Project Description

Dana Point

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Dana Point is a city located in southern Orange County, California. The population was 33,351 at the 2010 census. It has one of the few harbors along the Orange County coast, and with ready access via State Route 1, it is a popular local destination for surfing.

The city was named after the headland of Dana Point, which was in turn named after Richard Henry Dana, Jr., author of Two Years Before the Mast, which included a description of the area. Dana described the locale, including neighboring San Juan Capistrano, as “the only romantic spot on the coast”. Although Dana described the anchorage as poor, it is now a developed harbor and contains a replica of his ship, the Pilgrim. The Pilgrim is used as a classroom by the Ocean Institute, which is located at the harbor. This area is designated California Historical Landmark #189.

The harbor, built in the 1960s and dedicated on July 31, 1971, is home to a marina, shops, and restaurants, and is a point of departure for the Catalina Express, a transportation service to and from the City of Avalon on Catalina Island. The entire harbor of Dana Point, including the Embarcadero Marina shops and restaurants, are set for complete demolition and redevelopment. The current vintage nautical style is being abandoned for a Tech Minimalist concept using metal roofs as well as Minimalist landscaping.

Dana Point Homes

Living in Dana Point

Dana Point was a popular port for ships involved with the hide trade with nearby Mission San Juan Capistrano. Trading reached its peak in the 1830s and 1840s. In 1818, Argentine sailor Hippolyte de Bouchard anchored there while conducting his raid on the mission. Richard Henry Dana then visited the area in 1835 while serving aboard the sailing brig Pilgrim on her voyage along the California coastline.

In 1923, Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler and General M. H. Sherman, director of the Pacific Electric Railway Company, created a major real estate group to develop what is known today as the Hollywood Hills. Sidney H. Woodruff, already a prominent Los Angeles homebuilder, was hired to lead the project.

In 1926, Woodruff, Chandler, and Sherman created the Dana Point Syndicate. They invited other investors, company presidents, movie producers, and real estate investors to join them in purchasing 1,388 acres (5.6 km2) of land, some of which includes the “Headlands” of today. Promising tree-lined and paved streets, electricity, telephones, sidewalks, water mains, storm drains, sewers, and other amenities, Woodruff built 35 homes and a number of commercial buildings.

Most of these “Woodruff” houses are concentrated in the Dana Point historic core, also called Lantern Village (currently about 12,000 residents). The streets are named after different colored lanterns—Street of the Violet Lantern, Blue Lantern, etc.—because colored lanterns were used by ships 200 years ago to advertise their fares when in the Dana Point natural harbor. His crowning structure was to be the Dana Point Inn, a Mediterranean-like resort hotel on the cliffs overlooking the harbor. After a celebratory groundbreaking in 1930, a three-story foundation was poured and a 135-foot (41 m) shaft was dug for an elevator to transport hotel guests to and from the beach. The economic downturn of the Great Depression caused construction to halt, however. Although Woodruff continuously sought financial support through the years, this project was abandoned in 1939. Subsequently, he sold the remaining holdings of the Dana Point Syndicate. Thirty-four of the original Woodruff residences are still occupied.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.5 square miles. 6.5 square miles of it is land and 23.0 square miles of it is water.

The Dana Point headlands are a prominent feature in Orange County geography and after years of controversy, are currently being developed as a 118-house gated community, however 68 acres (280,000 m2) of the site is open to the public and features a nature center and walking trails exhibiting “lost” plants of the Southern California coast. Views on a clear day extend to Catalina Island and La Jolla in San Diego County. link Dana Point Headlands

The city is located 59 miles southeast of Los Angeles, and 65 miles northwest of San Diego. Dana Point is bordered by San Clemente to the southeast, San Juan Capistrano to the northeast, Laguna Beach to the northwest, and Laguna Niguel to the north.

Dana Point enjoys a mild climate with temperatures that tend to average around the 70s. The warmest month of the year is August with an average maximum temperature of 79°F. The coldest month is December with an average maximum temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.[citation needed] Frost is extremely rare, allowing for a year-round growing season. Annual rainfall (with almost all of it falling between November and March) is about 12 inches but is highly variable from year to year.

