Join guided cruises from Newport Beach ’s Newport Harbour and Dana Point, which has been dubbed the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World, to explore a remarkable marine habitat that’s home to huge numbers of whales, dolphins and sea lions. The underwater Newport Canyon brings nutrient-rich waters close to the shore, so you don’t have to travel very far before the show begins.
The best time is during the annual migration of grey whales, from December to April, though whales visit these waters year round. Between May and October you might see blue whales, which can grow to be more than 30 metres long.
Some experts believe that Dana Point’s 60-metre-high cliffs serve as a landmark for migrating whales—making them a great place for humans to scan the seas for telltale blows. From Dana Point Harbor, Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching offers narrated 2-hour-long whale-watching trips all year, some aboard a 20-metre catamaran. Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale-Watching Safari, which also sails out of Dana Point, has underwater-viewing capabilities, so that you can see the marine beauties both as they jump out of the water and as they swim below the surface.
From Newport Harbour, Newport Landing Whale Watching offers cruises three times daily year round. While whales may be your focus, hundreds of bottlenose dolphins often put on spectacular displays too. On Newport Beach’s Balboa Peninsula, Davey’s Locker offers whale-watching cruises several times a day, year-round; they boast a 95% success rate of seeing blue whales, grey whales, dolphins and other whale species.
Insider tip: celebrate cetaceans during the annual Dana Point Festival of Whales, a leviathan-sized March event with lectures, whale-watch outings and a parade.
Whether it’s manicured beach towns or celebrated theme parks, all framed by oceanfront towns and luxury yachts, “The OC” stands out as one of the state’s most iconic destinations. The always-amazing Disneyland Resort, roughly a 1-hour drive south of L.A. and 2 hours north of San Diego, continues to be one of the best-loved theme parks in the world, while Knott’s Berry Farms and other OC attractions amp up the fun metre.
“Surfing is like golf. . . it keeps knocking you down. But when you stay with it and catch that wave. . . magic.” --actor Dennis Quaid
Shop at spectacular South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, or get the surfer look in Huntington Beach, aka Surf City, USA.
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