Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Dana Point Harbor Welcomes the 50th Annual Festival of Whales, Whale Watching Excursions, Educational Programs, the Inaugural Splash Dash and More in the "Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World®"

Known as the "Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World®," and recently recognized as the first Whale Heritage Site in North America by the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA), Dana Point Harbor offers the best year-round whale watching opportunities for visitors and boaters due to the variety and abundance of whales in local waters. Dana Point Harbor is a navigational landmark for gray whales during their annual migration and the Harbor's whale watching operators provide spectacular encounters with easy accessibility to the open ocean.

The designation of Dana Point as the first Whale Heritage Site in North America acknowledges the city as an outstanding destination for responsible and sustainable whale and dolphin watching. Whale Heritage Sites are also recognized for supporting and demonstrating the importance of cetaceans (whales, dolphins, or porpoises) through culture, education, research and conservation, while advocating real connections between cetaceans and humans.

"It is such an honor to have Dana Point recognized as the first Whale Heritage Site in North America by the World Cetacean Alliance," said Bryon Ward of Dana Point Harbor Partners and President of Burnham Ward Properties. "With this designation, we know that even more visitors will depart on their whale watching adventures from Dana Point Harbor. As we revitalize the Harbor in the coming years, we will instill the importance of education, conservation, and viewing whales in their natural habitat."

Whale watching tours departing from the Harbor are offered on a variety of vessels, from sail to power, large to small, and can be booked for private charters as well. Dolphin and whale watching tours are offered every day, with year-round whale sightings including gray whales, blue whales, fin whales, and more. The Marina at Dana Point is the perfect destination for boaters from across the California coast to stay and experience the abundance of marine life in the Harbor's surrounding waters. Guest slips in The Marina at Dana Point can be reserved in advance and include access to boater amenities. Contact The Marina at Dana Point Office at (949) 496-6137 for more information.

The public can join Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari for 5-star tours featuring underwater viewing pods, a fast & fun zodiac boat, and more. Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching is Orange County's first whale watching company and all cruises are narrated by an expert marine naturalist captain who will educate on the abundant ocean life on the coast.

Dana Point Harbor welcomes the 50th Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales, March 6-7 paying tribute to the annual migration of California gray whales past Dana Point. The festival will include physically distanced activities and events for all ages, such as whale watching excursions, kids fishing clinics, the Dana Point Fine Arts Association Show, virtual tours and marine mammal lectures. To experience the full weekend of Festival of Whales, book a stay at the Dana Point Marina Inn, conveniently located in the Harbor. Call 1-800-255-6843 for rates and additional information.

New this year, the Splash Dash invites the community to participate in a virtual 5K or one-mile fun run. Participants can run, walk, bike or swim to complete the virtual race. Registration includes a commemorative medal and Festival of Whales 50th Anniversary t-shirt, as well as a virtual goody bag with special offers and giveaways at local participating businesses and restaurants. Time your race and share your results using the Active Experience App. Proceeds from the Splash Dash benefit the nonprofit Dana Point Chamber of Commerce and the nonprofit Dana Point Festival of Whales Foundation. For more information and to register visit

Experience whale watching season and enjoy Dana Point Harbor's abundant and diverse marine life year-round. For more information and to view the full list of events visit


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