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Whale Watching Tours in San Diego

By Viator, January 2018

4.5 91 Reviews | Add your review

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.

Tours & Tickets

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San Diego Whale Watching Cruise and Maritime Museum Entry, San Diego, null
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San Diego Whale Watching Cruise and Maritime Museum Entry

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 39 Reviews

Jump on board the world-famous America sailing schooner for a once-in-a-lifetime whale watching experience. The only whale-watching sailing trip in San ...  Read more

Location: San Diego, California
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $79.00
Half-Day Deep-Sea Fishing Cruise from San Diego, San Diego, Dolphin & Whale Watching
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Half-Day Deep-Sea Fishing Cruise from San Diego

Fish for yellowtail, bass, or a variety of game fish off the coast of California on this half-day angling excursion from San Diego. Cruise along San Diego ...  Read more

Location: San Diego, California
Duration: 5 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $85.92
Two-Hour Whale Watching Tours from Oceanside, San Diego, Dolphin & Whale Watching
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Two-Hour Whale Watching Tours from Oceanside

4 star rating: Recommended 2 Reviews

Your guide will tell you about the history of Oceanside as you travel to see marine life. Your boat is equipped with dolphin and whale information, fun ...  Read more

Location: Oceanside, California
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $39.00
San Diego Winter Whale Watching Expedition Cruise, San Diego, Dolphin & Whale Watching
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San Diego Winter Whale Watching Expedition Cruise

4.5 star rating: Recommended 48 Reviews

See magnificent California gray whales on their annual journey from the Arctic to California's Baja Coast on a whale watching cruise from San Diego. If you ...  Read more

Location: San Diego, California
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $43.00
Dolphin and Whale Watching Sunset Cruise, San Diego, Dolphin & Whale Watching
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Dolphin and Whale Watching Sunset Cruise

Our Sunset Cruise departs from Mission Bay in beautiful San Diego, CA. Our friendly and experienced crew provides you with sightings of beautiful whales & ...  Read more

Location: San Diego, California
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $48.00
San Diego Whale Watching Tour, San Diego, Dolphin & Whale Watching
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San Diego Whale Watching Tour

3 star rating: Worth doing 2 Reviews

Get up close and personal with California’s majestic Pacific Gray Whales during this 3-hour whale-watching excursion from San Diego.

Location: San Diego, California
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $30.00
Whale Watching Adventure, San Diego, Dolphin & Whale Watching
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Whale Watching Adventure

Every year during the winter months, California Grey Whales migrate from the frigid waters of Alaska to the more temperate waters off the coast of Baja ...  Read more

Location: San Diego, California
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $99.00
San Diego Whale Watching Sailing Tour, San Diego, Dolphin & Whale Watching
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San Diego Whale Watching Sailing Tour

San Diego is the ideal location to watch Pacific Gray Whales as they migrate from the Bering Sea to the lagoons of Baja California to mate and give birth. ...  Read more

Location: San Diego, California
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $89.00
Nature Cruise and Whale Watching Tour, San Diego, Dolphin & Whale Watching
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Nature Cruise and Whale Watching Tour

Private small group whale watching/nature sailing tour on San Diego Bay on a unique 1914 replica Friendship Sloop. All boat tours use traditional sailing ...  Read more

Location: San Diego, California
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $800.00

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