Dana Point California City Guide

Researching Dana Point city? Here is a complete guide with the most up to date information about city of Dana Point CA!

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Kristina Morales
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Overview

ABOUT Dana Point

Known for its seaside location, popular beaches, and family-friendly attractions, Dana Point is a southern California city with a lot to offer.

Dana Point’s name was inspired by the headland of the city, which was named in honor of historic figure Richard Henry Dana, Jr. The land was originally a frequented trade port; however, the trade industry in Dana Point peaked during the 1830s.

Through the years, Dana Point’s harbor, which features restaurants, shops, and more, became one of the city’s main attractions. Additionally, the city’s rich surfing history continues to this day, and Dana Point is still widely considered to be an ideal surfing destination.

With a mild climate where temperatures typically stay around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, Dana Point is commonly listed among the best places to live throughout Orange County based on the city’s impressive public schools, varied venues, safe crime statistics, and other such important factors. The city attracts residents of all ages and has a considerably diverse population.

Dana Point has an estimated population of around 34,000, and 52% of residents are female, while 48% of residents are male.

76% of the population is White, and 16% of residents are Hispanic. 2% of Dana Point residents are Asian, 2% are African American, and 2% are biracial or multiracial.

32% of Dana Point’s residents have some college education or an associate’s degree, while 29% have a bachelor’s degree and another 20% have a master’s degree or above.

The poverty rate in Dana Point is about 7.7%, and the unemployment rate tracks around 4%. The median household income is $90K, and the estimated median individual income is $43K.

TOP Dana Point HIGHLIGHTS

Multiple Incredible Beaches
Great Outdoor Areas
Diverse Population
Family-oriented
Impressive Schools
Seaside location
High Property Values
Retiree-friendly

Climate

Weather
Weather

The climate in Dana Point is more temperate than most tourist destinations in California. The city enjoys pleasant weather all year long – with daytime temperatures that normally do not go above 84°F.

The warmest time of the year in Dana Point is from late August to early September when temperatures very rarely drop below 68°F at night.

Residents and tourists make the most out of the summer days by taking a whale-watching cruise, going for a morning stroll along the harbor, enjoying a weekend getaway filled with beach activities, or joining the vibrant festivals and exciting events.

Dana Point does receive some precipitation during the fall and winter, but usually only once or twice a month.

Natural Disasters
Natural Disasters

Although Dana Point’s earthquake index is lower than the state’s index of 21.80, the city’s index of 10.56 is still almost 5 times higher than the national index. This indicates residents should be wary of fault line activity.

At 29.96, Dana Point has a higher tornado index than the state’s index, which is 18.56. Based on recorded weather extremes in Dana Point and the surrounding area, thunderstorms and high winds are moderate concerns.

For additional reference, about 50% of recorded serious weather events associated with Dana Point were thunderstorms, with floods accounting for about 33% of events. Also, wildfires are known to occur in the area.

Commute

Commute Time

Dana Point Commute Time

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau
Commuter Transportation

Dana Point Commuter Travel Behavior

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau
Commute

The mean travel time to work for residents of Orange County is about 26 minutes, and similarly residents over 25 years old in Dana Point have a mean commute time of 25.6 minutes.

As a seaside city, Dana Point benefits from having Interstate 5 snake through its borders in addition to the Pacific Coast Highway. Considering that residents can conveniently access these roadways, travel along the Pacific coast and throughout Orange County’s southern areas are both relatively straightforward undertakings.

It takes about half an hour to reach Santa Ana from Dana Point, and Los Angeles is about an hour’s drive away from the city.

Crime Rate

Dana Point’s reported crime rate is lower than 36% of other cities and towns across the country. The violent crime rate per 1,000 residents here is 2.05, and the property crime rate is 15.03.

The odds of being a victim of a violent crime in Dana Point are 1 in 489, and the chances of being targeted for a property crime are 1 in 67. Both estimates are more favorable than statewide averages.

The city’s reported crime per square mile rate is 85, which is the same as California’s overall average. For reference, southern areas of the city tend to have higher crime rates than northwestern neighborhoods.

Local Government

Dana Point operates under a council-manager system of government. Registered voters in the city elect 5 council members to search for staggered 4-year terms of office with a term limit of 2 years for each official who is elected.

