California
Whale Watching & Dolphin Tours

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Our most recommended California Dolphin & Whale Watching

  • Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

    1. Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

    The tour departs from Monterey Old Fisherman’s Wharf, where the boat sets sail into the harbor, home to breathtaking sea views. As the tour leaves the dock, catch a glimpse of the hundreds of Californian Sea Lions inside the harbor. Take advantage of the view and snap a photo to capture the memory. Upon leaving the harbor, the boat passes the historic Cannery Row and then enters the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Monterey is one of the world’s best locations for whale watching due to the deep submarine canyon close to shore. This is where the search for the wonders of the bay’s marine life begins. With whales spotted almost every day, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Keep your eyes peeled as you scan the water for the abundance of marine life that lives here. Search for feeding humpback whales, a variety of dolphin species, porpoises, blue whales, fin whales and more....

    From the very beginning of the trip, to the last second, this trip was PHENOMENAL! We had amazing crew and a whale that literally breached out in front of our boat... UNREAL! I've been on numerous whale watches in the past and this one is by far the BEST! Thank you for so much for an unforgettable adventure! ❤️

  • Newport Beach: 2-Hour Whale Watching Tour

    2. Newport Beach: 2-Hour Whale Watching Tour

    On these year-round cruises off Newport Beach, many whale varieties are regularly seen including the giant blue whale (summer and fall), finback whale, grey whale (winter and spring), minke whale, and humpback whale. Several types of dolphin, seals, and all sorts of other marine life are typically spotted on the excursions as well. The cruises depart from Newport Harbor, located in the heart of Orange County, which is just a short drive from both Los Angeles and San Diego. Each cruise is a unique experience as you may never know what you might encounter. A recent cruise encountered a pod of more than 30 killer whales, including adults and their young, making for a whale watching adventure of a lifetime. The cruises enjoy a 96 percent success rate viewing whales and/or dolphin.

    everythings was ok. Host was kind and very knowleadgable.May be drinks are litle bit too expensive. Beside everything was fine.

  • San Diego: Whale Watching Tours

    3. San Diego: Whale Watching Tours

    Marvel at the amazing views of San Diego Bay as you look out for sightings of marine wildlife including dolphins, sea lions, gray whales, and more. Your tour will be led by ocean experts as you get a deeper understanding of the ocean ecosystem and the sea creatures that live in it. Discover the San Diego coast on a two-story whale watching yacht, featuring 360-degree views from the main level and upper sundeck, multiple restrooms, and free guest WiFi. You will follow the whale migration path to bring you up close for the best sighting spots, which change every day. Early in the season, whales swim closer to the coast, so the maximum distance is about 3-5 miles. On their return trip, northbound whales swim further out, up to 9-12 miles off the coast. Make sure to wear layers as it can get pretty cool on the bay and don't forget to wear your sunscreen and hat while on this excursion. Bri...

    It was pretty cool got a little sea sick but we got to see whales dolphins and sea lions will go back soon!

  • San Diego: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 55+ Attractions

    4. San Diego: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 55+ Attractions

    Activities, attractions, and tours included on the Go San Diego All-Inclusive pass: THEME PARKS & ZOOS• San Diego Zoo • SeaWorld San Diego• San Diego Zoo Safari Park• Belmont Park• Knott's Berry Farm• LEGOLAND California OUTDOORS• San Diego Speedboat Adventures• La Jolla: 90-min Tandem Kayak Rental• La Jolla: Full-Day Snorkel Adventure• La Jolla: All-Day Bike Rental• La Jolla: Surfboard Rental• La Jolla: Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) Rental• San Diego Harbor: 2-hr SUP• San Diego Harbor: 2-hr Kayak Rental• San Diego Harbor: 1-hr Pedal Boat Rental• Coronado: 90-min Tandem Kayak Rental• Coronado: SUP Board Rental• Coronado: Full-Day Bike Rental• San Diego Pier Fishing TOURS & CRUISES• 1-hr San Diego Harbor cruise by Hornblower Cruises• Whale Watching by Hornblower Cruises• Whale Watch & Dolphin Tour - Beautiful Newport Beach• San Diego Hiking Tour• San Diego Beach Tour• San Diego City Tour• Ca...

    this card allows entry into so many attractions and the trolley bus. well worth the money, we had zoo, safari, sea world, Midway and unlimited use of trolley buses. not enough time to do everything in 3 days

  • Newport Beach: Year-Round Whale Watching Cruise

    5. Newport Beach: Year-Round Whale Watching Cruise

    The waters surrounding Newport Harbor are deep and nutrient-rich, attracting all types of marine creatures. Cruises typically see a variety of whales including giant blue whales (during the summer and fall), finback whales, grey whales (in the winter and spring), minke whales, and humpback whales, as well as several types of dolphin, seals, and all sorts of other marine life. Each cruise is a unique experience in that you never know what you might encounter. The Laguna Beach coastline lies just to the south of Newport Harbor and is some of Southern California’s most beautiful coast. The grey whales are commonly seen in this area. Most whale watching cruises take in the scenic backdrops of Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach, while viewing the gentle giants just a few hundred yards from shore. Due to the geography of the Orange County coastline that surrounds Newport Harbo...

    We didn't get to see any whales, but the Captain made a huge effort to follow some common dolphins and we caught up to a very large pod feeding. Was amazing!

