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Beaches in South Orange County

Posted by Norman Kelly on

In South Orange County, I like use two beaches for the surf lessons I teach. 90 % of them are held at Doheny State Beach, which is best for beginners. Intermediate and advanced lessons, as well as bodyboard lessons, are held at Salt Creek State Beach. If you’re in South Orange County and interested in surfing the same waves, I’ve included some more information about each beach 

Doheny State Beach 

Doheny is an ideal beginner’s wave. Swells slip past the swell-choking jetty, break softly over a bed of cobblestones and form into slow shoulders providing perfect waves for learning how to surf.  Doheny is located at Doheny State Beach park at the base of the cliffside in Dana Point. 

Doheny Beach in Southern California is a beach that makes you feel like you’ve been “away from it all!” The waves are slow paced with people of all ages from 4 to 80 surfing together. The wave provides you the perfect formula that enables you to stand up and have long exciting rides on the very first day you surf. 

Though the Pacific Coast Highway is very close by, including access to many businesses and restaurants, if you should need them, you don’t actually have to see any busy streets while you’re in the Dana Point Harbor/Doheny Beach area. 

In the nearby Marina Village, just down Dana Point Harbor Drive, you can browse through a collection of interesting shops, gaze at beautiful white yachts floating in a sparkling blue harbor, rent a kayak and paddle around the calm waters of the harbor, or dine at one of several good restaurants. 

You can head out onto Dana Point harbor’s man-made island, where you’ll find quiet, shady spots for picnicking, and a long, attractive sidewalk for strolling or jogging. Just a bit farther still down Dana Point Harbor Drive, you’ll come to the Dana Point Marine Institute, where you can take in exhibits, explore old-fashioned sailing ships, visit a waveless “baby beach,” or just enjoy the beautiful scenery from a pier. 

Salt Creek State Beach 

Nestled in a beautiful cove at the northern end of Laguna Niguel lies Salt Creek, a watery playground of long pointbreak-style lefts, wedgy A-frames, relentless shore break and sand-gurgling rights. You name the type of wave, and Creek probably has it. Salt Creek is more of a steep wave making it more dangerous and difficult to learn how to surf. Salt Creek is for intermediate and advanced surfers as well as bodyboarders. While this doesn’t mean beginners can’t surf here, it does imply that you might want to take fewer risks here than at a calmer beach.