The city council enacts city ordinances, votes on the city budget, and reviews city contracts and other municipality policies and responsibilities.

Dana Point Chamber of Commerce is focused on representing local businesses, encouraging the prosperity of its members, and promoting Dana Point’s economic vitality.

The chamber emphasizes community involvement, improvement, and growth through hosting regular networking events, creating educational opportunities, and offering substantial benefits for its members.

The city council of Dana Point annually votes for the mayor and mayor pro tem among the council’s current members. The mayor serves for a 1 year term of office.

Dana Point’s elected mayor is responsible for presiding over monthly city council meetings and oversees the execution of city contracts, resolutions, and ordinances alongside the elected mayor pro tem.

city Limits

Demographic

Dana Point Population 2020

The population in Dana Point is estimated at around 34,000. The median age of residents here is 49 years.

52% of residents are female, while 48% of residents are male. The city’s population has grown by 1.27% since 2010 and is increasing at an annual rate of 0.18%.

Residents aged 35 to 54 years comprise an estimated 28% of the population. Those who are 65 years old and over, meanwhile, make up 22%.

The population density in Dana Point is 5,151 people per square mile.

Population Quick Stats
Total Population
Annual Growth Rate
10 Year Growth Rate
Female Population
Male Population
Median Age

Dana Point Population Over Time

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Population by year

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Population by Sex

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Population by Age and Sex

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Diversity 2020

The majority of residents in Dana Point are White at 82.8%. 8.6% of the population is composed of other races alone, while 3.6% of residents are biracial. Other ethnic groups in the city include Irish, French, English, German, and Italian.

83% of the city’s residents speak only English, and 10.3% speak Spanish. 1.7% of the area’s population speaks other Indo-European languages.

3 Largest Ethnic Groups
3 Most Common Languages

Dana Point Race & Ethnic Diversity

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Ancestry (Top 10)

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Languages Spoken (Top 10)

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Foreign born population

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Education

Dana Point Education 2020

Dana Point is home to three highly-rated public elementary schools, one public middle school, and two public high schools.

More than 5,000 or 20% of the adults aged 25 and over have graduate degrees. 94.2% are high school graduates, 50.6% have a bachelor’s degree, and another 10% have an associate degree. 23% of adults are college graduates.

Nearly 22,000 or 81% of the adults in the city have experiences pursuing a broad academic course of study.

Education Quick Stats
Elementary Schools
Middle Schools
High Schools
High School Graduates
Bachelor’s Degree Graduates
Graduate or Professional Degree

Dana Point Educational Attainment of Adults (25 years and over)

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Level of Education

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

SCHOOLS IN Dana Point

Capistrano Unified School District was formed back in 1965 and is currently Orange County’s 2nd largest school district and the 8th largest in California on the whole. This district sees to the education of about 54,000 students and includes 33 elementary campuses, 2 K-8 campuses, 10 middle schools, 6 9-12 campuses, and 5 charter schools.

Among the district’s schools, 40 campuses are California Distinguished Schools, 11 are National Blue Ribbon Schools, and 19 campuses are Golden Bell award winners. Each of Capistrano Unified School District’s high school campuses are ranked among the top 1000 US high schools listed by U.S. News & World Report. The average graduation rate is 97.2%, which far exceeds California’s 85.1% average.

Specifically in Dana Point, Palisades Elementary, R. H. Dana Elementary, R. H. Dana Exceptional Needs Facility, and Dana Hills High School are consistently considered impressive campuses that yield excellent results.

Public schools aside, Dana Point also contains multiple great private campuses.

