Water activity

San Diego: Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

4.4 / 5

77 reviews

San Diego: Whale and Dolphin Watching Cruise

From US$ 59 per person

San Diego is one of the best locations to watch whales year-round. Gray Whales migrate winter-spring from Alaskan waters to calving lagoons in Baja California. In summer, the legendary Blue Whales commonly feed off-shore of the San Diego coast.

About this activity

Free cancellation
Cancel up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund
Covid-19 precautions
Special health and safety measures apply. Learn more
Mobile ticketing
Use your phone or print your voucher
Duration 4 hours
Check availability to see starting times.
Instant confirmation
Live tour guide
Small group
Limited to 10 participants


  • Go on a 3.5- or 4-hour whale watching cruise and enjoy views of famous San Diego landmarks
  • Take the opportunity to spot sea lions, dolphins, and harbor seals
  • Enjoy year-round whale watching as Gray Whales migrate during the winter months and Blue Whales migrate in the summer
  • Learn about marine life from expert captains and whalers and get an exclusive look at local environmental efforts
Full description
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!
  • 3.5- or 4-hour whale watching cruise
  • Outdoor and indoor seating
  • Narration and video documentary
  • Gratuities
  • Food and drinks (available for purchase)
  • Hotel pick up and drop off
Covid-19 precautions
Safety measures in place
  • All areas that customers touch are frequently cleaned
  • You must keep social distance while in vehicles
Traveler requirements
  • You are required to bring and wear a mask

Select participants and date



Prepare for the activity

Meeting point

Board the boat at Pier 1. Check in 15 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

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Important information

What to bring

  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat
  • Jacket

Know before you go

  • Coast Guard regulations require a photo ID upon boarding
  • Note that the access to outer decks is via stairs only, this cruise is temporarily not wheelchair accessible due to outdoor seating restrictions
  • Food and drinks can be purchased on board and are not included in the price of the tour
Customer reviews

Overall rating

4.4 /5

based on 77 reviews

Review summary

  • Guide
  • Transportation
  • Value for money
  • Safety

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I am very glad I opted to take this tour. I come to SD multiple times a year for years and finally decided to go. Convenient parking, easy to find, boat crew and captain very friendly. The tour i was on had local naturalists on board who were super friendly. 4 hours of just peacefulness and all of the details the Captain provides of the area. We saw hundreds of common dolphins in a feeding frenzy, a maco shark, sunfish, a fin whale AND we were fortunate enough to have caught a fast moving blue whale. These are things you cant capture on film or video but the experience stays with you forever. Absolutely recommend.

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August 16, 2020

Despite the COLD, and lack of available top-deck chairs to sit in, it was an enjoyable trip. Capt. Rick was entertaining and did a great job of pointing out things to see, esp. the whales! He was able to get us close enough to a pod of 3 whales spotted by other boats that we got to see them surface twice. Was very exciting. Disappointed we didn’t see any dolphins...just wasn’t their day, I guess.

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December 31, 2019

A very pleasant walk, with or without whales

Although we were not lucky enough to see whales that day we could comfortably enjoy the exit of the San Diego Bay. When we got off they gave us tickets to try a chance again. We were accompanied by volunteers who could explain everything about animals and seabirds. A very nice walk.

September 8, 2019

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Product ID: 6635