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The coastal city of San Diego is a main stop on the migratory patterns of gray, blue, and humpback whales as they make their way from Alaska to Baja California and Mexico each year. Here’s how to witness some of the 25,000+ whales that make the trip annually.

When to Go
Whale-watching tours run from January to April during the peak season for sightings, although enormous blue whales can be seen throughout the year and into summer. San Diego may be famous for its warm weather, but it’s best to wear layers to protect from wind and water while out on the boat.

What You’ll See
Gray whales and humpbacks can often be seen with their small calves in tow, while the enormity of the blue whale’s spout alone is worth seeing. Whale-watching cruises often also encounter dolphins, sea lions, seals, and other marine life off the San Diego coast.

How to Go
Tours typically depart from San Diego Harbor, one of the best places to take a whale-watching excursion in Southern California. It’s best to avoid caffeine in advance of your outing and take precautions to prevent sea sickness. Customize your trip by choosing a whale-watching tour by sailboat, a kayaking adventure from La Jolla Cove, or a wildlife boat tour guided by a marine biologist from the Birch Aquarium.
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7 San Diego Whale Watching | All San Diego Tours

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San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

star-5
Go whale watching from San Diego aboard a replica of a historic sailing schooner that won the world’s first America’s Cup sailing competition in 1851. Throughout your cruise, your expert guide shares informative commentary about gray whales, dolphins, and other marine animals, along with details about the US Navy sites you pass as you head out on the Pacific Ocean.
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  • 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$85.00
From
$85.00
Taking safety measures

Luxury Catamaran Sailing Charter of San Diego

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Luxury Catamaran Sailing Charter of San Diego

star-5
Set sail from San Diego on your own private sailboat cruise that can accommodate up to 12 people. Depart from the Hyatt Regency Mission Bay and glide out to the Pacific Ocean, passing landmarks like Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, and Ocean Beach Pier. Get great views of southern California’s landscape and wildlife, and feel free to bring your own refreshments and music to customize your cruise.
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  • 2 to 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$660.00
per group
$1,100.00
$440.00 savings
From
$660.00
per group
$1,100.00
$440.00 savings

San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

star-4.5
Go on a whale-watching expedition in San Diego on this 4-hour cruise guided by Birch Aquarium experts. Get the scoop from a guide who studies the migratory patterns of grey whales as you keep a lookout for whales in the water. Board a 2-story yacht that gives you 360-degree views of the ocean. Plus, you're guaranteed to see whales or you get to ride again for free.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$45.00
From
$45.00
Taking safety measures

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Private Family Whale & Dolphin Adventure

Private Family Whale & Dolphin Adventure

star-5
Get the best chance of seeing whales and dolphins on a private boat tour. Your party will have the run of the boat, including an enclosed cabin, an observation tower, and a restroom. Your experienced USCG-certified captain knows the best places to spot wildlife and will provide engaging commentary on the local marine ecosystem.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$135.00
From
$135.00

San Diego Whale Watching Tour

San Diego Whale Watching Tour

star-4
Get up close and personal with California’s majestic Pacific Gray Whales during this 3-hour whale-watching excursion from San Diego. Climb aboard your U.S. Coast Guard-certified vessel, complete with indoor and outdoor seating and a spacious galley, as you search for these beautiful marine mammals as they migrate between the Baja Peninsula and the Bering Strait. With any luck you’ll catch a few sightings of these gentle giants, plus a wide variety of other sea creatures.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$30.00
From
$30.00

Pelican Sportfishing - Half Day San Diego Fishing Trip for up to 4 People

Pelican Sportfishing - Half Day San Diego Fishing Trip for up to 4 People

star-5
Enjoy a half day fishing along San Diego's beautiful coastline aboard a private charter! Captain Shaun, owner and operator of Pelican Sportfishing, will teach you what you need to know and assist as much or as little as you'd like. Our half day trips consist of fishing for a variety of species of rockfish, bass, lingcod and more. Captain Shaun is known for being personable, inviting and helpful, ensuring everyone has a great time aboard!
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  • 6 hours
From
$900.00
per group
From
$900.00
per group

San Diego Private Whale Watching and Sailing Experience for 6

San Diego Private Whale Watching and Sailing Experience for 6

star-5
Increase your chances of spotting humpback whales during a wildlife-watching cruise that departs from San Diego. Designed with nature lovers in mind, this cruise uses specialist technology to locate the whales and therefore maximize your opportunity to see the marine mammals. Plus, you’re likely to see dolphins and sea lions too.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$599.00
From
$599.00

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
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Q:
What Whale Watching in San Diego are taking additional safety precautions?
A:
These San Diego experiences are providing additional COVID-19 safety measures:
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Q:
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