Dana Point California City Guide
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Dana Point City Limits
City Overview: 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.
Top City Highlights
- Multiple incredible beaches
- Great outdoor areas
- Diverse population
- Impressive schools
- Seaside location
- High property values
Location: Dana Point consists of about 29.5 square miles within Orange County’s southern area. Just 6.5 square miles of the city is land, while a whopping 22.98 square miles are water.
As a part of Orange County, Dana Point is situated about 65 miles northwest of San Diego and 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles, California.
One of the city’s neighbors is San Clemente, which is southeast of Dana Point. Meanwhile, San Juan Capistrano lies to the northeast. Laguna Beach is located just northwest of the city, and Laguna Niguel is a short distance north of Dana Point.
Commutes: 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.
Culture: 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.
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.
Address: 33282 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, California 92629
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.
Address: 33282 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, California 92629
Chamber of Commerce
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.
Address: 34163 Pacific Coast Hwy, Suite 100, Dana Point, CA 92629
Overview: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Overview: 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.
Single Family Homes
While smaller homes are in short supply in Dana Point, 1 bedroom apartments have an average price point of $445K. Meanwhile, 2 bedroom family homes go for around $820K on average.
3 bedroom homes are more commonplace in the city and have an estimated average price point of $1,160,000. Likewise, 4 bedroom homes average at $1,680,000.
As anticipated, newly constructed properties in Dana Point generally range over $1 million.
1-2 bedroom newly constructed residences can vary from $650K to $1.2 million. Larger recently built 3 bedroom properties commonly start around $900K and may stretch to $1.3 million. Even larger 4 bedroom properties can be priced around a staggering $3 million.
1 bedroom condominiums can be priced around $500K. Meanwhile, 2 bedroom condos in Dana Point are more numerous and vary from $650K-$1 million.
3 bedroom condos can be expected to cost between $675K-$1.2 million. Generally speaking, the closer the condo is to Dana Point’s shores, the higher the price.
On average, residents of Dana Point pay over $2,000 in rent monthly.
The average cost of a studio apartment in Dana Point is $1,096 per month. 1 bedroom apartments average at $2,080 per month, whereas 2 bedrooms cost an average of $2,150 per month. More spacious 3 bedroom options have an average price of $3,150.
Sleek condominiums, exclusive estates, and grand homes can be found along Dana Point’s shores. These expensive residences have ocean views and are considered the most expensive properties in the city.
Seaside living varies from $1 million for a 1-2 bedroom property to $7 million for a 3 bedroom residence.
Homes for Sale
If you’re interested in buying a home in this area, we invite you to search homes for sale on our website. You are also welcome to check out the following resources listed below. If you would rather speak directly to a professional and licensed Realtor, feel free to contact Morales Team.
List of Dana Point Real Estate Listings by Property Types
List of Dana Point Real Estate Listings by Popular Searches
If you’re interested in selling your own property, contact Morales Team, your go-to local real estate company, by clicking the link below:
Overview: 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.
Things to Do
Overview: 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.
Retail & Entertainment
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.
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.
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.
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.
Overview: 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.