Dana Point is a city located in southern Orange County, California. The population was 33,351 at the 2010 census. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 29.5 square miles: 6.5 square miles of it is land and 23.0 square miles of it is water. It has one of the few harbors along the Orange County coast, and with ready access via State Route 1, it is a popular local destination for surfing. Richard Henry Dana considered the high bluffs and sheltered coves of this area to be the most beautiful spot on the California coast. Pioneeringsurfers agreed, as they surfed the many beach breaks along the coast. Dana Point has a notable surfing history, and was home to many of the first companies that produced products for surfing. Hobie Alter opened the world’s first retail surf shop in Dana Point in 1954. Many surf publications such as the Surfer’s Journal and Surfer Magazine were formed and headquartered in Dana Point.
The city was named after the headland of Dana Point, which was in turn named after Richard Henry Dana, Jr., author of Two Years Before the Mast, which included a description of the area. Dana described the locale, including neighboring San Juan Capistrano, as “the only romantic spot on the coast.” Although Dana described the anchorage as poor, it is now a developed harbor and contains a replica of his ship, the Pilgrim. The Pilgrim is used as a classroom by theOcean Institute, which is located at the harbor. This area is designated California Historical Landmark #189.
The harbor, built in the 1960s and dedicated on July 31, 1971, is home to a marina, shops, and restaurants, and it is a point of departure for the Catalina Express, a transportation service to and from the City of Avalon on Catalina Island.