Planning Your Whale Watching Trip

If you are new to whale watching, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you plan your adventure.

When to Go

Once of the best things about southern California whale watching is that there is no off-season. Blue whales are frequently sighted between May and November, while Grey whales can be spotted from December to April. And at any time of the year you can see other whale species like Humpback, Minke, or Fin whales. Common dolphin and Bottlenose dolphin call Newport Beach home year-round, as do sea lions, harbor seals and variety of fish and birds.

Our most frequently asked question is: what is the best time of day? Our departure times of 9:00am, 11:30am, and 3:00pm all have equal chances of seeing whales- the animals have to surface to breath every 5-10 minutes and no time of day is predictably better than another. On the whole, however, the nicest weather seems to occur in the morning, which is a consideration to make.

What to Bring

Depending on the season and weather conditions, these are some of the items that may help to make your trip more pleasant:

  • polarized sunglasses and sunscreen
  • binoculars
  • camera
  • flat-soled shoes (for comfort and safety walking on the deck)
  • motion sickness medication (some medicines may require taking the night before your trip)
  • warm clothing (since temperatures can be 10 degrees cooler on the ocean, dress accordingly in the winter months – jacket, hat, gloves)

What to Expect

Cruising conditions are determined by the weather. While most excursions are calm, higher winds can result in rougher seas and more splashing waves. Check the weather forecast and the marine forecast to get some idea of what to expect on your voyage.

Of course there is no way to guarantee a whale sighting or how many opportunities will be available on any trip. But our team knows the places where sightings are most likely, and even on a slower day there will be other wildlife sightings, as well as a chance to enjoy the many other sensory pleasures that a day at sea provides.