There are too many spots with fantastic views. This list is simply my favorites that I frequent.
- Salt Creek Beach, Dana Point – large parking lot with a cash/card parking lot machine (last I checked it was still $1/hour). There is a tunnel that connects to Sea Terrace park, too. When you walk down to the beach there are always beautiful murals and sometimes musicians. The first part are grassy hills overlooking the ocean. This is actually my favorite spot. Otherwise you can keep going down all the way to the beach. During the summer there is a cart you can pay a few dollars to take you up and down the hill to the beach.
- Lantern Bay Park, Dana Point – I used to take my kids here because the playground equipment was perfect for toddlers but also because the views of the harbor are amazing! However, they recently renovated the playground so older children can play on it, too. There are swings and a restroom, too. iHeartYoga usually does outdoor classes on the South lawn (across from Laguna Cliffs Hotel). There is a trail here, too, and some crazy stairs that will take you down to the street. As for parking, there is street parking and a free small parking lot across the street.
- The Strands, Dana Point – my favorite thing is the free parking! You can walk straight to a viewing area of all the mansions and beautiful ocean. There is a hiking trail that will lead you down to the boardwalk. When it works, there is a funicular that can take you down to the beach as well. The Veterans Memorial Park is located here, too.
- Raya at the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel – I put this restaurant on my list because it has unbeatable views of the ocean. Oftentimes you can see people surfing. I used to love the food here and go every year for special occassions. Unforunately, the last time I was here I did not enjoy the new changes in the menu and yup, now you have to pay for the Brazilian bread!
- Badlands Park, Laguna Niguel – My friend introduced me to this trail. The ground can get dusty so be prepared! It leads you to a big rock that makes a perfect seat to view the sunset. But if you keep going it will open up and give you breathtaking views of the ocean. This spot is tucked in a neighborhood so it might be hard to find. We took family photos here and I have to say these are my favorite photos so far!