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Dana Point celebrates with annual Festival of Whales

Dana Point celebrates with annual Festival of Whales

March 3, 2024 – The Dana Point community spent the weekend celebrating the massive animals that have helped put the city on the map.

The three-day Festival of Whales featured the always popular Magical Migration Parade on Saturday and on Sunday kids hunted for treasure at Baby Beach before an afternoon of bands and a barbecue started.

There were beach cleanups, lectures on marine mammals, art displays and a classic car show.

Read the full article here.

‘Rain Or Shine’ Landside Construction Begins in DP Harbor

‘Rain Or Shine’ Landside Construction Begins in DP Harbor

February 8, 2024 – The weather was chilly during an overcast morning when rain began to fall.

“Come rain or shine, we are going to start this project,” said Bryon Ward, president of Burnham Ward Properties.

As part of Dana Point Harbor Partners (DPHP), Burnham Ward Properties is tasked with developing the commercial-core side, also known as the landside, of the Dana Point Harbor’s revitalization project, expected to cost $600 million.

Read the full article here.

Much-awaited landside construction to start in Dana Point Harbor

February 8, 2024 – The grading permits are issued and construction equipment is ready to roll on a three-level parking structure marking the first phase of the much anticipated landside renovation of the Dana Point Harbor.

Dana Point Harbor Partners won a 66-year lease in 2018 from the OC Board of Supervisors to renovate the 53-year-old county harbor, including the 120,000-square-foot area of the harbor that will house shops, restaurants, public gathering spaces and an expansive boardwalk connecting Doheny State Beach to Baby Beach.

Read the full article here.

Holiday decorated boats ready to cruise in OC’s popular parades

December 5, 2023 – Orange County’s celebration of the holidays moves to the water this week with the launch of the first of its popular annual boat parades.

The 48th annual Boat Parade of Lights will cruise through the Dana Point Harbor Dec. 8-10. This year’s Candyland-themed parade starts at 6:30 p.m. each night, with public viewing available at several vantage points in the harbor. Information:

Read the full article here.

Happy Harbor Days drops anchor in Dana Point Harbor

November 21, 2023 – Happy Harbor Days has dropped anchor in Dana Point Harbor for the holiday season. Running now through mid-January, the annual holiday light display brings festive programming to the harbor along with more than 700,000 twinkling LED lights.

The themed light exhibits on display include a giant whale sculpture, a reference to the whale-watching experiences made popular by the harbor, as well as lit-up palm trees and a giant beach ball ornament stack. The “Merry Kiss Me” arch also returns as a favored tradition and popular place for photos.

Read the full article here.

New marina slips in Dana Point Harbor lit by colorful lantern display

August 17, 2023 – Ruby, copper, amber, jade and navy lanterns glowed over the water in the Dana Point marina at dusk.

The new lanterns — situated at the end of the first recently remodeled new docks — were a taste of things to come once the entire Marina at Dana Point is finished as part of an overall $500 million remodel being undertaken by Dana Point Harbor Partners.

Read the full article here.

Awaiting Construction, Harbor Retailers Contend with Rumors, Uncertain Future

July 26, 2023 – Despite rumors of the harbor shuttering for construction, the Dana Point Harbor Partners is working to dispel misconceptions and bring more visitors to the waterfront with pop-ups, markets and live music.

Though construction on the marina began in August 2022, many harbor retailers are battling the misconception that construction on the land-side of the development is underway.

Read the full article here.

Olivia in LA: Whale Watching with Dana Wharf

July 3, 2023 – KTLA LA Unscripted reporter, Olivia de Bortoli, went on a whale-watching excursion with Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching. View the full segment here

First boats pull into new slips in Dana Point Harbor overhaul

April 12, 2023Despite a gloomy marine layer, the owners of the Dragonfly, a 26-foot sailboat, were all smiles and sunny dispositions as their boat passed its first inspection as part of the requirement of getting a slip at Dana Point Harbor’s newly installed boat docks.

The French-made, cherrywood boat is among 260 vessels that will move into the harbor’s first five completed docks in the next two weeks.

The docks – between Baby Beach and the Island Way Bridge  – are the first of 16 phases to the renovations that will create a new 2,254-slip marina. The $115 million project is expected to take five years.

Read the full article here.

GALLERY: Dana Point’s 52 Annual Festival of Whales Highlights Local Nonprofits

March 7, 2023The 52nd annual Festival of Whales was held this past weekend, offering events and activities that provided Dana Point’s various nonprofits a chance to shine.

Festivalgoers embarked on special whale-watching excursions, enjoyed live music and art displays throughout the harbor, tasted local business clam chowders at the cook-off and raced cardboard dinghies.

Speaking with the Dana Point Times on Monday, March 6, Mayor Mike Frost said that the Festival weekend gives nonprofits and local community groups the chance to shine, starting with the Dana Point Surf Club and members of the indigenous Acjachemen Nation who gathered at the beach behind the Ocean Institute for an opening ceremony and paddle out. Frost joined members of the Dana Point Surf Club for the annual paddle out.

Read the full article here.

Visit This Underrated Beach City In Orange County With Amazing Outdoor Scenery

February 12, 2023Dana Point City is an underrated travel destination in Orange County that is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego. Compared to other fast-paced cities in Southern California, this beach city is known for its laid-back vibe and countless recreational activities and attractions. Dana Point is also scenic and has nearly seven miles of rugged coastal bluffs and rolling hills that are along the Pacific Ocean’s vast and blue waters. Visitors planning a travel itinerary to California can include Dana Point, and they will discover why the city’s motto is “Harboring the Good Life.”

Read the full article here.

Gray Whale Gives Birth in Front of Boats Filled with Amazed Onlookers in California — Watch!

