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The Best Time for Whale Watching in San Diego

San Diego offers a glistening coastline lively with animal activity year-round. Revel in the best whale watching experience from mid-December through April as gray whales migrate from feeding grounds in Alaska to Baja California and back. More than 20,000 gray whales complete this 10,000-mile round-trip journey every year. In Baja California, female grays give birth to their calves, spending time in the warm waters before heading north again in the early spring. With 70 miles of the San Diego coastline directly in the migration path, you can catch great views late in the season as females take their calves back north with them. According to the Birch Aquarium in San Diego, gray whales tend to travel alone or in pods of two or three and more of the mammals may be seen traveling together during peak migration season at about six mph. These majestic mammals won’t be hard to miss as they match about the width of a basketball court.

December through April, you are guaranteed a memorable and successful experience while whale watching within San Diego’s thriving marine world. During this time of year, a 4 hour cruise aboard the Yacht America will ensure marvelous whale and other aquatic life sightings worth a lifetime. Some other mammals viewed in the area include minke Whales, humpback whales, fin whales, orcas, Risso’s dolphin, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, and Pacific white sided dolphin.

Excellent whale sightings continue through the summer months during the blue whale migration. Known to be the largest creatures on Earth and the most endangered among great whales, blue whales are most likely to be spotted mid-June through September. Over the past few years, variations in ocean temperatures and copious amounts of krill have attracted even more blue whales to San Diego’s coast. These mammals like deep water, which is easily accessible from San Diego. The depth drops from 400 ft to 4,000 ft just a few miles offshore. During the summer months, about 2,000 to 3,000 whales feed off the California coast having traveled from Antartica, to California to eventually Costa Rica. Besides these gentle giants, other marine life present in the San Diego waters at this time of year include humpback whales, fin whales, pilot whales and killer whales.   

During whale watching season in San Diego, there are endless ways to see the annual migration without having to go far at all. Whales and other species are easiest to see from shore between mid-February through April during the gray whale northward migration with the animals swimming closer to the shore to protect their newborn. Other times of the year, the whales are rarely visible from the shoreline even with binoculars in hand. Next Level Sailing makes whale watching a simple yet spectacular adventure to be enjoyed on daily outings right on board our 141-foot sailing yacht, the Yacht America. Our trips are reasonably timed with high expectations that tourists will be pleased with splendid whale sightings during peak whale watching season.