  • Monterey: Catamaran Sailing Cruise

    6. Monterey: Catamaran Sailing Cruise

    Experience a 1-hour sailing journey around the coast of Monterey. Enjoy Monterey Bay in a relaxing and quiet way without burning fossil fuels and see many well-known areas from the boat. Begin your sailing experience by touring the harbor to see some inquisitive sea otters and sea lions. Next, head to the bay, set the sails, and venture out sailing on the Pacific Ocean. Get a great view of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz, and Moss Landing from the sea. Look out for whales and dolphins in the water as you sail. Join the ecotourism movement and choose sailing for your next tour of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

    Short but so sweet! Amazing cruise around the bay with friendly, knowledgeable captain. Great snacks and drinks on board! The whole family had an amazing time.

  • San Diego: Day Sail Aboard a Classic Yacht

    7. San Diego: Day Sail Aboard a Classic Yacht

    Immerse yourself in the lap of luxury as you set sail on a Liberty sailboat from the Sunset Resort Marina, and take a golden opportunity to spot stunning wildlife such as sea lions and dolphins. Take a journey back to the early twentieth century on board this handsome boat, modeled on a 1914 'Friendship Sloop'. Get hands-on as you try out steering the boat yourself during the 2.5 hour tour! Admire the San Diego skyline shimmering away on the horizon, as you cruise alongside grand ships like the USS Midway and the USS Carl Vinson. Sit back and absorb the views while enjoying complimentary snacks and drinks, and get your camera ready to snap the twinkling lights of San Diego, from the Maritime Museum to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.

    Super relaxing sail with Captain Phillip. His sailboat is beautiful and his knowledge of sailing is immense. You do not want to miss this tour of the Bay. I will do this again and hope others see this review and decide to go. It was better than a spa day if you can imagine that! Lovely trip

  • Monterey: Sunset Whale Watching

    8. Monterey: Sunset Whale Watching

    Enjoy the wildlife, then relax as you take in the beautiful sunset over Monterey Bay on a sightseeing cruise. Meet your guide at the wharf and climb aboard the boat to start your tour. Spot whales, dolphins, and a wide variety of marine wildlife in Monterey Bay. Whales are seen every day in this area. Listen to your marine biologist or naturalist guide as they share interesting information about the animals you see, the natural history of the local area, and conservation. Witness scientific research in action as marine biologists and naturalists collect sighting data to learn about the local wildlife. Then, sit back and relax as the sun sets, reflected in the water, providing lasting memories and incredible photo opportunities. Finally, return to the wharf and dry land.

    11/10 experience. The crew of the boat said that in their 25 years of tours they have never seen such a good feeding show. It was incredible and I will go again.

  • Newport Beach: Ultimate Whale Watching Adventure

    9. Newport Beach: Ultimate Whale Watching Adventure

    Take a 2-hour dolphin and whale watching tour from Newport Beach. Cruise in an open boat that offers 360-degree views from anywhere onboard, allowing everyone a to have close encounter with nature. Admire the stunning coastal landscape and look out for whales, dolphins, and other marine wildlife.   Board a custom-built RIB, perfect for whale watching. The boat has a maximum capacity of 15 people, giving each passenger a piece of the action. See dolphins come almost close enough to touch. The boat can travel at speed and cruises up to 14 miles from port to ensure the highest success rate of animal sightings.

    Punctual, Knowledgeable, and friendly Captain Taylor. He made sure we saw a lot of wildlife . Epic!!!

  • San Diego: Sunset Sailing Aboard a Classic Yacht

    10. San Diego: Sunset Sailing Aboard a Classic Yacht

    Climb aboard for an all-inclusive small-group cruise to remember. Enjoy an intimate experience as you pass local landmarks, look for sea life, and perhaps try your hand at navigating the boat yourself. Embark on the vintage yacht Liberty for a premium sailing experience. Admire a vessel which is flawlessly maintained with high standards of pride and craftsmanship. Fall in love with her mirror-finish wood accents, beautiful cozy cabin and clean facilities. Immerse yourself in a 2.5 hour nautical experience with inclusive drinks and snacks. Play some music and relax on cushioned seats as you sail the scenic waters of San Diego Bay. Feel free to steer the boat and feel the power of the wind in the sails. Marvel at historic landmarks like the USS Midway aircraft carrier, Maritime Bridge, Coronado Bridge, and Old Point Loma Lighthouse. See local wildlife like sea lions, dolphins, and sea b...

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What people are saying about California

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 71 reviews

Our whale watching experience was fantastic for the adventurous person! We saw 5-6 whales as well as some sea lions. Three of the whales were breaching for about an hour, so we saw some amazing jumps. Forewarning, the water was choppy on the day we went so it would be a less pleasant experience if you are sensitive to sea-sickness, as some others on the boat were. Also, be prepared to get a wet and bring a poncho. All in all, we had a great time!

Like Gilligan's Island it was a 3 hour tour. 1.5 hours in we had reserved the fact that we may see no animals and then before you know it a school of porpoises, seals and 7 or so humpback whales all feeding on a school of sardines up close around and at one point even under our boat. Thanks to our parient Capt and crew and for their vast knowledge of these animals and their habits. Well worth it.

From the very beginning of the trip, to the last second, this trip was PHENOMENAL! We had amazing crew and a whale that literally breached out in front of our boat... UNREAL! I've been on numerous whale watches in the past and this one is by far the BEST! Thank you for so much for an unforgettable adventure! ❤️

Excellent activity. Private, For families and adults. Wonderful views of the shore, the beaches, great houses. And the dolphins were amazing!!!

The guides were very knowledgeable, friendly and made the experience personable! Highly recommend!!