a dinner reservation at Whitestone Restaurant and thank us later! Located along Pacific Coast Hwy, this hospitality-driven restaurant serves modern yet approachable dishes from acclaimed chef Anthony Celeste. It’s an ideal place for intimate date nights, big birthday celebrations or even a fresh-from-the-office happy hour party.


The Best Breaks

Best Breaks
Credit: Chris Osmond

Surfing in what is now Dana Point began in the early 1930s, and thanks to the lessons provided by Girl in the Curl, the surf culture is still going strong today. This surf school specializes in youth classes but also teaches clinics and private lessons for men and women of all ages. Their instructors are trained in CPR, first aid, water safety and—of course—fun, providing an enjoyable and safe atmosphere for everyone. If you live near the beach, you at least have to give surfing a try!


A Reason to Rise n’ Shine

Giana Dana Point is a European-style bakery and is the best thing to happen to Dana Point since sliced bread. Sister store of Maison Cafe + Market, Giana believes in creating and serving real food that feeds the body, nourishes the soul and connects the community. You can shop at their market that’s filled with imported meats and cheeses, decadent Italian wines and fresh-baked bread or simply enjoy their full-service dining room. Giana is passionate about creating the food that brings people together.


Vino + Vessels

Dana Point Guide
Credit: Summer Roberts

Wine tasting at sunset is nice, but wine tasting at sunset on a luxury catamaran just hits different. The Wine Tasting Sunset Sail experience is OC’s only wine cruise where you are accompanied by a host to lead you through a sampling of various organic wines. And since wine tasting isn’t complete without a charcuterie spread, you also get to pair your tasting with gourmet cheese and crackers along with dried fruit and nuts. Enjoy an evening of sunshine, cool ocean breezes and romantic sunset views.


Camping Experiences

Dana Point Guide
Credit: The Holiday Campers

Embark on an adventurous staycation (just down the coast in San Clemente) by renting a trailer at The Holiday Campers communal campground. These vintage trailers are positioned on a coastal bluff and can accommodate up to four adults. Did we mention each campsite has its own fire pit and an outdoor grill for you to use? At Holiday Campers, it’s all about making memories. Their goal is to give you the best experience and provide accommodations that are comfortable and fun!


Beer Break 

Dana Point Guide
Credit: Dana Point Ale House

Stop by the recently opened Dana Point Ale House for craft beer and good times. Choose between 24 different beers on tap (ranging from counties like Humboldt to San Diego) while lounging inside or on the outdoor patio. The casual, minimalistic interior is the perfect place to chill with friends with an ice-cold beer in hand. Don’t forget to order charcuterie and a few yummy apps!


New to the Neighborhood

Dana Point Guide
Credit: Truly Pizza

Truly Pizza is a stunning pizza joint that opened in the heart of Dana Point earlier this year. The team wanted to create a welcoming and thoughtful gathering place for the local community. Guests can enjoy dining in a garden and savoring wine on the rooftop, thanks to the visionary design crafted by Ted Berner and Dayna Lee of Powerstrip Studio. Start with the Harissa Honey Chicken Wings before moving on to an American Artisan Crispy Pepperoni pizza. 

Local Insight: The corkage fee is waived for your first bottle of wine and only $25 for the second bottle. Cheers!

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Born and raised near the Pacific Coast, Jordan Nishkian is a California girl through and through. She graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a BA in Creative Writing and a BA in Anthropology, and her favorite place to be is curled up in a comfy chair with a book in her hand and a pen in her hair.


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