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Solo Travel to Dana Point, California

By Holly Rosen Fink, GoGirlfriend Contributor

The ease and wonder of solo travel for women

If you’re looking for a quiet, peaceful destination to free your mind for a few days, I highly recommend Dana Point, located in Orange County, halfway between Los Angeles and Long Beach. I recently spent a relaxing weekend there and loved the area’s access to the sea, great culinary experiences, sunshine, palm trees, long bike rides and, of course, the last essential: spa treatments. Dana Point is a strikingly beautiful town, conveniently located along the shores of the Pacific Ocean, with its harbor, shops, restaurants and proximity to Catalina Island. 

Traveling childfree

getaway to Dana Point, CaliforniaThis was yet another childfree trip for me, my second of the year. Earlier I had spent a weekend in the Bahamas where I began to learn the meaning of self-care. After a difficult year full of ups and downs with a difficult diagnosis, it was important to once again step out of the rat race and focus on myself. In Dana Point, I would do just that and so much more.

Where to stay in Dana Point

St. Regis Monarch Beach is a Forbes five-star rated resort. The view from my room was gorgeous and my room spacious and elegant. The resort has six ocean view restaurants, a private beach, three swimming pools and a spa. It’s a luxurious Tuscan-inspired hotel.

the pool at St. Regis in Dana PointSince I was traveling without my kids on this visit, I enjoyed sitting on my private balcony, enjoying the sweeping views of the grounds all the way to ocean, taking a stroll in their Botanical Gardens and sipping champagne at the bar.

Laguna Cliffs Marriott offers sweeping views of the Pacific Coast with its position overlooking the harbor. Every which way I looked, I was reminded of the area’s beauty. Complete with Wi-Fi, 250 thread count Frette Linen Beds and linens, soft robes, cable TV, a work space and California coastal décor that reflects the spirit of Dana Point, my room provided an immense amount of relaxation and ultimately, the experience was tranquilizing. Just what the doctor (literally) ordered.

What to do in Dana Point

Furthering my desire to be near the water, I went Whale Watching with Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, a 3-hour trip. It took me near dolphins, whales, sea lions and other marine life. It was a necessary activity, being in Southern California, where they have more blue whales and dolphins and the best whale watching weather of anywhere on earth (or so they say!).

biking seaside in Dana Point, CaliforniaI also went on a bike ride (rented from Wheel Fun) along Doheny State Beach, starting from the DoubleTree and ending up in San Clemente, taking me on a 10-mile stretch of the beach passing surfers, beautiful hotels and apartments and tide pools. I ended up on a pier in San Clemente with stunning views of the Pacific. It was such good exercise and I felt really accomplished and fulfilled at the ride’s end.

Sublime solo traveling

I dined at Cannon’s Seafood Grill, located on a cliff overlooking Dana Point Harbor. Their food is delicious, served in plentiful portions while using fresh ingredients. They have a big selection of fish and non-fish items. I munched on a field green salad to start followed by a mahi mahi topped with grilled wild mushrooms and a lobster reduction, alongside roasted garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. The food, combined with the views, was simply sublime.

take a walk along the harbor in Dana PointTo top it off, the Laguna Cliff Marriott’s Spa offers customized treatments, which use organic orange extracts, coastal thyme, sea clay, mesquite honey, and wild marigolds. I had a one-hour massage that made me feel renewed and put me in a “So Cal” state of mind.

The verdict

At the end of my trip, I felt renewed and ready to return to the daily grind and my duties as a mother. The combination of sunshine, exercise and relaxation was just about as good as it gets, and I hope that more and more people venture to Dana Point in the future. It’s a place that demands a visit.

The California seaside has so many great opportunities to explore, where have you visited and what exciting destinations can you share? We’d love to hear. Drop a comment below or connect with us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Holly Rosen Fink

Holly Rosen Fink ~ @HollyChroniclesHolly Rosen Fink is a Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, Branding and Social Media expert with over 15 years’ experience increasing brand awareness and sales at leading publishing houses and media companies. She is the founder of TheCultureMom and is a current contributor to This Girl Travels, Ciao Bambino, Family Vacation Critic, The Broad Side, BlogHer and Women & Hollywood.

Last year she edited Come Closer: How Tourism is Shaping the Future of Nations and associate produced the off-off-Broadway hit The Best of Everything and the NYC production of Listen to Your Mother.

Disclosure: Holly's sponsored press trip to Dana Point included complimentary airfare, accommodations, a spa treatment, meals and activities to facilitate her review. All opinions are those of Holly Rosen Fink.

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