Why whale watch?
It's so great for the mind and soul to hop on a boat and enjoy an abundance of marine life that is not trapped in a tank. Not only is Orange County right along the gray whale migration route which takes place January through May, but in the summer we see blue and humpback whales that come here to feed, as well as minke and fin whale sightings year-round. We also get to see several dolphin species including common, pacific white-sided, bottlenose, risso's, and the more rare sighting of orcas.
How are whales found?
Many people think spotter planes are used but that is false. The best way to find whales is by simply going out on the ocean and scanning the horizon north, east, south, and west for spouts created from the whales breath, also looking for big areas of bird life. Some whale spouts can be spotted from 5 miles away!
How many options are there?
While you may see many whale watch tours/excursions advertised online, according to the cities of Dana Point and Newport Beach as well as The U.S. Coast Guard, there are 5 legally operating companies: Dana Wharf, Davey's Locker, Dolphin Safari, Newport Coastal Adventure, and Newport Landing. Booking with cheaper competitors advertising as whale watching companies greatly decreases your odds of seeing whales, please only book with the following legitimate companies.
Here are photos and videos taken off the coast of Orange County