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Shipwreck Park in Dana Point

Shipwreck Park in Dana Point

Shipwreck Park in Dana Point used to paint a ghostly scene with its tattered sails flapping in the wind and crow’s nest glowing at sunset — but, alas, the tattered sails are gone now.

The sandbox, bordered by authentic ship’s railings, used to be this little park’s main attraction. But parents will be happy to note that the wood chips are gone and it’s an entirely recycled rubber surface for play without sand, too.

I have literally been waiting months to get sunny skies photos of this park and finally gave up! It’s near the beach and chances are that if you go early in the day it might be foggy or marine layer. It’s just up the hill from Dana Point Harbor.

Directions to Shipwreck Park in Dana Point: On Golden Lantern near Dana Point Harbor. Take the Beach Cities exit from Interstate 5 and head up the hill from Dana Point Harbor on Pacific Coast Highway. Turn right on Golden Lantern and the park is ahead on the right past La Cresta. Again, this one is not named on the Google Maps and there is no official address other than: “Corner of Golden Lantern and La Cresta” – so use my MAP TO SHIPWRECK PARK IN DANA POINT


  • Close to the beach always gets high ratings from me! It was close to 100 degrees at our house and I felt like I needed a jacket with the cool breezes at this park.
  • The double slides are probably the most fun part of the playground now and also the pirate themed pretend play that can happen here
  • It is really easy to see the kids now from almost any angle
  • I loved the big black anchor at the park entrance!
  • Gates are installed on the Golden Lantern side entrances/exits – so you only have to watch the stairs and opening along La Cresta as a street exit.
  • You can sit along the concrete wall to supervise the children playing.
  • Two bench swings, one baby swing.
  • Seating for parents consists of a concrete picnic table with seating for about 4 near the swings — and another one near the main park entrance at the corner of La Cresta and Golden Lantern. Or you can perch along the concrete wall or find a spot on the two metal benches near the bow of the pirate ship.

Be Aware:

  • Park closes at sunset.
  • Please be aware of the neighbors surrounding the playground and keep sounds at a reasonable level as a common courtesy.
  • NO restrooms.
  • This playground used to have different levels, but it’s all flat now. Makes for less tripping hazards, but also less natural places to climb. (See photo archive of the old playground at the end of the post!)
  • They’ve put starfish stoppers on the concrete to stop skateboarders.
  • Close to two busy streets. You get the feeling you’re protected because of the two gates and the line of palm trees, but if your kids are sneaky & small they can climb through the planter and onto the sidewalk. Also, watch the main entrance with the stairs as that’s the only spot with no gate.

Here is what the gates look like:

  • I am assuming this gate and ramp accommodates wheel chairs? And the whole play surface is flat, so it could be a fun place to bring grandparents or friends? Unfortunately, the play structure itself is not accessible.


Parks Nearby Shipwreck Park in Dana Point:

Photo archive of OLD playground (pre-2022)

Originally published in September 2010.