Highway 1 Drive: Beautiful Dana Point, CA
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.
Here are our recommendations on how to make the most of your stop in Dana Point on Highway 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway.
1. Choose a reliable ride
A comfortable, reliable car will truly make all the difference for your excursion. If you have to rent, choose a car that you’ll be comfortable spending several hours in. Of course, you’ll be spending most of your time taking in the view, so a car with windows that all passengers can easily see outside of is a must.
Monarch Beach Resort, located on Highway 1, offers a ride and drive experience for guests of the resort. Through this program, guests can borrow a luxurious Cadillac CT6 Sedan for up to 3 hours to cruise along Highway 1.
2. Have an itinerary…
There’s so much to see and do along Highway 1 in Dana Point that the options can feel overwhelming. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at a few of the destinations our staff recommend:
If you want to take in the scenery:
Doheny State Beach One of California’s most popular state beaches, Doheny State Beach offers many different attractions. Picnic seaside, watch surfers hit the waves, or explore the aquariums at the nearby visitor center.
Dana Point Harbor There’s a reason Dana Point Harbor is known as the “Whale Capital of the West.” This Harbor is packed with shopping and dining options, but the highlight of your stop will be catching glimpses of the migratory gray whales that frequent the area.
Dana Point Sea Caves During low tide at the Dana Point Sea Caves, visitors can hike along the rocky beach to explore two sea caves. Enter the beach west of the Ocean Institute by climbing down the stairway. Head north for about a half mile until you reach the caves. The larger cave is called Pirate’s Cave—although it’s doubtful that pirates ever used this cave.
If you have an appetite:
Agostino’s Italian Restaurant For years, Agostino’s has been a favorite of visitors and locals alike. Enjoy live music while dining on some of the best Italian food and wine in the area.
Sunsets Bar Across from Doheny State Park, Sunsets Bar offers “aloha-style” food and drinks. Sip on a cool, tropical cocktail while taking in the gorgeous view.
La Sirena Grill A scenic drive up Highway 1 will take you to La Sirena Grill, a family-owned eatery that offers Mexican fare made with organic produce and all-natural meats.
3. … but be flexible.
It’s always good to have a few ideas of what you’d like to see or do before your road trip. But for anyone driving the 1, it’s important to be flexible. If a particular view catches your eye, pull over and take it in. Every memorable trip has those moments you can’t plan for, like a hidden-gem restaurant or a jaw-dropping sunset.