January 5, 2023 – “As far as I know, no one has filmed a gray whale giving birth or even seen it before,” Dave Anderson, owner of Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, shared in a statement to PEOPLE.

A group of whale watchers in Dana Point, California, captured a rare sight on Monday: a migrating gray whale giving birth.

The mother whale successfully welcomed her calf to the world in front of a boatload of whale watchers on tour with Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari.”As far as I know, no one has filmed a gray whale giving birth or even seen it before,” Dave Anderson, owner of Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE. “We were right there when it happened. We have footage of the whale bringing her calf over to our boat.”

Read the full article here.

20 Best Places to Visit in March

January 2, 2023It’s no secret that southern California has comfortable weather year-round. That’s why it’s consistently a top destination choice for many travelers. While Los Angeles and San Diego are popular vacation picks, Dana Point is just as worthy. Known as the Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World®, the city is the perfect place for springtime whale watching. Plus, March is the peak time to spot the majestic creatures. For optimal viewing, travelers can check out the 52nd annual Dana Point Festival of Whales (March 4-5) to celebrate the annual return of the California gray whales as they grace the coast during their amazing, annual migration.

Travelers can stay at Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, a gorgeous Victorian-style resort overlooking the California Coastline and Dana Point Harbor — just steps away from the festival. Guests can enjoy the nearby festivities and explore the area’s pristine beaches, hiking trails, surf spots and more. Plus, the Orange County city is only 30 miles from Disneyland, making it an ideal destination for families who may want to indulge in some magical fun.

Read the full article here.

A Flotilla of Holiday Fun Thrills Dana Point

Dock, Dine, and Drink at the Dana Point Harbor

December 1, 2022 – The Dana Point Harbor offers a variety of recreational amenities, boater facilities, dockside dining, and shopping experiences that cater to visitors, locals, and boating enthusiasts. In addition, Dana Point Harbor offers guest slips and anchorages for yachts, boats, and sailboats in the East and West basins of the harbor. If you’re traveling to Dana Point, enjoy the full-service marinas at Dana Point Harbor that offer dry storage, restrooms, showers, and various other accommodations. Here is a breakdown of all your dining and drinking opportunities while you’re docked in the harbor.

Read the full article here.

Dana Point Harbor Partners makes merry at the marina

November 30, 2022 – The launch of “Holidays at the Harbor” in Dana Point, which includes the 47th annual Boat Parade of Lights, is making the marina merrier this holiday season.

“Dana Point Harbor Partners is thrilled to bring an array of festive events to the Harbor this year,” said Bryon Ward, president of Burnham Ward Properties, which oversees the harbor’s commercial core activities.

Dana Point Harbor Partners is a partnership with Orange County that combines Burnham Ward Properties, Bellwether Financial Group, which guides marina operations, and R.D. Olson Development, which leads the hotel redevelopment of the harbor.

Along with the boat parade on Dec. 9, 10 and 11, visitors can enjoy themed light displays throughout the harbor, photos with Santa and a special Santa Paws event with proceeds supporting the Pet Project Foundation.

Read the full article here.

Here’s what the $450 million renovation of Dana Point Harbor will look like

November 17, 2022 – After decades of expectations, the final look and feel planned for the estimated $450 million Dana Point Harbor renovation is being revealed to the public for the first time.

Dana Point Harbor Partners, the Newport Beach developer group that is overhauling the harbor’s commercial core and 2,265-slip marina and planning two hotels, has released renderings showing a destination they say taps into the city’s rich maritime history.

“The final project is uniquely Dana Point,” said Bryon Ward, president of Burnham Ward Properties and the development partner who is heading up the commercial core’s revisioning. “It has a laid-back, sun-bleached feel, and you don’t feel like it’s over-dressed. And it will have some soul. I feel like what we’re ending up with is something that doesn’t exist on the West Coast.”

Read the full article here.

Dana Point Harbor’s Popular ‘Merry Kiss Me’ Sign to Soon Sparkle

November 15, 2022 -The moon frequently adds an alluring glow to the surface of the Pacific Ocean, if it is full and the sky is cloudless and the conditions are just right.

But ocean-close glow can come from other sources, especially when the yuletide is on its whimsical way and we’re seeking free and festive sources of chilly cheer.

One of Southern California’s most convivial spots to find just that is Dana Point Harbor, which has been adding lots of lights to its shops, restaurants, and pathways over several seasons.

And we do mean “lots,” for over 700,000 LED lights will add illumination to the perched-by-the-Pacific place, starting on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Read the full article here.

World Animal Protection ‘influencer’ cruises for aquatic life off Dana Point

August 12, 2022 – Recently, some folks from World Animal Protection —  a group that urges people to enjoy wildlife in natural habitats — visited Dana Point to catch a glimpse of the magnificent sea life that pass through Pacific Ocean waters off its shoreline. Dana Point, recently trademarked as the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World and designated North America’s only Whale Heritage Site by the United Kingdom-based World Cetacean Alliance, is known for its routinely spectacular display of dolphins, whales, sea lions, sea turtles, sea otters and the occasional endangered Guadalupe fur seal.

Read the full article here.

Don Hansen, pioneer of whale watching and sportfishing in Southern California, honored in Dana Point

August 9, 2022 – Dana Point bills itself as the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World, but city officials and business leaders acknowledge such a distinction was made possible in large part by one man. “The Harbor would not be what it is today without Don Hansen’s vision and leadership,” said Bryon Ward, president of Burnham-Ward Properties and a partner of Dana Point Harbor Partners.

Read the full article here.

