Captain Troy’s Top San Diego Attractions for Whale Watchers
The city of San Diego defines a picturesque beach town. As if the beauty of a town comprised of endless ocean and palm trees wasn’t enough, the plethora of San Diego attractions, naturally, makes it one of the top must-see cities in California. Whale watchers can all agree that it’s a prime location between mid-December through April, as that is peak gray whale watching season. However, what most whale watchers don’t know, is that we also have summer whale watching during June, July, and August. We even see whales in the fall! Whale watching in San Diego is truly a year around activity. While you’re in San Diego, check out all the other fun things to do.
Cabrillo National Monument
If you want the best views in San Diego, this national park is a must. Once you enter the national park, you will be caught by sweeping views of San Diego. On a clear day, you will have gorgeous views over 180 degrees of the Pacific ocean and the San Diego Bay that are absolutely magnificent. There are plenty of fun things to do in the park such as exploring the interpretive center, taking a picture next to the statue of Juan Cabrillo, hiking along the trails on the bluff, and checking out the small military museum. Step back in time and tour the original lighthouse, see how the lighthouse keepers lived. You will even get to see the huge lens that guided sailors towards land. After exploring the lighthouse, walk to the edge of the bluff where there is a paved lookout. You will be able to see Mexico, Los Coronados, and all the way north towards Oceanside. Better yet, whale spouts can often be seen from this high vantage point, so bring your binoculars. Check the tides and drive down to the water’s edge during low tide. There is an abundance of wildlife that can be found in tide pools including sea anemones, sea stars, crabs, and small fish. Remember, this is their home, so don’t poke the animals, leave trash, or jump in the tide pools. With so many fun things to do and sweeping views, Cabrillo National Monument is well worth a visit that the whole family will enjoy.
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery
Typically, a visit to the cemetery might not be on your list of fun things to do. That being said, this cemetery is a very special place, and it is on the way to Cabrillo National Monument. The Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is arguably the most beautiful cemetery in the country for our brave servicemen and servicewomen to take their final resting place. Stretching over both sides of Point Loma, views from the cemetary face both the Pacific Ocean and the San Diego Bay. Take a minute to honor the courage exhibited by these men and women who fought for the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Americans today.
USS Midway Museum
At the top of the list of fun things to do in San Diego for whale watchers is the USS Midway Museum. This maritime museum houses the aircraft carrier, Midway, along with a multitude of aircraft carriers and flight simulators. In addition to learning about the history behind the vessel, whale watchers can enjoy the life-at-sea exhibits to complete the experience! Plus, the USS Midway Museum is located in downtown San Diego, so you can follow a day at the museum with fine dining or a cocktail.
Balboa Park is a multi-attraction park that spans over 1,200 acres. Not only is it a large space perfect for a picnic or a day in the sun, but it also contains theatres, museums and the San Diego Zoo. Whale watchers alike can’t deny that they are animal lovers; this world-renown zoo contains unique habitats with elephants, koalas and polar bears!
Drive from Point Loma to Sunset Cliffs, which is the beautiful bluff we often see during our whale watching trips. Famous for the perfect place to catch a sunset, this stretch of open space is free for everyone to walk around and enjoy.You might even see a whale spout! If you want to grab a burger for a quintessential California sunset picnic, stop at Hodads where their motto is: “no shoes, no shirt, no problem.”
There are so many gorgeous views in San Diego, and this is no exception. Stop in Pacific Beach to grab a California Burrito and drive up Soledad Mountain Road or La Jolla Mesa/La Jolla Scenic Drive. Park your car in the free parking lot at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial and enjoy the view. On a clear day, you can look south towards downtown San Diego and look north towards the gorgeous La Jolla Shores beach. Drive down Via Capri and head towards La Jolla to visit the sea lions.
La Jolla Cove
Famous for sea lions, La Jolla cove is natural stop for animal lovers. The cove is jam packed with sea lions catching the warm sun rays of San Diego. You will even find locals snorkeling with brightly colored Garibaldi fish in the area. Check out the Cave Store and pay a few bucks to walk down into a very cool mysterious cave. Well worth the trip!
Birch Aquarium at Scripps
This hidden gem is truly a San Diego jewel, especially if you love marine life. Perched on the gorgeous hillside of La Jolla, the Birch Aquarium at Scripps is the public outreach center for Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The Institute was founded in 1903, making it one of the oldest and largest centers for ocean and Earth science research. Take the whole family and explore this fabulous and educational aquarium. From a kelp forest dive show, to a shark exhibit and tide pool plaza, the Birch Aquarium has something fun for everyone. You might even see a whale spout while overlooking the sweeping views of La Jolla. After exploring the aquarium, enjoy an afternoon and sunset at the best beach in San Diego: La Jolla Shores!
The best part about being in San Diego is undeniably the gorgeous, sunny weather. Since whale watching season is in the middle of some of the colder months of the year, the best things to do in San Diego during the off-season are to soak up the sun any way possible! It’s easy for whale watchers to keep their adventure piqued during this time by visiting La Jolla Cove or Mission Beach for a day of swimming in the ocean or even going for a hike overlooking the ocean. After a day in the sun, take advantage of the seaside restaurants in La Jolla and Mission Beach!
Whale watchers typically keep San Diego on their radar during whale watching season since it is one of the best areas to spot grey whales and blue whales off of the coast. The long list of fun things to do in San Diego during off-season, however, is reason enough for whale watchers to visit at all times of the year.