What Is the Best Month for Whale Watching In San Diego?

The beautiful coastline around San Diego is a year-round attraction for locals and visitors alike. One of the best aspects of this is the abundance of animal activity. San Diego offers some of the best whale watching in the country. Of course, you don’t want to arrive and learn that there are no whales around. So, when is whale watching season in San Diego?

Best Times for Whale Watching in San Diego

The best time for whale watching in San Diego starts around mid-December and continues through April. During the start of the season through mid-February, whales can be spotted from the shore with binoculars. Other times, they are further out from the shore. March is perhaps the best month as mothers and calves begin to return north, but you can see plenty of whales throughout the season.

What You Can Expect During Whale Watching Season

Between December and April, a four-hour cruise will include several sightings of whales around the area. San Diego’s thriving marine ecosystem has plenty more to see as well. You can be confident that you will get a memorable experience during this time of year.

The Whales of San Diego

The most common type of whales in the area are gray whales which migrate during whale watching season. Some of the other whales you can expect to see around San Diego include gray minke whales, humpback whales, fin whales and orcas. Additionally, many people spot Risso’s dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, common dolphins and Pacific white-sided dolphins.

Gray whales tend to travel alone or in small pods. They tend to be in their largest groups during their migratory season. You’d be hard-pressed to miss them while out on a whale-watching boat because they are about as long as a basketball court is wide.

Late in the season, you may be treated to a special view: mother gray whales returning north with their calves. Even if you are earlier in the winter, you can be confident you will be treated to some majestic views. You are almost guaranteed several impressive sightings during the whales’ migratory season.

Spotting Blue Whales in San Diego

The gray whale migration is widely considered to be the best whale watching San Diego has to offer. However, it isn’t the only chance to spot one of these oceanic giants. During the summer months, blue whales migrate near San Diego. These are the largest known creatures on the earth. Almost unimaginably large, blue whales are truly a sight to behold.

Around 2,000 to 3,000 whales migrate from Antarctica to Costa Rica during the summer months. Beyond blue whales, you may also see humpback whales, fin whales, pilot whales and orcas.

Start Your Whale Watching Adventure

The next time you have a chance to visit San Diego in whale watching season, book your tickets. It is a genuinely memorable experience for anyone who takes a cruise. There are so many companies that will take you including sailboats that are a little gentler for people who suffer from motion sickness. Check out whale watching tours today and get a chance to see the majesty of San Diego’s whales yourself.

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14 thoughts on “What Is the Best Month for Whale Watching In San Diego?

  1. I have never tried to see a whale in person and I am sure it will be an exciting experience to witness them swimming in a big blue sea.

  2. My sister-in-law lives in San Diego and we are planning to visit her soon. I think I should go during this whale watching season so that we can experience this as well 😍😍

  3. I went on a whale-watching boat when I went to San Diego. I remember that it was very rocky and some people were getting sick. It was around March. I think if it weren’t for that, it would have been a more enjoyable experience.

  4. I didn’t even know whale watching was a thing. This seems pretty cool. Would love to take video of this whole fun adventure!

  5. We love whale watching in California. Dana Point is our favorite during the Festival of Whales in March. Such a great time with many educational opportunities.

  6. This would be so cool to see in real life! I love that San Diego has somewhat good weather all year round. It makes sense though that whales have migration patterns. Thanks for sharing your advice.

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