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Dana Point and beyond

Madison, WI
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65 posts
2 reviews
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Dana Point and beyond

Family of four, two girls 9 and 7, and my wife are traveling to Dana Point area for a vacation beginning Christmas Day. Earned a couple nights stay at the Ritz in Laguna but we are really not Ritz people.

Looking for suggestions on activities that are family related within an hour..no Disney or Universal..want to stick along the ocean if possible..

Any suggestions for family places to eat or just hang out...

Thanks

southcarolina
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704 posts
22 reviews
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1. Re: Dana Point and beyond

I use to live in Southern CA for many years prior to our move. I think your family would enjoy Balboa Island (which is North of Laguna Beach). There is the Balboa Fun Zone (games, ferris wheel, rides), plenty of shops to wander around and see, great restaurants, and make sure you take the ferry which was always a highlight for our kids (you can walk on, or take your car on it). Another area (might be a little chilly in December though) is Crystal Cove where the girls can check out the tidepools. Below is a website for the areas mentioned above. Have a fun trip!

http://www.thebalboafunzone.com/

http://www.balboa-island.com/

http://www.crystalcovestatepark.com/

Dana Point, CA
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2. Re: Dana Point and beyond

Dana Point Harbor is the Disneyland on the Coast.

Whale watching and dolphin cruises, fishing, shopping, numerous places to dine. Restaurants, cafes all along the California Riviera.

The Ocean Institute is an educational center for children s at Dana Point Harbor open to the public on weekends. Adjacent are the tide pools open for public access everyday. So much fun.

The Tallship Pilgram docks amongst the harbors numerous boats.

A must experiance and very enjoyable place to be, Dana Point Harbor.

Check out danaharbor.com; danapointharbor.com, danawharfsportfishing.com

laguna niguel, ca
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7,324 posts
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3. Re: Dana Point and beyond

great surfing beach at the ritz that will be fun to watch, other than that I would head north to main beach in laguna or further north to balboa island newport beach. If you really want to go to a special beach head south to san onofre. I can't believe the kids would not want to go to disneyland. Go real early and avoid the crowds like 7am, disneyland has special buzz at christmas but it will be packed.

Madison, WI
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65 posts
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4. Re: Dana Point and beyond

Thanks for the help. Chilly in December won't be bad...we just got 10 inches of snow and looking at a high of about 25 degrees..

The tidepools sound great, did the same up the coast in Oregon.

Yes, we are avoiding Disney. Went to Orlando last year and had enough of the mouse. Hanging out on the beach and exploring some of the natural areas in combination to a trip to Legoland (?) and maybe Seaworld...

Any advice on family friendly places to eat...

Thanks

Madison, WI
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65 posts
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5. Re: Dana Point and beyond

I forgot to ask....any suggestions on which whale watch operator to use?

6. Re: Dana Point and beyond

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Dana Point, CA
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7. Re: Dana Point and beyond

Andrew in Dana Point here.

Be sure to get over to the Mission San Juan Capistrano and check out the place where the swallows return to Capistrano. From the Ritz, take PCH south, through Dana Point, turn left at Del Obispo, then up to Camino Capistrano, and turn left - you will run right into the mission. You can park on the street.

Pleasant grounds and historic mission.

Accross the street from the mission (on Camino Capistrano, adjacent to the train depot) be sure to have a meal at Ciao Pasta. Best red sauce I have ever had. Ask for Pasquale, and tell him Andrew and Gloria sent you. Say hello Al in the bar, and he will take care of you.

Follow PCH south for a nice drive to San Clemente (look for Olamendi's Mexican Restaurant on the left - get the empanada sampler and a Marg - their T-Shirts are great - Nixon's favorite place), and turn right on Del Mar, follow it to the end, park on the right, and walk onto the San Clemente pier and have a meal at The Fisherman - very, very good. Walk to the end of the pier after dinner and enjoy!

Finally - to see Laguna Beach - an art colony, and good eats, from the Ritz, take PCH North about 7 miles - you can't miss it. I recommend The White house for breakfast or even better - Splashes at the Surf and Sand Hotel (you may want to stay there next time) which is great for Brunch.

All of these are very affordable. If I can be of further help, drop me a line at abrozek@gmail.com

Cheers!

Andrew

Madison, WI
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65 posts
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8. Re: Dana Point and beyond

Thanks Andrew..sounds like great suggestions..especially Nixon's old haunts...