Whale Watching

Why whale watch?

It's so great to be able to hop on a boat and enjoy an abundance of marine life that's not trapped in a tank, right here in our own backyard. Not only is Orange County right along the gray whale migration route which takes place late January through May, but in the early summer months, blue whales usually show up to feed on krill (April - July). Humpback whales are considered one of the summer species that show up to feed on anchovies although it's not odd to see them any month out of the year. Other species such as minke and fin whales may be seen any month out of the year as it depends on food availability. We also get to see several dolphin species including common dolphin (year-round), Pacific white-sided (winter), bottlenose, risso's, and the more rare sighting of orcas.

How are whales found?

The only 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 areas of bird life which will typically be feeding on the same thing the dolphins and whales feed on. Some whale spouts can be spotted from 5 miles away! There are no spotter planes or sonar used to find whales, just eyesight and communicating with other boats.

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 6 legally operating companies: Dana Wharf, Davey's Locker, Dolphin Safari, Newport Coastal Adventure, and Newport Landing. All these companies communicate with each other to help find whales/dolphins. There are other options you will find listed online but booking with anyone other than the companies listed below greatly reduces your odds of finding animals due to lack of experience, knowledge, and communication with these other companies. Some of these other companies have fake reviews and will even appear as a great company but please invest your time/money in the following companies only.

Newport Coastal Adventure

Newport Coastal Adventure

Newport Beach

Small boats providing a fast and intimate experience

(949) 922-8784

http://newportcoastaladventure.com/

IEX Helicopters

IEX Helicopters

Santa Ana

Helicopters departing from John Wayne Airport and Long Beach Airport offering a whole new perspective

IEX Helicopter

Davey's Locker

Davey's Locker/Newport Landing

Newport Beach

Large vessels with restrooms, snack bars, and indoor and outdoor seating

(949) 673-1434

http://www.daveyslocker.com/whale-watching/

Dana Wharf

Dana Wharf

Dana Point

Medium to large vessels with restrooms, snack bars, and indoor and outdoor seating

(949) 496-5794

http://danawharf.com/whale-watching/

Dolphin Safari

Dolphin Safari

Dana Point

Medium to large vessels with restrooms, snack bars, and indoor and outdoor seating

(949) 488-2828

http://www.dolphinsafari.com/

Blue Whale

Ocean Institute

Large vessel offering snacks and restrooms onboard. Departures vary depending on season and demand

https://www.ocean-institute.org/cruises

Here are photos and videos taken off the coast of Orange County

ETP killer whale
Blue Whale
Bottlenose Dolphin
Gray Whale
Common Dolphin
Transient Orca
Gray Whale
Cow/calf humpback whale
Gray Whale
Pacific White-Sided Dolphin
Gray Whale
Risso's Dolphin