About Doheny State Beach

Picnic Area 3

Picnic Area 3

As California’s first state beach, Doheny covers 62 acres of scenic oceanfront.  Located in picturesque Orange County, this beach becons to all those seeking sun, sand and surf.

Doheny State Beach enjoys mild weather year round, with generally fine air quality and coastal breezes.  Average summer temperatures range in the high 70s (July-Nov), winter ushers in some fog and slightly cooler mid 60-degree weather (Jan-Mar) and the Spring brings beautiful sunrises and slightly warmer temps and breezes (April-June).

Doheny State Beach takes its name from oilman Edward L. Doheny.  In 1892 Doheny was an unsuccessful silver miner living in downtown Los Angeles.  He noticed an old wagon hauling brea-the Spanish word for pitch-and realized its potential as a cheap substitute for coal.

In 1893 he developed the first oil well at the La Brea Tar Pits.  Doheny created a vast oil empire in Southern California and Mexico.  In 1935 he donated 31 acres of prime beachfront to the State.

Dana Point became home to surfing legends like surfboard maker Hobie Alter and Endless Summer filmmaker Bruce Brown.  As a surf spot memorialized in the Beach Boys’ hit Surfin’ USA, Doheny’s beach enjoyed spectacular pipelines and point breaks until the Dana Point harbor breakwater was built in 1966.  During the summer, Doheny surf still breaks consistently.  The area known as Boneyard is a great spot to learn to surf and many young locals enjoy the Surf Summer Camps held there.

The park’s four sensitive wetland/riparian plant ecosystems are coastal brackish marsh, southern will scrub, southern sycamore riparian woodland, and mule fat scrub.  The park provides habitat and nesting ground to such birds as black-crowned night herons, ruby-crowned kinglets and snowy egrets, while black-bellied plovers and sanderlings dart across the sand.  Doheny enjoys migratory visits from whales offshore and monarch butterflies in season.  Marine life includes grunion, halibut and stingrays, while garibaldi and common dolphin also swim beneath the waves.

Junior Ranger and Interpretive programs are available for children Monday through Friday.  Natural history and environmental programs are offered weekly each summer in the Campfire Center.  Annual Grunion Night and Halloween Haunt events are held in fall and spring.  Gray Whale season is November through April as the Gray whale migrates from the Arctic down to their breeding grounds in Mexico and then return.  Humpback whales migrate in the Spring and the world’s largest mammal, the Blue Whale enjoys summering in the Dana Point Waters.

Doheny State Beach
Doheny State Beach, with over a mile of sandy beach and some of the warmest water in California, was voted OC’s “best camping site” for 14 consecutive years.  Camping is available with 122 campsites, including 3 beach front sites with fire rings, picnic tables and hot showers. A new Group camp site can accommodate up to 40 campers.  Make reservations at (800) 444-7275 or at www.parks.ca.gov.

A rocky area at the beach’s western end attracts divers and anglers.  During low tide, visitors may explore tide pools.  Volleyball, swimming, sunbathing, kayaking, paddle boarding and windsurfing are popular, while surfing is restricted to the day use beach north of San Juan Creek.  If you forgot your chair or need a surfboard or bicycle, Wheel Fun Rentals has what you need.  They are open in the winter on weekends and holidays only, and everyday during spring break and summer (949) 496-7433 or (805) 650-7770  http://wheelfunrentals.com/Locations/Dana-Point.  They also do team building events and parties.

Doheny provides a five-acre landscaped picnic area with plenty of picnic tables, barbecue grills and parking. There are public picnic areas that are first come first served, and then there are areas that can be reserved through DSB for groups/parties. You may bring in your own food, but all catering must be through Doheny State Beach’s exclusive caterers, Doheny Food Company (info@dohenyfoodco.com) . Outside vendors may not drop off food or equipment. Accessible campsites, picnic sites, restrooms and showers are available with nearby parking. The Campfire Center is also accessible. A wooden boardwalk extends from near the north picnic area about halfway across the beach. Call (949) 496-6162 to reserve a beach wheelchair.

Doheny provides a five-acre landscaped picnic area with plenty of picnic tables, barbecue grills and parking.  There are public picnic areas that are first come first served, and then there are areas that can be reserved through DSB for groups/parties.  You may bring in your own food, but all catering must be through Doheny State Beach’s exclusive caterers, Doheny Food Company (info@dohenyfoodco.com) .  Outside vendors may not drop off food or equipment.  Accessible campsites, picnic sites, restrooms and showers are available with nearby parking.  The Campfire Center is also accessible.  A wooden boardwalk extends from near the north picnic area about halfway across the beach.  Call (949) 496-6162 to reserve a beach wheelchair.