arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up play-button plus tab-indicator dots close menu search facebook google-plus instagram pinterest rss twitter youtube rss-two heart Check FeaturedBadge linkedin minus apps placeholder linkedin

Blue Whale Watching in San Diego

Encounter the World's Largest Mammal Up Close

During the summer and fall, marvel at pods of migrating blue whales, plus gray whales, dolphin and other sea life, as they pass by San Diego's coastline.

Thar She Blows! In Pursuit of These Elusive Creatures

Reaching lengths of nearly 100 feet, the blue whale is a sight to behold as it breaches the waters of the Pacific Ocean. During the summer and fall months, blue whales migrate from their southern tropical breeding grounds to the cooler waters of the North Pacific to feed on the rich supply of krill. Luckily, these pods of blue whales pass by San Diego as they travel thousands of miles north. From luxurious private charters to affordable group cruises, San Diego provides plenty of ways to get up close with these magnificent creatures.

What To Expect

Most blue whale watching tours start in San Diego's Big Bay and since the migration takes place out in the deep waters of the Pacific, Blue Whale Watching cruises can last up to four hours.

When exiting the bay, most cruises pass massive active and retired military vessels like the USS Midway Museum, and historic landmarks that dot the Bayfront like the lighthouse at the Cabrillo National Monument.

In terms of wildlife, expect to see plenty of blue whales, finback whales (the world's second largest whale), humpback whales, dolphins and sea lions.

To help you identify the amazing fauna you will encounter, many cruise companies provide printed information guides and some even have naturalists from local museums like the San Diego Natural History Museum or the Birch Aquarium at Scripps to narrate the cruise. Crew members will also be on the lookout for spouts to make sure you don't miss these amazing creatures.

What to Bring

Make sure to bring a camera, preferably one with a zoom lens to capture close up shots of a blue whale as it breaches the water.

Clothing-wise, bring sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen and a jacket to put on as the weather cools farther out onto the water.

Don't worry about packing any food. Most tour companies will provide either complimentary or for-purchase snacks and drinks on board.

> Book a Blue Whale Watching Cruise

Find a place to stay

Book online or call 1-800-350-6205 to speak with a local expert

Related Articles and Features

Deals just for you

Accommodation

AARP/Senior Rate

Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina
Valid: Jan 12, 2021 - ongoing

AARP Members or guests 55+ enjoy a discounted rate. Valid AARP Membership card or ID required. Your health and safety is our top priority, although we are open, we encourage you to read what we are...

Accommodation

Shelter Island Escape Package

Bay Club Hotel & Marina
Valid: Aug 6, 2020 - ongoing

Relax in a marina or bay view guestroom for the evening and wake to a hot breakfast served in the Quarterdeck Restaurant. Breakfast served from 7am -11am weekends and 6:30am-11:00am weekdays. Terms...

Accommodation

GET A THIRD NIGHT FREE AT HOTEL Z

Hotel Z
Valid: Jan 11 - ongoing

Turn your weekday into a WeekYay when you book 2 nights and get the third night free! Mix up your work week by checking into Hotel Z.  You’ll have reliable 30 Mbps high-speed Wi-Fi, ...

Events to check out

Event

Beats at the Beach

Beach House Grill
Sep 18, 2021

Put on your best bling bling and transport yourself back in time to this trend-setting decade and get jiggy with some of the most iconic, indelible names in rap and hip hop including Naughty By...

Event

Bonfires on the Bay

Paradise Point
May 4 - ongoing

Indulge in our signature Paradise beach bonfire experience with a reserved fire pit for you and your family. An unforgettable three-hour beach experience with exclusive fireside service. One fire pit...

Event

Liberty Station: From Barracks to Brews

San Diego Walks
May 28 - ongoing

Calling all new recruits! Join a local guide and get an inside look at what it was like to join the navy. Learn some sailor skills, explore the buildings essential to training, learn fun facts about...

Stay in touch

Sign up to receive the latest news, events, and updates about San Diego. Our monthly and weekly newsletters will keep you informed about the latest and greatest happenings in the destination.

Sign Up

Partners

Explore

Plan

Stay

Follow Us

Language:

English | Change Language

Select your country or region

China FlagChinaGermany FlagGermanyGreat Britain FlagGreat BritainJapan FlagJapanMexico FlagMexicoKorea FlagKoreaSwitzerland FlagSwitzerlandBrazil FlagBrazilFrance FlagFranceAustralia FlagAustraliaCanada FlagCanada USA

Or use Google Translate

Afrikaans Albanian Arabic Belarusian Bulgarian Catalan Croatian Czech Danish Deutsch Español Estonian Filipino Finnish Francais Galician Greek Haitian-Creole Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Irish Italian Japanese Korean Latvian Lithuanian Macedonian Malay Maltese Nederlands Norwegian Persian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Serbian Slovak Slovenian Swahili Swedish Telugu Thai Turkish Ukranian Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish