Southern California Is have a summer whale watching season. Most people think whale watching is limited to winter, when Pacific gray whales make their annual migration along the coast between Mexico and Alaska. In summer you have the chance to see different species.
Half-day or full-day tours offer the chance to see blue, humpback, and minke whales—and spend some time at sea on a hot day. Blue whales migrate from mid-June to October following krill, their favorite food.
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Tours typically include a naturalist to help identify whales and other wildlife such as dolphins and seals. It’s worth checking out different tour websites to get an idea of what to expect. Davey’s Locker in Newport Beach, for example, posts daily sightings such as the huge pods of dolphins (over 1,000) that have appeared this week.
In line with coronavirus safety rules, boats are sailing with fewer passengers to allow for social distancing. For example, Island Packers Cruises in Ventura takes 56 people on a boat that typically holds 150. Masks are also required. Read the tour operator’s rules before you go.
Here is a list of whale watching tours offered this summer in LA, Orange, Ventura and San Diego counties. Prices shown are for adult tickets.
Los Angeles County
- LA Waterfront Sport Fishing and Cruises, 1150 Nagoya Way, Pier 79, San Pedro; two o’clock; $40 to $45, with $10 off for online purchase
- Harbor Breeze Cruises, 100 Aquarium Way, Pier 2, Long Beach; 2h30; $35, with $10 off for online purchase
- Redondo Beach Sport Fishing and Whale Watching, 140 International Drive; 2h30, $50
- Marina del Rey Sport Fishing, 13759 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey; three hours; $50
Ventura and the Channel Islands
- Island Packers, 1691 Spinnaker Drive, #105B, Ventura; 3h30, $68