Error message

  • Lingotek profile ID 4 not found.
  • Lingotek profile ID 3 not found.
A whale-watching cruise near San Diego
Kari/Flickr

Whale Watching in San Diego

Whale Watching in San Diego
See marine life from the cliffs of La Jolla to islands off of Mexico

Whether from land or at sea, San Diego is one of California’s best spots for whale watching. With just a pair of binoculars, you can spot whales from the high cliffs at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserveand the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, both in La Jolla about 20 minutes north of central San Diego. And near the historic lighthouse at Cabrillo National Monument, the Whale Watch Lookout Point sits 420 feet above the waves with a wide field of vision—perfect for spotting whales.

For a closer view, sign up for a whale-watching cruise. A 3-hour trip with San Diego Whale Watch comes with a guarantee—if you don’t see either a whale or a dolphin, you can go out again for free on another day; the same policy is in place at Flagship Whale Watching CruisesH&M Landing offers local grey-whale tours from December to March; in summer, join an H&M landing trip to the Coronado Islands, a protected marine sanctuary just south-west of San Diego in Mexican waters, to spot blue whales, elephant seals and orcas too. And Hornblower Cruises has what is perhaps the best option if you are unaccustomed to being on a boat—its yachts are some of the biggest and most stable in the business, and they offer cruises as short as one hour. All whale-watching cruises depart from San Diego Harbour, just a few streets away from the USS Midway Museum.

Whale Watching in San Diego sandiegoskyline_resized_1280x642
Carol Highsmith

Southern California

Discover San Diego County

Whale Watching in San Diego vca_maps_sandiego
21
November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
22°
High
15°
Low
Dec - Feb
18°
High
9°
Low
Mar - May
19°
High
13°
Low
June - Aug
23°
High
18°
Low

Imagine 70 miles of sun-drenched coast, an inviting ocean, and a year-round daily forecast of 70°F, and you’ll understand why this southernmost stretch of the state is all about outdoor fun. Discover top theme parks and attractions like Seaworld San Diego, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and LEGOLAND California.

The first European explorer to land in California, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, came ashore in San Diego in 1542.

Relax at legendary retreats like Hotel del Coronado, find art and culture in San Diego and surrounding cities like luxurious La Jolla, and enjoy world-class golf at Torrey Pines, and enjoy culture and diversity, all at the edge of a sparkling blue sea.

Coasterra in San Diego, California
Courtesy of Cohn Restaurant Group

Coasterra

San Diego County on a map of California
Book a table at this San Diego waterfront knockout

Got a boat? That’s the only way you’ll get a better view of San Diego’s waterfront skyline and twinkling bridges than the panorama you get from...

Whale Watching in San Diego VC_LaJollaSunsets_RF_168579929_1280x640_0
Steve Skinner/Getty Images

Where to Watch a La Jolla Sunset

Want to nail your sunset shot? Our expert has six sensational recommendations to match any mood

As a San Diego concierge for more than a decade, Brett Hamblen is well versed in sunset recommendations. For his role as the chief concierge at...

Whale Watching in San Diego VCW_TI_T11_lauridsen_140702_2634-sized
Stretching 1,942 feet, the historic Oceanside Pier is the longest wooden pier on the Pacific Ocean.
Oct 1 - Oct 31
October

Planning a fall family vacation? Save money and head to San Diego, where kids eat, stay, and play free throughout October.

Multiple kid-centric attractions have always made San Diego one of...

Whale Watching in San Diego VC_KidsFreeSanDiego_BXEGB8_686x885_downsized
Freiheit/Alamy
Whale Watching in San Diego vca_maps_sandiego
Giraffes at the San Diego Zoo
Courtesy of San Diego Zoo

Spotlight: San Diego Zoo

Whale Watching in San Diego vca_maps_sandiego
See rare and endangered species

Visiting this expansive zoo in San Diego’s Balboa Park is more than a chance to see animals from all over the world: it’s a chance to see one of...

