Dana Point is a city located in southern Orange County, California. The population was 33,351 at the 2010 census. It has one of the few harbors along the Orange County coast, and with ready access via State Route 1, it is a popular local destination for surfing.
The city was named after the headland of Dana Point, which was in turn named after Richard Henry Dana, Jr., author of Two Years Before the Mast, which included a description of the area. Dana described the locale, including neighboring San Juan Capistrano, as "the only romantic spot on the coast". Although Dana described the anchorage as poor, it is now a developed harbor and contains a replica of his ship, the Pilgrim. The Pilgrim is used as a classroom by the Ocean Institute, which is located at the harbor. This area is designated California Historical Landmark #189.
Incorporated in 1989, the beautiful coastal city is named after Richard Henry Dana (1815-1882), a sailor and author famous for his novel, Two Years Before the Mast. In it, he refers to Dana Point as "the only romantic spot in California."
Hipolito Bouchard, a pirate from Argentina, found the cove at Dana Point a safe refuge. In 1818, he docked his pirate fleet in the cove while his sailors were raiding and setting fire to parts of nearby Mission San Juan Capistrano. This event is recreated at the annual Pirate
Festival held in Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano.
The original plan for Dana Point was for a Spanish-style town with wide streets named after lanterns. When the streets were laid out, streetlights were installed that modeled kerosene lanterns use by sailors. You can still see this in names such as Street of the Golden Lantern, and Street of the Blue Lantern.
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