Migration Period: Mid-December - April
Each year, more than 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. After spending time in warm Baja California waters so their young can grow strong, they make the journey north again in spring. The longest known distance any mammal migrates on an annual basis, it 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).
Migration Period: Mid-June - September
Blue whales, the largest creatures on earth and thought to be among the most endangered of the great whales, may be found off the coast of San Diego mid-June through September. In fact, the largest group of blue whales in the world, some 2,000 to 3,000, feed off the California coast during the summer months. These magnificent mammals, who can be 100-feet, give away their location by spouting a 30-foot column of water in the air that can be seen from miles away.. The migratory patterns of blue whales have been tracked from the Antarctic to California to Costa Rica. Changes in ocean temperatures and the abundance of krill over the past few years have attracted far more blue whales to San Diego's coast than in the past. Since blue whales tend to be found further out to sea than their grey whale cousins, it's recommend to venture on a boat trip versus viewing from the shore in order to catch a glimpse of these incredible leviathans.
There are a number of different ways to experience whale watching in San Diego. A couple of great spots to view the grey whale 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. This is also the best way to see a blue whale as they tend to stay farther out to sea. A whale watching trip is also a fun oceanic adventures and affords great views of 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/early spring and summer seasons.
For more information on whale watching in San Diego, California, view one of the articles or visit one of the tour operators below.
Enjoy 10% off your culinary tour with San Diego's premiere Culinary Tour and Farm to Table events company! We build completely custom experiences unique to YOU! We tell the story of our local...
Evenings on the water take on a whole new luster under the light of a full or blue moon. Save $5 off any Full Moon or Blue Moon Dinner Cruise.
Save 10% off any of our Craft Beer Experiences at Five Star Tours. Learn how beer is made and how to taste it. Get special behind the scene access to breweries and brewers and find out the...
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.
For the ultimate guide to planning your San Diego vacation, view and download the San Diego Visitor Planning Guide, packed with useful information that will help you plan the perfect San Diego getaway.
English | Change Language