Too darned pretty. Everywhere you look out there, everything's just too danged pretty! I'm usually the prettiest thing!
musician Little Richard on San Diego
Whale Watching in San Diego VCW_SD_D_T5_La Jolla_kayakers_lauridsen_140618_563-sized_0
Dave Lauridsen

La Jolla

Find something for everyone in this multi-faceted seaside jewel

La Jolla is (so many) different things to different people. Posh shopping? Browse the boutiques along Girard Avenue. At La Jolla Shores, surfing,...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Discover quintessential sun and fun at these coastal charmers

Take one part water, one part sand, one part sun-soaked coastal charm, and you’ve got the recipe for some of California’s most appealing destinations. The Golden State’s beach towns stand out for...

Whale Watching in San Diego SanDiego_LaJolla_preview_686x885
Lucas Himovitz
Whale Watching in San Diego PoliteProvisions_SD_sized
Gwynne Spann

Where to eat, what to drink

Endless Sun, Oceanfront Dining & Craft Breweries

With its endless sun and oceanfront location, as well as strong influences from Mexico, San Diego offers plenty of dining options—from flaky fish...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for kid-friendly fun zones that...

Whale Watching in San Diego VCW_SI_T5_John_preview_686x885
John/ Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind-the-scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of worth-the-...

Whale Watching in San Diego VCW_SI_VIP_T1_MichaelSaechang_preview_686x885
Michael Saechang/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Unleash the kid within at California’s ultimate playgrounds

From Disneyland classics to beachfront carousels, the Golden State’s best-in-class theme parks deliver something for everyone. Take a tram ride to tour movie back lots at Universal Studios...

Whale Watching in San Diego AmazingThemeParks_preview_868x686
Lucas Himovitz
Whale Watching in San Diego SD_PipesBeach_Miller_1280x642
The historic 101 Café in Oceanside is the oldest continuously-operating restaurant on historic Highway 101.
A lion cub at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park
Alexa Miller

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Whale Watching in San Diego vca_maps_sandiego
Find out where the wild things are

Like a journey to Africa, a day at this spectacular park lets you see some of the world’s most magnificent—and endangered—animals at close range...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini Ufos. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

Whale Watching in San Diego VCW_SI_FarmersMarket_T4_CV_DavisFrmMkt1_Flippen_preview_686x885
Laura Flippen
Thanks be to God, I arrived here...at this Port of San Diego. It is beautiful to behold, and does not belie its reputation.
Father Junipero Serra
SPECIAL FEATURE
Make memories at some of California's family-favorite beaches

Sand, water, and kids—it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. This sandy dozen offers appealing, family-friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for intrepid...

Whale Watching in San Diego Carmel_BeachDog_Farnum_preview_686x885
Alex Farnum
SPECIAL FEATURE
World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class accommodations. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills, California’s...

Whale Watching in San Diego PalaceHotel_LynGateley_preview_686x885
Lynn Gately/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a candy-colored pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

Whale Watching in San Diego VCW_SI_T10_Milliken&Feniger_Portrait_preview_686x885
Whale Watching in San Diego VCW_D_SD_T7_TorreyPines_lauridsen_140618_754-sized
Dave Lauridsen

San Diego Golf

Get your daily dose of greens at oceanfront courses

Perfect weather, challenging course, and incredible settings make San Diego County a golfer’s dream destination. It’s not surprising that many of...

This four-day event in San Diego turned a simple taco fest into something delightfully global

When this festival first launched in 2013, its inspiration was pretty local: the south-of-the-border Mexican cuisine of Baja California. But the four-day event—the largest of its kind in the U.S.—...

Whale Watching in San Diego VC_LatinFoodFest_Supplied_Image4_686x885
Courtesy of Latin Food Fest
Whale Watching in San Diego vca_maps_sandiego_0
Whale Watching in San Diego VCW_D_SD_T9_lauridsen_Julian
Dave Lauridsen

Julian

Visit a surprising mountain town that’s as American as apple pie

Poised between the desert and the coast, a little more than an hour’s drive east of San Diego, this surprising mountain town makes a great day...

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
Jacques Yves Cousteau