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Salt Creek Beach Activities

Orange County

Caution: Check with rangers or lifeguards that conditions are safe for your planned activities.

Salt Creek Beach Surfing

Salt Creek Beach is one of the leading surfing destinations along the Orange County coast.

Among the favorite surfing spots at the beach are Salt Creek Heroins at the north end at Monarch Beach, Gravels, Middles, and the Point. Heroins is a point break that is rarely working. It's best for experienced surfers. Rocks are a hazard.

Gravels is a little distance north of Bluff Park. Gravel's powerful waves attract a lot of experienced and competitive surfers. Like all the other spots at Salt Creek, it is very crowded.

Middles, as it name says, is in the middle between Gravels and the Point. Waves break right and left on the beach, best at high tides. It, too, is always very crowded.

At the Point between Salt Creek and the Strand experienced surfers ride the left-breaking waves. Local surfers are almost always here when the waves are up.


Salt Creek Beach
2018 Surfing and Paddleboard Competitions

Surfboard and Stand-Up Paddleboard Sales

Jack's Surfboards

Sales of surfing apparel, boards, wetsuits, accessories
34320 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, CA
Jack's Surfboards

Infinity Surfboard Co.

Sales of surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, wetsuits, clothing, surfing accessories
24382 Del Prado, Dana Point, CA
Infinity Surfboard Co.

Killer Dana Surf Shop

Sales of surfing apparel
24621 Del Prado, Dana Point, CA
Killer Dana Surf Shop

Salt Creek Beach Tide Pools

Locals know that Salt Creek Beach and neighboring Strand Beach are great places for tide pool explorations. Some of the best tide pools at Salt Creek Beach are at the north end. Explorers will find a few small caves along the base of the cliffs. Another good spot for tide pools is along the foot of the cliffs south of Bluff Park. Farther south tide pools are located near the Point and about the middle of Strand Beach.

All of the tide pools along Salt Creek Beach and Strand Beach are part of a California State Marine Conservation Area. Visitors may not disturb or collect anything in the tide pools. That includes the collection of rocks and shells. Visitors are advised to tread lightly in the tide pools, avoiding stepping on any of the tiny, well-camouflaged creatures.

Tide Chart for San Clemente

Whale & Dolphin Watching at
Salt Creek Beach and Dana Point

Every year the annual migration of whales turns the ocean right off the shore of Dana Point and Salt Creek Beach into a whale-lover's paradise. Gray whales usually show up in December and can be viewed even as late as early May as they migrate back and forth between Alaska and Mexico. The largest animals on the planet, Blue Whales, arrive in May and can be spotted through November.

Less commonly seen are Humpback Whales, Orcas, and Sperm Whales.

Other marine life often spied offshore are a variety of species of dolphins. Pacific White-sided Dolphins are often seen keeping pace with the bows of boats. The Bottlenose Dolphin can grow up to 4 yards in length. They are seen year-round. The smaller Common Dolphin is often seen in pods of several hundred churning through the water.

Best Viewing Spots

Bring your binoculars, watch for spouts.

Gray Whale

Salt Creek Beach Junior Lifeguards

The Junior Lifeguard Program at Salt Creek Beach is open to children ages 8 to 17. Daily activities include health and physical fitness, first aid training, ocean rescue techniques, presentations by local fire, sheriff and harbor patrol, oceanogarpahy, and marine biology. Recreational activities are surfing and bodyboarding, swimming, beach games and competitions, and special days like crazy-hair day.

Basic swimming skills are a prerequisite. Tryouts are held in May and June at the Crown Valley Community Park pool and Irvine Aquatic Center.

Junior Lifeguard Program Schedule - 2018

Session I: June 11 to June 29, 2018
Session II: July 2 to July 20, 2018 (no 4th)
Session III: July 23 to August 10, 2018

Salt Creek Beach Junior Lifeguards

Events and Activities

Tall Ships Festival

September TBA, 2018
Tall ships sail into the harbor. Festival activities include live music and interactive living-history encampments.
Tall Ships Festival

Summer Concert Series

Thursday evenings, June through August
Travels to various OC locations, including Bluff Park
Free, 6 PM to 8 PM
OC Parks

Dana Point Festival of the Whales

March 3-4 & 10-11, 2018
Dana Point, CA
Two weekends of festivities much too numerous to list. A free shuttle carries you to event locations around Dana Point Harbor.
Dana Point Festival of the Whales

Whale Watching

Captain Dave's Whale and Dolphin Safari
24440 Dana Point Harbor
Dana Point, CA
View whales and dolphins through underwater viewing pods aboard their high-tech catamaran.
Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari

Ocean Institute

28373 Alicia Parkway
Dana Point, CA
Teaching about the oceans through a variety of programs.
Public Hours: Saturday & Sunday, 10 AM to 3 PM
Ocean Institute

Books of Interest for
Salt Creek Beach

Ocean Safety

California State Parks and Recreation cautions that "large surf, cold water temperatures, backwash, sudden drop-offs, pounding shorebreak, and dangerous rip currents can turn what seem like safe activities such as playing near the surf line, wading, or climbing on rock outcroppings, deadly." Learn more about ocean safety at
CA State Parks: Ocean Safety

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Every effort is made to provide accurate and up to date information, but we cannot be responsible for errors or for changes that may have occurred since publication. Always confirm information with the service provider and check for any recent changes that may have been made. Also, check with lifeguards that conditions at the beach are safe for your planned activities.

The information provided on this website is done so without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, including but not limited to, the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.