Don Hansen, founder of whale watching in OC, honored in Dana Point Harbor with plaza

August 4, 2022 – Don Hansen, who founded whale watching in Orange County and pushed for sustainable fisheries nationwide, was honored with a plaza dedication in Dana Point Harbor. The plaque unveiling ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 3, was held next to Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching. Beginning in 1971, Hansen’s was the first business to operate in Dana Point Harbor. The plaza was renamed in honor of Hansen during the ceremony.

Read the full article here.

27 Top Things to Do in Orange County, California

May 19, 2022 – Dana Point in south Orange County is a city known for stellar dolphin and whale watching, boating, paddleboarding and express ferries to nearby Catalina Island. The harbor hosts these many maritime activities as well as waterfront dining, shopping, yoga and other events. Wintertime ushers in the gray whale migration, while spring and summer are a great time to see blue whales in the area. In just minutes you can be on the ocean from Dana Point Harbor, and a variety of vendors offer whale watching cruises – even a sailing schooner from 1926. Travelers love the atmosphere at the harbor, saying you could easily spend the day just drifting along the waterfront, browsing the restaurants and shops.

Read the full article here.

O.C.’s Top Outdoor Activities: Go Whale Watching at Dana Point Harbor

April 26, 2022 –What’s summertime without a whale sighting? Coined the “dolphin and whale watching capital of the world,” Dana Point Harbor invites you to take in the sights and sounds of whale watching off the Pacific coast. With quick and easy access to open ocean, this spot holds the greatest concentration of blue whales and dolphins in the world and serves as an ideal viewing point for spectacular encounters.

Read the full article here.

51st annual Festival of Whales returns to Dana Point Harbor

March 2, 2022 – Dana Point Harbor is known as the “Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World,” with whale-watching experiences happening year round. On March 5 and 6, the harbor marks the annual migration of California gray whales and the start of whale watching season with the Festival of Whales.

Read the full article here.

Whales Get Their Own Parade in Dana Point

February 18, 2022 – Actual gray whales won’t attend, due to the event’s drier nature, but fans can enjoy this long-running on-land lark. Dana Point Festival of Whales makes a splash on March 5 and 6. The Whales Parade rolls at 10 a.m. on March 5. The Whales, Tails, and Ales street fair, art shows, lives music, and educational activities are part of the weekend-long event

Read the full article here.

Dana Point Harbor’s Adorable ‘Merry Kiss Me’ Arch Is Back

November 30, 2021 –The bulb-tastic boat parade is sailing in the area later in December, but on-shore visitors will be treated to bright on-shore sights over several nights. See sparkling on-shore lights, including the popular “Merry Kiss Me” arch, for free by visiting the harbor area; parking is additional. The Boat Parade of Lights sails on Dec. 10, 11, and 12. Holiday carolers rocking ugly sweaters will stroll on three Thursday evenings: Dec. 9, 16, and 23

Read the full article here.

California Towns with Holiday Spirit

November 15, 2021 –Though holiday cheer might not seem the most natural fit in the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World, Dana Point Harbor puts forth a healthy dose of the stuff with a magnificent light display from mid-November through early January. Themed light exhibits include Candy Cane Lane and the romantic “Merry Kiss Me” arch. Starting in early December, little revelers in Dana Point can take a boat ride with Santa aboard one of the wharf’s whale-watching vessels.

Read the full article here.

The 5 Best Holiday Lights Displays in Orange County

November 15, 2021 – Open through Jan. 3, Dana Point Harbor has received a merry makeover with thousands of twinkling lights that are illuminated nightly during the holiday season. Steal a smooch under the popular Merry Kiss Me arch, stroll through Candy Cane Lane and enjoy performances from holiday carolers on select dates.

Read the full article here.

Harbor Groups Take On Green Initiatives

May 14, 2021 – Stakeholders within the Dana Point Harbor are naming water quality and environmental stewardship as a priority.

In an effort to keep local waterways clean, Dana Point Harbor Partners has invested in working with a team of expert organizations to track, prevent and manage potential water pollutants and risks in order to protect Harbor waters and the marine life that call it home. Meanwhile, Ocean Institute is continuing a partnership to regularly test water temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, pH, and salinity.

Read the full article here.

Five Underrated Wildlife Tourism Destinations Across The US, In Honor Of World Wildlife Day

March 3, 2021 –A true pioneer in the North American whale watching industry, the coastal city of Dana Point was recently approved by both World Animal Protection and the World Cetacean Alliance to become the nation’s first Whale Heritage Site, a prestigious designation that’s shared with just three other locations across the globe.

Read the full article here.

For Travel, a Sustainable Comeback?

February 25, 2021 – From Dana Point, Calif., whale-watching operations take visitors on boat trips to see gray whales, blue whales and, on occasion, racing megapods of dolphins. They also pick up discarded, deflated balloons — which might be mistaken for food by sea creatures.

Read the full article here.

10 creative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day outdoors

February 11, 2021 – In Dana Point, stop by the harbor’s  “Love Wall” mural for a photo op with your own love before heading out on a cocktail cruise on Saturday or Sunday with Aventura Sailing. Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari will host sunset safaris for sweethearts and also offers romantic private charters, or join Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching all weekend for cruises at sunset with a complimentary drink and treats.

Read the full article here.

Dana Point community rallies to give ‘hugs for heroes’ at Mission Hospital

February 5, 2021 – When Shala Mansur-O’Keefe, who operates Jon’s Fish Market in Dana Point Harbor, got a request to provide food to health care workers in Mission Hospital’s COVID-19 wards, she jumped at the opportunity.

“We’ve been blessed and been open this whole time,” she said. “I know how hard it’s been on me. I can’t imagine all they’ve been going through. Some haven’t seen their families and are working long shifts.”

Read the full article here.

Dana Point named first Whale Heritage Site in North America

January 27, 2021 –In Dana Point homes surround the Pacific Ocean like an amphitheater.

