Two buoy loop (kayak)

Trip date: 4/12/2014

Launch: Doheny State Beach, Dana Point

Permit/Pass: Orange County Beach Pass - $55 (if combined with regional parks pass - $80). If no pass, pay at the machine.

Directions: From Interstate 5 take the Camino Las Ramblas exit for Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point. As you pass beneath the Dana Point welcome overpass slide into the left lane for the left turn onto Dana Point Harbor Dr. After turning, pass through a light but stay left for another left turn onto Puerto Pl. There is no light here so watch carefully for cars coming quickly around a bend in the road. After crossing traffic onto Puerto Pl. watch for turns on your left into the county parking lot. Skip the first (an exit) and turn into the second. Be sure to pay at the machine if you don't have a county beach decal on your windshield.

Portage: From the parking lot you can either carry or cart your boat to the notch created by the beach and the breakwater. Launching here allows you to avoid higher wave action as well as surfers. There are stairs for carriers, and a bank down and around the bushes for wheelers. The latter should be prepared to walk through some, at times nasty looking, streamflow to get to the beach.

Type: Loop

Distance: 2.7 miles

Rating: Easy (factors: open ocean, traffic).

Synopsis: This is a quick, easy trip that gives you a good look at the marina, the beach, the headlands - and even the islands of Santa Catalina and San Clemente if it's a clear day - even if all you've got is an hour. You can round the red (2nd) buoy and head directly back, or extend the paddle by continuing past the red buoy inshore, poking about in the waves, then heading west back to the launch area.


Two buoy loop - Doheny State Beach


  -- Launch from the area next to the breakwater and paddle along the rocks heading south, keeping enough distance to avoid any active fishing lines.

  -- As you cross the harbor entrance head directly for the end of the outer breakwater. After passing it, turn to the west (and a little north) and point your bow toward the green whistle buoy (approximately WSW) about a half-mile out.

  -- Round the buoy, giving the sea-lions plenty of room, and sight the red bell buoy (ENE) that you'll head for.

  -- After passing the red buoy you can turn back to the north if all you've got the time for is a quick paddle (or even if you wish to duck into the marina). What I usually do is head east of north toward the beach, move inshore and enjoy a little wave action - being careful to give the surfers and paddle surfers a wide berth, then head back up to the launch area.