Doheny State Beach is one of the most popular beaches in San Juan Capistrano, California. The beach is a very long stretch of sand that runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean. The sand is soft and sandy and the water is gentle for swimming.
This beach is also a popular place for fishing and kite flying. The northern end of the beach has a pier where people fish, and where visitors can rent paddleboards, kayaks, or even surfboards from nearby vendors. In many locations, there are cliffs overlooking the beach which make it an excellent location for kite flying. Visitors should beware of high surf and dangerous rip currents. There are lifeguards on duty during peak times on some days but they are not always present.
The parking lots fill up quickly on summer weekends so visitors should be prepared to pay for parking at the meters or use one of the many private parking lots in the area.
Because this beach is so popular it can sometimes get crowded with visitors but there is plenty of space to spread out on the beach. There are also concessions available in case you want to buy food or drinks while you’re there.
Doheny State Beach is a way to get away from the crowds of Huntington Beach or Newport Beach. There are only four miles of beach at Doheny, but it’s not as crowded and has fewer facilities. Also, the water isn’t as clear because of the high surf. But if you’re seeking some sand, this is a nice option. Also, there are two trails on either side of the beach entrance that offer an opportunity to view nature up close. These trails are located behind the restrooms and are approximately 1/2 of a mile each. The trails will take you over sand dunes and through some coastal sage scrub plants along the way.
The park has 3 picnic areas, one of which is located at the upper (north) end of the beach near lifeguard tower 5. This picnic area features BBQ grills and tables with shade structures nearby. The other two picnic areas are situated closer to the entrance on either side of Crags Road. These areas also have BBQ grills, but no tables or shade structures. If you plan on spending time in one of these picnic areas, you may want to bring your own table or cooler for food and drinks. There are also no restroom facilities in these two “picnic only” areas.