Capistrano Beach, Dana Point, California

Coordinates: 33°27′45″N 117°40′18″W / 33.46250°N 117.67167°W / 33.46250; -117.67167[1]
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Capistrano Beach
District of Dana Point
Capistrano Beach
Capistrano Beach
Coordinates: 33°27′45″N 117°40′18″W / 33.46250°N 117.67167°W / 33.46250; -117.67167[1]
Country United States
State California
County Orange
CityDana Point
Elevation16 m (51 ft)
Time zoneUTC-8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
Area code949

Capistrano Beach, or Capo Beach, is a coastal neighborhood in the city of Dana Point in Orange County, California.[2] It is bordered by San Clemente to the south and Doheny State Beach to the north.

Capistrano Beach is situated along the coast on the southern end of Dana Point. Some homes are situated atop a cliff overlooking Coast Highway and the Capistrano Beach park. Several celebrities live in the town area, notably on Beach Road, where Hobie Alter conceived of the popular Hobie Cat catamaran.[3]


Rancho Boca de la Playa, granted to Don Emigdio Vejar, was the initial land title issued in the area now known as Capistrano Beach. The land was sold to Juan Abila in 1860, and then purchased by Marcus A Forster in 1886. Forster sold a strip of the land to the San Bernardino and San Diego Railway.[4] The railway, in collaboration with the California Central Railway, built a rail line between Los Angeles and San Diego, with a station at Capistrano. The station was initially named San Juan by the Sea, but in 1910 was changed to Serra, the name of the newly formed school district.[5][1]

Development of Capistrano Beach started in 1925 with residential homes on the bluff. The Capistrano Beach Club was built along the shore of the new development. In 1929, the Petroleum Securities Company (owned by Edward L. Doheny) became the new owners of the Capistrano Beach development.[6] In 1931, following the death of Doheny's son, he donated over 40 acres (16 ha) to the state for Doheny State Beach.[7] Capistrano Beach became part of the city of Dana Point in 1989.[8]

During the excavation of the land during development in 1929, the bones of a mastodon (or possibly a mammoth) were discovered. The bones were taken to the Los Angeles National History Hall for display.[9]

The 1,180 feet (360 m) wooden pier was popular for strolling, sightseeing, and fishing. The pier was severely damaged by waves in 1964, after which it was condemned and demolished in 1965.[10] The Capistrano Beach Club became rundown and, in the late 1960s, was dismantled.[6]

During storms in 2018, a boardwalk collapsed and an outdoor basketball court was severely damaged after being undermined by erosion caused by the waves. The storm exposed old cars put there decades prior as part of a now corroded sea wall. More boulders were placed to protect the basketball court that was damaged.[11][12]

The Serra Siding project is proposed along the shoreline that would build 1.2 miles (1.9 km) of additional siding track. The project would create additional train capacity along this busy corridor.[13]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Capistrano Beach". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  2. ^ "Capistrano Beach County Park". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on July 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-02.
  3. ^ "Hobie Alter: Farewell to a Pioneer of Fun | Dana Point Times". 3 April 2014.
  4. ^ "It's History: Rancho Boca de la Playa Plants Capistrano Beach Roots". Dana Point Times. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  5. ^ Gudde, Erwin Gustav (1949). California Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. p. 326.
  6. ^ a b "It's History: A Lost Beachfront Treasure". Dana Point Times. 5 July 2014. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  7. ^ "Tracing the history of Dana Point". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  8. ^ "How Capo Beach became a part of Dana Point". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  9. ^ "It's History: The Capistrano Mastadon [sic]". Dana Point Times. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  10. ^ "It's History: Capistrano Pier, Only Memories Remain". Dana Point Times. Retrieved 2016-03-21.
  11. ^ Connelly, Laylan. "Capo Beach crumbles with walkway destroyed, palms uprooted, old buried cars exposed from surf battering". OC Register. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  12. ^ Do, Ahn (2018-12-07). "Residents fear losing Capistrano Beach as storms chip away at their 'piece of paradise'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  13. ^ Brandon Pho (2021-04-05). "Dispute Erupts Over Proposed Rail Project Along Eroding Capistrano Beach". Voice of OC. Retrieved 2021-04-06.