It’s no wonder much about the town’s character and its economy focuses on the ocean and the marine life that migrates past its doorstep for months on end each year.

A year ago it was trademarked the Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World and now it has been designated the first Whale Heritage Site in North America by the United Kingdom-based World Cetacean Alliance.

Read the full article here.

SoCal coastal spot named first Whale Heritage Site in the U.S.

January 27, 2021 –Two women who operate rival whale-watching tours in Dana Point came together to work on having their beloved slice of the coast named one of the whaliest places in the world. Their efforts paid off.

Dana Point on Wednesday became the first Whale Heritage Site in the U.S., a distinction it shares with Hervey Bay in Australia, the Bluff in South Africa and newly named Tenerife-La Gomera Marine Area in Spain. The designation acknowledges areas known for its cultural ties and respectful interactions with whales and dolphins.

Read the full article here.

Dana Point Harbor Is Beacon of Light During Holidays at the Harbor

December 17, 2020 –It’s easy to see why visitors come from far and wide to see the sea of lights at the Dana Point Harbor. Jay Styles is the general manager and a partner at one of the harbor’s most beloved spots, the Wind & Sea. In a year that’s been tough on everyone, he says the lights have brightened spirits.

Read the full article here.

Orange county Weekend Roundup (December 17-20)

December 15, 2020 –Plan out dinner ahead of time with the Harbor Grill’s take-out taco and Cadillac margarita kit. Located at Dana Point Harbor, the restaurant offers this kit to be pre-ordered over the phone or on its website, and includes four Cadillac margaritas, fresh sea bass ceviche with avocado; grilled Caribbean spiced mahi mahi; grilled Mexican prawns with cilantro and garlic; red salsa, green salsa and tortilla chips; and chipotle tartar, shredded lettuce, and homemade guacamole.

Read the full article here.

Holidays & Nights: Want socially-distanced holiday event ideas? We’ve got them!

December 2, 2020 – A couple and their dogs walk along giant holiday whale display during the first night of the 46th Holiday Harbor Lights in Dana Point on Wednesday, November 11, 2020. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Read the full article here.

COVID-friendly holiday events in Southern California

November 13, 2020 –Holidays at the Harbor; Dana Point Harbor; November 11 through January 3.
Each night throughout the holiday season, the Harbor’s magnificent light display will illuminate the evening sky for guests of all ages to enjoy. Themed light exhibits throughout the Harbor will include Candy Cane Lane, a “Merry Kiss Me” arch, lighted trees, and much more.

Read the full article here.

12 Holiday Attractions Happening in Southern California Even During The Coronavirus Pandemic

November 9, 2020 – Boat Parade of Lights: Holiday lights are turning on all over Dana Point Harbor this year. The light display will take place Nov. 11-Jan. 3 around the harbor and will include themed light exhibits such as Candy Cane Lane, and the Merry Kiss Me arch. The annual Boat Parade of Lights returns, too, with parades scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, 5, 11 and 12. Dana Point Harbor, 34555 Golden Lantern, Dana Point.

Read the full article here.

Celebrate Lobster Season at Dana Point Harbor

October 14, 2020 – California Spiny Lobsters are here and The Harbor Grill and Jon’s Fish Market at Dana Point Harbor have delicious lobster dishes available all season long!

Read the full article here.

From Boozy Brunchin’ To Socially-Distanced Concerts, The Activities Will Keep You Entertained This Labor Day Weekend

September 2, 2020 –The live music continues throughout the month of September in Dana Point Harbor as the city continues to welcome the community back. Enjoy free live music at select locations throughout the Harbor this holiday weekend while indulging in al fresco dining along the water’s edge.

Read the full article here.

You can hear live music at Dana Point Harbor, with social distancing restrictions

August 15, 2020 – Live music, al fresco dining and stunning ocean views have long been the lure of Dana Point Harbor.

After months of being shut down completely or limited to delivery and takeout options due to the coronavirus pandemic, most shops and restaurants that line the waterfront have reopened; most have altered their business models to include additional outdoor dining seating while also promoting social distancing and personal responsibility.

To help ease the general public back out to stimulate the economy and support local businesses, Dana Point Harbor is welcoming back live, outdoor music performances from local and regional artists of various. The sets are short — running just about two hours — and spaced out in courtyard and patio areas of the harbor as part of its You, Me + Vitamin Sea series.

Read the full article here.

Destination California: Dana Point

July 23, 2020 – In this week’s installment of Destination California, Wendy Burch gets right to the point—Dana Point, that is.

Dana Point is a gorgeous city in Orange County, known as one of the best surfing areas in Southern California. The city is home to the lively Dana Point Harbor, one of O.C.’s few public harbors. Unlike some of the other harbor cities in Southern California, Dana Point has an open and almost rural feel that gives this destination a real distinction.

Watch the full segment here.

Dana Point Harbor’s Summertime Fun & Entertainment

July 9, 2020 – Dana Point Harbor celebrates summer every Thursday through July with “You, Me + Vitamin Sea” with al fresco dining, outdoor adventures, live music and more!

Guests can enjoy live music performances at The Wharf Courtyard by Frisby Cellars and Jon’s Fish Market from 4-6 p.m. Singer-songwriter Zach Churchill will perform on July 9 and 16 and country pop artist Olivia Ooms will take the stage July 23 and 30.

Read the full article here.

Dana Point Harbor’s Becoming a Drive-In

July 7, 2020 –Debating the biggest summer trends?

It’s a time-honored fall tradition, for friends who like to look back and ponder what summer songs captured the public’s shared fancy, what clothes were talked about for a week or two, and the books and movies that kept us captivated while the temperature was high.

