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Orange County Beaches: Dana Point

Dana Point has six and a half miles of sandy beaches in Orange County, so there are plenty of options to consider when you’re planning your next beach day. Here’s all the beaches in Dana Point plus everything you need to know to plan a fantastic day in the sun.

You can park for free at many of the beaches operated by the county with the OC Parks Pass. Get free entry to State Beaches and Parks with the California Explorer Annual Pass.

Orange County Beaches: Dana Point

Capistrano Beach Park

Location: 35005 Beach Road, Dana Point, CA 92624

Also known as Capo Beach, this narrow beach is a popular summer surf spot. Amenities include a paved parking lot, picnic tables, sand volleyball courts, restrooms and showers, and firepits. Dogs are not allowed on the beach from June 15 through September 10, otherwise, they must be on leash at all times. There is a fee for the parking lot. Pay at the kiosk before hitting the sand.

Dana Point Harbor Beach

Location: 24300 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629

Located in Dana Point Harbor, this beach, also known as Baby Beach, is family-friendly with minimal surf and a designated area for swimming. There is a lifeguard on duty and a grass park behind the beach ideal for picnics and sand-free play. Beach goers can also find a fishing pier and the nearby Ocean Institute. Because the waters here are protected by the harbor, it is an ideal destination for kayaking and SUPing. Additional amenities include restrooms and showers, BBQs, boat launch area, paved paths for walking and biking, and concessions. Dogs are not allowed on the beach and parking is free.

During the holiday season check out the Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade or the Festival of Whales celebration in March.

Notable Features: There’s a roped off section for small kids to swim and splash without worrying about kayakers or paddleboarders.

Dana Point Headlands Beach

Location: 24200 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629

Dana Point Headlands is a rocky beach with boulders and sea caves, perfect for exploring and tide pooling at low tide. Located near the Ocean Institute and the Dana Point Pier, follow the covered stairway down to the sand. Explorers may want to stop into the Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center at the top of the headlands and venture out on the Bluff Trail for a scenic hike. Dogs are not allowed on the beach and parking is free.

Dana Strand Beach/Strands Beach

Location: 34199 Selva Road, Dana Point, CA 92629

This picturesque, sandy beach is located in front of the bluff top gated community “The Strand” with staircases plunging down the bluffs giving oceanfront homeowners easy access to the shore. It is a popular surf spot and offers tidepooling opportunities at low tide. Visitors will park in the Salt Creek Beach Park parking lot and head downhill. If a downhill hike is out of the question, hitch a ride on the funicular to get to the sand. Amenities include a lifeguard, restrooms and showers. Dogs are not allowed on the beach here and there is a fee for parking.

Doheny State Beach – North Beach

Location: 25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629

Doheny State Beach‘s North Beach is located, well, on the north side of San Juan Creek. This is a go-to spot for surfing, SUPing, and swimming, with tidepooling at low tide. Other amenities at this location include a park with grass, volleyball courts, picnic area, showers and restrooms, bbqs, and more. Doheny is a State Beach and features a campground and an interpretive center with exhibits and information about the habitats, animals, and geology of the surrounding area.

Doheny State Beach – South Beach

Location: 25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629

Also part of Doheny, but south of San Juan Creek, the long sandy beach is exactly what you would think of when you imagine a California beach and is the perfect spot for all your beach day activities. Also accessible from the campground, South Beach features bonfire pits and is open for fishing. Dogs are not allowed on the beach here. Paid parking in the State Beach lot, but free parking is available along Coast Highway.

Monarch Bay Beach

Location: 500 Monarch Bay Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629

Nestled on the shoreline below a private beach club in gated Monarch Beach community, this public beach is perfect for a day relaxing on the sand. Parking is available in the lot near Salt Creek Beach Park for a fee. While there is a facility on the beach here for club members, there are no public facilities available. A few small caves in the rock walls are here to explore, and this is also a good spot for scuba diving. Dogs are not allowed on the beach here.

Poche Beach

Location: 2771 N El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672

Like Monarch Beach, Poche Beach is a public beach paired up with a private beach club. The facilities for Shorecliffs Beach Club of San Clemente are for members only – there are no public facilities here. Metered parking is available for beachgoers, and the sand can be accessed via the pedestrian underpass beneath the train marked by the Coastal Access sign. Dogs are not allowed on the beach at this location.

Salt Creek Beach

Location: 11 Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point, CA 92629

Salt Creek Beach is one of Dana Point’s busiest beaches, located blow the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel beach resort and Monarch Beach Golf Links and is right next to Monarch Bay Beach. In addition to the sandy beach, you’ll find a grassy park with picnic tables, walking paths, snack bar, basketball courts, public restrooms, and rentals. Enjoy a day on the beach, explore the tidepools, or hit the waves at this picturesque destination. Dogs are not allowed on the beach at this location but they are welcome in the park. Paid parking is available in the Salt Creek Beach parking lot.

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Rebecca Radtke
Rebecca has an undeniable love of writing and graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. She enjoys watching hockey, scuba diving, swimming, and working out.