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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. Whether you want to hike, bike, body board or get up close with marine mammals, Laguna Niguel has the right adventure for you.

Day

1

MORNING
  • Coffee First.

    Start your morning with a cup of coffee at JC Beans Coffee House, a well-loved local hang out. Relax on the patio, or on chillier mornings, cozy up with your coffee next to the fireplace. 

  • Surf’s Up.

    Time to get active in the water. You have your choice of surfing, body boarding, stand-up paddle boarding, skim boarding, kayaking — it’s hard to choose. Whatever your pleasure, you can opt for a lesson first or get right into the waves. Talk to the staff at the Eco-Adventure Center to help select and schedule an activity. 

MIDDAY
  • Burger Break.

    Surfing works up an appetite, which is why The Shwack is a favorite among local beachgoers. Get a signature Shwackburger or a chicken sandwich, featuring all-natural chicken with no antibiotics or hormones. Wash it down with one of their 12 craft beers on tap. 

AFTERNOON
  • Botanical Preserve.

    Spend a leisurely afternoon walking the 34 miles of trails that snake through the Niguel Botanical Preserve. With 2,000 plant species filling 18 acres, you can see plants from geographic regions ranging from Australia to Chile to South Africa.  

EVENING
  • Wine Cruise. If you’re in town on a Friday,

    enjoy a sunset cruise from Dana Point while sampling biodynamic wines. The 90-minute OC Wine Cruise highlights wines from The Organic Cellar, which features organically grown and pesticide-free wines.  

  • Enjoy Upscale Comfort Food.

    Jimmy’s American Kitchen serves all your hearty favorites, from their famous cheeseburger to Southern fried chicken. Pair your meal with a Pizza Port Chronic Amber Ale, brewed right down the road in Solana Beach.

Day

2

MORNING
  • Calm Start.

    Begin your morning with one of the daily yoga and Pilates classes offered to guests in the gazebo. Go through various poses and movements to stretch and lengthen muscles, while taking in panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. 

MIDDAY
  • Healthy Lunch.

    Urth Caffé is an L.A. institution for healthy food and has expanded its vegetarian-friendly menu to Laguna Beach. Try one of their Famous Pecan Sticky Buns or go for a lighter option with an organic egg white omelet with local vegetables. 

AFTERNOON
  • Sealed Deal.

    The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of marine mammals, specifically seals and sea lions. Healed patients are released back into the ocean after treatment. The center is open to visitors daily, who can watch the care being given to the animals — and if you’re lucky, you’ll arrive on a beach release day.

EVENING
  • Beach Walk.

    Take a pre-dinner stroll along Main Beach in Laguna and watch as the sun dips below the horizon.

  • Oceanfront Dining.

    Nothing enhances a meal like a view of the glowing sunset over the Pacific Ocean. Driftwood Kitchen specializes in ocean-to-table cuisine, with innovative dishes like their Whole Fried Branzino with mochiko rice flour and grilled swordfish with sunchokes. Sit outside on the patio to enjoy cool ocean breezes with your meal. 

Day

3

MORNING
  • Garden Tour.

    Start your day by learning about what goes into the organic garden at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, with an 8:30 a.m. tour. You’ll be educated on sustainable gardening practices, as well as the native plants of Southern California. And you’ll see the fruits, vegetables and herbs that go into the delicious food you eat at the hotel. 

MIDDAY
  • Juice Up.

    Stop in at locally owned organic café Thrive Juice Lab for cold-pressed juice, a smoothie or your choice of acai or pitaya bowl. For a healthy lunch, pick up a salad or soup, and choose a superfood booster to add on. 

  • Hit the Trail.

    The Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park is an ideal place to set out on a hike or bike ride. The park is made up of 4,500 acres of wilderness and open space. The park has over 30 miles of trails, bordered by rare and endangered plants. 

AFTERNOON
  • Whale Watching.

    One of the most notable attractions of Dana Poing is the whale and dolphin watching off the Dana Point wharf. Head down for a cruise out on the water of the Pacific Ocean to see the majestic gray or blue whales, frisky dolphins and adorable seals appear out of the waves. 

EVENING
  • Surf & Turf.

    enoSTEAK focuses on high-quality ingredients like pasture-raised beef and locally sourced produce. Even the signature meat-and-cheese board comes from local artisanal producers. Order the seafood or steak of your choice along with signature compound butters to accent and draw out the superb flavors. After dinner, head to 180blu to enjoy a handcrafted cocktail on a patio sitting 150 feet above Salt Creek Beach.