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Whale Watching

A once-in-a-lifetime Whale Watching experience!

Adult (Weekdays)
Child (Weekdays)

Whale Watching Tours at Next Level Sailing

San Diego’s Highest Success Rate

Summer Whale Watching: Blue Whales

Check out our whale watching report, it is updated daily. 

  • Availability: One trip per day
  • Duration: 3.5 – 4 hours
  • Check-in: Most trips have a check-in between 10:00 AM – 10:30 AM. Depart by 11:00 AM, return by 3:00 PM. Check your ticket for details.

All trips now operate from our check-in location on the grass across the street from the Island Palms Best Western Hotel and the Blue Wave Bar & Grill. Use the address 2050 Shelter Island Drive San Diego CA 92106 to get to the parking lot. 

Weekend Pricing:

Adult (Weekends) $95.00
Child 12 years and under (Weekends) $57.00

Weekday Pricing:

Adult (Weekdays) $85.00
Child 12 years and under (Weekdays) $51.00

Whale watching season is all year long in San Diego! Our team at Next Level Sailing provides the optimal experience with guides so experienced we received a 100 percent success rate last year during our winter whale watching season when spotting the King of the Deep. We consistently provide our customers with the best whale watching tours in San Diego and invite you to join in on this once in a lifetime experience.

This was an incredible experience with a wonderful, knowledgeable crew!” – TripAdvisor

There is an abundance of food in our waters, so we have been seeing blue whales, fin whales, humpback whales, and minke whales this summer. We have also seen large pods of Pacific Common Dolphins and Offshore Bottlenose. Have you seen a blue whale? They are the largest animal on the planet, weighing up to 300,000 lbs!

Many guests ask: “When is the best time to go whale watching?” The answer is: Anytime! Plus, you can stay at the Island Palms Best Western Hotel and walk out your door to go whale watching. Don’t forget to bring a delicious lunch or breakfast from the Blue Wave Bar & Grill.

Gray whale watching season spans from mid-December through April. In March, we start to see humpback whales traveling to our San Diego waters to feed. Towards the end of April, the fin whales come in and by May we see blue whales.  After whale watching for 15 years aboard the yacht America, history tells us that we will see a variety of fin, blue, humpback, and minke whales all summer long. We also see humpback whales in the fall. Occasionally, we will also run into an orca in the fall as well. In order to provide the best experience possible, our guides only offer one San Diego sailing whale watching tour a day to ensure focus and complete attention. Aboard our 141-foot sailing yacht, the yacht America, you will see a plethora whales firsthand in their natural habitat. In addition to whales, we also see dolphin and sea lion sightings as well!

Our team at Next Level Sailing is so confident in our ability to provide the best whale watching tours in San Diego that we offer a “no sickness guarantee” in the world. Our past statistics of only 1 out of every 400 passengers get seasick prove that we mean business when it comes to taking care of our own. Even if you are the one to get seasick, we will compensate you with a $25 gift certificate.

Come join us on the yacht America and experience whale watching tours San Diego firsthand! Our staff at Next Level Sailing look forward to showing you the wonders of the ocean in the most beautiful city in Southern California.

Check In Information

Our check-in location on the grass across the street from the Island Palms Best Western Hotel and the Blue Wave Bar & Grill. 

The address to get to this area is 2050 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego CA 92106. Please check with the crew member at the blue “Check-In” flag no later than 30 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time. Check-in will begin an hour prior to your scheduled departure time.

a sign on the side of a road

What to Wear/Bring

Dress in layers. It can feel chilly once we are out on the water, so it is always a good idea to bring a warm jacket or sweatshirt. Please wear comfortable shoes. Don’t forget to bring your hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and camera. Binoculars are also a lot of fun to bring, but they are not necessary.

Food & Drinks

Feel free to bring your own lunch & drinks. Don’t forget plastic cups if you are bringing glass bottles. Kindly refrain from bringing red wine as we do not permit red wine on the boat. Water, soda, chips, and granola bars are provided during your voyage free of charge.

Dogs On Board

We are the only dog friendly whale watching excursion! Bring your pup for an amazing day on the water. In order to bring your dog, simply book your human tickets online and select the number of dogs you would like to bring at check out. We do limit the number of dogs allowed per trip.  There are just a few puppy rules:

1) You are responsible for your dog. Should your dog become aggressive, you and your dog will be asked to be separated from the rest of the guests for the remainder of the trip
2) Please arrive at least 10 minutes before check-in closes so you can ensure your dog has the opportunity to go for a short walk. Our check in area is located in a dog friendly grassy park.
3) Your dog must remain on a leash throughout the entire voyage

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 619-922-6215 or email In the meantime, check out all the puppy love at our doggy Instagram: @wagsnwhales

a dog sitting on top of a wooden chair

No Seasickness Guarantee 

If you lose your lunch, we will get you a new one! Our past statistics of only 1 out of every 400 passengers get seasick prove that we mean business when it comes to taking care of our own. Even if you are the one to get seasick, we will compensate you with a $25 gift certificate.

Whale Watching Guarantee 

If you don’t see a whale, you get to come back for a free trip! There is no expiration date for your free trip. In order to book your free trip, just give us a call or email us directly and we will be happy to rebook you. Our email is and our phone number is 619-922-6215. Please keep in mind that we do not offer refunds.

Smoking Policy

Vaping and smoking a substance of any kind is not permitted aboard the yacht America.

Hotel Recommendations

We are right behind the Island Palms Best Western Hotel. What better place than to just walk out your door and go whale watching. Check out their exclusive rate for whale watchers by clicking here.

Directions and Parking
Check-in is located at 2050 Shelter Island Drive, San Diego CA 92106. If you noticed that there is no building at this address, you are correct! Drive west on Shelter Island Drive. As soon as you pass Silver Gate Yacht Club, turn LEFT into the parking lot. Look for the bright blue flag on the corner that says “Whale Watching” then you know you’re in the right place. Please park anywhere in this fabulous FREE all-day parking lot. Find the “Check-In” flag on the grass to get your boarding pass. If you are using public transportation, Lyft, or Uber, please check-in at this location as well.

Once everyone has their boarding passes, a crew member will escort you to the Yacht America. You will be walking on a wooden dock, so please make sure to wear comfortable close-toed shoes. High-heels and stilettos will get stuck between the wooden planks.

Quench You Thirst

Spending the day sailing can really bring on an appetite! Stop by Blue Wave Bar & Grill at the Best Western PLUS Island Palms Hotel & Marina to grab a quick bite on your way out. Boasting a versatile menu filled with fresh ingredients and tantalizing California coastal cuisine, you can’t go wrong dining on Blue Wave’s gorgeous outdoor patio overlooking the marina!

Cancellation Policy
Customers will receive a full refund for cancellations made outside of 48 hours prior to the trip. For groups of 8 or more, cancellations must be made more than 7 days in advance. Customers will have the option to reschedule or receive a full refund in case of operator cancellation due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances. Forecasted rain does not always mean we will be cancelling due to weather. Contact us by phone to cancel or inquire about a cancellation outside of 48 hours to the start of the trip. No-shows will be charged the full price.

If you have any questions the morning of the trip, please feel free to call 619-922-6215.

Looking forward to welcoming you aboard!