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Whale Watching Tours
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    - Whales / Orcas / Dolphins / Sea Lions / Harbor Seals / Seabirds -
    Get Ready for Your Best Boat Ride Every!

    Just off the coast of Southern California it is not hard for an experienced boat captain to find several forms of these popular large and friendly sea creatures passing by. Sometimes they will put on a spontaneous show and be quite entertaining.

    California Whale Watching VIP Tour Boat Tour San Diego 3.5 Hour Whale Watching Tour

    See magnificent California gray whales on their annual journey from the Arctic to California's Baja Coast on a whale watching cruise from San Diego. Seeing a California gray whale in the wild is an exhilarating experience you will never forget. Other marine wildlife may also make an appearance including seabirds and sea lions.


    Kayak Whale Watching VIP Tour Kayak Tour La Jolla Whale Watching Kayak Adventure
    Peak Season: Jan-Mar

    The whales' migration path is such that they come close La Jolla Shores. By paddling about a mile off-shore, you can catch these incredible animals, plus other marine mammals such as seals, sea lions and dolphins. There is no better way to experience the whale migration than from a kayak.


    Kayak Tour Whale-Watching Cruise from Newport Beach
    Year Round Whale-Watching Tour

    Hop aboard a 65-foot (20-meter) whale-watching boat for a fantastic adventure off the Orange County coast! During your whale-watching cruise, learn fascinating details about California sea life from the crew, and enjoy the Pacific Coast scenery. Year-round whale-watching cruises like this one are rare, so don’t miss this chance to see giant blue, finback, grey, minke and humpback whales, along with other marine life like dolphins, on this 2.5-hour tour from Newport Beach.

    Tip #1: Several boat operators will guarantee that you will have a successful animal sighting by giving you another boat ride free. A typical tour will see a few whales and dozens of dolphins and last about 3.5 hours.

    Tip #2: While California Grey Whale is typically seen only from Dec-April, it is still possible to see a lot of other whales and marine life the rest of the year. California Grey Whales will travel closer to the close. For other whales you need to be about 10 miles offshore.

    Boat Tour Los Cabos Whale Watching Tour
    Year Round Whale-Watching Tour

    Includes shuttle pickup from your Los Cabos Hotel in Baja California. Visit the world famous whale sanctuary at Magdalena Bay for an experience of a lifetime. You'll get the opportunity to reach out and actually touch these beautiful creatures!

    Boat Tour San Diego Sailboat Whale Watching Tour

    Get up close and personal with dolphins, sea lions, pelagic sea birds and migrating whales on this three-hour eco-friendly cruise through the waters of San Diego. With a maximum of 6 guests per cruise, you are sure to have the most personalized, intimate cruise.

    Tip #3: There are only six slots available here. Buy up all six and you can have your own private guided tour.

    Boat Tour Espiritu Santo Island Tour from Cabo San Lucas via La Paz Including Snorkeling

    Experience Espiritu Santo Island on a full-day tour by coach and boat from Cabo San Lucas. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Espirtu Santo sits off the coast of Baja California Sur and supports rich marine life and a year-round sea lion colony. You’ll tour the island by boat before landing on a secluded beach for lunch, snorkeling in the Sea of Cortez and fun in the sun! Hotel transport, breakfast and lunch are included.

    Tour Channel Islands National Park
    Accessible only by boat, these islands are a primary home for marine mammals and nesting sea birds. Also a prime place for whale-watching. Primitive camping, diving, sportsfishing and boating opportunities abound.

    During the winter and spring months, you'll typically see minke and humpback whales. The minke whale is one of the world’s smallest whales, only growing to about 23 feet (7 meters). The beloved humpback whale can grow to be about 52 feet (16 meters). Both whales love krill, and they ‘fluke’ (slap) their tails on the water in order to bring the krill up to the surface. Humpbacks are a very curious breed of whales and are often referred to as ’friendlies’ by sailors because they love to come up to ships.

    Keep your eyes peeled for other marine life like seals, sea lions and several types of dolphins. Your friendly and knowledgeable captain and crew all come from strong backgrounds in marine biology and will be able to answer all your questions.

    California Whale Watching Tours : Jan-Mar
    From January through March, some 28,000 Pacific Gray Whales make their annual migration up along the coast to their summer Alaska feeding grounds. During the summer Blue and Humpback Whales also come to visit the local waters delighting visitors with upclose encounters.

    During the year as many as 27 species of cetaceans (whales and porpoises) visit California coastal waters, delighting visitors with upclose encounters. For the best opportunity to spot these behemoths and their cousins of the deep, catch an whale watching excursion from any of the area marinas.

