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The coastal city of San Diego is a main stop on the migratory patterns of gray, blue, and humpback whales as they make their way from Alaska to Baja California and Mexico each year. Here’s how to witness some of the 25,000+ whales that make the trip annually.

When to Go
Whale-watching tours run from January to April during the peak season for sightings, although enormous blue whales can be seen throughout the year and into summer. San Diego may be famous for its warm weather, but it’s best to wear layers to protect from wind and water while out on the boat.

What You’ll See
Gray whales and humpbacks can often be seen with their small calves in tow, while the enormity of the blue whale’s spout alone is worth seeing. Whale-watching cruises often also encounter dolphins, sea lions, seals, and other marine life off the San Diego coast.

How to Go
Tours typically depart from San Diego Harbor, one of the best places to take a whale-watching excursion in Southern California. It’s best to avoid caffeine in advance of your outing and take precautions to prevent sea sickness. Customize your trip by choosing a whale-watching tour by sailboat, a kayaking adventure from La Jolla Cove, or a wildlife boat tour guided by a marine biologist from the Birch Aquarium.
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9 results | All San Diego Tours

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San Diego Whale Watching Tour

San Diego Whale Watching Tour

star-4.5
780
Encounter some of Earth's most magnificent creatures on a 3-hour whale-watching cruise in San Diego. The voyage departs right from Mission Bay, so you’ll be out into the open ocean and looking for animals in just 10 short minutes. Marine biologists onboard help you spot whales and dolphins and learn about their life in the deep blue sea.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$65.00
From
$65.00

San Diego Whale Watching Cruise
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

star-5
1146
Go whale watching from San Diego aboard a replica of a historic sailing schooner that won the world’s first America’s Cup sailing competition in 1851. Throughout your cruise, your expert guide shares informative commentary about gray whales, dolphins, and other marine animals, along with details about the US Navy sites you pass as you head out on the Pacific Ocean.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$85.00
From
$85.00

San Diego Harbor Cruise

San Diego Harbor Cruise

star-4.5
1310
Spend a few hours relaxing, sunbathing and sightseeing in the placid waters just off San Diego during this 1 or 2 hour San Diego Harbor cruise. Sit back and relax as you take in a fully-narrated tour, offering top-notch sight lines of the San Diego skyline, a cruise under Coronado Bridge, a look at the bustling US Naval fleet and a chance to spot some of the harbor’s resident sea lions. Choose between 1 and 2 hour cruise options, offering you two trips to fit your schedule and interests.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$32.00
From
$32.00

San Diego Seal Tour

San Diego Seal Tour

star-4.5
545
Take in the highlights of San Diego Bay during a sightseeing tour by amphibious vehicle. Travel on both land and water, starting on the streets of Seaport Village and rolling down Harbor Drive alongside San Diego Bay. Transition into the water after departing Seaport Village. Cruise past the SeaWorld and Vacation Isle, experiencing the best of maritime San Diego on this fun and informative tour.
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  • 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$46.00
From
$46.00

Private Family Whale & Dolphin Adventure in San Diego

Private Family Whale & Dolphin Adventure in San Diego

star-5
57
Get the best chance of seeing whales and dolphins on a private boat tour. Your party will have the run of the boat, including an enclosed cabin, an observation tower, and a restroom. Your experienced USCG-certified captain knows the best places to spot wildlife and will provide engaging commentary on the local marine ecosystem.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$165.00
From
$165.00

Dolphin & Whale Watching Sunset Cruise
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Dolphin & Whale Watching Sunset Cruise

star-4
52
Enjoy a classic San Diego sunset while spotting whales and dolphins during this wildlife cruise in Mission Bay Park. Travel comfortably on a well-equipped boat with a dedicated and knowledgeable crew. Learn about San Diego's coastal marine mammals as you scan the harbor. Watch the sun set while sailing the shore.
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  • 2 to 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$65.00
From
$65.00

Skip the Line: USS Midway Museum Admission Ticket in San Diego

Skip the Line: USS Midway Museum Admission Ticket in San Diego

star-5
1252
Take a trip through American naval history with admission to the USS Midway Museum in San Diego. This enormous ship, known as the longest-serving aircraft carrier of the 20th century, now offers a range of interactive exhibits, a self-guided audio tour and numerous restored aircraft across its 4-acre (1.6-hectare) flight deck and sections below. It’s an essential piece of San Diego’s, and America’s, military history.
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  • 2 to 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$26.00
From
$26.00

San Diego Zoo 1-Day Pass Ticket

San Diego Zoo 1-Day Pass Ticket

star-4.5
1256
Meet some of the world's most exotic animals with your admission ticket to the renowned San Diego Zoo, one of California's top family-friendly attractions. More than 4,000 animals representing 800 species live in this state-of-the-art zoo, including some that are rarely seen at other zoos. Admire the animals and go in-depth during daily keeper talks and guided bus tours. With mobile tickets, simply scan your phone for direct entry into the San Diego Zoo. Ticket must be redeemed on travel date selected. Tickets must be purchased at least one day prior to visit.
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  • 1 to 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$65.00
From
$65.00

San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley

San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley

star-4.5
1156
Explore some of the top highlights of San Diego with your or or two day trolley pass (depending on option selected) for the city’s Hop-on, Hop-off Trolley Tour. Choose your own adventure as you get on and off the trolley at any of the 11 included stops, covering famous sights including the Gaslamp Quarter, the San Diego Zoo, USS Midway and the Cruise Ship Terminal, Little Italy, and many more. This San Diego trolley tour also features live commentary from the on-board guide during your ride.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$46.00
From
$46.00

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Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the best Whale Watching in San Diego?
Q:
What Whale Watching in San Diego are taking additional safety precautions?
Q:
What Whale Watching in San Diego are good for avoiding crowds?
A:
These hidden gems in San Diego may have limited interaction with crowds: