38 Best Things To Do in Dana Point at Night & Early Evening | 2024 (with Photos)

Rosalia Ignatova

Rosalia Ignatova - Travel Writer

Published: September 25, 2023

Hey there! I'm Rose, a travel enthusiast with a passion for exploring Dana Point at night and early evening. Join me as I share my top recommendations and insider tips to make the most of your visit to this vibrant destination.

Best Things To Do in Dana Point at Night

Dana Point, nestled along the enchanting coastline of Southern California, offers a wide range of unique and fun activities to enjoy at night and during the late afternoon.

This coastal jewel has something for everyone, whether you're wandering around the picturesque Dana Point Harbor, discovering the quiet Salt Creek Park, or indulging in the dynamic live music scene.

Dana Point at night emits a fun-filled ambiance that will leave you with unique memories, from thrilling whale-watching trips to colorful festivals and magnificent seaside views.

Read on to discover the best things to do in Dana Point at night.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Top Choice Hotel

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Best Time to Visit

Oceanfront paradise with perfect weather and stunning views.

Average Temperature

Mild and pleasant climate all year round.

Transportation Options

Bike, bus, car, taxi, ride-share, walking, ferry.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Spend your time in Dana Point indulging in mesmerizing sunsets by strolling along its picturesque beaches, experiencing the thrill of whale watching excursions, and discovering the charm of its quaint harbor village.

With its breathtaking natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere, Dana Point is a perfect destination to unwind, recharge, and connect with nature.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Swimming essentials
  2. Camera
  3. Comfortable walking shoes

What Not to Miss

  1. Dana Point Harbor
  2. Doheny State Beach
  3. Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center
  4. Lantern Bay Park
  5. Salt Creek Beach Park

What to Avoid

  1. Crowded tourist spots
  2. Heavy traffic during peak hours
  3. Overpriced restaurants and shops

1. Dana Point Harbor

Dana Point Harbor

The historic Dana Point Harbor, nestled within the coastal beauty of Dana Point, is a must-see location, offering a plethora of activities and attractions.

The harbor, with its scenic marina, lovely shops, and exquisite food vendors, provides a lively scene for both inhabitants and visitors. 

Explore the harbor's enchanting docks, hop aboard a yacht charter for a scenic cruise, or simply enjoy a stroll along the waterfront.

Dana Point Harbor truly reflects the soul of the area, exhibiting the unique and entertaining experiences that make it a must-see on each Dana Point visit.

2. Visit Salt Creek, Beach Park

Salt Creek, Beach Park

Nestled along the stunning coastline of Dana Point, Salt Creek Park is a true hidden gem that promises an unforgettable experience.

This park provides the ideal place for leisure and outdoor recreation, with its beautiful sandy shoreline, spectacular ocean vistas, and attractive grassy areas.

Salt Creek is a haven of natural beauty and tranquility, whether you're soaking up the afternoon's rays, having a picnic with friends and family, or taking a picturesque trek along the coastal trails. 

Don't pass up the opportunity to explore this exquisite region and make unforgettable memories.

3. Monarch Beach Resort

Monarch Beach Resort

Monarch Beach Resort, situated in the center of Dana Point, is a magnificent hideaway that provides a genuinely unique experience.

This resort is a haven of relaxation and pleasure, with world-class amenities, an outstanding oceanfront setting, and exceptional service.

Monarch Beach Resort exudes elegance and sophistication, whether you're indulging yourself with a soothing spa treatment, teeing off at the famed Monarch Beach Golf Links, or basking in the sun by the beautiful pool. 

Lose yourself in luxury and learn why this resort is a sought-after destination for discerning guests.

4. Baby Beach

Baby Beach

Baby Beach, placed in Dana Point, is a delightful hideaway that provides a secure and tranquil atmosphere for families with young children.

With its tranquil seas and gentle waves, this isolated beach is ideal for children to splash and play. Parents can unwind on the sand while keeping an eye on their youngsters.

The picturesque environment, surrounded by wonderful coastline views, creates a relaxing mood for an afternoon of pleasure in the summertime. 

