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Planning Your Trip

If you’re traveling to Dana Point, you can already congratulate yourself on a decision well made. But what to pack? When headed for sunny shores, keep it simple and light, with a suitcase full of multipurpose items in breezy, beach-worthy fabrics that go from sandy strolls to moonlit cocktails with ease.


Dana Point and Laguna Beach epitomize Southern California’s eclectic brand of casual sophistication. Plan for an active, outdoor itinerary without sacrificing style.


  • The bare essentials: swimwear, sun protection, casual wear, sandals and a beach tote.
  • You’ll need a wetsuit for surfing and stand-up paddle boarding, though those can be rented. Bring your preferred workout gear, including athletic shoes, for the resort’s fitness center or a walk or jog along the beach.
  • Leave your towels, chairs and umbrellas at home — the resort’s Beach Butlers will set you up on the beach with these items.
Kids building a sandcastle


Packing your beach bag shouldn’t be stressful. The idea is to relax by the ocean, after all. But a little forethought can translate into uninterrupted sand time.  



  • Plan to wear your swimwear with sandals and a cover-up or casual wear to the beach. Bring along sun protection (sunglasses, a sun hat and sunscreen) and your favorite reading material in your beach bag.
  • If you’re traveling with little ones, consider gear such as kid-friendly sunscreen, swim diapers, beach toys, hats and rash guards. A lightweight beach tent provides a shady place to play or nap.
  • For evenings, bring a light jacket. Nighttime attire is seaside chic: a collared shirt with light-colored pants and boat shoes or loafers for men (skip the socks and tie); a lightweight dress or jumpsuit with sandals for women.
Aerial view of docked sailboats


Fascinating day trips abound in Southern California, from heavy-hitting highlights such as Disneyland and the San Diego Zoo. Here’s what to pack.



  • Southern California boasts mild to warm weather year-round. You won’t need more than a light jacket for evenings.
  • Plan to be outside and active. Bring casual clothing, comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.
  • Bring a hands-free tote bag or backpack to carry your essentials, including camera, snacks and water.
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Don’t Forget:

California is known for its easygoing, individual style. Casually dressed tech and media moguls exemplify the idea that formal dress isn’t a requirement in many fields. Dressing for weather and nature — particularly if you’re traveling elsewhere in the state, where climate and landscape can vary widely — is more the priority, though when in doubt for business or formal events, it never hurts to err on the side of looking sharp.

Explore our Ultimate Family Beach Vacation

While overplanning a beach vacation is a bit of a contradiction in terms, you’ll want to make your reservations in advance for a few key things. Then, sit back, and let the splendid sunsets and softly lapping waves guide you where they may.  


Embrace your sea legs in one of the world’s premier coastal destinations. See why Dana Point is called the Whale Capital of the West (in addition to majestic blue whales and graceful gray whales, you’ll spot plenty of dolphins and other sea life, too) when you reserve a whale-watching excursion through the resort’s Eco-Adventure Center. You can also book surfing and stand-up paddle boarding online or through the concierge. A naturalist-guided hike through Dana Point’s tide pools — magical miniature universes of marine life — can be reserved through the Ocean Institute ( No reservation is needed, of course, for a relaxing day on the beach.


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When it comes to day trips in Southern California, the hardest part is narrowing down the options. This area is home to a wealth of world-class attractions, so much so that your Golden State bucket list won’t lack for potential adventures. Among the most famous to seek out are Disneyland, California Adventure, LEGOLand, SeaWorld, San Diego Zoo and San Diego Wild Animal Park. If you want to get off the beaten path of the mainland, the charming Catalina Island makes a great day trip, and getting there is part of the fun: It’s accessible from Dana Point via high-speed ferry or helicopter service.


California cuisine is legendary for a reason. Chefs and restaurants here have been pioneering local, seasonal food for decades, along with the idea that eating well means living well. And some of the region’s best food is being prepared right on property. Savor pan-Latin coastal cuisine by the acclaimed Chef Richard Sandoval alongside amazing ocean views in RAYA, or treat your taste buds to a prime steak alongside artisanal cheeses, fine wines and fine art at enoSTEAK. Forgot to make a reservation? Enjoy refreshing handcrafted beverages, small plates and a little slice of heaven on earth at 180blu, the resort’s outdoor oceanfront lounge.


Have you ever seen a work of art literally come to life? The highlight of Laguna Beach’s annual Festival of Arts, Pageant of the Masters, thrills audiences with incredible re-creations of famous artworks, staged with real people and accompanied by a full live orchestra. In celebration of its 85th year, the Festival of Arts moves into a new and improved facility in 2018. Don’t miss this dazzling 90-minute presentation in addition to the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show, featuring works for sale by 140 Orange County artists.  

Situated on the Pacific Ocean coastline between Los Angeles and San Diego, Dana Point is a vibrant part of Orange County (or the OC, as locals call it). The beaches are at the epicenter of life in southern California, with water-sport enthusiasts flocking to the area for popular activities like surfing and stand-up paddle boarding. Nature lovers will find equal enjoyment in the whales, dolphins, sea lions and more that appear off the coastline. Whether you’re hiking through the trails or hitting the local taco shacks, there’s plenty to do and see in Dana Point.

24 Hours In

Situated halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, Dana Point is nestled into the California coastline. With breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean from sandy bluffs, whales and dolphins frolicking off the shore and delicious fresh seafood abounding, it’s a perfect vacation spot for the whole family. Whether you’re looking for an active day of surfing or just soaking in the views, you can pack a whole lot of fun into a short time in Dana Point. 


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Eco Adventures

Dana Point has a diverse and deep array of activities for those who want to get in touch with nature. From surfing in the waves of the Pacific Ocean to watching the whales jump off the shore, the beaches offer so much to experience. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel can help arrange a wide variety of activities for individuals, families or groups through its Eco-Adventure Center. 



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