Without a doubt, the drive-in has made a resurgence during the summer of 2020, due to the coronavirus-related closings of traditional, sit-inside cinemas.

This means that actual drive-ins, those places with permanent screens and spots for cars, are welcoming new customers, while other places are offering pop-up drive-ins for those looking for a different movie-watching experience.

Dana Point Harbor is one of those locations, and the drive-in planned for July 16 is beautifully suited to the ocean-adjacent setting.

Read the full article here.

Harbor Partners Give DHHS Class of 2020 Virtual Gift Bags

June 3, 2020 – The Dana Point Harbor Partners is giving each Dana Hills High School senior with a “virtual” gift bag. Included will be a $20 gift certificate to use at select Harbor merchants to celebrate their graduation.

“On behalf of the Dana Point Harbor Partners (DPHP), we would like to congratulate (the graduating class) for completing their senior year and graduating from Dana Hills High School,” says Bryon Ward, one of the Harbor Partners. “The current COVID crisis has impacted our entire community both in Dana Point and around the world. As a community, we all have had to adapt and make significant sacrifices for the health and safety of our families and neighbors here in Dana Point.”

Read the full article here.

With Retail and Salons Deemed Nonessential, Local Businesses Fight to Stay Afloat

April 30, 2020 – Marla Balmuth is running her business the same way she did when she first opened Golden Galleon 40 years ago: by herself.

She says it’s like coming full circle. Although her husband is assisting with order deliveries for the women’s clothing shop, Balmuth no longer has a team of associates to help her after retail businesses were deemed nonessential when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued his stay-at-home order in March. While Balmuth says adaptability is key for running a successful business, the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the economy was not a change she was bracing herself for.

Read the full article here.

Local Business Continues to Promote Healthy Living

April 23, 2020 – With social distancing directives altering how people stay active, local studios and gyms are modifying their classes so that people have the option to exercise from their living room while remaining connected with their instructors.

iHeartYoga, located in Dana Point Harbor, is offering low-cost online yoga classes for those looking for a high-quality home workout. Classes will be offered daily for $8 for non-members, and iHeartYoga members can access any of the class offerings for free.

Read the full article here.

Live from the ocean: Whale watching company streaming virtual tours to help with coronavirus isolation

April 8, 2020 – There’s nothing like seeing a pod of 1,000 dolphins diving and flipping through the ocean off the Dana Point Headlands to feel uplifted.

At least, that’s what Dave and Gisele Anderson, who operate Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari out of Dana Point Harbor, think. So with their business at a stand-still because of the coronavirus shutdown, the couple has come up with a way to still bring whale and dolphin watching to Orange County and beyond.

Read the full article here.

Dana Point Harbor fish market adapts to coronavirus restrictions with curbside service

March 18, 2020 – It was the last day of the lobster fishing season Wednesday, March 18 and a Dana Point Harbor fish market was making the best of the new coronavirus restrictions.

To accommodate customers, Jon’s Fish Market was selling the live ocean bugs curbside. They were also offering red snapper, halibut, mahi-mahi, bluefin tuna, yellow-tail and salmon. And, there was warm food, too — including fish and chips, calamari sandwiches and fish tacos.

Read the full article here.

Festival of Whales parade held in Dana Point Harbor for first time

March 7, 2020 –For the first time in 49 years, the popular Festival of Whales Parade was held in Dana Point Harbor on Saturday, March 7.

Hundreds lined the new parade route, which started on the island side, passed by the R.H. Dana statue and proceeded over the Island Way Bridge to Dana Point Harbor Drive. It ended in the parking lot of the Brig Restaurant, next to the Pet Project Foundation’s Whales, Tails & Ales street fair.

Read the full article here.

Need an idea for a spring break trip? Try close-to-home Dana Point

March 5, 2020 – In the 1950s, the surf scene in Dana Point was as hot as it got. “Killer Dana,” a right-breaking wave that swelled to 12 feet, attracted hordes of surfers. Hobie Alter sold his popular foam boards in a little shop on Pacific Coast Highway, not far from where Bruce Brown would later produce the seminal surf film “Endless Summer.” A breakwater destroyed the famous swell about 1966, and activities such as boating, whale-watching and stand-up paddleboarding now dominate the harbor area. The Orange County town, halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, makes for a delightful overnight getaway, especially in March, when gray whales head north. The tab: $211, including tax and parking, for two for an overnight stay, and $128 for meals.

Read the full article here.

A whale of a day at sea: The 49th Annual Dana Point Festival of the Whales kicks off on March 7 

March 3, 2020 – On Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8, Dana Point begins celebrating its 49th Annual Festival of the Whales. The festivities, which will also take place on March 14 and 15, include a myriad of activities – and opportunities – to pay tribute to the whale migration.

On Friday, I had the pleasure of taking a whale watching excursion on the Dana Pride from Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, which was founded in 1971.

Read the full article here.

On a Mission: Wind & Sea Mai Tais

Read the full article here.

New ‘Love Wall’ is a big Instagram draw for Dana Point Harbor visitors

February 14, 2020 – A wall decorated with colorful hearts caught Millie Britt’s eye as she and her husband, Chet, walked into the Clocktower plaza at the Dana Point Harbor entrance to shops and restaurants.

“It speaks to people,” Britt said Friday, Feb. 14, as she and Chet prepared to pose surrounded by the hearts.

Married for 57 years, the couple from Orange was out for Valentine’s Day. They planned to walk by the water, shop and then have dinner. “We used to come here once a week,” said Chet, 78. “Harpoon Henry’s was always our favorite.”

Read the full article here.

What does it take to win top prize at the Dana Point boat parade?

January 14, 2020 -When Tom Reynolds found out that this year’s theme for the Dana Point boat parade was ‘Tiki Holiday’ he couldn’t have been more prepared.