Baby Beach is a true paradise for families looking for an unforgettable beach experience.

5. Drive along the Pacific Coast Highway

Pacific Coast Highway

When visiting Dana Point, an astonishing drive along the famed Pacific Coast Highway is a definite must. 

This widely recognized motorway runs along the incredible coastline, providing marvelous panoramic vistas and intriguing sceneries at every turn.

You'll be treated to the splendor of the Pacific Ocean, the attraction of coastal cliffs, and the charm of coastal villages as you sail along this scenic route.

The Pacific Coast Highway is the ideal approach to take in the natural marvels of Dana Point and make unforgettable recollections of your journey.

6. Explore the Dana Point Farmers Market

Dana Point Farmers Market

The Dana Point Farmers Market offers a vivid sensory experience. This hidden gem offers a diverse selection of fresh fruit, handmade goods, and refreshing delights.

Stroll through the market, savoring the aroma of freshly baked goods and locally grown fruits and vegetables. 

Interact with friendly merchants, sample gourmet treats, and discover one-of-a-kind crafts and handmade goods.

The Dana Point Farmers Market is an incredible opportunity to support local companies, connect with the community, and indulge yourself in the region's unique flavors and colors.

7. Unwind at Sea Canyon Park

Sea Canyon Park

Sea Canyon Park in Dana Point is an oasis of serenity amid nature. This tranquil sanctuary provides a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan life.

Enjoy a stroll through the park's rich green spaces, sit on a shaded bench, or enjoy a peaceful stroll along the winding pathways.

Sea Canyon Park, with its scenic surroundings and well-kept facilities, is ideal for a picnic, outdoor activities, or simply relaxing in nature's embrace. 

In this Dana Point secret gem, reconnect with nature and restore your senses.

8. Attend a Live Music Performance in One of The Venues in Dana Point

StillWater Spirits & Sounds

Immerse yourself in the vibrant music scene of Dana Point by attending a live performance in one of its captivating venues.

The city offers a wide variety of facilities that feature talented musicians and bands, from tiny taverns to large concert halls. There is something for everyone, whether you enjoy rock, jazz, or independent music.

Get swept up in the beat, take in the crowd's passion, and let the songs carry you away. For music lovers looking for an unforgettable night out, seeing live music in Dana Point is a need.

9. Discover the Charm of The South Orange County

South Orange County

Explore the allure of Orange County and discover a world of mesmerizing beauty and thriving neighborhoods.

This area offers a rich tapestry of culture, nature, and entertainment, ranging from the picturesque coastal villages of Dana Point and Laguna Beach to the ancient city of San Juan Capistrano.

Discover the gorgeous beaches, indulge in top-notch restaurants, and get lost in the thriving arts scene. 

South Orange County is a veritable gold mine of undiscovered treasures and surprises, luring you on a memorable journey through its mesmerizing scenery and friendly people.

10. Lantern Bay Park

Lantern Bay Park

A fantastic haven that mixes the beauty of nature with recreational possibilities is Lantern Bay Park in Dana Point.

This vast park features spectacular ocean views, strolling trails, and lush green areas. Enjoy a picnic while taking in the nice sea breeze, relax in the grassy areas, or take your time walking along the charming pathways.

Lantern Bay Park provides a wonderful place for outdoor activities, family get-togethers, or just relaxing in nature thanks to its well-kept amenities and peaceful atmosphere. Learn about the peace and charm of this lovely park near Dana Point.

11. Experience the enchantment of the Holiday Boat Parade

Holiday Boat Parade

Take part in the holiday boat parade in Dana Point and let yourself be taken in by its magic. 

This cherished occasion fills the harbor every year with a stunning display of exquisitely decorated vessels decked out in shimmering lights and festive accents.

As dusk strikes, the harbor comes to life with the boats' enchanted glimmer, producing an amazing sight.

Join the throngs gathered by the lake, take in the festive atmosphere, and be amazed by the inventiveness and skill of the boat owners. 

