Paddle, Play and Eat at Dana Point Harbor
Dana Point Harbor is the ultimate destination for any person who likes a good adventure, soaking up the sun, good eats and a whole lot of shopping. I have lived in Orange County for over 40 years and the harbor has become a favorite place to bring my family for making long lasting memories. Recently we purchased two new inflatable paddle boards from Costco and the next day we took them straight to the Harbor to try them out. For anyone who likes to paddle board but doesn’t own one there is a surf shop called Killer Dana Surf Shop that rents out paddle boards, surf boards, body boards, skim boards, wetsuits, beach chairs, and beach umbrellas. You can find pricing for all of those items here. The shop is not far at all from the Harbor.
The best part about paddle boarding in The Dan Point Harbor is that it is perfect for beginners! You launch at baby beach which is waveless, and get your sea legs, and then you venture out into the Harbor to get an up close and personal view of all the activity. We love floating through the channel because we see all of the sea lions sunbathing on the docks. They are so loud and funny. Keep in mind that since there are boats constantly coming through the channel there will be a lot of wakes. Just get down low on your board and that should stabilize you.
Once you are done paddle boarding you can grab a bite to eat at one of the 15+ restaurants. Recently I took a friend on a frate (a friend date) and we dined at Proud Mary’s for the first time! We have both been to the Harbor numerous times and never dined there so we were super excited to try something new. I had no idea what an iconic restaurant it was either. Proud Mary’s was built in 1977 but was unfortunately destroyed in a fire on December 29, 2007. After a successful rebuild they now have a patio with a spacios dining area twice the size of the previous patio and an interior with breathtaking views.
We sat right by the window and ordered some drinks. Can I just tell you how much fun that was? We set our drinks on the ledge and everyone who walked by was so friendly and playful and we had a blast bantering back and forth with everyone. I think we even convinced one couple to come in and have lunch after they walked past us!
On the left is a bloody Mary (soooooooo good) and on the right is Gin cocktail. Both drinks were potent and perfect! (My PSA for the day is don’t drink before paddle boarding, duh)!
Their menu is plentiful and they have a great selection of seafood choices, vegetarian choices and south of the border options for lunch. They even serve breakfast and I hear their breakfast burritos are the talk of the town! For those with kids there is a full kids menu with breakfast and lunch choices. You can even cater a party as they have an expansive banquet menu.
We each started off with a hearty bowl of clam chowder. They really hot the mark with this because the soup was the perfect consistency and was packed with plenty of soft chewy clams.Yum! No too thick and not too thin. I could have eaten two bowls of this but needed to save room for my main entree.
I chose a tuna sandwich with sprouts, tomato, avocado and cheese on squaw bread. It came with a side of crispy fries and pickle spears. I really appreciated that the tuna was not drenched in mayo and it paired so well with the sweet molasses taste of the bread.
My friend had a mahi-mahi sandwich on a french roll with sprouts and lettuce, also served with crispy fries. We were both so full we only ate half our sandwiches and took the other half home for our husbands. You definitely get some good sized portions at Proud Mary’s.
After our lunch we strolled around the harbor and watched the sea lions and the pelicans play and chatted with the locals. It was such a great day! We even witnessed harbor patrol help a capsized catamaran.
For a list of other restaurants in the Harbor click here. If you are looking to purchase some amazing smoked salmon or fresh lobster check out Jon’s Fish Market. For dessert I recommend trying the ice cream at scoop deck!
For more information on Proud Mary’s find them on Facebook.