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Join Dana Wharf for our newest adventures
“The Dolphin Experience “inspired by Wyland

Dolphin Watching: You can watch dolphins from a boat or the shore. This experience allows you to observe dolphins in their natural habitat without disturbing them. Dana Wharf will take you out to see dolphins in our coastal waters. We will travel through the lagoons and coves on the coast of Laguna or travel to the open waters in search of large pods of dolphins. While dolphin watching is year round you may also encounter whales, SunFish , Turtles, Sea Lions,  Pelagic birds and much more!

The Dolphin experience trip:

Interacting with dolphins in their natural environment is known to be a joyful and exciting experience.  It has been said that dolphins produce feelings of happiness or well-being. When you join our private dolphin experience you will be greeted by our Naturalist who will start out with an overview of the dolphins we see along the Dana Point/ Laguna Beach Coastline . Our Naturalists are American Cetacean trained and have thousands of hours on our vessel watching dolphins .

a group of people standing next to a person holding a cell phone

It’s important to approach interactions with dolphins with a realistic understanding of the experience, and we always prioritize the well-being of the dolphins themselves. While interacting with the dolphins will be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, it’s essential to understand these are wild and free mammals and every interaction is profoundly special  and different.

Passengers may experience:

  • Mega pods
  • Family or nursery pods
  • Stampeding dolphin
  • Surfing dolphins

Dana Point has over 250,000 of Common Dolphins and also sees Bottlenose and Risso’s Dolphins and in the winter we also see the Pacific White sided dolphin. In 2019 Dana Point was trademarked as the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World(r)

Wyland, also known as Robert Wyland, is an American artist and conservationist who is well known for his marine life murals and sculptures. Dolphins are a frequent subject of his artwork, and he has spoken extensively about the importance of protecting these animals and their habitats. In fact, the vessel, Lot a Fun was specifically built for Dana Wharf’s fleet and has Wyland custom Graphics showing leaping bottlenose dolphins, a behavior we hope to share with you!

In an interview with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Wyland stated that “Dolphins are among the most intelligent and socially complex animals on the planet. They are an indicator species, meaning that their health is reflective of the health of the oceans and the overall environment. If dolphins are thriving, it’s a good sign that the rest of the ocean is doing well.”

Wyland has also spoken about the role of art in raising awareness about marine conservation issues, stating that “Art can be a powerful tool for creating awareness and inspiring action. Through my art, I hope to connect people with the beauty and wonder of the ocean, and to inspire them to take action to protect it.” Wyland hosts an annual children’s art lesson with Dana Wharf to raise money for the Wyland Foundation to support his educational programs and environmental outreach through the Wyland Mobile Learning Truck. When you book a dolphin experience with Dana wharf we will make a donation to the Wyland Foundation in your name!


A portion of the experience price will be donated to the Wyland Foundation

Quick Details

Hour Glass Duration: 2 Hours (trips may be booked anytime dawn till dusk)

Tag Tour Type: Private Dolphin Experience

Hour Glass Duration: 2 Hours (trips may be booked anytime dawn till dusk)


Users Capacity: Up to 59 passengers

Info Trip includes: Naturalistce

Catering: Catering is welcome on our trips, drinks and snacks available on board .

Our Vessels

Ocean Adventure Catamaran

Dana Wharf’s newest vessel is the 63-foot catamaran Ocean Adventures, which comfortably holds up to 59 passengers. Dana Wharf’s catamaran was licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard to hold 59 passengers and is the only vessel of its kind to be re-certified from 49 to 59 passengers. This luxury vessel was built exclusively for Dana Wharf!

This eco-friendly vessel is the future of whale watching and features high-tech viewing cameras mounted at the bow, a roomy viewing deck and an inside cabin offering viewing from every area of the vessel. This vessel even offers a large sun area on the back deck for sun lovers and the smoothest ride on the water! You will LOVE this vessel! You’ll feel like you can reach out and touch the dolphins that swim right beneath you!

Lot’ A Fun Catamaran

The 50-foot, 45-passenger BRAND NEW catamaran, built by Cooper Marine in Florida, has covered and open seating and a stable platform with unobstructed 360-degree views from one deck. The vessel has seating throughout, beverage cup holders, and a snack bar. Additionally, it features unique front row seating, facing the ocean.

Customized graphics designed by Wyland, Artist of the Sea, cover both sides of the boat. They depict a gray whale and her baby, which is what Dana Wharf Whale & Dolphin Watching trips were originally founded on back in 1971.

This new catamaran is available NOW for private charters and group outings, including whale and dolphin watching, coastal and sunset cruises, and special events such as Dana Point Harbor’s upcoming Boat Parade of Lights.

History of Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching: It all began in 1968 off the San Clemente Pier. Captain Don Hansen operated his boats to create Orange County’s FIRST whale and dolphin watching industry. He decided to move his business to the newly built Dana Point Harbor in early 1971. TODAY, Dana Wharf owns and manages a fleet of 17 vessels and is thrilled to add Lot’ A Fun to the family. Founder Don Hansen said, “It’s a great day, I am very happy and proud of this business, that has been family owned and operated from the start.”

Dana Pride

The Pride is an impressive 95-foot vessel and provides indoor and outdoor seating, a full galley and bar, a large flat-screen TV, DVD and CD player, and an outdoor buffet station area.