San Diego is one of the best places in North America to see a variety of whales. With its new culture, beautiful beaches, numerous parks, and mild climate, San Diego is a whale-watchers dream.
There are some great places to watch whales in San Diego, both from land and by boat. Birch Aquarium, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Cabrillo National Monument are just some places to watch whales from the ground.
The coastline in San Diego covers an area of 70 miles. San Diego is an ideal destination for watching whales throughout the year. When you visit this city, do not forget to include a whale-watching tour on your priority list. This city is home to many marine mammals. Every year a variety of whales migrate to the area.
It is said that whale watching started in San Diego, with Cabrillo National Monument being declared a public venue for whale watching.
If you want some information on whale watching, this piece will give you the information you need.
How To Watch Whales In San Diego?
There are various ways to watch whales in San Diego. Booking a cruise trip is the best option to observe them close up. Whale-watching boat trips are great for watching whales as they swim around, and some will come close to the boat.
However, if you are happy watching whales from a distance, finding a good place to protect them from shore is also a good option.
There are a few benefits of choosing a cruise or boat over watching whales from shore. Being closer to them, you may not need binoculars to see them. It is also easier to take better photos of the whales when you are closer to them.
Another reason is that some whales, such as blue and gray whales, do not like to swim too close to shore. You will need to go on a boat to spot these giant whales.
Please find out how whales evolved in this article I wrote
If you are taking your boat out, read up on the local laws and whale etiquette to avoid prosecution. Also, be attentive to notice any change in the emotions of the whales. Some whales can be highly aggressive, so ensure you know how to see this, such as when they change their swimming pattern.
Where Can You Watch Whales In San Diego?
San Diego has some great spots that offer a great place to view whales in the water. San Diego is a great place to watch whales, as many can be seen at any time of the year.
The whale-watching spots you find will vary depending on which whales you want to see.
Birch Aquarium, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Cabrillo National Monument, Torrey Pines State Reserve, and Ellen Browning Scripps Park are just a few perfect spots for whale watching.
These spots deliver a fantastic view of the whales, although you may need binoculars to see them. Some whales stay far from the coast, so it isn’t easy to see them clearly from shore. You will find many species according to the season. In winter, you can watch gray whales in large numbers.
The Whale With and Kelp Forest Overlook is a fantastic place to watch gray whales, like the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.
Birch Aquarium is a popular place for whale watching delivering an epic experience to every nature lover. The experts at this spot supply quality knowledge about whales.
You will get experts at each of the mentioned spots, but there is something special at Cabrillo National Monument. There you can find the Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which is excellent for observing whales.
In the daylight, it is easier to see the whales. Birch Aquarium and Torrey Pines State Reserve are based in the scenic village of La Jolla, about twenty minutes from the center of San Diego.
You can watch whales year-round because of the many different species of whales in the area. The season you go will depend on which whales you see, so plan accordingly. Every season, other whales migrate to the Pacific Ocean in San Diego. These whales have made San Diego one of the best places to watch whales in North America.
The perfect time for watching whales in San Diego is from mid-December to April. Winter is the best time to visit the coasts of San Diego. This is when gray whales join together to travel to the coastlines of San Diego.
The season for blue and gray whales varies according to climate conditions. During April or May, whales swim in the pacific ocean with their calves. If you want to see the relationship between the mother and her young calve, these are the best months to visit.
Gray whales are best watched traveling south from Alaska to Baja, California. The whales are much closer to the shore, with some extremely close, but most about half a mile out. They can be seen from December to January.
Returning northward, they travel faster and much further out to sea.
Blue whales pass through San Diego for breeding and feeding in the summer and autumn seasons. They swim far from shore, so you must join a whale-watching cruise trip.
What Are The Best Months For Whale Watching In San Diego?
Seeing a blue whale is something that everyone should do once in their life. Seeing the giant animal that has ever lived on Earth will, at the same time, make you feel proud, humble, a little bit scared, and incredibly small. You can expect to see dolphins, fin whales, humpback whales, and minke whales between mid-June and September.
