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A whale in San Francisco Bay
Peter McCarthy/Flickr

Whale Watching Near San Francisco

Whale Watching Near San Francisco
Discover where and when to see these amazing mammals just off the City by the Bay

If you want to see whales, head to the tip of Point Reyes National Seashore from December to February. According to whale experts, an astounding 94 per cent of migrating Pacific grey whales pass within one mile of this protected peninsula some 27 miles north of San Francisco.

January is the most whale-happy month, when more than 1,000 of the massive mammals can pass this point each day. Access to the tip of Point Reyes is controlled during peak season (December to March), with shuttle buses running between the car parks and prime viewing areas. Other watch-from-shore hot spots include the headlands in Montara and Half Moon Bay (both less than 45 minutes’ drive south of San Francisco). Or just head out to any high spot along the coast that juts into the Pacific. Calm days without whitecaps are best, that is when it is easiest to spot the whales’ telltale spouts.

Grey whale cruises (typically offered December to May) head out from San Francisco’s Pier 39, as well as Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz. The Oceanic Society offers full- and half-day trips led by expert naturalists for a chance to see not only whales but dolphins, porpoises, seals and other marine life. To see even more species, consider taking an unforgettable guided tour of the remote, wildlife-rich Farallon Islands, a tiny chain of jagged rocky outcrops 27 miles off San Francisco. Waters here teem with life. 26 endangered or threatened species, including whales, birds, and marine life, live or visit the islands and surrounding waters. Blue and humpback whales regularly feed in the region throughout summer and autumn; whale watching cruises typically leave San Francisco at 8 am
and return by mid-afternoon.

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Northern California

Discover the San Francisco Bay Area

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10
December
Average (°C)
Dec - Feb
16°
High
5°
Low
Mar - May
23°
High
8°
Low
June - Aug
27°
High
14°
Low
Sept - Nov
26°
High
7°
Low

A crimson bridge, cable carriages, a sparkling bay and streets lined with elegant Victorian homes, San Francisco is undeniably one of the world’s great

"I left my heart in San Francisco. High on a hill, it calls to me." - Singer Tony Bennett

cities. Located in Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend in the coast, the region has an alluring magic that stretches beyond the bay to diverse cities with nightlife and trend-setting cuisine. The Bay Area is also home to some of the world’s finest wine country, including Napa Valley and Sonoma, plus waterfront towns, dramatic beaches and the tech-savvy southern end of the Bay known as the Silicon Valley, where lunchtime ideas at Google, Facebook and Apple, turn into the next brilliant innovation.

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Courtesy of NPS Photo

Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial

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California’s smallest national park service outlet covers a mere half-acre in Concord on San Francisco Bay’s east shore—but it tells a very big...

May

Rock rolls into the wine country with this three-day event in Napa that features 2019 headliners Imagine Dragons, Neil Young, and Mumford & Sons. With more than 80 performers in the May 24–26...

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July

Get the Spanish spirit at this colourful event. Stroll the grounds of Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards with a glass of bubbly, and take in a whirl of passionate music, flamenco dancing and food....

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World-class accommodations in world-class locations

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It's simply a very romantic place. Just one look at any of those streets, and you couldn't be anywhere else -- it's so beautiful, and there's that location, and the sense of the free spirit. ... Who couldn't become ravenous in such a place?
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Sample ultra-fresh, hyper-local, and downright amazing

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Old-fashioned fun in the Golden State

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Golden Gate Bridge

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Livermore

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Sausalito

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