Halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, Dana Point, California, attracts sports groups looking for an experience that’s “a little bit different.” So says Sean Keliiholokai, the inaugural executive director of Visit Dana Point, a DMO formed last year to attract more meetings to the coastal destination.
The Surfing Santa Competition, hosted by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in November at Salt Creek Beach, qualifies as different. But it is only one example of a sport meshing well with a venue. The National Scholastic Surfing Association will also Salt Creek in June for its National Interscholastic Championships.
The general managers of DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Doheny Beach – Dana Point, Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, Monarch Beach Resort (formerly a St. Regis) and The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel comprise Visit Dana Point’s board of directors. Keliiholokai says the hotels are able to pool resources to accommodate large groups. Groups on a budget may consider the DoubleTree and Marriott.
The hotels make it easy to arrange a golf tournament there. Bicycling and road races also make sense at Dana Point, which has 28 parks within city limits.
As a bonus, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm are about an hour’s drive away. Closer in, the city of Dana Point is doing its part to keep attendees entertained. Festivals, usually related to water, whales or boats, are a regular occurrence. Meanwhile, work to improve Dana Point Lantern District continues along Del Prado Avenue, a mini-downtown hosting shopping, fitness activities, restaurants and events. “We have plenty of options,” says Keliiholokai.