Schools

ELEMENTARY
Palisades Elementary School is a local K-5 campus with about 510 students and a 27 to 1 student-teacher ratio. R. H. Dana Elementary, or Richard Henry Elementary, also has a 27 to 1 student-teacher ratio and about 240 students. R. H. Dana Exceptional Needs Facility is another K-6 campus with a diverse student population and well-rated teachers.
MIDDLE
Marco Forster Middle School is an impressive campus a short distance north of Dana Point with about 1,420 students enrolled in grades 6-8. Shorecliffs Middle School is a well-rated 6-8 campus northeast of the city with quality teachers and a diverse population. California Connections Academy has an economically and ethnically diverse population, highly rated teachers, and solid academic standing.
HIGH
Dana Hills High School opened in 1972 and is one of the oldest high schools in the surrounding areas. This 9-12 campus has about 2,673 students and an average graduation rate of 96%. San Clemente High School is a short drive southeast of Dana Point. This campus has about 3,000 students, impressive curriculum, educated teachers, and excellent college prep.
PRIVATE
The Parish School at St. Edward the Confessor is a local Catholic pre-school-8 campus with an 11 to 1 student-teacher ratio. Monarch Bay Montessori Academy is a pre-kindergarten-4 private campus with a 20 to 1 student-teacher ratio. Capo Beach Christian School is a Christian pre-kindergarten-8 campus and a low student-teacher ratio of 12 to 1.

Real Estate

Dana Point Housing 2020

The estimated median property value is an impressive $1,013,781, which places Dana Point’s real estate market among the most expensive markets in both California and the United States as a whole.

3.5% of properties are valued under $123K. Another 4.8% of properties range between $123K-$370K. 2.7% of real estate varies from $370K-$493K, and 7% of properties are valued between $493K-$617K. 27.5% of real estate is worth between $617K-$925K, and about 26% of properties vary from $925K-$1.2 million. Another 28.2% of Dana Point’s properties are worth over $1.2 million.

Between December 2009 and December 2019 specifically, Dana Point’s appreciation rates have been among the highest in the country as a whole. During this time period, real estate appreciated 52.88%, which breaks down into an average annual property appreciation rate of 4.34%. When compared to California appreciation rates, Dana Point is classed as about average.

Housing Quick Stats
Home Appreciation Rate
Median Home Value
Median Gross Rent
Home Ownership Rate
Tenant Occupied Rate

Dana Point Home Appreciation Rates

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Home Value

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Median Home Value

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Median Gross Rent

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Home Ownership

Dana Point Rent & Ownership

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Rent vs Owner Occupied by Household Type

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Household Type

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Occupied & Vacant Number of Homes and Apartments

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Property Taxes

Dana Point Property Taxes Range

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Homes for Sale

Of around 14,600 homes and apartments in the city, about 60% of residents own their houses, while 40% rent their properties. An estimated 15% of housing in Dana Point is classed as vacant.

Less than 1% of housing options were built in 1939 or previous years, and about 24% of residences were constructed between 1940-1969. The majority of Dana Point residences at 70% broke ground between 1970-1999, and about 6.4% of properties were built after the turn of the 21st century.

An estimated 53% of options are single family detached properties, and 13% are attached residences and condominiums. About 17% of residences are small apartment buildings, and another 17% of options are larger apartment complexes.

About 54% of properties in Dana Point have 3-4 bedrooms, and 2.3% of options have 5 or more bedrooms. Meanwhile, 30% of residences have 2 bedroom layouts, and about 12% of options have 1 bedroom.

Homes For Sale Quick Stats
Median Home Value

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Economy

Dana Point Economy 2020

A resident in Dana Point earns an average of $105,050 per year, which is higher than the US average by 73%. The median household income, meanwhile, is 45% higher than the US average at $97,519. The per capita income in the area is $61,281.

Overall, the unemployment rate in the city tracks at around 4%, and the poverty rate is 7.7%.

Employees in white-collar positions account for 88% of Dana Point’s workforce. The largest industries in Dana Point are professional and scientific services, healthcare and social assistance, and education.

Economy Quick Stats
Median Household Income
Per Capita Income
Average Salary
Unemployment Rate
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Income

Dana Point Median Household Income

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Per Capita Income

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Income Distribution

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Income Distribution by Gender in Common Jobs

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Income Distribution by Race and Ethnicity

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Employment

Dana Point Unemployment Rate

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Employment Distribution by Age

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Employment Industries

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Cost of Living

Dana Point’s overall cost of living tracks as being 31% higher than California’s average and 83% higher than the national average.

Real estate prices here rank as being 91% more expensive than the state’s average, and rentals are priced 40% higher than California’s reported average as well. Compared against the national average, housing costs in Dana Point are 253% higher.

