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From San Diego to Dana Point?

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Bradford England
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From San Diego to Dana Point?

My husband and I will be doing a road trip from San Francisco finishing in San Diego. We will not have our rental car once we arrive, but we have heard of a great whale watching trip from Dana Point and wondered if it would be possible to get there using public transport.

Can anyone tell me if this is do-able?

I know there are many whale watching trips available, but we had set our hearts on this one!

We will be staying in Santa Barbara before we reach S.D. but I think it looks too far to travel to (there and back) in a day.

Any thoughts on this would be much appreciated.

Many thanks

San Diego...
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1. Re: From San Diego to Dana Point?

Well, my suggestion is that since you will be driving and you will be passing Dana Point on your way to San Diego from Santa Barbara anyway that you spend the night in Dana Point. Get up the next morning and go on your whale watching trip and then leave for San Diego afterwards. (It makes no sense at all to even consider going to Dana Point and back to Santa Barbara since you'll be driving past Dana Point on your way to SD.)

Otherewise, my only other suggestion is that once you get to San Diego take the train north to San Juan Capistrano and take a taxi to Dana Point. BUT I assume the whale watching tour probably starts early in the a.m. so don't know if the train schedule will suit you. But, as I said, you will be passing Dana Point on your way to San Diego so the easiest thing to do would be to spend the night there before you get to San Diego.

Don't know if you've made your hotel arrangements in San Diego yet but just make sure you pick a hotel that has easy access to public transportation to get to places you want to go. San Diego doesn't have the greatest public transportation system so you need to choose a hotel wisely.

Newport Beach, CA
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2. Re: From San Diego to Dana Point?

I'm assuming you are referring to Dolphin Safari. If so, well worth the trip. www.dolphinsafari.com

You don't say when you are doing this trip. Depending on the time of the year I think they usually do both a morning and afternoon trip. Also, depending upon the conditions, the trips can occassionally be cancelled due to poor conditions although that usually only happens in the winter.

BTW, Mrs. Captain Dave makes 'killer' brownies for the trip! :-)

I like elizzie's idea of staying over a night in Orange County on your way south. It would allow you do the safari easily and it would also give you a chance to expore Laguna Beach and/or Newport Beach a bit.

Encinitas...
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3. Re: From San Diego to Dana Point?

Sounds like you are doing Capt Daves Dolphin Safari.

As noted, if you don't have a car, the train/ taxi would be the easiest. Its just a few minutes from the train station to the harbor.

If you have a car to drive from Santa Barbara to San Diego,stop at Dana Point on the way.The harbor is about 5 minutes off the freeway.

Bradford England
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4. Re: From San Diego to Dana Point?

Many thanks for the replies!

Unfortunately we already have our accommodation booked, which does not leave us any time to stay overnight in Dana Point. Having looked at distances I realise it is stupid to travel to Dana Point whilst staying in Santa Barbara, so I think our only option, if we want Captain Dave's Trip, is to call there on our journey to San Diego, and hope that they will be running an afternoon trip.

We have to return the car that evening to San Diego airport, but if the trips are about 3hours long and then the journey to SD will take roughly an hour and a half from there it might just be feasible.We dont want to give up on the idea unless absolutely necessary because the trips look fabulous! We will be there at Easter next year so I understand there may be opportunities to see grey whales as well as dolphins.

Many thanks again for everyones replies.

San Diego
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5. Re: From San Diego to Dana Point?

Will you be spending any time IN San Diego??

If yes, then you might consider keeping your car. Depending on where you are staying and what you'd like to see/do here ,the car might come in handy!!

San Diego...
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6. Re: From San Diego to Dana Point?

pretty - Am I understanding you correctly? Have you booked and paid for hotel accommodation in San Diego a whole year in advance? I'd be curious to know why you can't change. I've just never heard of anyone paying for a hotel a year in advance.

Bradford England
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7. Re: From San Diego to Dana Point?

Yes I realise it may seem madness to you. However we have booked a fly drive drive holiday through Trailfinders which consists of the first hotel in San Francisco, the car hire and the last hotel in San Diego.

As it will be Easter when we come, we wanted to be sure of getting the hotels and B&B accommodation in between that we wanted, and thought a lot of people might be wanting to holiday at that time!

Just put it down to being overly organised - and it also gives us something to look forward to and plan for, as we are not having much of a holiday this year!!

Berkeley, Ca.
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8. Re: From San Diego to Dana Point?

I don't know that I would spend my one day in San Diego this way, but you could do it on transit. You'd take an Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train from downtown San Diego to San Juan Capistrano. That ride is 80-90 minutes. From there you could take a taxi, or take OCTA bus 91 to Dana Point Harbor, which takes about 15 minutes. With the transfer, you're easily looking at 2 hours each way.

Bradford England
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9. Re: From San Diego to Dana Point?

Thanks for the travel info 'wanderer'. We are actually staying three nights, four days in San Diego, so we would have chance to see something of the city as well as travelling to Dana Point! On the other hand we may just keep the car a day longer than we had planned, as suggested by 'riffsmom' even though the thought of driving in and out of San Diego is a little daunting for us Brits, however after coping with San Francisco, Monterey, Cambria and Santa Barbara, we may feel like 'old hands' by then!

Thanks again for all the help.

La Jolla, California
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10. Re: From San Diego to Dana Point?

The drive to and from Dana Point is really not as daunting as driving through L.A. would be. Try to avoid the rush hour, and you will have clear sailing since it is all freeway driving. It will take about 1 hour by car from San Diego. I was just there this past Thursday and Friday and stayed at a hotel by the harbor for the night. We had very little traffic and were able to drive 75-80 m/h for most of the way.

What amazed me about the Dana Point Harbor area was the birdlife. There are some wildlife refuges along the water, and I saw all kinds of birds in large numbers, from terns and coots to Canadian geese and all sorts of long-legged water birds. I don't know much about birds, but there were some birdwatchers who clearly enjoyed what they saw. My favorites were the white (snowy?) egrets and the the black-crowned night herons that were nesting and feeding their young in a couple of large trees at the harbor. The egrets make the strangest sounds. So if you go, don't miss those trees. Just don't stand directly underneath them ; )