when i was picking up some goodies for the so cal blogger meetup in dana point harbor last week, i realized just how much i love that little harbor. i practically lived there during the summer when i was younger - either at sailing camp or at the ocean institute playing with starfish and sea anemones. i have fond memories of riding my bike there with my parents, eating blue bubblegum ice cream with real gumballs in it, and "fishing" for crabs with string and squid.
it got me thinking about what "adult" friendly things there are to do. since the weather is warming up and spring is right around the corner, the harbor would be a great place to spend some time. from kayaking, whale watching and sunset cruises to little dive bars full of fishermen and blufftop restaurants - there is something for everyone to enjoy. i can't wait to grab a friend (or 2) and spend a day at the harbor.
here are a few "must-dos" from sunset magazine's insider guide to dana point:
GO Kayaking. Rent a kayak and poke around the harbor. Capo Beach Watercraft Rentals, 34512 Embarcadero Pl.; from $20 per hour; www. capobeachwatercraft.com or 949/661-1690.
Marine Wildlife Cruise. Ocean Institute scientists lead excursions along the coast aboard the RV Sea Explorer to discover the wonders of sea life. 1–3:30 Sat or Sun (call for dates); $35, $22 ages 4–12 (no children under 4), reservations recommended; 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr.; www.ocean-institute.org or 949/496-2274.
Ocean Education Center. On weekends, the Ocean Institute invites the public to explore its aquariums, experience working marine labs demonstrating water cycles, and board the square-rigged Pilgrim to learn knot-tying and sea chanteys. 10–3 Sat–Sun (Pilgrim open 10–2:30 Sun); $6.50, $4.50 ages 3–12, including Pilgrim admission; contact info above.
EAT Cannons Seafood Grill. All things from the sea at the casual blufftop restaurant with panoramic views. $$; 34344 Green Lantern St.; 949/496-6146.
Jon’s Fish Market. Fish and chips on the wharf; inexpensive and very fresh fare. $; 34665 Golden Lantern St.; 949/496-2807.