Doheny State Beach

Coordinates: 33°27′39″N 117°40′41″W / 33.46083°N 117.67806°W / 33.46083; -117.67806
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Doheny State Beach
OhanaSep18-17 (43410500760).jpg
Doheny State Beach in September 2018. Dana Point Harbor can be seen in the background.
Map showing the location of Doheny State Beach
Map showing the location of Doheny State Beach
Map showing the location of Doheny State Beach
Map showing the location of Doheny State Beach
LocationOrange County, California, United States
Nearest cityDana Point, California
Coordinates33°27′39″N 117°40′41″W / 33.46083°N 117.67806°W / 33.46083; -117.67806
Area254 acres (103 ha)
Visitors850,000+ (in 2007)
Governing bodyCalifornia Department of Parks and Recreation

Doheny State Beach is a protected beach in the state park system of California, United States, located on the Pacific Ocean in the city of Dana Point. The beach is a popular surf spot located at the mouth of San Juan Creek, which flows from the Santa Ana Mountains southwest to the beach, where it forms a fresh-water lagoon.


The beach was donated by oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny for public use on May 31, 1931. It was California's first state beach. On July 1, 1963 the beach was named Doheny State Beach in his honor. The original donation was 41 acres (17 ha). An additional 21 acres (8.5 ha) was later added by acquisitions from the Santa Fe Railroad, University of California Regents, and the Union Oil Company.[1] An additional 192 acres (78 ha) not owned by the state are included in the site's official total area.[2]

In October 2022, the California Coastal Commission approved a desalination plant on Doheny State Beach capable of producing 5 to 15 million gallons of fresh water per day.[3]


Recreational uses[edit]

The beach covers an area of 62 acres (25 ha) and includes a day use surfing beach at the northern end, as well as campgrounds in its southern area. The beach is one of California's most popular camping grounds and attracts over 850,000 people per year.[4] The beach has tide pools and a visitor center with several aquariums.

Animal and plant life[edit]

The beach is home to several types of marine life, such as abalone, anemone, several types of sea bass, crabs, the common dolphin, harbor seal, kelp, California moray, sea urchin, octopus, stingrays, several varieties of sharks (including the Great White), as well as many other marine life. Several types of birds also live at the beach such as brown pelican, great blue heron, snowy egret, and several other species.

Educational program[edit]

Doheny State Beach offers year-round interpretive education programs in marine life, bird life, animal life, water quality, insects, and Native American studies.[clarification needed]

References in popular culture[edit]

  • The beach is mentioned in several surf rock songs including the Beach Boys songs "Surfin' Safari" and "Surfin' U.S.A." In "Surfer Joe" by the Surfaris, Doheny Beach is the favorite hangout of the song's protagonist. Jan & Dean's "Dead Man's Curve" also mentions Doheny, but that refers to Doheny Drive, which intersects Sunset Boulevard near the west end of the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.[1]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Doheny State Beach: 75th Anniversary". Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association. Archived from the original on 2011-10-06. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
  2. ^ "California State Park System Statistical Report: Fiscal Year 2009/10" (PDF). California State Parks: 28. Retrieved 2011-12-11. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "California Coastal Commission approves desalination plant in Dana Point". ABC7 Los Angeles. City News Service. 14 October 2022. Retrieved 12 February 2023.
  4. ^ "Doheny State Beach Facts". Good Time Net. Archived from the original on 2012-08-02. Retrieved 2011-12-11.

External links[edit]