Doheny State Beach had a humble start as 41 barren acres donated to the State by oil tycoon, Edward L. Doheny. It was California’s first state beach, and it was named in his honor. It has since grown into 62 acres, 122 camping spaces, a beautiful grassy park with wonderful group picnic/party areas, a famous surf break and almost two miles of sandy beach. Doheny has consistently been voted the most popular park in the California parks system and has regularly earned the distinction as Orange County’s “Best Camping Site” by the readers of the Orange County Register. Doheny State Beach has a wonderful Interpretive/Visitor Center where you can get up close with sea life and tide pools. Doheny also became a household name when it was mentioned in “Surfer Joe” by the Surfaris and “Surfin’ U.S.A.” by the Beach Boys when surfing had just started to hit mainstream several decades ago.
Doheny State Beach is a very good area to be introduced to surfing. It is basically flat during the winter, but during the summer it is very consistent. Located on the south side of the Dana Point Harbor, Doheny State Beach will only take southern swells and produces a very gentle, crumbling wave that breaks slowly and collapses before reaching the shore.
Doheny consists of four takeoff spots: Boneyard, Seconds, Rivermouth, and Indicator. Boneyard is a fun right and left wave during high tide. You can get some really long rides here. Always wear booties here though, because the rocks are super sharp, and there are urchins. 2nds is a fun wave on low tide. It is usually a right, but there are occasionally fast lefts that come in. Rivermouth is a wave that breaks in front of the creek.