You can get up close to these impressive creatures with whale watching cruises, attend a festival, or observe the whales from land.
Cruises range from popular guided tours in comfortable ships to more intimate and adventurous tours in vessels ranging from beautiful sailboats to kayaks. Some companies also offer more extended excursions, lasting from several days to over a week.
Some tours offer a guarantee of whale sightings, or you'll receive a rain check. At any rate, you're likely to see a variety of wildlife, including dolphins, sea lions, seals, and sea birds. The dolphins alone are well worth getting out on the water to see; they're such a joy to watch. You may also spot other kinds of whales, such as humpback whales and orcas.
For the budget conscious, the least expensive tours are offered by Hornblower Cruises. Some companies also offer reduced prices for weekdays.
San Diego Whale Watching
Cruises and Excursions
Hornblower has partnered with the San Diego Natural History Museum to provide expert narration with naturalists on every tour.
San Diego Whale Watching Aboard Sailboats
Complimentary snacks and beverages are provided, as well as extra jackets, blankets, foul weather gear and other amenities, including two heads (restrooms). The company has over 20 years of experience.
San Diego Whale Watching Adventure Tours
Tours last for 3 - 3.5 hours and usually focus on the Coronado Islands off of Baja California. Tours are led by experienced captains and naturalists. Western Prince has 24 years of experience running tours in Washington State, and now in San Diego.
With a limit of 6 passengers, these tours offer an intimate view of whales, dolphins, and other wildlife. The experienced captains also serve as naturalists. The company offers custom excursions and private charters as well.
San Diego Whale Watching Kayak Tours
Tours include rental and transportation to the beach of a double or single kayak complete with paddle, life vest, and wet suit. There's a mandatory 5 minute training session, and facilities include restrooms, changing facilities, and lockers.
No experience is necessary, and children over 6 are welcome with adult supervision.
No experience is necessary, and children 8 years and up are welcome, but must be able to swim.
Children ages 6 and up are welcome, and no experience is necessary.
San Diego Whale Watching from Land
Festivals and Events