San Diego Whale Watching Conservation

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best time of the year to see whales?

Gray Whales usually begin showing up off of San Diego on their southbound migration around mid to late December. From that point until the end of the northbound migration, around mid to late April, the chance of seeing Gray Whales in the area is very high. Take a look at our Tour Info page for more information.

Which time is better for whale watching, morning or afternoon?

Whale sightings for both times are the same. However, mornings do tend to be a little less windy and a little less crowded than the afternoon. Afternoons are more popular and early season tours include beautiful sunsets, but the water tends to be a bit rougher.

How far do you go?

Our operating range is about 30 miles (much further than most whale watching boats) from San Diego. However, we will usually be able to find Gray Whales within about 1-12 miles off the coast. For the Western Explorer that is only about a 15 minute run, which leaves lots of time to go exploring further out. Most of our trips include a tour of the beautiful Coronado Islands, where we will find an abundance of wildlife in a stunningly natural setting.

What should we bring?

While San Diego weather tends to be mild year round, the temperature out on the water will be significantly lower than on land. Layered clothing is the key and remember you will be on a boat, so wear sensible shoes. Also, don't forget to bring an ID (required for anyone over 18), a camera, binoculars (we also have loaners available), sunglasses, and sunscreen. Most importantly though, bring a fun attitude. This will make your whale watching trip all that more enjoyable.

How close do you get to the whales?

There is always an urge to experience the whales and wildlife as close as possible. However, we have to remember that we are viewing these animals in their environment and it is best to observe their natural life cycles without interfering. With this in mind we will do our best to make your whale watching tour an intimate experience of the ecosystem, while still being respectful of the whales and wildlife we encounter.

What happens if we don't see Whales?

Well, it doesn't happen very often, but don't panic if it does. Some of our best tours have been encounters with Dolphins, California Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, and Harbor Seals. And, don't forget that the boat ride and scenery alone is worth the trip.

Will I get seasick?

With the open air design and low center of gravity, it is very rare for people to get seasick on our boat. However, some people are very susceptible to motion sickness. If you are one of those people you may want to take a non-drowsy (unless you want to pay for a nice long nap on the boat) motion sickness medication. We also have Sea Bands on board for guest use. Just ask the naturalist when you board.