Between mid-February and April, gray whales migrate to the northern region towards the shore to protect their babies. During these three months, you can watch them closely from the beach.
Which Whales Can You See In San Diego?
Some gray whales migrate 10,000 miles from the Bering and Chukies sea to Baja, California. This is where females give birth to their young. Their migration period starts from Mid-December to April. They return to the north in spring after spending the winter in the warmer waters of Baja, California.
Every year, gray whales travel from Alaska to Mexico to give birth to their babies. The warm water helps make calves stronger and makes their first few months easier.
Data supplied by Birch Aquarium in San Diego states that gray whales usually like to travel alone or with three to four whales. Their average speed is approximately six miles per hour. Their weight ranges from 30-40 pounds, and their body length is 50 feet.
Humpback whales belong to the category of baleen whales and are part of the rorquals. They can recognize their long throat grooves can recognize them during feeding. They can be found in every ocean all over the world. In Latin, a Humpback whale is known as Megaptera Novaeangliae, the giant wing of New England.
The calves of humpback whales communicate with their mothers using a sequence of cries, howls, and moans. They migrate to other coasts, which have a mild winter climate after summer after summer. In San Diego, you can observe mothers and calves swimming together quite often.
Killer whales are dolphins. They are one of the easiest ‘whales’ to spot due to their black and white markings. Killer whales are also known as orcas. Their favorite food includes salmon and herring.
Killer whales are pretty intelligent, which can be seen in their way of hunting. They are adept at stalking their prey and are apex predators. They are socially active, hunting in packs, leading them to be called the ‘wolves of the sea.’ This makes them dangerous predators.
The blue whale is one of the most well-known whales. They are the largest mammal on Earth and the enormous creature ever living on Earth. They are not very aggressive but intense. Blue whales feed on krill and can consume four tonnes of krill daily.
The longest blue whale recorded was 108 feet long. Female whales weigh more than males, ranging from 90-150 tonnes. Their dorsal fins are small and triangular, measuring only one foot.
Blue whales can be seen passing off the San Diego coastline. They are found in every ocean but reach San Diego in the spring and summer. They love deep water, and the pacific ocean becomes a suitable place for them to live in the summer season.
San Diego is a fantastic place and a great place to see and experience a variety of species of whales. Remember to take a camera with you to take pictures of these incredible animals. Whales are fascinating when swimming; you may be lucky to see them jump out of the water.
Every moment spent with whales will make you look at the world differently, and coming with your family will create some moments you will treasure for a lifetime.
Bernhard Grzimek, Schlager, N., Olendorf, D. and American (2003). Grzimek’s animal life encyclopedia. Detroit: Gale.
Carwardine, M. (2010). Whales, dolphins, and porpoises. London: Dorling Kindersley.
Carwardine, M. (2017). Mark Carwardine’s guide to whale watching in North America : USA, Canada, Mexico, where to go, what to see. London: Bloomsbury.
Hadoram Shirihai, Jarrett, B., Graeme Cresswell, and Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Whales, dolphins, and seals : a field guide to the world’s marine mammals. London: Bloomsbury Wildlife.
Martin, T. (1990). The illustrated encyclopedia of whales and dolphins. Hodder.
Nowak, R.M. and Walker, E.P. (1991). Walker’s mammals of the world. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Perrin, W.F., Würsig, B.G. and J G M Thewissen (2002). Encyclopedia of marine mammals. San Diego: Academic Press.
Richard John Harrison and Bryden, M.M. (1990). Whales, dolphins, and porpoises. London: Mercyhurst.
Williams, H. (1988). Whale nation. London: Cape.
Wilson, D.E. (1999). The Smithsonian book of North American mammals. Washington: Smithsonian Inst. Press.
May, J. (1990). The Greenpeace book of dolphins. London: Century.
Bryan Harding is a member of the American Society of Mammalogists and a member of the American Birding Association. Bryan is especially fond of mammals and has studied and worked with them around the world. Bryan serves as owner, writer, and publisher of North American Nature.