Whale Watching from
the San Diego Shoreline

With over 70 miles of coastline to offer, it's little wonder that whale watching in San Diego is so popular. At the height of the whale watching season there can be a few hundred whales passing through these waters on a single day. If you're planning a San Diego vacation, be sure to take one of the whale watching cruises, like those offered by Hornblower Cruises.

Orca, the Killer Whale

Alternatively you can usually see whales from the shoreline, if you know where to go. 

Best Time for San Diego Whale Watching

From December through March tens of thousands of California gray whales make their migration from the chilly waters of Alaska to the warmer lagoons of Baja California in Mexico. They do this so that the female California grays can give birth to their young in better conditions, and to allow them to grow before making the return journey. The time when the most whales are passing by San Diego is the middle of January.

During migration the whales travel over 5000 miles, the longest distance that any mammal migrates on an annual basis. Many come within a few miles of the San Diego shoreline, and a whale watching trip lets you get right up-close. Ever looked into the eye of a whale? That's how close, if you get lucky. But you don't have to go to sea to watch the whales, as there are some terrific shoreline viewing platforms too.

Whale Watching from the San Diego Shore

A great place for whale watching from land is at the Cabrillo National Monument. This state park is on the Point Loma peninsula, and has a glass-enclosed observatory where you can watch for the whales throughout the December-March season. There are also interpretative displays.

The Birch Aquarium at Scripps (The Scripps Institution of Oceanography) puts on special exhibitions during the whale watching season. Visitors can see the whales from the aquarium's tide-pool plaza, which overlooks the ocean. It's an especially good place for a family whale watching day out, as there are educational activities for children – and you get to visit the aquarium too!

Read our page about our visit to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, also known as the La Jolla Aquarium, when we were staying in La Jolla.



You might like these

  • Whale Watching in California

    Whale watching in California is one of the most popular things to do along the Pacific Coast Highway, inplaces like San Diego, San Francisco and many more.

  • Piedras Blancas Elephant Seals Beach

    Piedras Blancas Elephant Seals Beach is near Hearst Castle, San Simeon and Cambria and is one of the best things to do when driving the Pacific Coast Highway.

  • San Diego

    San Diego in Southern California is a major travel destination and this page from Pacific Coast Highway Travel has visitor information and best things to do.

  • Where to Stay in San Diego

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel's website recommendations on Where to Stay in San Diego include reviews of budget and luxury hotels in downtown San Diego.

  • Whale Watching Coupons in Newport Beach

    Whale watching coupons offering a big discount are available now in Newport Beach for cheap whale watching cruises with Newport Landing Whale Watching.

  • Cheap Flights to San Diego

    Cheap flights to San Diego with Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, WestJet and other airlines from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.

  • Visiting Balboa Park

    Visiting Balboa Park is one of the best things to do in San Diego, California, as the park is home to San Diego Zoo, several museums, and beautiful gardens.



Recent Articles

  1. Gray Whale Calf just days old

    Jan 17, 21 06:18 PM

    Check out this NEW baby Gray Whales video we had just days ago off the Dana Point coast. This was such a treat and hope to have more and more visits like these .

    Read More

  2. These 5 States Are Perfect For A Winter Road Trip

    Jan 17, 21 11:04 AM

    Road trips aren’t just for the summer. For starters, it’s always fun to get away in the winter. Another benefit is that national and state parks as well as other famous attractions are usually less cr…

    Read More

  3. Will sand save San Diego North County's bluffs?

    Jan 15, 21 10:00 AM

    Army Corps of Engineers big dumps in Encinitas and Solana Beach seem like a finger in the dyke

    Read More