A unique experience: The Dana Point Festival of Whales


If you love whales and Dana Point whale watching, then you must not miss the Dana Point whale festival. It happens for 2 weekends in March; so make sure you get reservations for staying there well ahead of time. This past festival saw many different events and the festival grows every year. The festival has been going for 46 years now and the next one will make it number 47. A small sampling of the events from last year’s festival are below.

The Dana Point whale parade

The whole 2-weekend event starts off with a parade in the morning. It’s really a nice parade and a favorite local event. The people are very friendly and happy, and it’s a good way to start the weekend.

Dana Point Fine Arts Association Show & Sale

Fine arts from many award-winning local artists were on display along the boardwalk. Many of the pieces were available for purchase.

Cardboard Classic Dinghy Dash & Expo

What’s more fun than a cardboard boat race! There is also a boat building contest where all the materials will be supplied. Bring your team of 5 or less and compete in the dingy dash.

Sand sculpture competition

The sand sculpture competition brings artists and amateurs from all over the area. There are some of the most amazing displays of sand workmanship. All the sand sculptures are a nautical and whale theme.

Wyland Art Lessons in the Wild

Wyland will lecture and show you how he has become famous for marine wildlife paintings and sculpture. They are some of the most wondrous pieces of art, so come and learn how you try your hand at it yourself.

Marine Mammal Lecture Series

Invited marine biologists and other panel members will offer a unique experience to learn about whales and dolphins. It is an up to date and fascinating talk on marine life.

Ocean Institute Education Center

Learn about whales and the life and times of these magnificent mammals. Learn about whale songs and family life. Learn about conservation and how the environment is helping or damaging them.

Annual Clam Chowder Cook-Off

Bring your love of clam chowder and experience some of the best clam chowders on the west coast from local restaurants and gourmands, and vote for a winner.

Captain Dave’s Under Sea Eco Carnival

Go to the carnival and see Capt. Dave’s underwater simulation and see what it’s like to experience the whales and dolphins up close as if you were one of them. Then go explore the carnival and be a kid for a day.

Harbor Music Series

The Dana Point Harbor Association presents a music series that you can sit back and enjoy.

Capt. Dave’s Presents ‘Entangled Whales: What Can We Do?’

Captain Dave Anderson is well known in the area and last year lectured on what we can do to help entangled whales. He is always an entertaining speaker, and we look forward to what he might be talking about this year.

Mobile Marine Mammal Museum

Visit the museum to see many artifacts of marine life. There will be people on hand to help you gain a true understanding of whales and dolphins.

Whale of a Concert BBQ and Spirits Garden

This year there was a great BBQ and drinks at the beach. Bring a blanket and come hang out for the day. Eat, drink, and listen to the music.

Whale Watching

Captain Dave’s dolphin and whale watching safari is one of the highest rated whale watching experience anywhere. Captain Dave is extremely knowledgeable and has been running whale watching cruises for over 20 years.

Whale Watch from Land

You can go to the bluffs and also watch for whales, there are many people and lots of new friends you can meet there.

The Dana Point whale festival is a great place to go and celebrate all things whale. A fun time is had by all, but also a serious subject is learned with many different lectures. It is one the many truly fun travel destinations you should go to. It is definitely somewhere you should take your family to spend some time. I know we look forward to it again this march; we would not miss it for the world.