About Dana Point

The Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World®

Incorporated in 1989, the City of Dana Point is named after Richard Henry Dana Jr. (1815-1882), a Harvard-trained lawyer, seaman, and author of the classic sea journal, Two Years Before the Mast (1840). In his journal, Dana documents his voyage from Boston around Cape Horn to California on the merchant ship, Pilgrim. Therein, Dana describes the area once known as Capistrano Bay, as “the most romantic spot on the California coast.” Today, Capistrano Bay is known as Dana Point.

A romantic and historic harbor, Dana Point is just south of Laguna Beach, only 40 miles south of Disneyland, and about 60 miles north of San Diego. Dana Point offers breathtaking vistas, beautiful beaches and world-class whale watching.

Dana Point offers the world’s best year round dolphin and whale watching!

  • More dolphins per square mile than anywhere else in the world with over 450,000 dolphins.
  • Dana Point made famous the “dolphin stampede”.
  • Year-round whales include Blue Whales, Fin Whales, Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, and Minke Whales.
  • A plethora of rare whales and dolphins including Killer Whales, Pilot Whales, Sperm Whales, False Killer Whales, Dall’s Porpoise and more.
  • One of the best places in the world to view the largest animal to have ever lived on earth: the magnificent Blue Whale.
  • Best small harbor with quick and easy accessibility to open ocean.
  • Best year-round weather. Unlike many other locations, Dana Point usually has moderate weather and mild ocean conditions throughout the year.
  • Underwater coastal canyons and large kelp beds within a mile of shore provide rich habitats for numerous species of marine life; including the kinds of fish that dolphins and whales love to eat!
  • Unlike other Southern California harbors, Dana Point has no towering buildings, oil rigs or large ships that distort the whale watcher’s sense of the pristine and spectacular encounters.
  • Home to the world’s first and longest running annual whale festival, the Dana Point Festival of Whales, celebrating whales since 1971.

Book a whale watching trip today!

Manute’a heading home at Dana Point Harbor, courtesy Cliff Wassmann