Undoubtedly, a whale is a beautiful creature, and San Diego is one of the greatest sites to whale watch and see these massive mammals. However, while we may joke that anything the size of a home or an airliner would be easy to see, things aren’t relatively that simple when it comes to whale watching.

The San Diego whale watch season is here! Gray whales make an annual migration from Alaska to Mexico. That means you’ll be able to kayak alongside huge whales as they accompany their newborn calves down the coast in the winter!

Whale watch cruises are generally available most days of the year, but the ideal time to schedule one is between late winter and early spring, since the peak season for viewing whales is from December to April. But be warned: most tour companies employ a relatively small capacity of schooners, so tickets might sell out fast. It is strongly advised to make whale watch reservations several weeks in advance.

What Is the Best Season for San Diego Whale Watching Tours?

The San Diego whale watching season is open all year, but the ideal time to visit is between December and April, when over 20,000 gray whales travel along the San Diego coastline. Other species, such as blue and fin whales, may be sighted all year long.

Blue Whales

Don’t worry if you missed the huge gray whale migration in San Diego in the winter or spring, blue whale season in San Diego runs from mid-June through September. San Diego’s waterways are their favorite feeding ground.

Gray Whales

Between November and January, 20,000 gray whales travel from San Diego to Mexico, California, and Baja. The San Diego region has the largest number of gray whales in mid-January, with up to eight animals passing through the area every hour.

Gray whales travel by San Diego on their journey north to their arctic habitat in March and April.

Other Whales

Most Humpback whales spend their winters in Hawaii, a tropical paradise. However, a herd of roughly 2-3000, animals migrates from Alaska to Southern California alternatively.

Moreover, minke whales have tiny, stocky bodies and pointed snouts. The pods in California are known as residential whales because they remain continuously here while their counterparts in Alaska migrate south.

Fin whales, the second-biggest whale, often visit the San Diego area. They are massive and quick, reaching speeds of up to 23 miles per hour.

Is Whale Watching in San Diego Worth It?

San Diego whale watch tours are valuable, since the city is home to many interesting sea life. It is possible to view humpback, blue, gray whales, and more. You may also witness military ships, sea lions, and dolphins on the boat excursion. Both adults and children enjoy this pastime.

You will get several chances to see the whales as they glide smoothly through the water, interact with one another, and seek food while on tour. And, of course, there are those vibrant dolphins to entertain and delight! It’s incredible to see humpback whales surrounded by swarms of dolphins.

San Diego Whale Watch Tours Reviews

Some of the top reviews for whale watching tours in San Diego include:

Caitlin Rojas

“Had an AMAZING time this past Sunday, saw a nursery pod of dolphins with SO MANY BABIES! And even got a surprise visit, seeing two humpback whales right before we finished. Friendly and enthusiastic crew, clean ship and a great time. Thanks!”

Valerie Jordan

“San Diego Whale Watch is amazing. The crew is extremely knowledgeable and able to find a couple of Humpbacks and a nursery of dolphins. I would highly recommend this tour, just check for bike races that close off access to the marina.”

Laura Wilson

“Everyone loaded on the boat and we were off! What a great time we had (brought 3 first-time Pelagic buddies). This is definitely not their last! The waters were fairly calm, and birding was fantastic!”

Gabriel-Cat DiFelice

“The people and experience were awesome; there were plenty of dolphins and whales to see!”


One of the most compelling reasons to participate in the greatest whale watching in San Diego is simple: it’s enjoyable! Everybody, anywhere, needs to live life to the fullest, and going whale watching in San Diego will help you accomplish precisely that.

Whale watching in San Diego is a lot of fun, and there are many alternatives for almost every budget. Seeing these gorgeous creatures in the wild during the San Diego whale watch season is an incredible experience. We recommend it if you have the opportunity, whether you live in San Diego, are just passing through, or are looking for a new and fun experience.