Humpback whale migration is one of the most viewed and researched whale activities. They are the focus of whale-watching in many nations worldwide and may be found in every ocean – and many nearshore locations connected with coastal and marine tourism. The species is noted for its stunning surface-active behaviors, which can include leaping clear of the water and flipper and tail slapping, occasional interest in surrounding tour boats, complex songs, which you can hear in the tropics during the breeding season. Moreover, the humpback whale’s blow or the splash of a breach may be seen from miles away, making the humpback one of the more visible objectives of whale watching worldwide.


What Exactly Is a Humpback Whale?

Humpback whales may be found in all the world’s oceans. Megaptera novaeangliae means “great wing of New England” in Latin. It alludes to their massive pectoral fins, which may grow up to 16 feet long, and their initial sighting off the coast of New England, where European whalers first saw them. They have wrinkled necks, pale bellies, black backs, and a slight hump in front of their dorsal fins, thus the common name humpback.


How Do Humpback Whales Migrate?

Humpback whales may be found in all the world’s major oceans. Some can travel up to 5,000 miles during the seasonal humpback whale migration between summer feeding grounds at high latitudes, and winter mating and calving areas in the tropics.


In the North Pacific, humpback whale migration occurs from Alaska to Hawaii; these whales can travel 3,000 miles in as little as 28 days. During calving, they prefer shallow, warm seas near offshore reef systems or coastlines. The feeding habitats of humpback whales are often in cold, productive seas.


During the spring, summer, and fall, two populations of humpback whales feed in the North Atlantic, stretching from the Gulf of Maine to Norway. During the winter, humpback whales migrate south to calve and breed in the West Indies and Cape Verde (off the coast of Africa). Furthermore, there are seven humpback whale populations in the Southern Hemisphere, and all of them depend on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic waters for their food.


Where Is the Best Place in San Diego to See Humpback Whale Migration?

The following are San Diego’s greatest sites to observe humpback whales in their native environment.


Birch Sea Aquarium

La Jolla, California is home to the Birch Sea Aquarium, which is a part of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). They have a project of conservation going on and highlight the local fauna to guests. From the Birch Aquarium Terrace, you will enjoy a fantastic view over the La Jolla shoreline, and it is possible to glimpse whales from there.


Torrey Pines State Park

It is well-known not just for its beautiful golf course, but also for Torrey Pines State Park. It is one of the best hiking trails in San Diego, with panoramic views of the shore. Furthermore, it is an excellent location for whale viewing from land in San Diego. Depending on demand, admission costs between $12 and $15 per car. It is a popular hangout for both residents and visitors.


Cabrillo National Monument

You may also enjoy whale viewing from shore at Cabrillo National Monument at Point Loma. You’re relatively high up, and you can see for miles when the weather is clear. Because this is a National Monument, there is a cost of $10 per person (walk-ins) or $30 per automobile.


Where Do Whales Migrate to?

There are approximately 80 kinds of whales, each with its own movement patterns, many of which are yet unknown. Whales travel to the cooler poles in the summer and more tropical seas of the equator in the winter. This cycle permits whales to take advantage of lucrative feeding grounds in cooler seas during the summer, and then travel to warmer areas to give birth to calves when production declines.


Do All Whales Migrate?

A population’s whales may not all migrate. Juvenile humpback whales, for example, may not go as far as adults because they are not mature enough to breed. They frequently stay in colder waters to take advantage of the prey that appears throughout the winter.


Some whale species with well-documented migratory patterns include:


  • Grey whales travel between Alaska and Russia, as well as Baja California.
  • North Atlantic right whales appear to migrate from chilly waters off the northeastern United States and Canadian coasts to seas off the shores of South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.
  • Humpback whales migrate from northern feeding areas to southern breeding grounds.
  • Blue whales travel from California to Mexico and Costa Rica in the Pacific.