Baby Beach in Dana Point Harbor is near The Ocean Institute. Google Maps calls this area “Dana Cove Park.”
Location: I get to Dana Point Harbor from all sorts of directions (Moulton to Golden Lantern, Crown Valley Parkway to Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), I-5 to PCH). Look at the map to see what makes the most sense for you. Taking the “Beach Cities” exit off Interstate 5 takes you right to the pedestrian bridge over PCH. Turn left onto Dana Point Harbor Drive and wind past Doheny Beach and the main shops at the Harbor. Keep driving past Golden Lantern and turn into the parking area right before Cove Road. (If you get to The Ocean Institute, you’ve gone too far.) MAP TO BABY BEACH IN DANA POINT HARBOR
Recommended by: Cory (her comments in italics)
- CALM water (very little movement, no waves)
- Lifeguard on duty during the summer
- Beach and grass areas are within a few yards of the two parking lots (not a long or steep haul with the kids and all your beach “goodies”)
- Free parking
- Right next to The Ocean Institute that has a cool “pirate ship” right there for all to see (The Ocean Institute is open to the public on the weekends.)
- The crowd was all moms, babies, families, and young kids.
- I love walking around this harbor!
- It’s in a harbor, so don’t expect a beautiful white sand beach and clear blue waters.
- Also, no food/drink or sundry options nearby, so BYO-everything.
- I think this rarely happens, but I know a family who visited this beach only to have the lifeguards close it around 11:30am due to water quality. (Lantern Bay Park might be a good Plan B if this happens.)
- This place gets busier as the day goes on, so arrive earlier for less hassle. (Picnic areas, especially, fill up early!)
- Remember, the weather at the beach can be very different than inland. Don’t be surprised to find fog or a chilly ocean breeze (although it’s a more protected area inside the harbor than on outside beaches).
- As you stand facing the water, you’ll see cones on the beach to your far left. This is where kayaks and paddle boards launch into the Harbor, so don’t put your beach blanket inside the cones.
- Pretty good parking availability (Dana Point Harbor has a parking map available in PDF for download. Baby Beach is marked on their map.)
- Nearby grassy area
- Picnic tables under a shade covering
- Restrooms were right next to the beach (between the picnic areas)
- HEAL THE BAY Beach Report Card is the best website to learn about water quality over time.
- OCBeachInfo.com (714-433-6400) for closures and warnings due to water quality issues.
- Official City of Dana Point website with links to the beaches
- Nearest public library branch: Dana Point Public Library