Join the 45th annual celebration of the two-week, great migration of whales into Dana Point Harbor. From December through March, whales make the 5,000-mile trek from Alaska to Mexico each year. 40-50 whales pass through California’s Dana Point during its peak season in March, leading the harbor to host its annual festival.
The 2016 Dana Point Festival of Whales takes place March 12 and 13th. The entire town enlivens with activities, awe-inspiring sights, and discovery. The week involves whale watching, art festivals, parades, lecture series, and much more.
- Venture to Headlands Conservation Park in order to see great views of the whales from land. The Park has a three-mile public trail system that connects all open spaces and subordinate parks. The system features pedestrian trails, scenic lookouts, coastal and beach access, and the Nature Interpretive Center. The trails are open from 7 a.m. to sunset every day.
- Original Two-Hour Whale Watching Trip: Trips leave every hour from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the Festival weekends for a two-hour narration of the whales’ natural migration
- 8 a.m. Trip Special: Every morning, an excursion leaves at 8 a.m. for only $15 per person.
- 4 p.m. Sunset Whale Watch Trip: Enjoy a cocktail, as you take in the stunning sunset along Dana Harbor.
- Two and a Half Hour Deluxe Catamaran Adventure: Board Dana Wharf’s spacious catamaran ship with its featured Eye Spy viewing deck for a unique, extended adventure between 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Art in the Park, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Local artists and nearby Dana Hills High School students will be displaying their work at the corner of Island Way and Dana Point Harbor Drive.
- Dana Point Fine Arts Association Show and Sale, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.: The non-profit will be selling a variety of watercolor, oil, acrylic, colored pencil, and pastels on the Harbor Boardwalk along the boat docks in Mariner’s Village.
- Dana Point Historical Society – Walking Tour of Town Center, March 5-6th at 2 p.m. only: See and hear stories about the town center’s historic monuments.
- Classic car shows: There will be several classic car displays, including features from Jaguar and Corvettes.
The festival offers many options for traveling safely to and from the harbor. There’s a free shuttle service each day of the festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out the event map for the shuttle’s routes, stops, and services.There will also be a water taxi during the Festival that stretches between Dana Point and the Ocean Institute from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.