According to many boat operators and tour guides, the season for whale watching never truly ends on the coast of California. There is one time during the year, however, when people can really explore the sea, the wonders of the whales, and everything else that Dana Point has to offer. This special time is known as the Festival of Whales, which takes place every year for a couple weekends in the month of March. One of the highlights of the festival is whale watching excursions. Guests are invited to see for themselves why the area of Dana Point is considered to be the “Whale Capital of the World.”
The Original Two-Hour Whale Watching Trip offered by Dana Wharf Watching and More is one of the main attractions of the Festival of Whales. It has been rated number one by Dana Point Time for five consecutive years. Certified naturalists and expert captains provide information on every excursion, offering insights in the movements of the whales during their migration. Dana Wharf, the originator of whale watching in Orange County, is still a family owned and operated business. Each trip is different, offering a new adventure just of the coast of Dana Point, and children often have the chance to meet the Captain. Excursions leave from the wharf each hour, on the hour, starting at eight in the morning until four in the afternoon during the Festival of Whales. Each trips lasts around two hours.
There is also plenty of fun food to enjoy during the Dana Point Festival of Whales. Each day of the festival offers something different. Guests can enjoy a pizza party, pancake breakfast, a hotdog and hamburger barbecue, other barbecue specialties and much more. The festival also hosts an annual clam chowder cook-off each year, allowing visitors and locals alike to try an array of delicious chowders made by local organizations and restaurants. There is also a Spirits Garden and a Beer and Wine Garden for those over the age of twenty-one, as well as a variety of game booths for both children and adults to enjoy.
The Festival of Whales at Dana Point also features much more than whale watching and food. Art in the Park offers local artists and students a chance to display their work for everyone to see. There is also live entertainment throughout the day. The Dana Point Fine Arts Association Show and Sale is an art show and art sale during the festival along the Harbor Boardwalk. The Harbor Music Series presents several different sounds and styles of music. Many other art related events take place during the festival weekends as well.
The Whale of a Rubber Ducky Derby is a fun and interesting event at the Festival of Whales. The race is a twist on a traditional Rubber Ducky Race, and is held one afternoon during the festival. Also held one day during the festival in Dana Point is the Street Fair at La Plaza Park. More than seventy vendors offer a variety of goods for purchase. Guests can also enjoy food trucks, music, chances to win prizes, a pet costume contest, a kiddie area, and much more. (website)