JC Beans: Bobby’s been going to this quaint little coffee house (almost) his whole life! Locals love this place - and even though a Starbucks moved in next door, it’s continued to thrive. Grab a book, a chai tea and a scone, and you’ve got the makings of a lovely morning! (@jc_beanscoffee)
Bobby’s pick: Cappuccino
Alli’s pick: Almond Milk Vanilla Chai Tea Latte
Bear Coast Coffee: This is their second and newest location (original is in San Clemente), and it’s a beauty!! Friendly baristas, delicious breakfast items (we dream about the Almond Butter Honey Toast!), and of course, top-notch coffee. What more could you want?! (@bearcoastcoffee)
Bobby’s pick: Black Coffee
Alli’s pick: Oat Milk Latte
Stacks Pancake House: The Aloha vibes are strong at this tasty breakfast spot, most famous for their (devilishly good) Banana Macadamia Nut Pancakes. It’s a melting pot of flavor - whether you’re going for a Hawaiian influenced dish like Loco Moco, Japanese Fried Rice Omelet, or a traditional Eggs Benedict… they have it all! And it’s all GOOD. (@stackspancake)
Bobby’s pick: Loco Moco
Alli’s pick: Captain Crunch Peanut Butter French Toast (YOLO!)
Coffee Importers: Some people come here for the coffee, we come here for the delicious bagel specialties and fresh juice! Located in the Dana Point Harbor, this laid-back family-run shop has been a favorite since the 80’s… and it’s not going anywhere.
Our picks: The best thing on the menu is the California Bagel. (you’re welcome)
Craft House: This sleek, new restaurant has quickly become a local staple in Dana Point, and it’s easy to see why. While their night scene is awesome, we especially love coming to The Craft House for their Sunday brunch! (Two words: Bottomless Bubbly) (@eatatcrafthouse)
Bobby’s pick: Eggs Benedict
Alli’s pick: Avocado Toast
Bobby’s pick: the “Richard”
Alli’s pick: Feta Avocado Scramble
The Shwack: This chill little burger shop has been a favorite of ours since we were dating! It’s the perfect post-surf meal or casual dinner spot with friends. Whatever you do, don’t forget the Shwack Spuds. (@theshwack)
Bobby’s pick: The Shwack Burger (add bacon + a fried egg)
Alli’s pick: Low Tide Turkey Burger (with avocado)
Coastal Kitchen: Dana Point has really stepped up their foodie game - and we think Coastal Kitchen is one of their best new establishments! They have a BOMB happy hour (M-F, 3-6pm!), and their french fries are so good, Alli would drive the 30 minutes from Costa Mesa just for those! (@coastalkitchendanapoint)
Bobby’s pick: Cuban Sandwich
Alli’s pick: Wild Alaskan Halibut (with a side of fries. Duh.)
Bobby’s pick: Bourbon-Chipotle BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Alli’s pick: Charred Brussel Sprouts or Grilled Chicken & Poblano-Honey Pesto Flatbread!
Wind & Sea: This waterfront restaurant has a special place in our hearts. (Fun fact: Bobby worked here when he was in high school!) While it could use a little updating, don’t let that deter you from having one of the best mai tai’s you’ll ever have. (They’re strong, so be forewarned!!) Happy hour is M-F, 4-7pm, so grab a seat outside, order a round of Mai Tai’s and watch the sun set over the water…. You’ll think you’re in Hawaii! (@windandsearestaurant)
Our picks: The Mai Tai’s!
Stillwater: Another fun fact (you’re learning all about us on this guide!!): We had our first date here! Stillwater has live music, craft cocktails, and an extensive dinner menu. We tend to come for the music, drinks, and occasional dancing… it’s the place to be on a Saturday night! (@stillwaterdp)
Bobby’s pick: Doc Brown’s Old Fashion
Alli’s pick: Mr. C’s Spritzer
180blũ: It may be on the pricier end, but you simply can’t beat the views and the ambiance at 180blũ. Overlooking Salt Creek Beach, it’s the ideal spot to sip on a cocktail and soak in the cool, ocean air. (Oh, and they have a seperate pet menu too!)
Bobby’s pick: Manhattan
Alli’s pick: Cucumber Lemon Margarita
Blue Lantern Inn: One of the best views in Dana Point, the Blue Lantern Inn is a boutique hotel that sits right above the harbor. Waking up every morning to the crashing waves is one of our favorite ways to start our day. The Blue Lantern Inn has a blend of resort luxuries (an incredible breakfast) and B&B type amenities (wine and hors d’oeuvres in the afternoon). If you want a peaceful getaway, this is a hidden gem. (@bluelanterninn)
Monarch Beach Resort: Formerly the St. Regis, the Monarch Beach Resort is spacious, luxurious, and downright grand. It’s a little off-the-beaten-path, but the amenities and overall experience make it so that you won’t want to leave! Guests also get access to the Monarch Bay Club - their own private beach and dining experience. And the cutest little tram will take you there! (@monarchbresort)
Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa: Prime location and breathtaking views make this one of our favorite places to stay in Dana Point. It’s walking distance to shopping, dining, the harbor, and Doheny State Beach! (@lagunacliffs)
The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel: Definitely the most iconic (and expensive) place to stay, and it’s well-worth the extra $$$ if you can afford it. The Mediterranean style architecture, countless amenities, and stunning views of the water make it a dreamy and absolutely spoiling place to stay. (Oh, and they’re extremely dog friendly, too!) (@rclagunaniguel)
Walk the harbor: No matter what time of year, one of our favorite Dana Point activities is walking the harbor. At Christmas time it’s filled with light displays and decorations, and in the summertime you can’t beat the warm weather and views!
Yoga in the Park: Join hundreds of yogis in the beautiful Lantern Bay Park for an oceanfront yoga class! Classes are everyday at 10am, and suggested donation is $8. Just BYO mat and a water bottle - and get ready to make some new friends!
Weekend festivals: It seems as though every weekend there’s a new event or festival happening in Dana Point. From music festivals to cycling races to Oktoberfest, chances are you’ll stumble on something fun! Check out the local events calendar here.
Dana Point is about as dog friendly as they get! Grab drinks with your pup in tow at the Boneyard Beach Cafe, take them on a walk through the San Juan Creek Trail, or splurge on the pet menu at 180blũ… the options are endless here!