    The following coastal landmarks offer the best land-based locations for spotting whales - usually during the California Gray Whale migration (Jan-Mar):

  • Point Loma - Promonitory guarding entrance to San Diego Harbor.
  • La Jolla - Coastal bluffs.
  • Catalina Island
  • Channel Islands National Park
  • Santa Barbara - Shoreline Park (above Leadbetter Beach)

    The many ocean fishing piers of Southern California also offer a prime whale-spotting location.

  • Oceanside Pier
  • San Clemente Pier
  • Santa Monica Pier

    Santa Barbara Whale Festival - Late March
    Held on State Street between the Train Station & Stearns Wharf; Festival Website;
    Usually held on the last weekend in March, two full days of fun, food, arts and crafts. Displays on whale watching tours, whale information-stations, diving demonstrations, a children's carnival, rubber duck race, and more. Exhibition of artwork by local marine artists.

    Point Dume State Beach - Malibu CA
    At the end of Westward Beach Road, a gradual ascending trail leads to an ancient coastal bluff sand dune. Point Dume State Preserve features headlands, cliffs, rocky coves and vast beach access. Point Dume is a perfect place to watch for California gray whales during the December - March migration period.

    California Coastal National Monument
    Established in 2000, the California Coastal National Monument runs the entire length of the California coast (1,100 miles) between Oregon and Mexico, extends 12 nautical miles from the shoreline, and encompasses thousands of BLM administered islands, rocks, exposed reefs, and pinnacles above mean high tide. These provide forage and breeding grounds for significant populations of coastal birds and sea mammals.

    Cabrillo National Monument - Point Loma
    Located on the tip of Point Loma - this major landmark offers the best scenic views of the San Diego skyline and a host of other great features. It is also a great vista to watch the big ships sail in or out of San Diego Bay. The monument includes a tall statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who is credited with the discovery of San Diego Bay on Sept 28, 1542 and the first European to ever set foot on what is now the US West Coast. There are also several scenic hiking trails down to tidepools along the coast and a terrific vantage point for whale watching.

    Tour San Diego

    San Diego is filled with hundreds of great opportunities for adventurers of all ages. Thrill rides, ocean dives, speed boats, sports and recreation. The local environment goes from the ocean depths over mountain tops to wild desert wilderness beyond. Adventure activities for all age groups!


    Camp Fiesta Island Camp Fiesta Island
    San Diego Youth Aquatic Center

    This Boy Scout Camping Facility is located right behind Marine Life on Fiesta Island in the heart of Mission Bay. Facilities include many watersports equipment such as sailboats, kayaks, as well as an opportunity to pitch a tent adjacent to the waters edge.


    California High Adventure & Beyond
    Best Outdoor Activities in the Region

    Venturers Crews, Varsity Teams, Outdoorsmen - Find here our big list of exciting destinations and activities that you've been dreaming of.

Whale Watching Online Promo Code

GPS Gear - Pro-Shop Special
Popular for Runners, Boaters, Hikers, Bikers and Adventurers
Recent technology updates have made readily affordable for outdoor adventures a nifty item - the GPS Watch. It uses 3D Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology to triangulate your position and elevation to within 20 ft accuracy. Prices and great quality GPS watches now run less than $100 from quality manufactures such as Garmin and Navman.

Beach Tour Southern California
Explore wildlife and recreation at area beaches including many prominent state, county and city beaches. Camping, fishing, and watersports adventure opportunities available.

State Park Tour Southern California
California State Park Service maintains a number of wilderness parks at local beaches, mountain and desert regions. Visitors can see natural wonders and local wildlife in their native habitat. Scenic hiking trails, campgrounds and outdoor recreation areas.

Wildlife Tour Southern California
Southern California is home to a number of national wildlife refuge and wilderness areas that protect endangered avian, aquatic and mammal species. There is also a number of camping and hiking venues and visitors centers to help introduce you to California's native wildlife.

Tour Fort Rosecrans
Fort Rosecrans was created by the US military in 1852 on the southern tip of Point Loma. It is one of the most popular places in Southern California for whale watching from the shoreline.

Dana Point Dolphin Stampede

FunTicket – 2 Free Games
Local Marine Life

Southern California Map Store

    California Area Cetaceans

    During the year as many as 27 species of cetaceans (whales and porpoises) visit California coastal waters.

    California Grey Whale California Gray Whale - (Eschrichtius Robustus)

    Every year (Jan-Mar), some 28,000 gray whales follow the coastline northwards to their nutrient-rich Alaska summer feeding grounds following their breeding season in the warm waters off Baja California. These whales can weigh upto 100,000 pounds and can be seen spouting, breaching, and smacking their tail flukes on the water.

