San Diego Whale Watching Tips

With 70 miles of distinguished coastline, San Diego is the perfect place for whale watching. Experience these magnificent mammals up close and personal by booking a tour or simply from the shore! We are sharing some helpful tips for your next whale watching excursion in San Diego.


whale breeching in ocean


San Diego has a year-round whale watching schedule. Although whale season is year-round, the best time for whale watching is between mid-December and April. More than 20,000 gray whales migrate from Alaska to breed and calve in the warm lagoons of Baja California. From mid-June to September, Blue Whales and Fin Whales migrate down the coast to the warmer waters to feed. Since these whales tend to be farther out, it is recommended to book a boat tour. 


Spotting whales from land and on boat. Some of the best locations to spot Gray Whales from shore include Cabrillo National Monument, Birch Aquarium at Scripps and Torrey Pines State Reserve where you are greeted with expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. San Diego offers a variety of whale watching boat excursions. Read on for more tips about where to go Whale Watching in San Diego.


What to look for when whale watching. Get your cameras ready! The blow or spout is a great indication that there is a whale just below the surface. Often mistaken as water, spouts can reach up to 15 feet in the air and are a white-looking mist shooting from the whale’s blowhole. After the spout you may notice a knuckled back rise and fall from the water. You may also spot the tail of a whale or even a breach and splash.  


Whale watching


Dress in layers! The temperature out at sea can be much cooler than on land. Packing a waterproof jacket or poncho can save you from the heavy mist or rain. 


Motion sickness remedies may be your best friend. If you’re susceptible to motion sickness, we recommend taking any medication before embarking on the whale watching adventure! Some alternative ways to help combat seasickness are fresh ginger or ginger chews, pressure point wristbands, essential oils and keeping your eyes on the horizon. 


What to Pack:

  • Waterproof Jacket 
  • A hat and sunglasses
  • Seasickness aids
  • Sunscreen  
  • Camera and/or binoculars
  • Water resistant bag to keep your items dry 
  • Non-slip shoes


Are you ready to cross whale watching off of your bucket list? This oceanic adventure is a great addition to your San Diego itinerary when staying at Southern California Beach Club