From shopping to surfing, whale watching to simply wandering, Dana Point and the surrounding area is full of activities and attractions. Take a drive on the famed Pacific Coast Highway or explore the art galleries of Laguna. Visit the Ocean Institute for unforgettable marine adventures and the Surf Heritage and Culture Center for a taste of local lore. Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club is the perfect base for exploring Southern California—and the ideal place to relax after a day of discovery. See Concierge for assistance with planning your day.

Whale Watching in Dana Point

Not only is Dana Point Southern California’s top destination for whale watching, it is actually the Whale Watching Capital of the U.S. In 2021, Dana Point was also designated as the first Whale Heritage Site in North America by the United Kingdom-based World Cetacean Alliance.

Only minutes from the coast lives a vast and thriving eco-system teeming with whales, dolphins, sunfish, sea lions, and an abundance of other marine life. Year-round, Dana Point Harbor offers world-class whale watching trips, events, and other fun activities.  Every trip is a new experience and a spectacular sea life show. With the greatest concentration of blue whales and dolphins on earth, Dana Point is the place to go for an extraordinary whale watching excursion. 

2.8 miles from Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club 

Pacific Coast Highway Drive

A trip to California’s coast has so much to offer: beautiful scenery, incredible weather, and plenty of entertainment are waiting around every corner. But there’s one essential thing every visitor should experience during their stay: a road trip down Highway 1, the most scenic highway in Orange County. Known as one of the best road trips in the country, Highway 1 stretches down the California coastline, guiding drivers to incredible views of the Pacific. One excellent place to stop during your road trip is Dana Point. Here, you’ll have a front seat to incredible panoramic views of the Pacific while taking advantage of the countless shopping, dining and entertainment options in the area. 

Ocean Institute

The mysteries of the sea hold a special fascination for many kids, and inspiring children to learn about the ocean with hands-on, interactive programs has been the mission of this education center in Dana Point since it was founded in 1977.  The Institute also offers 2.5-hour whale-watching cruises.

3.3 miles from Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club 

Local Beaches

In addition to the Monarch Bay Beach Club, which is exclusive to resort guests and members, the Dana Point area is home to a number of renowned beaches.  Here are just a few, located in close proximity to the resort.

Salt Creek Beach:  approximately .5 mile from Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club
As a service to the public, Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club offers complimentary tram service that departs from the hotel and drops passengers at Salt Creek Beach Park upon request.

Doheny State Beach:  2.8 miles from Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club

Thousand Steps Beach:  2.8 miles from Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club

Aliso Beach Park:  2.8 miles from Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club

Pearl Street Beach:  5.7 miles from Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club

Shopping in Orange County

Dana Point Harbor
34555 Golden Lantern St., Dana Point | 2.9 Miles
Enjoy a casual, oceanside shopping experience at Dana Point Harbor. Discover boutiques and shops that offer a rich and colorful variety of artisan crafts and handmade goods. Shop Pacific-inspired art work, custom jewelry, beach wear, gourmet chocolate, and more.

Hip District
381 Forest Ave, Laguna Beach | 6.7 Miles
“Historic and Interesting Places District,” or HIP, pays tribute to the original business district of yesteryear Laguna Beach. A haven for shoppers and beachcombers, this idyllic coastal locale is home to an eclectic array of shops and streets lined with quaint cottages and beautifully restored buildings. There are boutiques, galleries, restaurants, coffee shops with outdoor seating, and a lovely neighborhood bookstore.

Fashion Island
401 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach | 14.4 Miles
Fashion Island offers an elegant yet relaxed, open-air shopping experience. The destination is beautifully landscaped, and streets are dotted with fountains and palm trees. Stores include a medley of luxury, designer, and fashion specialty boutiques.

South Coast Plaza
3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa | 26.2 Miles
South Coast Plaza is a mecca for the high-end shopper. Boasting more than 250 shops, boutiques, and high-fashion retailers, this trend-setting destination is recognized internationally for its high concentration of top designers.

Amusement Parks

Disneyland Park
1313 Disneyland Dr, Anaheim, California | 35.8 miles

Legoland California
1 Legoland Dr, Carlsbad, CA 92008 | 36.6 miles