“We live in a Polynesian-style home,” said Reynolds, of Laguna Beach. “On our lot, we have large strands of mature bamboo trees. This screams Tiki. We have a vintage Tiki bar in our home, we had Tiki benches in our yard.”

Read the full article here.

Dana Point’s ‘Happy Harbor Days’ to Sail Even Longer

December 20, 2019 – We like our twinkly December lights inland, in the desert, up in the mountains, and around the suburbs, too.

We’re also partial to cityscapes done up in dazzling bulbs, and we rather like seeing stores go the delightful distance on the sparkle front.

But when it comes to Christmas whimsy near the water? Step aside, move over, and up the merry factor times ten: We all love it.

It can be a boat full of blinking colors or a surf-close restaurant that’s wearing its seasonal best and we’ll be there for it.

And upping our ardent affection for Pacific-adjacent glow? The fact that Dana Point Harbor’s “Happy Harbor Days” will now push on a little longer, through to midnight on Jan. 5, 2020.

Read the full article here.

Tiki Theme Gives Boat Parade of Lights a Festive, Yet Laid-Back, Vibe

A Sea of Lights Sparkle at Dana Point Harbor’s Boat Parade

DANA POINT, Calif. – Christmas is the season of light, but for Chuck Micalizzi it’s a season of many lights.

However, what is unique about how he hangs them, is really about where he hangs his lights – aboard his boat, the Doheny Doll at the Dana Point Harbor.

“Our motto is you can never have too many lights so the more lights they put in the harbor the happier we are,” says Micalizzi.

Watch the segment and read the full article here.

LA Times: Vintage Feel and Holiday Festivities

4 reasons why you can’t miss Dana Point’s 45th Annual Boat Parade of Lights

November 26, 2019 – Decked in exotic Tiki decor, the 45th Annual Boat Parade of Lights in Dana Point kicks off with a bang on Dec. 6. The harbor will present a huge tiki-themed celebration with activities, live entertainment, Santa visits and, of course, a dazzling parade of local boats lit up with holiday lights.

The event returns on Dec. 6-7 and 13-14, beginning at 4:30 p.m. and followed by the Boat Parade of Lights at 7:30 p.m. Dana Point Harbor Partners Joe Ueberroth, President of Bellwether Financial Group, and Bryon Ward, President of Burnham-Ward Properties, share why you can’t miss this year’s spectacular celebration.

Read the full article here.

Coastal Current South: Thanksgiving means it’s time for the Turkey Trot races in Dana Point

Unveiling of clock tower marks start of $330 million Dana Point Harbor renovation

October 29, 2019 – The county inked an agreement with Dana Point Harbor Partners on a 66-year lease for the harbor, setting the stage for a long-sought-after renovation.

Nearly a year later, on Monday, Oct. 28, a 20-foot clock tower was ceremoniously unveiled at the harbor, marking the official start of the $330 million project.

The tower, which includes a handcrafted steel clock and a weather vane with a tall ship logo, will be the resting place of a 50-year-time capsule that will hold letters to the future, reports, magazines, brochures, photographs, books, and an official designation from the County of Orange declaring Dana Point the Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World.

Read the full article here.

(Photo by Michael Fernandez, Contributing Photographer)

Salutations at sea? ‘Yacht Yoga’ is latest craze in Dana Point Harbor

October 18, 2019 – The ocean provides a rhythmic sound as the boat saunters through the saltwater in the calm, quaint harbor.

The sun dips behind the Dana Point headlands in the distance, leaving a vibrant, colorful glow off the water’s surface. A chill wind starts to whip, a nice relief on a recent day for yoga practitioners who have warmed their bodies in stretches and bends.

You can do yoga on land or in the sand. You can do it with a goat … and now, on a boat.

Yacht Yoga is the latest craze hitting the Dana Point Harbor, a way to do sun salutations on the salty sea, aboard a 50-foot boat that drifts on the water. Hour-long sessions offer not just a workout, but the added perk of pristine seascape views.

Read the full article here.

(Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Women Recognized for Securing Dolphin and Whale Watching Trademark

October 6, 2019 – Donna Kalez, the managing partner of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, and Gisele Anderson, the co-owner of Captain Dave’s Dolphin Safari, were recognized by city and county officials during the Tuesday, Oct. 1 Dana Point City Council meeting.

“We are here tonight to present to you ‘Dana Point: the Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World’ as a registered trademark,” Kalez said. “With the variety of year-round whales, more dolphins per square foot than anywhere else in the world, pristine coastlines, calm seas, the first and longest-running annual Festival of Whales and a captivating harbor minutes away from the open ocean, Dana Point is the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World.”

Read the full article here.

Remember drive-in movies? Pop-up screening of surf film will bring wave of nostalgia to Dana Point Harbor parking lot

September 11, 2019 – It will be a surf night soaked by a blast from the past.

The younger generation may not know what it’s like to sit at a drive-in movie, but a night planned at the Dana Point Harbor on Sept. 25 will bring a wave of nostalgia for those who do and let the others in on the fun.

The Surfing Heritage and Culture Center this week announced plans to screen the iconic surf film “Five Summer Stories” in a parking lot. If the partnership with the harbor’s developers is successful, they may make watching a film from the comfort of your vehicle a regular series.

Read the full article here.

7 Best Labor Day Fishing Destinations in the US

August 16, 2019 ― Dana Point seems custom-built to make the most of the surrounding sea. The city’s set around a huge harbor, and the rest of the waterfront is either sandy beach for swimming or high cliffs for taking in the view. What’s more, it’s a short hop from both L.A. and San Diego, making it a dream spot for a Labor Day escape.

