Each year beginning in December and running through April, over 20,000 gray whales make a 10,000 mile round-trip journey from Alaska to the lagoons of Baja California, where the females give birth to their calves. They typically spend several months in the warm Baja California waters, time for their young to grow strong enough to make the journey home, before making their way back north again in the Spring. It is the longest known distance any mammal migrates on an annual basis and is truly an extraordinary spectacle to observe. With 70 miles of coastline directly in the migration path, San Diego is an ideal destination to see this impressive parade of gentle giants.
According to the Birch Aquarium in San Diego, gray whales generally travel alone or in pods of two or three but more may be seen traveling together during peak migration season. These giants are roughly the width of a basketball court and cruise at an average speed of five knots (about six miles per hour).
There are a number of different ways to experience whale watching in San Diego. A couple of great spots to view the migration from shore include the Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the Cabrillo National Monument and Torrey Pines State Reserve where the hiking trails offer expansive views of the Pacific. If you're interested in a closer look at these majestic creatures, a host of sightseeing and tour operators in San Diego offer a variety of whale watching excursions. A whale watching trip is also a great way to experience the ocean and see San Diego's beautiful skyline from a different point of view. Many of the tour operators have extensive knowledge of the whales and their migration habits and will happily share this information during the tour. This is definitely a recommended activity for all ages and a great addition to your San Diego itinerary during the winter and early spring seasons.
For more information on whale watching in San Diego, California, view one of the articles or visit one of the tour operators below.