The Boat Parade is a cherished custom that delights and astounds everyone in attendance.

12. Embark on Thrilling Whale Watching Excursions

Newport Landing Whale Watching

Spend a fun day with the whole family by going on exhilarating whale-watching trips. Witness amazing views of these majestic creatures as they breach the ocean's surface.

These extraordinary journeys accommodate anyone, including small children, so that everyone can take pleasure in the voyage.

At the beach, knowledgeable guides take you to the best viewing areas as the excitement begins. 

Enjoy seeing whales soar across the waves while you make your family lifetime memories. Don't pass up this fantastic chance to get in touch with nature and spend time by the shore.

13. Explore The Nearby Town of Laguna Beach

a view of a beach and a house

Learn about the charming community of Laguna Beach, which is situated along the stunning Laguna Cliffs. 

Enjoy great food at the neighborhood restaurants, which include a variety of cuisines and mouth watering flavors.

Enjoy the outdoor seating options while soaking up the coastal environment. Discover the unique art scene, where galleries feature astonishing works of art. Don't miss the exciting annual festivals that unite the neighborhood in joy.

Take a quick excursion to the adjacent Long Beach for more exciting coastal experiences if you're up for it. A compelling fusion of the outdoors, culture, and culinary treats can be found in Laguna Beach.

14. Spend an evening at Doheny State Beach

Doheny State Beach

Experience the magic of Doheny State Beach in Orange County's summer months. As the sun sets, indulge in late-night adventures on the sandy shores of Doheny Beach.

Enjoy a delectable feast of good food, relishing the flavors while taking in the breathtaking view. Take a stroll along the Golden Lantern while enjoying the chilly sea breeze.

Doheny State Beach is the ideal place to make priceless memories in Orange County since it combines the peace of the beach with gastronomic delights to provide an amazing evening.

15. Explore the Fascinating Tide Pools

Tidepools near Dana Point Cave

San Pedro, a coastal jewel in Orange County, is home to mesmerizing tide pools and stunning views. These natural wonders become visible at low tide, beckoning exploration and discovery.

With brilliant starfish, inquisitive crabs, and vibrant sea anemones, the beach turns into a playground for aquatic life.

You may see the complex ecology up close as the tides retreat and reveal a world of hidden treasures. 

It is an unforgettable experience to explore San Pedro's pools, where the appeal of the ocean and the beauty of nature coexist.

16. Visit the Ocean Institute

Dana Point Ocean Institute

The Ocean Institute is an interesting spot for marine aficionados and is situated in Orange County. Begin your adventure by parking in the convenient parking lot off Golden Lantern.

Appreciate the coastal wind as you take a short walk along the lovely pathway. 

Prepare to be awed by the interactive displays, captivating marine life demonstrations, and educational events for all ages within the Ocean Institute.

A trip to the Ocean Institute is an unforgettable excursion into the wonders of the water thanks to its gorgeous seaside backdrop and enlightening activities.

17. Nature Interpretive Center

Nature Interpretive Center

The Nature Interpretive Center welcomes visitors to experience the wonders of the natural world as it is tucked away in a tranquil setting.

Located on the second floor, the center offers panoramic views of the beach and a lush grassy area. It is simple to visit for nature lovers and has a nearby parking lot. 

Explore the interactive displays that highlight the various habitats and creatures that can be found in this coastal area.

The Nature Interpretive Center provides a gateway to the splendor of our natural surroundings, whether you're strolling along the sandy beach or learning from the educational displays.

18. Stillwater Spirits & Sounds

Stillwater Spirits & Sounds

The best place to go for a fun-filled, energetic happy hour is StillWater Spirits & Sounds.

A fantastic combination of mouth watering dishes, artisan beverages, and live entertainment is available at this energetic place.

The atmosphere is always humming with enthusiasm, whether you're relishing their famous beverages or delicious meals from their menu.

Spirits & Sounds guarantee a wonderful experience for everyone with live music performances and engaging activities. 

Come and join the celebration, where happy hour and fun things collide in perfect harmony.

