If you want to see some whales in their habitat then San Diego is the perfect place to go and do just that. Each year over 20,000 Pacific Gray whales journey south from the north of Alaska down to Baja California in Mexico, a 10,000 mile trek which is the longest migration of any mammal. San Diego’s 78 miles of coastline provide tourists with the perfect place to watch these magnificent creatures as they reach the final stage of their journey. If you want the best whale watching San Diego is the perfect place, and here is how to see them in the best way.


To catch a glimpse of these incredible beast you need to be in San Diego between December and mid-April. If these dates don’t suit you then you could try your luck at seeing Blue whales as they pass by San Diego during the spring and summer months. Blue Whales are harder to spot as there are fewer of them who make the journey into south California. If you choose to go during spring or summer then you may also spot Humpback, Finback or Minke whales.


The Pacific Gray whales often pass right by the Cabrillo National Monument on the western side, this is a park which is elevated and offers great viewing over the ocean. For the best vistas of the coastline and the whales you could go up to Old Point Loma lighthouse or even the designated Whale Overlook site in the park. Torrey Pines State Reserve also offers great views of the whales and you can stand on top of the cliffs of the Torrey Pines State beach and catch some great shots of the whales passing by.


If you head to either of the two spots which we have mentioned then you will be able to get a great glimpse of the whales as they swim past the coastline. The whales however will be quite far away and so you’ll need some binoculars to get the best views. Alternatively you could look at taking a tour in order to get closer to the action. If you are in a group and looking for a private charter San Diego has plenty of options for private hire which will take you out to get a closer glimpse of the whales. A San Diego harbor tour will be a great choice if you don’t want to charter your own boat and if you time it right you’ll get plenty of photo opportunities of the whales as they swim by.

What to Look For?

If you can’t see the whales right away then you need to have a closer look and keep your eye out for some tell-tale signs. Whales will spout water when they swim as they exhale air and they can shoot the water as high as 15 feet. You also may spot the tails of the animals as they will lift these out of the water before they dive into the ocean.

Seeing whales migrate like this is a wonderful experience and one that I would highly recommend here in San Diego.