Whether you are looking to kayak, paddle board, or hook up on some fish, Dana Point has it all. In the harbor, you can paddle past picturesque cliffs and beautiful homes. Paddlers can also venture outside of the harbor to explore the waters around Doheny State Beach and further south. Dana Point also hosts a July 4th firework show as well as a Christmas boat parade.
Doheny Beach is a nice calm paddling area protected by the harbor breakwall. Exercise caution while paddling on the southern side of the harbor breakwall; the swells can become quite strong here.
Dana Point is also a renowned whale watching location. Gray whales migrate northwards from November to mid-spring, and they migrate southwards during the summer. Blue whales can be seen during the summer months until October. These great creatures can be seen two to six miles off shore, and they sometimes even visit the area to feed. If you do encounter these animals, make sure not to disturb their feeding patterns by approaching too closely. You will often be surprised at how closely the whales will approach you. They are often not kayak shy.
Kayak fishermen have many options in Dana Point. In the harbor you can target pilings for bass, halibut, and smaller barracuda. Many often go outside of the harbor down south towards Doheny to find halibut, calicos, and even sharks. Make sure to fish during large tidal movements, as these are the most productive times to go out.
Here are some popular fishing spots in Dana Point:
The Pipe: a reef area extending from Doheny to even further south of Dana Point Harbor. Fishing on the sides of structure can be very productive. As you would in all the other locations, keep an eye on your fish finder for structure. Fish in 20 to 40 feet of water.
Salt Creek: a kelp bed adjacent to Salt Creek Beach. It is a three mile paddle from the harbor, but this area can be very productive if there is current moving. Fish close to the structure and kelp here if you're looking to find fish. Do not fish north of here in Laguna as this area is a Marine Protection Zone. Reading up on the tides is recommended before paddling out here, as slack water movement can lead to very unproductive sessions.
Doheny Beach: just south of the harbor, the floor is sandy with some kelp on it. Fish the sandy areas near structure in 10-35 feet of water, and you will often pull halibut here. Paddle south towards Capistrano, and there is another reef underwater that can be quite fruitful. Be careful paddling too far south of here as the wind can move southwards quickly in the afternoon.
Air temperature in Huntington Harbor ranges from the 50s to mid 60s in the winter and the 70s to 80s in the summer. Conditions are usually pleasant, and the houses protect paddlers on the water from heavy winds to some extent.
Dana Cove Park (Dana Point)
Doheny State Beach (Dana Point)