San Diego
Whale Watching & Dolphin Tours

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Our most recommended San Diego Dolphin & Whale Watching

San Diego: Whale Watching Tours

1. San Diego: Whale Watching Tours

Marvel at the amazing views of San Diego Bay as you look out for sightings of marine wildlife including dolphins, sea lions, gray whales, and more. Your tour will be led by ocean experts as you get a deeper understanding of the ocean ecosystem and the sea creatures that live in it. Discover the San Diego coast on a two-story whale watching yacht, featuring 360-degree views from the main level and upper sundeck, multiple restrooms, and free guest WiFi. You will follow the whale migration path to bring you up close for the best sighting spots, which change every day. Early in the season, whales swim closer to the coast, so the maximum distance is about 3-5 miles. On their return trip, northbound whales swim further out, up to 9-12 miles off the coast. Make sure to wear layers as it can get pretty cool on the bay and don't forget to wear your sunscreen and hat while on this excursion. Bring your camera to capture all the memories you'll make on this exciting adventure.

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San Diego: Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

2. San Diego: Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

San Diego is one of the best locations to watch whales year-round. Gray Whales migrate winter-spring from feeding grounds in Alaskan waters to calving lagoons in Baja California and back. In summer, the legendary Blue Whales, the largest animals on Earth, commonly feed off-shore of the San Diego coast. You may also spot Fin, Blue, Humpback, and Minke whales during the summer whale watching season. Additionally, you'll often see pods of Dolphins including Risso’s, Common, Pacific White-Sided, and Bottlenose Dolphins. Your captain will also highlight other wildlife such as Sea Lions, various fish like Mola Mola (Sunfish), and a variety of marine birds such as Herons, Terns, Pelicans, and Gulls.  View these extraordinary mammals in the wild on this spectacular cruise. The expert crew will help you locate these creatures and additional marine wildlife, such as dolphins and sea lions. Learn about marine life and local environmental efforts from professional captains and whalers who work at the San Diego Natural History Museum. You may even spot a whale calf traveling with its mother as they return from the Arctic. This is a fantastic and exhilarating journey for all age groups. Guaranteed whale or dolphin sighting. If you don't sight some type of whale or dolphin during the cruise, you'll be issued a pass that's good for another San Diego whale watching or harbor cruise. San Diego is quickly becoming one of the world’s best whale watching locations. The city is home to whales, dolphins, and sea birds, and features one of the world's most beautiful coastlines.  Enjoy live educational narration from captains and trained naturalists employed by the Natural History Museum.  Watch blue whales and dolphins in comfort on a large, fast, and stable boat!

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San Diego: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 55+ Attractions

3. San Diego: Go City All-Inclusive Pass with 55+ Attractions

Activities, attractions, and tours included on the Go San Diego All-Inclusive pass: THEME PARKS & ZOOS• San Diego Zoo • SeaWorld San Diego• San Diego Zoo Safari Park• Belmont Park• Knott's Berry Farm• LEGOLAND California OUTDOORS• San Diego Speedboat Adventures• La Jolla: 90-min Tandem Kayak Rental• La Jolla: Full-Day Snorkel Adventure• La Jolla: All-Day Bike Rental• La Jolla: Surfboard Rental• La Jolla: Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) Rental• San Diego Harbor: 2-hr SUP• San Diego Harbor: 2-hr Kayak Rental• San Diego Harbor: 1-hr Pedal Boat Rental• Coronado: 90-min Tandem Kayak Rental• Coronado: SUP Board Rental• Coronado: Full-Day Bike Rental• San Diego Pier Fishing TOURS & CRUISES• 1-hr San Diego Harbor cruise by Hornblower Cruises• Whale Watching by Hornblower Cruises• Whale Watch & Dolphin Tour - Beautiful Newport Beach• San Diego Hiking Tour• San Diego Beach Tour• San Diego City Tour• Catalina Flyer (ferry to Catalina Island)• One Way Coronado Ferry• PETCO Park tour• GoCar San Diego 30-min tour• Dolby Theater Tour MUSEUMS & PLACES OF INTEREST• USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum• Japanese Friendship Garden• San Diego Air and Space Museum• San Diego Natural History Museum• The Fleet Science Center with IMAX• Birch Aquarium at Scripps• San Diego Museum of Man• San Diego Automotive Museum• San Diego Model Railroad Museum• San Diego Museum of Art• The New Children's Museum• The Whaley House Museum• Coronado Museum of History and Art• Museum of Photographic Arts• Museum of Contemporary Art (Downtown)• San Diego Art Institute• The Gaslamp Museum at the Davis-Horton House• Mingei International Museum• San Diego History Center• Living Coast Discovery Center• Museum of Making Music• Hollywood Museum• UTC Ice Sports Center• South Coast Shop & Dine Package The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass is an all-access attraction pass offering the ultimate in convenience, savings, and flexibility for visitors to the area. Choose a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7-day pass and save up to 55% compared to the cost of full retail admissions. Enjoy the San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND, The U.S.S. Midway, Harbor Excursions, the New Children’s Museum and more. A total of over 50 attractions and tours are included with your pass.  The San Diego All-Inclusive Pass comes with a digital guide including helpful attraction information including how to get there and opening times.