The Strand
The Strands at Headlands is a luxury housing development built on land that was originally part of the Chandler Family holdings. For decades the land facing the beach was home to the Dana Strand Beach and Tennis Club, a mobile home community that closed in the late 1980s. For years, access to the Strands beach was limited to hiking down a dirt trail where the mobile homes had stood. The Strands parcel included the actual headlands and bluff of Dana Point as well and was one of the last large coast properties available for development along the Orange County Coast. During the course of a ten-year approval process, the original high-density plan, which included a large multi-story hotel on the bluff top and hundreds of houses and multi-family units, was reduced in scope to just over 100 home sites. As part of negotiations with the California Coastal Commission, the developer agreed to turn the bluff into a nature preserve and build over $11 million worth of public improvements to provide easier access to the Strands Beach. The improvements include stairs, restrooms, a beach-front sidewalk and a funicular to transport visitors from the parking lot to the beach. After extensive infrastructure construction, lots were offered for sale in the fall of 2006. Lots in the development are rectangular with modern houses commonly priced above $10,000,000. The development has provided much easier access to the beach below and has allowed surfers and other beach visitors to access the beach quickly and easily. Strands Homeowners, through a Mello-Roos assessment, pay for the upkeep of the beach improvements.

Capistrano Beach
In 1928, a corporate entity of the American industrial giant Edward Doheny, who had built his fortune in oil production in Southern California and Mexico, purchased a number of lots in Capistrano Beach. Doheny’s son, Ned, formed a development company, the Capistrano Beach Company, which included his wife’s twin brothers, Clark and Warren Smith, and Luther Eldridge, a contractor, to build a community of Spanish style houses. According to Dana Point historians Baum and Burnes,* Eldridge favored two dominant characteristics in his homes, a typically Spanish roofline and the use of large ceiling beams in the main rooms of the houses. The roofline, covered with red ceramic tiles, incorporated a low-pitched gable, spreading out to one short and one long roof. The ceiling beams were decorated with stenciled artwork painted by artist Alex Meston. Eldridge was able to complete the original Doheny family house on the bluffs, four houses on the beach, and 18 other homes scattered throughout the area before tragedy struck the ambitious project. Edward Doheny was preparing for his criminal trial for bribery in the Teapot Dome Scandal, and on February 16, 1929, Ned Doheny and Hugh Plunkett, his friend and secretary, who were to testify in the trial, were killed in a murder that still remains unsolved. In 1931, as a memorial to Ned, Petroleum Securities Company, Doheny’s family-owned business, made a gift of 41.4 acres (168,000 m2) to the State of California, which is now Doheny State Beach. The unimproved Capistrano Beach properties passed back to Edward Doheny, and, upon his death in 1935, to his wife and heirs. By 1944, all of the properties had been sold to private parties.

The Doheny family also funded the building of what was then called St. Edward’s Chapel in Capistrano Beach. The chapel soon grew, received canonical status as a parish, and moved to its current bluff-top location in Dana Point, overlooking Doheny State Beach.

Richard Henry Dana (the author of “Two Years Before the Mast”) considered the high bluffs and sheltered coves of this area of Southern California to be the most beautiful spot on the California coast. Pioneering surfers agreed as they surfed the many beach breaks along the coast. Dana Point had a notable surfing history, and was home to many of the first companies that produced products for surfing. Hobie Alter opened the world’s first retail surf shop in Dana Point in 1954. Many surf publications such as the Surfer’s Journal and Surfer Magazine were formed and headquartered in Dana Point. Bruce Brown produced the iconic surfer film Endless Summer in Dana Point.

“Killer Dana” was a legendary surf break off Dana Point. The surf break was notorious because it came out of deep water and broke close to the rocks that lined the beach. The Killer Dana wave was destroyed when the Dana Point Harbor was built in 1966. A breakwater now cuts right through the heart of the once epic surf spot. In 1997, the surf group The Chantays recorded an instrumental track named “Killer Dana”.