You only need to take one look at Dana Point’s Harbor to know that there’s some awesome fishing here. Early September is big game season, with monster Sharks like Threshers and Makos tearing through the deep canyons offshore. If you’re looking for a feast, Bigeye Tuna are also around, as are Yellowtail. You’d better come prepared on a deep sea fishing trip.

Read the full article here.

20-mile outrigger race draws 900 competitors to Dana Point

DANA POINT, Calif. ― August 10, 2019 ― It’s a sport that connects the islands with the mainland, a competition soaked in saltwater culture and history.

An estimated 900 competitors from around Southern California set out on the Whitey Harrison Classic on Saturday, Aug. 10, an annual 20-mile race that has taken place for nearly five decades off Dana Point’s coastline.

The nine-person teams of outrigger racers, who came from nearly 30 clubs around California, even some from Arizona, dug their paddles into the ocean water, departing throughout the morning and afternoon just outside of the Dana Point Harbor entrance and heading north to Laguna Beach, before paddling back to Capo Beach and to the finish line.

Read the full article here.

(Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

23 Best Things to do in Dana Point, CA

DANA POINT, Calif.  Dana Point is a gorgeous city in Orange County, known as one of the best surfing areas in Southern California. The city is home to the lively Dana Point Harbor, one of Orange County’s few public harbors, which provides access to nearby Catalina Island via the daily Catalina Express ferry service. Area visitors can embark on a wide variety of watersporting adventures from the harbor, including parasailing excursions and whale and dolphin watching charters. Read the full article here.

(Photo By mandritoiu/

Dana Point is ‘Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World’: It’s even trademarked

DANA POINT, Calif. ― July 22, 2019 Gisele Anderson and Donna Kalez held up their cups of hot tea in a toast to friendship and collaboration on a recent day at The Brig in Dana Point Harbor.

The two women, who both own whale- and dolphin-watching charters operating out of the harbor, were celebrating a jointly created trademark declaring their city “Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World.” The year-long trademark process, finalized in April, means no other location in the world can legally make that claim.

Read the full article here.

(Photo By Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Dana Point Chamber Announces Dana Point Harbor Partners as 2019 Dana Point Turkey Trot Sponsor

DANA POINT, Calif. ― June 3, 2019  Dana Point Harbor Partners, the consortium behind the new $330 million renovation of Dana Point Harbor, has been named presenting sponsor of the 2019 Dana Point Turkey Trot, the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce’s famous Thanksgiving Day charity event. The group will help provide the funds necessary to promote and stage the annual fundraising challenge and expo, which traditionally attracts more than 17,000 participants to Dana Point from throughout the United States.

Read the full article here.

Dana Point 2019 State of the City

Dana Point Harbor’s 2 Marinas are Merged Into one as Part of Redevelopment, Slip Wait-lists are Combined

DANA POINT — The East and West marinas in Dana Point Harbor have become one. The combined Marina at Dana Point will function as one boating community, after 47 years operating separately.

“We’re excited about having one marina,” said Joe Ueberroth, of Bellwether Financial Group, one of three development groups known collectively as Dana Point Harbor Partners which on Nov. 1 took over a 66-year lease from the County of Orange to run the harbor and oversee a $300 million redevelopment project. “It always has been one harbor. It allows us to have one set of rules for the whole community.”

Read the Full Article at the Orange County Register.

(Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County Register/SCNG)

NBC4: New Weekends + Whale Wonders Aplenty, in Dana Point

SPLISH AND SPLASH: Dropping the word “cetacean” in everyday conversation? Sharing random facts how much a grey whale can weigh (up to 40 tons) and how those marvelous baleen plates in some whales’ mouths can efficiently filter food? All so cool, but these sorts of tidbits don’t need to be part of your daily repertoire, in order to prove that you’re a major whale maven. You can also just love the thrill of seeing a spout in the distance, and the fun of spotting a fluke off the bow of the boat, and that these peaceful giants follow ancient migratory paths not far from much of the Golden State shoreline. And to treat fans who dig the deep knowledge of whales, as well as those lovers who simply want to enjoy whale-based revelries for a day, there is the… DANA POINT FESTIVAL OF WHALES.

Read the Full Article at NBC Los Angeles.

Village Television presents the Dana Point Harbor Renovation

Gray whales, holiday lights and plans for renovation create a new buzz at Dana Point Harbor

DANA POINT — Instead of braving the malls on Black Friday, a record number of people visited Dana Point Harbor the day after Thanksgiving to see if they could catch a glimpse of gray whales starting their annual migration.

The whales didn’t disappoint. Captains with Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching and Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari spotted the magnificent behemoths just outside the harbor.

Read the Full Article at OC Register.

(Photo By Jeff Antenore, Contributing Photographer)

Dana Point boaters and merchants get a closer look at what harbor and marina will look like after $330 million overhaul

Boaters and merchants got a first look Monday, Sept. 24, at what the renovated Dana Point marina will look like after the 47-year-old Dana Point Harbor undergoes a $330 million renovation.

The presentation by developer Dana Point Harbor Partners, which included details and a construction timeline for the long-awaited project, was held at the Ocean Institute during the monthly meeting of the Dana Point Harbor Advisory Board. More than 100 people attended, including county and Dana Point city officials.

Read the Full Article at the Orange Country Register.

(Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Orange County Business Journal: County Moves Ahead with $338M Dana Harbor Redo

ABC7: Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Project Approved

The 47-year-old Dana Point Harbor is set to get a big facelift.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors approved a $330 million agreement to revitalize the area.

“To get this thing to move forward is very momentous,” Dana Point Harbor Association President Jim Miller said. “I mean it’s a milestone and a county effort and it’s a big project.”

Read the Full Article on ABC 7.

