During our trip to Disneyland last month, we spent a few days around the beaches of Orange County for some fun adventures. You can read more about our Orange County beach adventures here. In this post, I’m going to tell you about some of the family fun activities in the Dana Point Harbor area including a fun video from our whale & dolphin watching trip!
Dana Wharf Whale & Dolphin Watching:
While on our trip, we had the opportunity to visit Dana Wharf Whale Watching for a fun dolphin and whale watching adventure. My little guy was 22 months old at the time and hadn’t been on a boat before so I was a little worried about how he’d do. My husband also gets motion sickness easily but he was determined to get on the boat because he really wanted the chance to see some whales. I am happy to report that neither of my boys felt sick! It was such a wonderful experience so I’m glad that they were both able to go on the adventure with me.
The captain and crew members were really knowledgeable about the area and the ocean creatures. They had a lot of interesting facts to share and kept everyone entertained throughout the trip. You could see that they really love what they do and they are passionate about it. They really did want to make sure that everyone had a memorable experience.
During our adventure, we went through a mega pod of over 2000 dolphins! It was amazing seeing so many of them in one area and watching them swim alongside the boat. I hadn’t experienced something like this before and it was really awesome to see! I also took a short video so that I could share the experience here with you.
Some facts about the Dana Wharf Whale Watching Adventure:
- guaranteed whale or dolphin sightings or your next ride is free
- has been in operation since 1971
- sightings may include whales, dolphins, sea lions and sharks
- has a fleet of 12 vessels that can accommodate a variety of boating activities (whale watching, ocean fishing, sailing, historic cruise, cocktail parties and sightSEAing tour of Laguna Beach)
You can visit the Dana Wharf site to learn more about all of the adventures available.
Ocean Institute in Dana Point Harbor:
After our whale watching tour we had the opportunity to visit the Ocean Institute. If you have a little one who dreams of becoming a marine biologist or is just interesting in ocean life – this would be the perfect place to visit!
The Ocean Institute Mission is to inspire all generations through education to become responsible stewards of our ocean.
We had a tour inside their facility that is filled with educational tools and some ocean life that you can see up close. We also had a tour of the Pilgrim Tall Ship that lets students become sailors for daytime and overnight educational adventures. If you are in the Orange County area in September, be sure to stop by the Tall Ships Festival!
Additional Ocean Institute Facts:
- they were founded in 1977
- they educate over 115K students and 50K public visitors annually
- they have over 40 marine service ad maritime history programs
- they have facilities available for events (birthdays, weddings, graduations, seminars and other private parties)
- they offer a large variety of field trips & programs suitable for anyone from Pre-K through to adults
- they offer programs that can come right to your school
- they offer overnight camp adventures
The staff is very passionate about what they do and they can’t wait to share some educational adventures with you!
Other activities to try & places to see around Dana Point Harbor:
- Driving Tour – including both historical and contemporary attractions
- Walking Tour – including both historical and contemporary attractions
- The Dana Point Headlands – biological open space parks and trail system
Have you ever been on a whale watching trip? If so, what did you see? Have you been to Dana Point Harbor? If so, what are your favorite area activities?
You can read more about our Orange County and Disneyland adventures here on our Disney page.
*Disclosure: My family was invited on a magical vacation to the Disneyland Parks and the beaches of Orange County. My flight, our hotel, park passes, meal vouchers and other various perks were provided to me as part of this adventure. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.