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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. Miranda Lambert Reveals Her Next Road Trip Destination

    Aug 11, 20 03:14 AM

    Miranda Lambert and husband Brendan McLoughlin recently took a trip up the East Coast to visit their family in New York, and the country star revealed the destination she'd like to explore next during…

    Read More

  2. Malibu Beach Inn Receives GBAC Star for High Standards for Cleanliness and Prevention

    Aug 06, 20 10:06 AM

    Malibu Beach Inn, the luxury boutique hotel nestled on the sands of the Pacific Ocean in the heart of Malibu, is recognized by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), receiving a Certificate of Ac…

    Read More

  3. Michael Bilokonsky on the Top 7 Motorcycle Routes in the United States

    Aug 06, 20 10:06 AM

    State Route 1 – California Last but not least is State Route 1, otherwise known as the Pacific Coast Highway, in sunny California. Michael Bilokonsky is a huge fan of this route owing to the fact that…

    Read More