Best Places to Drink & Dine in Dana Point

After having lived in Capistrano Beach for a year, I can safely say that Matt and I have nailed down our favorite spots in Dana Point. We split our time evenly between these three restaurant/bars so I’m not sure I can rank them since each has it’s own vibe. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, make sure to check them out!

Jimmy’s Famous Tavern

Between the whiskey shrimp, parmesan fries, and any of their 5 juicy burgers, Jimmy’s has super tasty food. Top that off with their kick-ass ambience and we have ourselves a winner! The wait can be long so reserve ahead or plan to grab a couple drinks at the bar.

Waterman’s Harbor

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Hang out at one of their fire pit tables and catch the sunset over Dana Point Harbor while you slurp down oysters. Waterman’s has some great happy hour options and is our go-to spot pre-dinner or post-work.

StillWater Spirit & Sounds

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Want to get your groove on late at night? Go to Stillwater (they have live bands). Want to enjoy a drink outside, even when when it’s chilly? Go to Stillwater (they have fire pit tables). Want to have an awesome Halloween dance party with no cover? Stillwater again.

The perfect spot for practically any 21+ occasion, Stillwater is right in the middle of DTDP (Downtown Dana Point), making it super convenient as well.

Honorable Mention: Blue Dolphin

I haven’t dined here…only drank, but this is a great spot for late night pool!

Do you have other Dana Point favs? Comment below!

 

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Orange County Hidden Gem: Mission San Juan Capistrano

Living in California has A LOT of perks. Oddly enough, I’d say one of those is being able to drive an hour from pretty much anywhere in California (unless you’re above Sonoma) and you’ll end up at a mission. Call me nerdy, but I love telling people that El Camino Real connects all 21 missions from San Diego up to Sonoma. Yup, you’re not going crazy for seeing many El Camino Real street exits off the freeway during your road trip. Of course, some parts of El Camino Real are intersected by freeways and other less-cool things, but overall, it pretty much flows the whole way.

I’m not sure where my fascination with missions comes from, as I’m certainly not a history buff. Maybe it’s because as an SCU alumni, I went to school on possibly the most beautiful campus, all centered around a mission. Or maybe it’s because whenever I take a trip, I somehow always end up walking past a mission so I obviously have to check it out.  Or maybe it all stems back to 4th grade when I was in tears over my mom telling me we had to throw away my lasagna noodle house rendition of Mission San Luis Rey. I really have no clue.

Don’t get me wrong, some missions aren’t that great because there’s not much to see, but most are pretty spectacular. I haven’t been to every mission, so I’m no expert, but I have to tell you I already have a favorite: Mission San Juan Capistrano. It’s $9 to get in but so worth it. Matt and I spent a good few hours there wandering throughout the grounds, checking out the architecture and the walls. Oh the walls. I have a thing for beautiful walls and this place is full of them.

Check out other hidden gems.

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