Tips for Whale Watching in San Diego

With 70 miles of captivating coastline, San Diego stands out as the ideal destination for whale watching. Immerse yourself in the awe-inspiring presence of these magnificent mammals by either booking a tour or enjoying the spectacle from the shore. Here are some valuable tips for whale watching in San Diego.

San Diego boasts a year-round whale watching schedule: While whale sightings are possible throughout the year, the prime time for this enchanting activity is between mid-December and April. During this period, over 20,000 gray whales migrate from Alaska to the warm lagoons of Baja California for breeding and calving. From mid-June to September, Blue Whales and Fin Whales migrate down the coast to feed in the warmer waters, making it advisable to opt for a boat tour for a closer encounter.

Spotting Whales from Land and Sea: Some of the best locations for spotting Gray Whales from the shore include Cabrillo National MonumentBirch Aquarium at Scripps, and Torrey Pines State Reserve, offering expansive views of the Pacific Ocean. San Diego provides various whale watching boat excursions for a more immersive experience. Read on for additional tips on where to go whale watching in San Diego.


whale jumping out of water

Whale Spotting San Diego

What to look for when whale watching: Prepare your cameras! The blow or spout is a significant indicator of a whale just below the surface. Often mistaken for water, these spouts can reach up to 15 feet in the air, appearing as a white mist shooting from the whale’s blowhole. Following the spout, you may observe a knuckled back rising and falling from the water, the tail of a whale, or even a breach and splash.

Dress in layers! Be ready for varying temperatures! The sea can be cooler than the land, so packing a waterproof jacket or poncho can shield you from mist or rain.

Motion sickness remedies may be your best friend: For those prone to motion sickness, consider taking medication before embarking on the whale watching adventure. Alternatively, try remedies such as fresh ginger or ginger chews, pressure point wristbands, essential oils, and keeping your eyes on the horizon.


people whale watching


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.


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