19. Heritage Park

Heritage Park

Heritage Park in Dana Point, Orange County, offers a fun vibe and plenty of exciting activities. For a fun day out, family and friends will love this colorful park.

You can enjoy a variety of fun things there, such as picnicking, playing games, and exploring picturesque surroundings, thanks to the area's abundant green spaces.

The possibility of bringing your own food makes for wonderful outdoor meals, which is one of the highlights. 

A unique and pleasurable trip in Orange County is best summed up by Heritage Park.

20. Stay at the Blue Lantern Inn

Blue Lantern Inn

Spend a pleasant stay at the Blue Lantern Inn, which is situated in the scenic seaside community of Dana Point, Orange County.

This quaint inn provides the ideal balance of pleasure and exploration. 

Spend your days discovering the magnificent beaches and breathtaking cliffs, then come back for a comfortable night at the inn.

Spend a fun night with loved ones, indulge in flavorful meals at neighboring eateries, or just relax in the warm atmosphere of your well-equipped hotel. 

At the Blue Lantern Inn, take in the splendor of Orange County while making lifelong memories.

Monarch Beach Golf Links

The best golf course in Orange County, Monarch Beach Golf Links can be found in the lovely community of Dana Point and promises the perfect golfing experience.

As you maneuver the testing fairways and immaculate greens, take in the spectacular seaside views. 

This famous course provides a memorable and fun round for golfers of all experience levels, whether they are novices or seasoned professionals.

At Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point, witness the ideal fusion of the beauty of nature and top-notch golfing.

22. Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

The famous Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel gives an opulent coastal hideaway and is situated near Dana Point, California. The resort affords fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean from its perch atop a charming cliff.

Enjoy the luxurious amenities, which include a world-class golf course and thrilling jet ski excursions. With exceptional service, scrumptious dining options, and elegant lodgings, you can experience the height of elegance.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel guarantees a memorable stay for discerning travelers, whether you want relaxation by the pool or a busy day on the sea.

23. Explore the Eco-Adventure Center

Eco-Adventure Center

At the Eco-Adventure Center in Dana Point, California, nestled along the gorgeous Pacific Coast Hwy, you can feel the rush of nature.

Enjoy stunning coastline vistas while participating in exhilarating outdoor activities. 

The facility provides a wide variety of excursions, guaranteeing never-ending enjoyment for everyone.

After an exhilarating day, relax in the peaceful atmosphere of the outdoor seating area and take in the splendor of the California coastline. At the Eco-Adventure Center, exhilarating adventures and picturesque wonders are waiting for you to embark on.

24. Take a Trip to Catalina Island with the Catalina Express Ferry

Catalina Express Ferry

Using the Catalina Express ferry, set out on an amazing journey to Catalina Island from Dana Point, CA.

Sail across the magnificent Pacific Ocean on the sleek ship while taking in the lovely coastal sights. As you arrive at your location, get ready to savor the island's alluring charm.

Take in the laid-back beach culture where magnificent shorelines encourage you to relax and enjoy the warmth of the ocean. 

A memorable beach vacation awaits with the Catalina Express, promising experiences that will last a lifetime.

25. Visit Newport Beach

Newport Beach

For a unique seaside encounter, go to Newport Beach, which is close to Dana Point, CA. Visit the thriving Ocean Institute to see its unique marine life and educational offerings.

Rent a jet ski and plunge into exhilarating experiences while riding the waves in elegance. As you go along the lovely beach feel the soft sand between your toes.

In Newport Beach, where the ocean and the beach combine to create an appealing ambiance for all tourists, find the ideal balance of relaxation and excitement.

26. Dine at the Craft House

Dana Point Craft House

Experience the ultimate culinary delight at the Craft House, located in the picturesque seaside town of Dana Point, CA.

This excellent restaurant offers a one-of-a-kind dining experience that combines the freshest ingredients with modern cooking and is tucked away next to the majestic Laguna Cliffs.

Enjoy delicious cuisine that is influenced by Dana Point's coastline beauty while taking in the pleasant ocean wind. 