OC Register: Newport Beach developer provides details on lease to renovate Dana Point Harbor

DANA POINT — With a focus on an accelerated construction schedule, representatives of Dana Point Harbor Partners — a Newport Beach-based group selected by the county to tackle a $330 million overhaul of the Dana Point Harbor — for the first time publicly presented concepts to merchants and boaters.

The presentation on Monday night, July 2, at the Ocean Institute was part of the regular monthly meeting of Dana Point Harbor Advisory Board, a group of harbor business leaders who formed earlier this year to have an input in the harbor renovation.

Read the Full Article Here.

(File photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

OC Register: Newport Beach developer group wins county contract and 66-year lease for $200 million Dana Point Harbor revitalization

SANTA ANA — A $200 million overhaul of Dana Point Harbor is expected to include buildings with gabled standing seam metal roofs, open plazas, unique restaurants and shops, two hotels and possibly a surf museum.

The long-awaited plan, a proposal by the Dana Point Harbor Partners LLC development group, was unanimously approved by the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Oct. 17. It was a milestone in a harbor revitalization plan that has gone on for nearly two decades.

Dana Point Harbor Partners is made up of Burnham-Ward Properties for retail and restaurants, Bellwether Financial Group for the marinas, and R.D. Olson Development for hotels.

Read the Full Article Here.

(Renderings of the proposed Dana Point Harbor Revitalization project provided by R.D. Olson Development)

Newport Beach Development Group Wins County Contract

OC Developers Tapped for $300M Dana Point Harbor Re-Do

Three of Newport Beach real estate firm shave been tapped to head the redevelopment of Dana Point Harbor, a mixed-use project projected to cost nearly $300 million to build new restaurants,shops, hotels and other waterfront properties.

The County of Orange last week disclosed that it had selected a partnership between Burnham Ward Properties, R.D. Olson Development and Bellwether Financial Group as its preferred choice to be master developers for the massive project, where construction could begin next year.

The project, expected to be built out over seven years, would update and replace the existing facilities at the county-owned harbor in Dana Point that were largely constructed in the early 1970s and have been eyed for redevelopment for nearly 20 years.

Current facilities include about 80,000 square feet of commercial space, the 136-room Dana Point Marina Inn, 2,409 boat slips, and nearly 4,000 parking spaces, according to county records.

The just-selected development group—operating as Dana Point Harbor Partners LLC — was chosen largely due to its experience “with large-scale and complex ground-up developments and the refurbishment of existing projects,” according to county filings.

“We’re looking to build a world-class harbor,” said Bryon Ward, a partner in Burnham Ward Properties.

The commercial portion of the project, running 116,727 square feet, would be headed by Burnham Ward, which has overseen development of Costa Mesa’s South Coast Collection and OC Mix, plus Newport Beach’s Castaway Commons, among other area retail projects.

About 77,000 square feet of the commercial space would incorporate restaurants and outdoor dining space, while a market hall and food court would be another 32,000 square feet, according to county documents.

A 9,000-square-foot surfing museum, plus a small amount of office and marina-related retail would also be part of Burnham Ward’s portion, which would be on about 29 acres.

R.D. Olson, California’s most active hotel developer for several years running, would add two more hotels to its portfolio under its portion.

The hotels would be built on a 3.5-acre site on Dana Point Harbor Drive, and would replace Marina Inn.

A 130-room boutique hotel—the same number of rooms as R.D. Olson’s Lido House project under construction in Newport Beach—would be built, along with a 136-roomhotel with more affordable rooms, according to county documents.

The brands and operators for the proposed hotels—which would be the third and fourth coastal projects that R.D. Olson has taken up in Orange County the past few years—haven’t been disclosed.

Lido House falls under the Autograph Collection of Marriott International, while Huntington Beach’s Pasea Hotel & Spa—a waterfront hotel that R.D. Olson opened last year in a venture with Irvine-based Pacific Hospitality—is run independently under the latter company’s Meritage Collection.

Bellwether Financial, a Newport Beach investment group that has marina holdings in Long Beach and Marina Del Rey, among other locations, would run the renovated marina and boat storage component of the project.

That portion of the harbor would consist of 2,296 boat slips and 388 dry boat-storage spots. Those facilities are on about 20.5 acres, county documents show.

Bellwether is headed by Joe Ueberroth, who has been in the marina business for more than 20 years. He’s the son of investor and former baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth, who also organized the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984.

A 2,503-space parking structure would also be built as part of the Dana Point Harbor Partners’ project, which along with existing spaces that would remain, would boost the harbor’s total parking to 4,880 spaces.
The development group has proposed that the county help subsidize $20 million in costs for building the parking structure at the harbor, records show.

Dana Point Harbor Partners estimates its project should bring in about $47 million in rent payments to the county in the first 10 years of the 50-year lease the county and the partnership would sign before work begins.

By the 20-year mark of the lease, those payments are estimated to rise to $117 million, and by the end of the lease, $508 million in project payments have been forecast by the development group.

Oct. 17 Vote The three Newport Beach firms bested a group consisting of San Jose-based DJM Capital Partners, Pacific Marina Development in Newport Beach, and Aliso Viejo-based Pacifica Hotels to get the county’s nod for the project.

The Board of Supervisors will take up county staff’s recommendation to select the Dana Point Harbor Partners group as the master developers on Oct. 17.
Ward declined to discuss specific aspects of his venture’s project, since the supervisors have yet to comment or vote on the final sel ection of the development group.

“We want to honor and respect the process,” he said.

Assuming the hearing goes smoothly, Dana Point Harbor Partners will have three months to negotiate with the county over financial terms of the master lease.

The group has indicated that it has “internal capacity to fund the project without using institutional equity sources and the ability to secure construction financing for all project components from one lender,” according to county documents.

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