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California, United States Dolphin & whale watching

Our most recommended California, United States Dolphin & whale watching

Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

1. Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

Discover a variety of whale species in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on this cruise from Monterey. Uncover one of the world’s best locations for whale watching due to its deep submarine canyon close to shore. With whales spotted almost every day, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Set sail from the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Catch a glimpse of the hundreds of Californian Sea Lions inside the harbor as the boat leaves the dock. Take advantage of the view and snap a photo to capture the memory. Pass the historic Cannery Row as you leave the harbor and enter the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Search for feeding humpback whales, a variety of dolphin species, porpoises, blue whales, and fin whales. Listen as the onboard biologist provides fascinating insights into the creatures of the bay and what is being done to protect them. During the summer/ fall season, the tour will focus on feeding whales that come to the bay to feast on small fish and krill. Spot humpback whales daily but keep an eye out for blue whales, fin whales, gray whales (finishing migration), orcas and a variety of other dolphin species. During the winter season, the tour will focus on migrating whales at the south end of Monterey Bay where gray whales pass by. Return to your starting point at the end of your tour.

Monterey: Whale Watching Tour with A Marine Guide

2. Monterey: Whale Watching Tour with A Marine Guide

Hop onboard one of the largest vessels in Monterey for a guided whale-watching tour. Leave the harbor and head out into Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary in search of whales, dolphins, and other marine wildlife that migrate through the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Relax in the heated cabins of the 110-feet Princess Monterey and the 100-feet Atlantis Monterey. Grab a snack or drink from the onboard bar, enjoy spacious indoor and outdoor seating, and never miss a moment with a 360-viewing walkaround deck. With deep nutrient-rich waters just offshore, Monterey Bay hosts humpback whales and blue whales during summer and fall. Gray whales pass by the coastline as they navigate one of the longest migrations of a marine mammal during winter and spring, while dolphins come to the bay throughout the year. Every trip is different, so whether it’s your first time on a marine wildlife cruise or you’re a whale-watching veteran, see what Monterey Bay has in store for you.

Monterey: Monterey Bay Dolphin and Whale Watching Boat Tour

3. Monterey: Monterey Bay Dolphin and Whale Watching Boat Tour

Discover the diverse wildlife of Monterey Bay on a guided dolphin and whale watching boat cruise. Feast your eyes on massive gray whales, watch playful dolphins leap from the water, spot turtles skimming underneath the waves, and learn about the ecological landscape of the bay's oceanic habitat. Begin your tour by meeting your captain and boarding the boat at the Old Fisherman's Wharf. Sail into Monterey Bay, watching for birds and otters along the wharf's shallow banks. Learn about local efforts to protect what is considered to be one of the most ecologically diverse bays in the area. As you sail further away from the shoreline, watch for harbor seals, bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales, elephant seals, and even sharks. Catch sight of gray whales leaping alongside the boat and curious killer whales, with their characteristic black and white coloring, swimming nearby.

Monterey: Whale Watching Cruise

4. Monterey: Whale Watching Cruise

Get up close and personal with some of California's marine life on this whale-watching cruise in Monterey Bay, departing from Moss Landing. See humpback, orca, gray, and blue whales, and get the chance to spot a friendly dolphin. Start your cruise in the quaint fishing village of Moss Landing. From here, depart from the harbor and listen to your marine biologist guide talk about the local area and its abundance of sea creatures. In the harbor, you can spot the beloved Monterey Bay sea otter and numerous species of seabirds as you listen to the sealions' bark. Continue into the open waters of Monterey Bay, one of the top whale-watching destinations in the world. The bay's unique ocean floor allows for frequent upwellings of food, meaning you can see both resident and migrating whales year-round. Learn more about the area from your naturalist guide and spot whales including humpback whales, gray whales, killer whales, blue whales, sharks, and other sea life such as mola mola, sea turtles, and jellyfish. Finish your cruise with a relaxed ride back to the port in Moss Landing and get one last glimpse of the wildlife of Monterey Bay.

