5 of the Best San Diego Whale watching tours

by Peter Smith  |  Published December 30, 2020

Whale watching tours from San Diego offer one of the truly magnificent ocean spectacles. From Canada all the way down the Pacific coast of North America you’ll find majestic sea creatures piercing the waves as they cavort. Many whales live off the coast of San Diego – you can usually see orcas, minke whales, fin whales and the occasional humpback in their ocean habitat throughout the year – while gray and blue whales can both be spotted during their migrations in order to give birth, feed or mate. It is one of a handful of destinations along this vast stretch of coast where the whales tend to accumulate in larger numbers.

But please note that, although San Diego’s whale watching tours officially operate year-round, the best time to see this natural phenomenon is during the official migration seasons. For gray whales this runs from December to April, while mid-June through September is the time to see blue whales, the planet’s largest mammals. More than 20,000 grays and around 2,000 blues (which are far more endangered) are thought to make this lengthy journey past San Diego annually. Whale watching tours from San Diego are numerous and competitive. Here are our favorite five tours, when taking into account many variables like price, duration and safety.