Goods and services in Dana Point track as being 10% more costly than national numbers, while considered about as expensive as California’s average. Groceries are 16% higher than the U.S. average. Also, utility bills track as being 10% lower than the national average and 28% lower than California’s average.

Poverty

Dana Point Poverty By Age and Gender

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Dana Point Poverty By Race and Ethnicity

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Based on latest data from the US Census Bureau

Things to do

Dana Point is synonymous with pristine beaches, fun in the sun, and family-friendly locations. Surfers frequent Dana Point’s beaches like Salt Creek Beach and Doheny State Beach. Considering that the city’s southern outline is the Pacific Ocean, there are many seaside attractions. Additionally, there are a number of city parks further inland, in addition to Monarch Beach Golf Links and Salt Corridor Regional Park. Shopaholics can find Dana Point to be a downright dangerous city considering the many local retail options and multiple shopping malls within short driving distance. Dana Marina Plaza, Lantern Bay Village Shopping Center, and Killer Dana Surf Shop are only a handful of many retail options. As for art and culture, Dana Point combines enriching activities with breathtaking scenery. There are multiple annual festivals, local performances, and historic locations in the city’s borders. Plus, no matter the day or time, there are incredible places to grab a bite to eat or a drink in Dana Point.
Parks & Recreation
Salt Creek Beach is a surfer’s haven with grassy areas for picnics, and Strands Beach is another of Dana Point’s many stunning beaches. Meanwhile, Dana Point Nature Interpretive Center is a highly rated retreat from urban environments. Doheny State Park is another location well worth a visit, and golfers are welcome at Monarch Beach Golf Links.
Shopping
There are multiple local retail options, including Dana Marina Plaza, Lantern Bay Village Shopping Center, and Capistrano Valley Plaza Shopping Center. Dana Point is known for having many surf-centric shopping places, as seen today with Killer Dana Surf Shop and Hobie Surf Shop. Woody Hut, Golden Galleon Boutique, The Gift Chateau, and Camellia Boutique are a few other highly-rated options
Art & Culture
Dana Point Bluff Top Trail is a great place to take in beautiful sights alongside local history. Local events include the Festival of Whales in March, the Tall Ships Festival in September, and the Dana Point Grand Prix. The Dana Point Symphony is a 50-piece orchestra that performs classical concerts, and history buffs are welcome to explore Dana Point’s historic harbor.
Night Life
StillWater Spirits & Sounds is a prohibition-themed speakeasy. Another lively spot is Luxe Restaurant and World Famous Martini Bar, where the drinks are renowned. Longboard Rooftop Lounge has incredible views of the ocean and local beaches. Also, Pepi’s Sports Bar and Grill attracts sports fans from all over. Other hotspots include Bar Raya, The Monarch Beach Lobby Lounge, and Sunsets Bar.
Restaurants
Dana Point’s restaurants are highly-rated and known for having outstanding menus. Harbor Grill Restaurant is a local go-to for seafood, and Jack’s Restaurant has an artsy bistro environment. Coastal Kitchen serves New American entrees, and Luciana’s Ristorante makes Italian fare in a Tuscan villa. 180blu, Wind & Sea Restaurant, Harpoon Henry’s Seafood Restaurant, and Chart House are several other excellent eateries.
DANA POINT NEIGHBORHOODS

Dana Point is comprised of about 24 neighborhoods, including Harbor Pointe, Lantern District, Monarch Beach, Niguel Shores, Capistrano Beach, and more recognizable areas.

Western Dana Point neighborhoods like Monarch Beach stand out as having the highest cost of living in the city, which makes sense considering the neighborhoods’ favorable seaside locations. Here, the median real estate price is $1.65 million, which unsurprisingly is more expensive than about 92% of California neighborhoods and 98% of neighborhoods across the country.

Southern residential areas near the Ocean Institute and Downey State Beach are more affordable, considering that these neighborhoods have a median real estate price of just over $1 million.

Residential areas surrounding Capistrano Beach are generally considered to be the most affordable parts of Dana Point, seeing as the median real estate price here is $762K. Even so, this number is higher than 60% of California neighborhoods and about 78% of neighborhoods across the country.

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