Aliso Laguna News | DP Harbor Celebrates Whale Watching Season


Known for the best whale watching experiences year round, Dana Point Harbor is gearing up to celebrate whale watching season with the 51st Annual Dana Point Whale Festival, March 5-6 . The festival honors California’s annual gray whale migration past Dana Point. The abundance of whales in these local waters has named Dana Point the “Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World”.®.”

The celebration weekend will kick off with the Whale Welcome Ceremony at the Ocean Institute on March 4 with music, food trucks, refreshments and educational activities. The iconic Festival of Whales Parade will begin at 10 a.m. on March 5 and travel from the island across the bridge and into the village of Dana Point Harbor. The weekend will be packed with events including whale watching tours, a Whales, Tails and Ales street fair, the Dana Point Fine Arts Association show, a concert on the water at Baby Beach and more. This year’s festival is dedicated to the memory of Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching founder Don Hansen (1934-2022).

New this year, Dana Point Harbor Partners commissioned artists Joel Dean Stockdill and Yustina Salnikova to build Fluke: a history of plastic, a life-size depiction of an adult gray whale’s tail, in the act of “fluking”, or raising its fin vertically above the surface in order to propel itself into the depths. The sculpture will be built from March 5 and will remain on display throughout the Festival, located on the lawn at the entrance to the port. The sculpture further highlights Dana Point Harbor Partners’ partnership with Stand Up to Trash. Single-use water bottles and trash collected by Stand Up to Trash volunteers will be used by the artists to create this piece, along with salvaged steel and damaged curbside trash cans.

“It’s a pleasure to showcase artists who use post-consumer materials to create art,” said Bryon Ward of Dana Point Harbor Partners and President of Burnham Ward Properties. “Our community values ​​the arts and environmentalism for our ocean and our beaches. This installation highlights our practice of sustainability as we revitalize the port in the years to come.

Experience the peak of whale watching season and enjoy Dana Point Harbor’s abundant and diverse marine life year-round. For more information and to view the full list of events, visit and

Dana Point Harbor invites you to enjoy fun, sun, ocean activities, delicious restaurants, shopping and more. From migrating gray whales that frequent the shoreline to breathtaking sunsets and harbor views, there’s seaside beauty and unforgettable adventure at Dana Point Harbor. For more information, visit or connect with us via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Dana Point Harbor Partners, LLC (DPHP), a collaboration created to operate and redevelop the Port of Dana Point under a P-3 partnership with Orange County, is comprised of three “best of their category”, each specializing in a unique type of product. Burnham Ward Properties is responsible for managing the activities of the commercial core of the harbour, comprising retail, restaurants, offices and other landside buildings, as well as all parkland landscape areas. Bellwether Financial Group runs marina operations, including landing stages, boater facilities, dry boat storage, day boat parking and boat launches. RD Olson Development is leading the hotel and hospitality redevelopment components of the port.

The partnership is developing a master plan that connects the landside and the waterside of the port to become a singular and cohesive waterfront experience. United by a love of the water and dedicated to preserving the historic significance of Dana Point Harbor, the partnership applies all respective areas of expertise to ensure that every element of the harbor will be carefully designed, redeveloped and managed to be reinvented into a world-class destination. with historical roots and local charm.

Christine Barnes
PR & Event Marketing Manager
Photo credit: Dana Point Port Partners

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