May 11, 2018

Whale Watching and Dolphin Tours

No matter what time of year you visit, it is always whale-watching season in Southern California. The Gulf of California, Monterey Bay, and other local coves see two distinct seasons for marine life: killer whales and gray whales migrate from about December to mid-April and humpback whales and blue whales migrate from mid-April to mid-December. Dolphins live and migrate throughout the area year round.

Here are our top three whale-watching locations and excursions for whichever time of year you are enjoying the southern Pacific coast!

3. Point Vincent Interpretive Center: Rancho Palos Verdes, California

About 10 miles west of San Pedro is Point Vincent Interpretive Center, a prime location for spotting whales without leaving land. If boats aren’t for you this is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon. The center is located along the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula and also serves as a research center where scientists and observers gather to take the annual whale censuses.The PVI Center is also home to exhibits featuring the history of gray whales, including a life sized model of a gray whale calf. To make a day trip of this exciting whale-watching location, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the walkways, picnic table area, and trails. For more information visit

2. Newport Harbor and Dana Point: Orange County, California

Our number two spot goes to two locations within Orange County that offer frequent boat tours of whale migration. In Newport Harbor, Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari have boats that include an under-water cabin, so you and your loved ones can get up close and personal with whales, dolphins, sea lions, and sea otters. At Dana Point, thought to be a landmark for migrating whales due to the high cliffs, take a two-hour guided boat tour with Dana Wharf Sport-fishing and Whale Watching. For book your trip, visit either or .

1. Moss Landing: Monterey, California

Our number one pick for whale watching and marine excursions in Southern California is Moss Landing. Here, you can kayak the 7 miles of Elkhorn Slough Reserve’s channel and have the opportunity to see dolphins, whales, and sea otters up close (or at least the legal 200 feet)! The reserve is currently BYOK, but if you don’t own your own kayak, vendors offer guided boat tours. The cool and calm waters of Moss Landing make for an enjoyable, relaxing, afternoon of adventure. The indoor facility includes restrooms, interactive exhibits, and helpful staff. The reserve also offers a picnic area, guided nature tours, hiking trails, and bird watching. For more information visit /. Please note that there is a parking/use fee charged by credit card only.
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