Top 5 Things to do in San Juan Capistrano

Nestled near Dana Point and just north of San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano is the perfect vacation spot to uncover rich history and beautiful beaches. Get away to Capistrano Surfside Inn and vacation across the street from Doheny State Beach and minutes from some of the best local attractions.

Doheny State Beach

Distance: 400 ft.

Located across the street from Capistrano Surfside Inn, Doheny State Beach is one of the most popular state beaches and a great place to gather family for a picnic or swim in the waves. Fun fact: the beach property was donated by oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny for public use in 1931 and was California’s first state beach.

“Easy location to get to. Good, large, clean beach, and lots of parking, shops and restaurants nearby. Well maintained.” – James B. (TripAdvisor)

Dana Point Harbor

Distance: 1.7 Miles

Known as the “Whale Capitol of the West,” Dana Point Harbor is a favorite hot spot where many restaurants and shops are located, including The Harbor Grill and Wind & Sea. It’s also a great spot for sunset views, whale spotting, and photo taking.

“Lots of atmosphere! We enjoyed seeing the replica of The Pilgrim, the boat Richard Henry Dana road on from Boston and wrote about in, ‘Two Years Before the Mast.’ It was not open for boarding when we were there, but you can get a close view from the pier.” – Steve N (TripAdvisor)

Ocean Institute

Distance: 2.3 miles

The Ocean Institute offers a multitude of unique aquatic exhibits and interactive experiences for families including tide pool hikes, maritime history and outdoor education programs, whale-watching cruises, tall ship sails, and various events including the annual Toshiba Tall Ships Festival and Festival of Whales.

“We came down to the water to try to see tide pools and ran into this gem. I don’t know what normal pricing was for kids but they were having an anniversary special for 40cents for kids!! My boys loved dissecting a squid to see all the fish up close. The workers here were so interactive and informative. There were a couple older gentlemen who were above and beyond sweet to my children showing them all sorts of things. My boys were excited by everything they explained.” – Jennifer H. (Yelp)

Zoomars Petting Zoo

Distance: 4.2 Miles

If you love furry friends head to Zoomars Petting Zoo for some fun in the sun! A historic farmyard since 1890 and located in the heart of the Los Rios Historic District, Zoomars is a unique experience you won’t find anywhere else in California. It’s the perfect spot for kids where they can pet everything from llamas to emus.

“This is my favorite petting zoo. There are so many things for the children to do–Horseback riding, gems, a playground, train ride, a hay maze, corn pit, and animals everywhere that you can feed and pet—It literally just keeps on going. There is an enclosed area where you can sit with all the guinea pigs and feed them and hold them that we absolutely loved. Also, my children loved going into the goat enclosure to pet and brush the goats … parking is fairly easy with a huge lot and there’s a few restaurants you can walk to nearby. We will be a customer for life :)” – Amanda F. (Yelp)


Are you ready to plan your beach vacation at your new favorite beach resort? Get away this November and December to Capistrano Surfside Inn for warm SoCal sunshine and idyllic beach access. Simply book online or call a Vacation Specialist at (866) 325-6295.

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