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San Diego: Day Sail Aboard a Classic Yacht

4. San Diego: Day Sail Aboard a Classic Yacht

Immerse yourself in the lap of luxury as you set sail on a Liberty sailboat from the Sunset Resort Marina, and take a golden opportunity to spot stunning wildlife such as sea lions and dolphins. Take a journey back to the early twentieth century on board this handsome boat, modeled on a 1914 'Friendship Sloop'. Get hands-on as you try out steering the boat yourself during the 2.5 hour tour! Admire the San Diego skyline shimmering away on the horizon, as you cruise alongside grand ships like the USS Midway and the USS Carl Vinson. Sit back and absorb the views while enjoying complimentary snacks and drinks, and get your camera ready to snap the twinkling lights of San Diego, from the Maritime Museum to the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.

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La Jolla: Kayak & Whale Watching Tour

5. La Jolla: Kayak & Whale Watching Tour

Experience the gray whale migration from the seat of a kayak. Leaving the waters of the Arctic and heading south to the lagoons of Mexico, gray whales naturally migrate past La Jolla during the winter. This is a non-polluting, non-threatening, and intimate way to experience one of the most majestic mammals on the planet. Your guides will lead the group about two miles out from shore, where you’ll stop at the best spots to view gray whales. Along the way you’ll learn interesting facts and history about the whales, other marine life, and the La Jolla Ecological Reserve. Keep in mind that gray whales are wild animals. While gray whales are abundant during the season, a sighting can't be guaranteed, although groups can often see dolphins, sea lions, harbor seals, and other marine life as well.

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San Diego: Sunset Sailing Aboard a Classic Yacht

6. San Diego: Sunset Sailing Aboard a Classic Yacht

Climb aboard for an all-inclusive small-group cruise to remember. Enjoy an intimate experience as you pass local landmarks, look for sea life, and perhaps try your hand at navigating the boat yourself. Embark on the vintage yacht Liberty for a premium sailing experience. Admire a vessel which is flawlessly maintained with high standards of pride and craftsmanship. Fall in love with her mirror-finish wood accents, beautiful cozy cabin and clean facilities. Immerse yourself in a 2.5 hour nautical experience with inclusive drinks and snacks. Play some music and relax on cushioned seats as you sail the scenic waters of San Diego Bay. Feel free to steer the boat and feel the power of the wind in the sails. Marvel at historic landmarks like the USS Midway aircraft carrier, Maritime Bridge, Coronado Bridge, and Old Point Loma Lighthouse. See local wildlife like sea lions, dolphins, and sea birds. Admire the San Diego skyline as the city lights up for the night. Participate in an small group experience with the activity limited to only to 6 guests. You can sail with other travelers, or select a private cruise for just you and your friends and family.

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What people are saying about San Diego

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 35 reviews

A wonderful afternoon with a fascinating captain. We had a lovely sail on San Diego Bay in a classic sailboat and along the way learned the history of the vessel and Captain Phillip's painstaking hand restoration of the boat. He's happy to share his wealth of knowledge about sailing and sailboats in this intimate setting of six guests or fewer. My wife loved riding the waves from the foredeck and tried her hand at steering the boat was Phillip made it ready to return to the dock. No better way to get the feel of sailing on San Diego Bay.

Super relaxing sail with Captain Phillip. His sailboat is beautiful and his knowledge of sailing is immense. You do not want to miss this tour of the Bay. I will do this again and hope others see this review and decide to go. It was better than a spa day if you can imagine that! Lovely trip

Loved getting out on the water. Went 15 miles out of San Diego so great views of the very active harbor. Saw military ships and flights, fishing boats and many sea lions.

Fun and informative commentary. We had to turn back due to weather, but got a voucher to use for another time that won’t expire.

Capt Phil was fun, humorous and very informative. He is a very good sailor. So much fun.