When Richard Henry Dana Jr. first set eyes on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean at San Juan Capistrano, he instantly fell in love with what he later proclaimed in "Two Years Before the Mast," his classic book about his seafaring adventures, to be "the only romantic spot on the coast." Several years later that romantic spot was christened Dana Point.
Throughout the ensuing years the community established and has managed to preserve a maritime atmosphere. A visitor wandering about town will quickly note that much of Dana Point's architecture is, in fact, based on the quaint Cape Cod style that pops into the imagination when one thinks of other classic sea stories, such as "Moby Dick."
Even the street names contribute to this feel. The streets of the Green Lantern, Golden Lantern and Amber Lantern--these are just a few of the streets named for the colors of the lights that once identified them for the local inhabitants.
It isn't only the architecture that gives the community its feel. Dana Point Harbor, which was created out of the cove that once played a major part in the area's shipping trade, now provides space for over 2,000 light vessels and is open 24 hours to a variety of pleasure craft. The Harbor is also home to the "Pilgrim," a replica of the ship that originally brought Richard Henry Dana Jr. to the spot. In addition to the boating facilities the Harbor contains an 11 acre park, swimming beach, fishing pier and bicycle trails.