Dolphin & Catamaran Whale Watching

San Diego has become world renowned for its year-round whale and dolphin watching.

Enjoy a private whale and San Diego dolphin watching excursion on board the Adventuress, a 60′ luxury catamaran. Whether under sail or under power (twin 200HP engines), the Adventuress is incredibly stable making for a comfortable and relaxing offshore experience.

The Adventuress offers the best of both worlds, a private luxury sailing experience combined with the up close and personal experience that only a catamaran can provide.

On board the Adventuress, your seasoned and knowledgeable Captain will serve as your on-board naturalist and guide.

San Diego has become world renowned for its year-round whale and dolphin watching.

GRAY WHALE & DOLPHIN WATCHING (Mid December – early April)
RECOMMEND 3 – 4+ hours

Each Winter and Spring, roughly 20,000 Gray Whales migrate from the Bering Sea north of Alaska to the lagoons in Baja California (where the females give birth to their calves) and back. Their migration route brings Gray Whales close to the San Diego coastline affording great sights throughout the Winter.

BLUE WHALE WATCHING (Mid June – October)
RECOMMEND 4+ hours

Summer and early Fall is when Blue Whales, the largest mammal on Earth, migrate to our local waters to feed on an abundance of krill. These gentle giants are being seen in increasing numbers offshore San Diego.


For dolphin lovers, large pods can be seen all year offshore San Diego. Pacific White-sided and Bottlenose dolphin are frequently sighted, along with the extremely gregarious and inquisitive Long-beaked and Short-beaked Common Dolphins who often love to playfully swim along our hulls.

What Is the Best Month to See Whales in San Diego?

Whale watching in San Diego is simultaneously both a relaxing and awe-inspiring activity. Spending time near the ocean is always a soothing experience. If you have never seen a whale in person, you quickly discover that they are truly a sight to behold. Timing is crucial if you are planning to watch whales swimming off the coast of San Diego’s beaches. You will have more luck finding those gigantic marine mammals depending on when you go watching.

The best time to watch for whales in San Diego is from late December to the end of April. So why is that the ideal time to go whale watching in San Diego County? Late December is right around the time when gray whales reach the lagoons of Baja, California, after migrating from their feeding grounds in the Arctic. Right around this time, the gray whales should also be popping up around the California coast, although you are more likely to see increased activity beginning in January.

What makes the months above so good for whale watching is that gray whales also give birth during that time. There is a chance that you may see calves swimming if you are whale watching then. The gray whales will start returning to the Arctic around the end of April. If you cannot head to the coastline during the winter, you still have some time left for whale watching during the spring.

Spending Summer with the Whales

The time from late December to the end of April is the best window for whale watching in San Diego. That said, you can spot whales in the area during other times of the year. More specifically, blue whales also make their way to the waters near San Diego. You will find the blue whales migrating to that part of the ocean around the start of summer, and they will stick around until the beginning of fall.

The only difference with watching blue whales is they tend to swim far from the shore. If you want to see the whales up close, you need to head out to the water to get a better look.

What Time of Day Is Best for Whale Watching in San Diego?

You have plans to take a vacation in San Diego this winter, and you have your heart set on seeing the whales. So, when would be the best time for you to go whale watching? Unfortunately, there is no clear answer to that question. Whales like to do their own thing. They do not need to hang out when the sun’s up or wait until they have the cover of the night to start surfacing. As a result, you will find active whales in the morning, the afternoon, in the evening, and even late at night.

They do not follow strict daily patterns, so there is no guarantee that they will be out while you are watching. The best you can do is pay a visit to San Diego when you know that the whales are in the area. Your chances of seeing the whales swimming around and having fun will greatly increase if you watch during the peak season.

What to Bring on Whale Watching Tours and How to Prepare

Watching whales swimming nearby can be an incredibly enjoyable pastime. Of course, you can make it even more fun if you prepare properly beforehand. In this section of the article, our San Diego yacht charters experts will highlight the items you should bring and the things you need to do if you want to make your experience a truly delightful one.

Items for Sun Protection

Are you planning to go whale watching during the day? If so, bring along some protection against the sun. Wear sunscreen before heading out. You should also consider wearing a cap or a hat while you are out there. A pair of sunglasses will also protect your eyes while you are continuously watching over the water.

Rubber Shoes

Count on your shoes getting wet at some point while you are out whale watching. Once they start to splash around, they will send water flying in every direction, so you will not have time to get your shoes out of the way. It is best to avoid leather shoes because they can get damaged by water easily. Rubber shoes are best for whale watching because they can withstand prolonged exposure to moisture. They will also provide decent stability even if you are constantly standing on wet surfaces.


Also, there is no guarantee that the whales will be swimming right next to your location when they show up. Therefore, to ensure you get a good view regardless of where they choose to surface, you should take some binoculars along for your trip.

Appropriate Camera Equipment

There is nothing wrong with using your phone’s camera to capture the whales, but you can get more spectacular shots by using specific equipment. Whale watchers should bring along a 70-300 millimeter zoom lens and a polarized lens to combat the sun’s glare. Those camera accessories should help you capture some stunning pictures.

What Is a Catamaran and Why Is Whale Watching Better on One?

If you hope to enjoy a day of whale watching while out on the ocean, you may want to book a tour or catamaran charter. A catamaran is best known for its double-hull structure. The double-hull structure makes the catamaran exceptionally stable. It also helps reduce drafts while the boat is in motion.

So, why is the catamaran ideally suited for whale watching? The reasons detailed below will answer that question.

  • Catamarans Will Not Scare the Whales – For starters, catamarans are great for whale watching because they will not scare the whales away. Whales can get spooked by loud noises, but even motor-powered catamarans are not noisy enough to bother them.
  • Catamarans Are Highly Maneuverable – The whales may not hang out in one spot. You may need to move around to get a closer look at them. That will not be an issue if you are on a catamaran because that type of boat is highly maneuverable.
  • Catamarans Will Not Obstruct Your View – Lastly, you should consider using a catamaran for whale watching because it will not obstruct your view. Catamarans have open tops, so you can take pictures no matter where you are on the boat. They also provide great viewing angles to get a good look at the whales.

Dolphin Watching Tours

Book a tour with us at Adventuress Luxury Catamaran and enjoy a more intimate whale watching experience. Of course, we offer more than whale watching tours. You should also consider booking a tour with us if you want to see dolphins during your visit to San Diego. Examples of dolphins you will see swimming near the San Diego coast include common dolphins, common bottlenose dolphins, Pacific white-sided dolphins, and Risso’s dolphins.

Even if you have seen those dolphins at marine parks before, there is nothing like seeing them in their natural habitat. That is the type of memorable experience that we provide at Adventuress Luxury Catamaran.

Adventuress Luxury Catamaran

Whether you are interested in whale watching, dolphin watching, a San Diego yacht wedding, or simply exploring the San Diego coast, we at Adventuress Luxury Catamaran provide the tours you are looking for. We also host corporate events, so feel free to book us for your next company outing. Contact us today and reserve your next tour!

Book your Trip Today!

The Adventuress is conveniently docked at the Cabrillo Isle Marina (1450 Harbor Island Drive San Diego, CA 92101) across from the San Diego airport and behind the Sheraton Hotel & Resort. Remote pickup/drop off at various docks throughout San Diego Bay is available upon request. Please note that additional delivery/dockage fees will apply.