Known as the “Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World,” Dana Point is excited to celebrate the annual migration of California gray whales along our coast. The annual Festival of Whales Parade will kick off the two-weekend celebration. For the first time, it will travel through the Harbor.
Beginning at 10 AM on Saturday, March 7th, the parade will now step-off at Dana Drive and Island Way. It will travel north, eventually turning right onto Dana Point Harbor Drive and finally ending at Golden Lantern. In years past, the parade route was along Pacific Coast Highway.
If you’re planning to watch the annual parade, the best viewing areas are located along Island Way and Dana Point Harbor Drive (between Island Way and Golden Lantern). You’re encouraged to park in one of several free parking lots, including; Cove Road Lot, Pier Lot, Baby Beach Lot, Embarcadero Lot, or Puerto Place. The City will run Dana Point Trolleys in the Harbor with service starting at 7:30 on Saturday morning. The trolleys will make stops near those suggested parking areas.
There will also be several street closures/changes you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Golden Lantern from Dana Point Harbor Drive to the Commercial Core Driveway will be closed.
- Access to the Commercial Core parking areas, typically accessed from Golden Lantern, will be available from Embarcadero.
- ISLAND WAY & DANA DRIVE WILL BE UNAVOIDABLY CONGESTED FROM 6:00AM TO 9:30AM DUE TO PRE-PARADE STAGING. IF YOU ACCESS THE ISLAND (DANA DRIVE), REMEMBER THAT ISLAND WAY WILL BE CLOSED FROM 9:30 AM TO 12 PM FOR THE PARADE; NO ACCESS WILL BE ALLOWED FROM EITHER DIRECTION DURING THAT TIME WITH NO EXCEPTIONS.
- Dana Point Harbor Drive westbound to Baby Beach and the Ocean Institute Area will remain open at all times.
- Eastbound traffic on Dana Point Harbor Drive from 9:30 AM to 12 PM will have to U-turn at Island Way and return to Baby Beach. Follow the detour signage to exit the Harbor.
- If traffic wants to leave the Harbor during that time, Cove Road to Green Lantern is available.
- There will be NO VEHICULAR TRAFFIC allowed in the Parade Route area during the closures, nor will traffic be allowed to cross in that area.
The Festival of Whales will be held on the weekends of March 7th & 8th and 14th & 15th.
For more information, click here.
For a list of events, click here.
For Trolley Times and a map of the Parade Route, click here.