Whale Watching in San Diego

Get an up-close view of spectacular gray whales as they migrate past the coast of San Diego. A memorable, informative experience of a lifetime!
  • The only tour guided by naturalists from Birch Aquarium
  • Departs from mid-December to mid-April only
  • Choose educational tour or open-air Patriot Jet Boat
  • Whale sightings guaranteed or ride again free! 

Available Cruises Adult Child (4-12)* Senior/Military Book Now
Educational Whale Watching with Birch Naturalists Monday - Friday $40.00 $20.00 $35.00 Select Date
Educational Whale Watching with Birch Naturalists Saturday - Sunday $45.00 $23.00 $40.00 Select Date
Patriot High Speed Jet Boat Whale Watching Saturday - Sunday $55.00 $45.00 $50.00 Select Date

Departure Times

Educational Tour Patriot Jet Boat
Join us for twice-daily cruises to locate gray whales on their annual migration to Baja California. Naturalists will showcase gray whale facts and will answer all of your marine animal questions. Try Whale Watching from our new High Speed Jet Boat, the Patriot. The Patriot takes you out to the popular Grey Whale migration routes in just 1.5 hours, half the time of our standard tour.
  • 9:30 AM - 1:15 PM
  • 1:30 PM - 5:00 PM
  • 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Boards 30 minutes prior to departure, all cruises are weather permitting.

Before You Depart

  • Bring warm clothing, your binoculars and your camera for a memorable San Diego whale watching experience.
  • What to wear: We suggest dressing in layers. The temperature and winds can be unpredictable even if it's sunny out. The sun is always predictable, so don't forget sunscreen and a hat.
  • Chances of spotting a whale are exactly the same, whether you choose the morning or afternoon departure. Whales don't wear watches.
  • Same goes for the days of the week. Each day has an equal chance of sightings. Whales do not have calendars.
  • If you may be prone to seasickness, plan ahead. Medication only works when taken BEFORE boarding the vessel. Wristbands for motion sickness also can be effective. Either can be purchased at any drug store.
  • In the unlikely event that your departure is cancelled due to poor weather conditions, we do our best to contact you in the morning at the phone number you provide. We will reschedule your tour for another day if you like or provide you with a full refund—your choice.
  • No touching the whales. No feeding the whales. No petting the whales. This is whale watching. We watch with our eyes...
  • Guests with wheelchairs can access the vessel and interior main deck. However, the exterior top deck and the restrooms are not ramp accessible.
  • For more, visit our FAQ.

Whale Watching Route

Each whale watching excursion is slightly unique. We follow the whales' migration path to bring you up close for the best sighting spots, which change every day. In the beginning of the season, the southbound whales swim closer to the coast, so the maximum distance is about 3-5 miles. Toward the end of the season, when the northbound whales swim further out, we can cruise up to 9-12 miles off the coast.

Whale Watching Map