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 harbor, built in the 1960s and dedicated on July 31, 1971, is home to a marina, shops, and restaurants, and it 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.
The Strands is a luxury housing development built on an old public beach and surfer spot next to the Salt Creek and the Ritz Carlton. Lots are rectangular with modern houses commonly priced above $10,000,000.. The development has made it slightly more difficult for surfers to access the water, but there has been no noticeable decrease in the surfing population.
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".
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.