Dana Point has held a Festival of Whales since 1972. This celebration is held over two weekends in March.

The Tall Ships Festival is held in September. It is considered the largest annual gathering of its kind on the West Coast of the United States.

Dana Point has hosted the Dana Point Concours d’Elegance since 2008. The event is located on the Monarch Beach Golf Links and supports various charities.

The Dana Point Grand Prix is an annual criterium bike race overlooking Dana Point Harbor. The course winds its way through downtown Dana Point into Heritage Park and the adjoining residential community with ocean views for participants and spectators before finishing on a long straightaway on PCH.

The Dana Point Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual Turkey Trot, which includes a 5K, 10K and Kids’ Gobble Wobble race for ages 5–12, which was voted as a top destination for Thanksgiving by Fodor’s Magazine. This event attracts more than 10,000 runners throughout the country and another 5,000 family and friends.

The Dana Point Symphony presents classical music concerts with a 50-piece orchestra and local and international soloists.

One of the very few known specimens of the megamouth shark was caught off Dana Point in 1990. Visitors can visit the Ocean Institute at the harbor below the point and the tidal pools located nearby for a close-up view of marine life during low tide. With the kelp beds located just offshore, Dana Point is a popular destination for snorkelers, fisherman, and spearfishers. Juvenile great white sharks sometimes congregate in the area, but are rarely a threat to humans, mostly feeding on fish. The high cliffs at Dana Point are popular for scanning the horizon for whales, dolphins and other marine life.
The city is served by Capistrano Unified School District. It includes Dana Hills High School, one of the oldest high schools in the area, which opened in 1972. The cross country program at Dana Hills High School won California state titles in 1988, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
Fire protection in Dana Point is provided by the Orange County Fire Authority with ambulance service by Doctor’s Ambulance. Law enforcement is provided by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Year-round marine safety services are provided by (U.S. Ocean Safety Lifeguards) now called O C lifeguards, on the county beaches, and California state lifeguards on the state beaches.
Dana Point is served by two newspapers, the Dana Point News (owned by the Orange County Register) and the Dana Point Times. Both papers run once weekly.

The Laguna Niguel-Dana Point Patch is an online-only news website that also serves Dana Point along with its neighbor, Laguna Niguel.

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Nearby Businesses


Maison Cafe & Market 4.5 star rating 710 reviews
34320 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 218-8431

Eden 4.5 star rating 186 reviews
32860 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 503-2163

Vibe Organic Kitchen & Juice 4.5 star rating 242 reviews
34255 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 259-5514

Pokeworks 4.5 star rating 118 reviews
32371 Golden Lantern
Ste D
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

(949) 561-1400

Salt Creek Grille 4.5 star rating 2066 reviews
32802 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 661-7799

The Little Kitchen Asian Cafe 4.5 star rating 891 reviews
24831 Del Prado
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 276-7799

Docent Brewing 4.5 star rating 367 reviews
33049 Calle Aviador
Ste C
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

Brio Tuscany Grille 4.5 star rating 729 reviews
24050 Camino Del Avion
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 443-1476


StillWater Spirits & Sounds 4.0 star rating 755 reviews
24701 Del Prado
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 661-6003

Full Moon Drum Circle 5.0 star rating 13 reviews
31131 S Pacific Coast Hwy
Aliso Beach
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

(949) 922-7729

OverVue Lounge & Deck 4.0 star rating 20 reviews
25135 Park Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 661-5000

Hennessey's Tavern 3.5 star rating 396 reviews
34111 La Plz
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 488-0121

The Point 4.0 star rating 492 reviews
34085 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 464-5700

Luxe Restaurant and World Famous Martini Bar 4.0 star rating 370 reviews
24582 Del Prado
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 276-4990

Turk's Dana Warf 4.0 star rating 465 reviews
34683 Golden Lantern St
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 496-9028

Blue Dolphin Restaurant & Billiards 3.5 star rating 94 reviews
34130 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 489-2936