    Only member of the family Eschrichtiidae, the gray whale is a mysticete, or baleen whale. Visitors to the calving and breeding lagoons sometimes encounter the phenomenon of the "friendlies"; gray whales that closely approach small boats and allow themselves to be touched by humans.

    Blue Whale Blue Whale - (Balaenoptera Musculus)

    The Blue Whale (close relative of the humpback) is the largest mammal, possibly the largest animal, to ever inhabit the earth. Its blowholes are contained in a large, raised "splash guard", and the blow is tall and straight and over 20 feet (6 meters) high. The blue whale makes deep and rumbling sounds which can be felt as much as heard. These low-frequency sounds travel long distances through water, allowing blue whales to communicate with each other over hundreds of miles of ocean. Frequent summer (Jun-Oct) visitor to California waters.

    Humpback Whale - (Megaptera Novaeangliae)
    The shape and color pattern on the humpback whale's dorsal fin and flukes (tail) are as individual in each animal as are fingerprints in humans. Found in all the world's oceans, most populations of humpback whales follow a regular migration route, summering in temperate and polar waters for feeding, and wintering in tropical waters for mating and calving. Frequent summer (Jun-Oct) visitor to California waters. There are about 35,000 humpbacks worldwide.

    Two unique characteristics make the Humpbacks popular. They exhibit active acrobatics such as breaching, tail lobbing and flipper slapping. They also the most interesting behavior of "singing." Scientists have discovered that humpback whales sing long, complex "songs". A typical song lasts from 10-20 minutes, is repeated continuously for hours at a time, and changes gradually from year to year. Singing whales are males, and the songs may be a part of mating behavior.

    Blue Whale Common Dolphin
    Delphinus Delphis (short-beaked) & Delphinus Capensis (long-beaked)
    The common dolphin is found in all tropical and warm-temperate waters. The long-beaked common dolphin is found more in coastal waters; the short-beaked common dolphin is found in offshore waters and is the species that occurs frequently in the eastern tropical Pacific. Both long-beaked and short-beaked common dolphins frequent the Southern California Bight.

    Orca - Killer Whales
    Killer whales are actually not whales but the largest member of the Dolphin family.

    Baird's Beaked Whale - (Berardius Birdii )
    Baird's beaked whale is the largest of all the beaked whales, sometimes reaching a maximum length of 42 feet (12.8 m). This species may be the only large beaked whale found in the North Pacific. Because it tends to avoid ships, sightings of Baird's beaked whales are infrequent. Its blow is low and indistinct, which may be another reason why they escape detection at sea.

    Pacific White-Sided Dolphin - (Lagenorhynchus Oliquidens)
    Avid bow-riders and acrobatic jumpers, they are found abundantly in the coastal waters of the Northern Pacific.

    Risso's Dolphin - (Grampus Griseus)
    One of the largest members of the dolphin family, it is identified by its distinctive rounded head. Adult Risso's dolphins are usually dark gray with extensive white scarring. The scars can be scratches, splotches, or circular marks and, in some animals, can be so extensive that the entire body appears to be white. They are frequent visitors to California's Monterey Bay.

    Dall's Porpoise - (Phocoenoides Dalli)
    This uniquely marked black and white porpoise is widely regarded as one of the fastest swimmers of the ocean, reaching speeds of upto 30 mph. Sometimes found bow-riding to large vessels in the Northern Pacific.

    Pilot Whale -
    Globicephala melaena (long-finned) & Globicephala macrorhynchus (short-finned)
    Actually the second largest member of the dolphin family and a close cousin to the Killer Whale

    Sperm Whale - (Physeter Macrocephalus)
    Largest of the toothed whales, found in nearly all of the world's oceans and is best known for its portrayal of the dangerous leviathan in Melville's famous novel Moby Dick. The head of the sperm whale is blunt and squared off, and has a small, underslung jaw. It is the deepest diver of large whales, descending upto 3000 feet for upto an hour at a time.

    North Pacific Right Whale - (Eubalaena japonica)
    The right whale is a large, bulky baleen whale of unusual appearance. Its upper and lower jaws are highly curved, allowing its long baleen plates to be enclosed while swimming. Its rostrum (upper jaw) is narrow and is often covered by "callosities," hardened patches of skin that occur in the facial area. Right whales are black all over except for the belly, where there is often a white patch. This species was aggressively hunted by commercial fishermen as a source of whale oil.

Whale Watching Excursions
The following California marinas are home to whale-watching charters and ferries.

  • Oceanside Harbor
  • Santa Barbara Harbor
  • Newport Beach
  • Dana Point Harbor
  • Marina Del Rey
  • If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. - Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

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