San Diego: Whale Watching Tour

5. San Diego: Whale Watching Tour

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. Bring your camera to capture all the memories you'll make on this exciting adventure.

Newport Beach: Luxury Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

6. Newport Beach: Luxury Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

Set sail on a 50-foot catamaran yacht in search of wild marine wildlife on this cruise from Newport Beach. Enjoy the 360 degree walk-around deck that ensures that you never miss a moment with the whales. Keep your eyes peeled for giant blue whales, humpback whales, and pods of dolphins. Board the ship and set sail from the landing. Get up close to different whales and discover facinating details about these creatures from your naturalist guides that are eager to share their knowledge with you. Let your captain take you to places where the whales are more active to increase your viewing chances. Head to the front of the ship and look for bow riding dolphins which will glide just below your feet on one of the dual bows. Feel the excitement of watching these playful creatures frolic in their natural environment. End your tour at the meeting point where it began.

Newport Beach: Ultimate Whale Watching Adventure

7. 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.

Newport Beach: Year-Round Whale Watching Cruise

8. 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 Harbor, ocean conditions are very calm allowing whale watchers to fully enjoy the amazing viewings. Our primary whale watching ship is 65 feet long, and has a large upstairs sundeck, wrap-around outside seating, snack bar, and indoor seating with large windows. The ship was purpose-built for viewing marine life. Plenty of other amenities guarantee a very comfortable and exciting trip. Captains and crew members are well-versed in marine biology and are incredibly knowledgeable about marine creatures, environment, and eco systems.

Newport Beach: Whale and Dolphin-Watching Cruise

9. Newport Beach: Whale and Dolphin-Watching Cruise

Head out on a whale and dolphin-watching cruise from Newport Beach. The waters surrounding Newport Harbor offer deep nutrient-rich waters that attract all types of marine creatures. With a 96% success rate, almost every trip has the opportunity to see whales or dolphins. Look out for giant blue whales (during the summer and fall months), finback whales, gray whales (winter and spring months), minke whales, humpback whales, several types of dolphin (including giant rizzo dolphin over 14 feet in length), seals, and all sorts of other marine life. 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 Harbor, ocean conditions are incredibly calm. The captain and crew have backgrounds in marine biology and can provide details about the marine creatures, environment, and ecosystems.

Newport Beach: 2-Hour Whale Watching Tour

10. Newport Beach: 2-Hour Whale Watching Tour

Embark on a whale-watching adventure off Newport Beach, CA and look out for a variety of whales, including humpback whales and blue whales. Observe marine life in the wild and admire the Newport-Laguna coastline. 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.

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What people are saying about California, United States

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 71 reviews

It was a perfect day on the water. We seen about 10 humpback whales , dolphins, sea otters, and sea lions. The water would literally churning with sea life .The captain and the staff went out of their way to make us comfortable , are very friendly and were very knowledgeable of the sea life around us. They did a great job of explaining the very delicate and somewhat complicated ecosystem in a way that is easy understood. I would highly recommend Discovery Whale Watch as your guide for an experience of a lifetime.

The day exceeded all our expectations. We saw hundreds of dolphins, Orcas, and whales. Our guide seemed exceptionally professional, knowledgeable, outgoing and friendly. The actual whales were spotted about a half hour before we were due to return and in order to get the actual sightings in it was necessary to extend our trip. The fuel and time cost the company money but the crew seemed more than happy to incur the extra expense in order to ensure a successful voyage. Impressive!

This was me and my wife’s first time being on a boat in the sea. I must say that the crew and the captain were very helpful as well as knowledgeable. I would recommend Discovery whale watching

Daniel the captain, Andrew and Kayla were fantastic hosts, we saw 5 whales, dolphin, sea lions and otters, highly recommend Travelling from Wales in the UK

Friendly knowledgeable staffs. We got to a few marine life: grey whales, humpback whales, otters, dolphins, and sea lions. It was a wonderful experience.