Craft House offers a memorable seaside dining experience that will leave you wanting more, whether you're on a date or hanging out with friends.

27. Indulge in Delicious Street Food from The Local Food Vendors

The Shwack Beach Grill

Taste the scrumptious treats provided by nearby food trucks at Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, CA, for the ultimate gourmet journey.

A food lover's heaven, the street food scene in this city offers everything from tasty tacos to enticing kebabs and seductive desserts. 

Discover the colorful stalls, enjoy the delicacies, and take in the lively ambiance.

The local food trucks in Capistrano Beach, Dana Point, will leave you wanting more whether you enjoy seafood or other types of cuisine. Don't pass up this delicious feast for the senses.

28. Attend the Annual Tall Ships Festival

Annual Tall Ships Festival

At Dana Point Harbor, take in the magic of the yearly Tall Ships Festival. This occasion is a maritime enthusiast's fantasy come true because it is set against the stunning beach backdrop.

Admire gorgeous tall ships as they cruise through the clear waters with billowing sails. 

Enjoy fantastic music, delicious food, and engaging shows while immersing yourself in the rich history and culture of nautical traditions.

Don't pass up the chance to stroll through the busy festival grounds, where a variety of exhibitors will be selling special marine items. At Dana Point Harbor's Tall Ships Festival, set sail on an exciting journey.

29. Visit nearby San Clemente

San Clemente

Visit the charming seaside hamlet of San Clemente, which is close to Dana Point, CA, to take in the natural beauty of Southern California.

Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere while strolling along the beautiful beaches, participating in water sports, or dining at neighborhood seafood eateries. 

Explore the historic downtown area, which is surrounded by quaint boutiques and art galleries.

San Clemente and its proximity to Dana Point offer the ideal blend of natural beauty and seaside charm, whether you're looking for action or relaxation.

30. Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach, a coastal haven in Southern California, is well-known for its gorgeous beaches and thriving surfing scene.

You'll find a seamless fusion of pleasure and adventure as you explore this idyllic city. 

There is something for everyone, from catching the ideal wave at Huntington Beach to relaxing in the quaint city of San Clemente to even exploring the scenic Dana Point Harbor.

Huntington Beach and its surrounding treasures provide an amazing coastal experience, whether you're an avid hiker, a fan of water-based adventures, or just looking for a quiet retreat.

31. Try a Unique Activity like Yacht Yoga or Sailing Lessons


At Dana Point Harbor, get away from the routine and savor a unique experience. Find the ideal fusion of tranquility and adventure with special pursuits like yoga and sailing classes.

Enjoy the tranquility of the water while posing on a yacht or conquering the waves under the direction of a pro.

Dana Point Harbor offers an incredible seaside adventure that will leave you feeling inspired and renewed, whether you choose to embrace the thrill of the open water or discover your inner zen while taking in the stunning vistas.

32. Capistrano Beach

Capistrano Beach

Capistrano Beach in Dana Point, CA, is a wonderful beachfront jewel that provides a tranquil haven. Capistrano Beach is a popular destination for both locals and visitors due to its immaculate sandy shoreline and spectacular ocean vistas.

Nights in summer can be spent swimming in the clear seas, relaxing on the beach, or participating in water recreation.

Additionally, the region is home to attractive beachfront taverns and shops, offering a delightful coastal experience. Capistrano Beach is a refuge that captures the charm of Dana Point, CA.

33. Take a Ghost Tour

Haunted Orange County Tours & Events

A spine-tingling Ghost Tour will allow you to fully appreciate Dana Point's sinister appeal. Explore the town's eerie past as you wander through its gloomy streets.

Learn about supernatural events and hear stories of restless spirits from renowned storytellers. 

Hear spine-tingling tales of spooky manifestations and unexplained phenomena that stalk the town's monuments and dark nooks.

Dana Point is a fascinating site for people looking for experiences with the paranormal. Embark on this thrilling adventure where the past and present merge. Prepare for a frightening adventure you won't soon forget.

34. Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area

Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area

The Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area, situated along the dazzling California coastline, offers a mesmerizing fusion of tranquility and nature.