Mermade Market 4.5 star rating 15 reviews
24642 San Juan Ave
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 672-8019

Monarch Beach Promenade 4.5 star rating 2 reviews
24040 Camino Del Avion
Monarch Beach, CA 92629

Killer Dana Surf Shop 4.5 star rating 67 reviews
24621 Del Prado
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 489-8380

Dana Marina Plaza 4.0 star rating 2 reviews
34499 Dana Point Harbor Dr
Dana Point, CA 92629

Camellia Boutique 3.5 star rating 11 reviews
25001 Dana Point Harbor Dr
Ste F130
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 218-3899

Art of Inner Peace 4.5 star rating 40 reviews
34505 Golden Lantern
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 290-3993

Blue Eyed Girl 4.0 star rating 16 reviews
32341 Golden Lantern
Ste F
Ocean Ranch Village
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

(949) 429-8180

Girl In the Curl Surf Shop 4.5 star rating 57 reviews
34116 Pacific Coast Hwy
Ste A
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 661-4475


JC Beans Coffee House 4.0 star rating 500 reviews
34114 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 496-4700

Bear Coast Coffee Dana Point 4.0 star rating 140 reviews
34052 La Plz
Ste 103
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 388-1103

Rosetta Coffee Brewing Company 4.5 star rating 412 reviews
34241 Doheny Park Rd
Doheny Village Carwash
Capistrano Beach, CA 92624

Coffee Importers 4.0 star rating 435 reviews
34531 Golden Lantern St
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 493-7773

Hidden House Coffee 4.5 star rating 773 reviews
31791 Los Rios St
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

(949) 240-0200

Maison Cafe & Market 4.5 star rating 710 reviews
34320 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 218-8431

The Bagel Shack 4.0 star rating 35 reviews
33585 Del Obispo St
Unit A
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 488-8023

Monarch Cafe 4.5 star rating 9 reviews
50 Monarch Beach Resort Dr N
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 542-4836


Palestra Gym 4.0 star rating 15 reviews
34085 Pacific Coast Hwy
Ste 110
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 248-1800

Athletic Club 5.0 star rating 1 reviews
Monarch Beach Resort
1 Monarch Beach Resort N
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 234-3200

Peaceful Warrior Fitness 5.0 star rating 8 reviews
34207 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 291-1283

24 Hour Fitness - Ocean Ranch 2.0 star rating 143 reviews
32451 Golden Lantern
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677

(949) 443-2440

Beach Cities Fitness 5.0 star rating 35 reviews
34198 Pacific Coast Hwy
Ste B
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 342-5139

Anytime Fitness 4.0 star rating 42 reviews
31107 Rancho Viejo Rd
Ste 5
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

(949) 481-2220

Fitness Together - Dana Point 5.0 star rating 11 reviews
34255 Pacific Coast Hwy
Ste 107
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 488-0005

St Regis Fitness Center 4.5 star rating 3 reviews
1 Monarch Beach Cv Resort
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 234-3366


Salon Revelation 5.0 star rating 124 reviews
34052 La Plz
Ste 102
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 248-8595

The District Salon 5.0 star rating 53 reviews
34161 Pacific Coast Hwy
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 248-3406

Sundara Salon 4.5 star rating 69 reviews
34212 Pacific Coast Hwy
Ste B
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 487-0992

Shine Salon 5.0 star rating 90 reviews
32241 Crown Valley Pkwy
Ste 100
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 493-7432

Diamond Salon 4.5 star rating 113 reviews
31831 Camino Capistrano
Ste 201
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

(949) 218-2900

Brush Salon 5.0 star rating 140 reviews
31770 Camino Capistrano
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

(949) 496-8800

Dawnielle Jonene Salon 5.0 star rating 22 reviews
24691 Del Prado
Ste 101
Dana Point, CA 92629

(949) 240-5171

Ego Salon 4.0 star rating 28 reviews
22 Monarch Bay Plz
Monarch Beach, CA 92629

(949) 496-9677