Tall Ships Festival

Maruska —  September 9, 2016

Tall Ship Festival

An unusual festival, this weekend in Dana Point, the Tall Ships Festival. I went to this event several times and it was fun, educational…and very different from any of the other festivals I have been to. I totally recommend it!

So that you know, some activities are free and some require a Pirate Adventure Pass. I purchased the pass last year and it was worth it. Squid dissection and eating real dried worms were definitely the highlight of our family outing! But you can also have a great family day without spending any money. Let me tell you about all the fun activities that await you and your family:

Free activities:

  • On Friday, at sunset, you can watch a tall ship parade from shore.
  • On Saturday/Sunday, experience an interactive living-history encampment, participate in knot tying races, enjoy live performances, and meet lots of pirates.

Activities that require a Pirate Adventure Pass ($8 for ages 3-14/ $10 for ages 15+/$30 family 4 pack):

  • Explore the tall ships and speak with the men and women who sail them. All nine tall ships will be open for above deck tours from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The brig Pilgrim will remain open until 5:00 p.m. both days and will offer continuous activities and interactive demonstrations.
  • Pirate school: last year the pirate was hilarious and taught the kids how to be a pirate. At one point I went to the restroom and when I came back the kids were eating real dried worms. Disgusting! My boy thought they tasted pretty good! (this activity is an additional $5 per kid)
  • Exciting labs throughout the day showcase myths and mysteries of the sea.
  • Cannon demonstrations
  • Pirate story time.
  • Meet live ocean animals.
  • Pirate parade.
  • Mermaid encounter (this activity is an additional $5 per kid)
  • Pirate and mermaid crafts.
  • Learn how to tie knots and make ropes.
  • and more!

Cruises (from $30/adult, $25/child):

  • Sail aboard a tall ship and experience a cannon battle or participate in the tall ship sunset parade.


Last year we got there at 10am and we found parking right in front of the event. If you get there later you might have to park further and be shuttled in. Parking and shuttle services are free. For more information about parking, click here.


34624 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, 92629


Friday, September 9, 2016: 4:30pm-7:30pm
Saturday, September 10, 2016: 10am-5pm
Sunday, September 11, 2016: 10am-5pm

Click here for the schedule of events.