One of the best things about the holidays (besides Santa swag) is the majesty and magic of witnessing an incredible light show. And Dana Point in Orange County, hosted by The Resorts of Dana Point, delivers big in this category with the annual Dana Point IlluminOcean.
Like the incredible holiday lights of Rockefeller Center in New York or Louisville, Kentucky’s underground light show, Dana Point is creating waves of excitement in Southern California this holiday season by showcasing 40 nights of holiday lights. On November 26, the OC Dana Point Harbor transforms into a festive village to mingle and jingle, surrounded with over 500,000 LED lights that are shaped into 22 ocean-themed sculptures. Imagine a towering 50-foot GlowMotion tree or walking through the belly of a 50-foot whale! (Jonah has nothing on you!)
It’s glowing and golden—perfect for kids and the kid at heart. Really, who doesn’t love to see holiday lights?
IlluminOcean runs from November 26 – January 4 and is free of charge, Fri-Sat 5 – 11 pm; Sun – Thurs 5 – 10 pm.
Other Things to Do in Dana Point
Whale Watching or Wine Tasting – Dana Wharf boat tour company delivers all kinds of fun out on the ocean, from sunset wine tasting cruises to whale watching.
Spa Splurge – Dana Point is flush with luxury hotel spas for a little TLC. Our favorites are Spa Gaucin at St. Regis Monarch Beach (try the 2-hour signature Costa del Sol treatment) or Ritz Carlton’s spa (try the Ultimate Ashiatsu, a massage via two pairs of feet!).
What’s SUP? – Whether a pro paddleboarder or just curious to try it out for the first time, Westwind Sailings offers paddleboarding excursions in the harbor for both beginners and experienced.
Where to Stay
Dana Point has a bit of something for everyone’s price range. On the luxury end, head to the Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis ($450 average room rate). Access to the private Monarch Beach with beach/towel attendants was our favorite amenity at the St. Regis.
For more budget-friendly rooms at roughly ($130-160 per night), yet still clean and classy with ocean views, try Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort (room pictured above) or the DoubleTree Doheny Beach with a cool rooftop bar for sunset drinks!
Find additional travel tips and ideas for Dana Point at mydanapoint.com.
Lanee Lee is a Los Angeles based writer inflicted with irreversible wanderlust and an unquenchable thirst for craft cocktails, cuisine, culture and high-octane thrills. She also co-founder of the award-winning VoyageVixens.com travel blog. You can follow her next adventure on Twitter @laneelee1 and Instagram @laneelee.