This magnificent coastal sanctuary, which looks out onto the sparkling Pacific Ocean, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

The headlands, which offer expansive vistas, make a beautiful setting for hiking paths and animal viewing. 

Visitors can make their way to Dana Point Beach's sandy shoreline as the golden sunsets. Dana Point Headlands captures the essence of coastal beauty and beachside bliss.

35. Stack's Pancake House

Stack's Pancake House

The aroma of freshly flipped pancakes permeates the air on a sunny Saturday morning in Dana Point, CA, luring you to Stack's Pancake House.

Pancake lovers can find paradise at this well-liked coastal restaurant. 

Stack's meets every craving with a menu filled with scrumptious variants, from traditional buttermilk to decadent chocolate chips.

An inviting atmosphere is created by the welcoming staff's warm grins as they welcome you, which wonderfully complements the magnificent coastline vistas. 

Visit Stack's Pancake House for a delicious breakfast to kick off your weekend in style.

36. Take a Moonlit Kayak or Paddle Boarding Tour

Pure Watersports - Dana Point

At Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point, CA, take a mesmerizing Kayak or Paddle Boarding excursion to discover the wonder of a moonlit journey.

Start an extraordinary adventure as the shimmering moon sends its soft radiance over the calm seas. Take in the surrounding natural splendor as you glide across the tranquil waves.

Allow your paddle to guide you through the night with rhythmic strokes as you make lifelong memories beneath the starry sky. 

Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point invites you to succumb to its allure during this special coastal adventure.

37. Go stargazing at the Ocean Institute's Astronomy Night

Go stargazing at the Ocean Institute's Astronomy Night

At the Ocean Institute's Astronomy Night, you may marvel at the wonders of the night sky. This event presents a special opportunity for stargazing, with the beach serving as a lovely backdrop.

As professional astronomers lead you through the constellations and celestial bodies, discover the wonders of the cosmos. 

As you look through powerful telescopes at far-off stars and planets, feel the smooth sand beneath your feet.

At this captivating seashore stargazing event, you may lose yourself in the splendor of the universe and make lifelong memories.

38. Explore the Underwater World with a Night Dive Experience

Beach Cities Scuba

Dive into the captivating depths of Doheny State Beach, Laguna Beach, and Dana Point, CA, to embark on an extraordinary trip.

A thrilling night dive will allow you to discover the ethereal splendor of the underwater realm. As night falls, transport yourself to a world filled with bioluminescent marvels and learn about a hidden planet overflowing with colorful aquatic life.

A rare chance to see nocturnal critters in their natural habitat is offered by the calm seas off these beautiful coastal locations. 

Get ready to be mesmerized as you explore the mysterious depths and make irreplaceable recollections.

FAQs: The Best Things To Do in Dana Point at Night

In this section, we provide answers to common questions regarding the best things to do in Dana Point at night.

Why is Dana Point famous?

Dana Point, CA is famous for its stunning coastline and idyllic beaches. In addition to being reputed for having world-class boarding areas, such as Salt Creek Beach, it is also enticing due to its proximity to the bustling metropolis of Laguna Beach. Dana Point is a sought-after vacation spot for beach enthusiasts due to its stunning beauty and recreational activities.

What island can you see from Dana Point?

From Dana Point, CA, you can catch a glimpse of Catalina Island. It is a short distance from the coast and offers beautiful shoreline views. Tourists from Dana Point and nearby Laguna Beach visit this lovely island because of its glorious beaches and outdoor activities.

Summing Up: The Best Things to Do in Dana Point at Night

As you can see, there is no shortage of things to do in Dana Point at night.

There are endless options to make priceless moments after sunset, from the captivating Dana Point Harbor to the tranquil Salt Creek Beach Park.

Discover the vibrant atmosphere of live music venues, the magnificent marine life during whale watching excursions, or the alluring tide pools that line the shoreline.

Dana Point provides an exceptional nighttime experience with a diverse selection of events, a breathtaking coastal location, and outdoor seating options.