San Diego

San Diego Whale Watching Cruise

Badge of ExcellenceSan Diego, United States
Whale Watching Cruise Guided by experts from Birch Aquarium

From $52.00

Select Date and Travelers

up to 24 hours before the experience starts (local time)

  • 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English

Overview

Go on a whale-watching expedition in San Diego on this 3-hour cruise. Get the scoop from a guide who studies the migratory patterns of grey whales as you keep a lookout for whales in the water. Board a 2-story yacht that gives you 360-degree views of the ocean. Plus, you're guaranteed to see whales or you get to ride again for free.
  • 3-hour whale-watching cruise in San Diego
  • Cruise along the water, and keep your eyes peeled for whales in their natural habitat
  • Enjoy free Wi-Fi
  • It’s recommended to dress in layers to suit the weather

What's Included

  • Indoor and Outside seating
  • We suggest dressing in layers. The temperature and winds can be unpredictable even if it's sunny out.
  • warm clothing
  • medication - 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.
  • Snacks
  • Food and Drinks

Meeting And Pickup

Meeting point

  • 990 N Harbor Dr
    990 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92132, USA

End point

This activity ends back at the meeting point.

What To Expect

Meet at Broadway Pier at least 30 minutes before your departure time for this 3-hour whale-watching cruise in San Diego. Your cruise takes off at 9am.

After boarding, pick a spot on the 2-story yacht either on the main level or upper sundeck. It’s recommended to dress in layers, so you won’t get cold out on the water. The yacht is equipped with free Wi-Fi, a snack bar, and multiple restrooms for convenience.

During your time on the water, your guide tells you interesting facts about the whales, their migratory patterns, their ocean habitat, and other species that call the ocean home. Keep your eyes peeled for grey whales. You might just see a quick glance of them popping up from the water, but in many cases, you’ll see them jump up and make a huge splash.

After your cruise is over, make your way off the yacht. The rest of the day is in your hands.

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • Most travelers can participate
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Guests with wheelchairs can access the vessel and interior main deck. However, the exterior top deck and the restrooms are not ramp accessible.
  • No touching the whales. No feeding the whales. No petting the whales. This is whale watching. We watch with our eyes.
  • Indoor and Outdoor Seating
  • .
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 100 travelers

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

Traveler Photos

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Featured review
Wilbur_W
The whole trip was amazing and the crew was friendly and funny. We will recommend them to all our friends.

Reviews

4.5
491 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers.
Showing 1-10 of 491 reviews
Didn’t match my expectations but I enjoyed the trip
Mahmoud_I, Feb 2024
Except I didn’t see the Whales (my major aim of this trip) everything else was fine, the stuff was very kind, I learned alot about ocean wildfire in San Diego
Perfect Voyage With The Flagship From Coronado, San Diego.
Andrew_L, Feb 2024
Just Breathing In The Fresh Sea Air 🌊 and watching a lot of Dolphins 🐬🐬Crew was Fantastic. 5 Star Experience. We Will Be Back. FYI - Wear Lots of Layer Cloths with a Hoodie, Gloves and Ski Type Cap. Also, Buy The Photo Taken Of Yourselves At Departure For $25. Heavy Price but Priceless Memory. Unforgettable Times. Life Is What You Make Of It. So, "Carpe Diem" Seize The Day 🌈
Great time
Tammy_M, Feb 2024
Great time, entertaining and informative! Staff was friendly and checked on our needs throughout the trip.
Great trip
ldavidson923, Feb 2024
We had a nice time whale watching. The weather was not the best, a lot of rolling waves, but we did see one gray whale almost immediately. On the way back into the harbor, we saw many bottle nose dolphins. Because the gray whale was away from us, and we only saw a glimpse, everyone on the ship was given free tickets to come back in the future. The ship was in great condition, very clean, and the staff was super friendly and knowledgeable.
Wonderful
Leslie_H, Feb 2024
Wonderful Experience! Saw several whales and a variety of Dolphins! Highly recommend this excursion. 👍
Great time dolphins were a blast
Morris_G, Feb 2024
Great time out on the ocean we saw pods of dolphins and sea lions. Unfortunately we were not able to ser whales yesterday but the crew was wayy more than accommodating. Great experience!
Great whale watch
Vera_F, Feb 2024
Seeing the many dolphins. We did only see one whale, but that's not the fault of the cruise line. The crew was great and we would go again
Good
jeries_m, Feb 2024
It was nice trip we see some dolphins but no whales so they offer a free tickets for us later unfortunately we don’t have time
San Diego Whale Watch
Deanne_F, Feb 2024
We saw a Bryde whale! I’ve never seen one of those in San Diego. Lots and lots of greys out, weather was perfect for a whale watch. The onboard naturalist did an incredible job narrating.
Beautiful time on the water. Great guidance. Saw three whales together
Sarah_P, Feb 2024
Three whales were playing near our boat and the captain did a great job keeping us in their area. Tracked them for close to an hour. Great narration.
Bad experience
Jaya_C, Feb 2024
No WiFi on board. Coffee was horrible . We came back half way and reason given was that weather is not good (not sure about it). Didn’t see any whale.
Whale watching
Melanie_H, Jan 2024
Dolphin sighting and good narrative on fighter jets. Whale was seen! Beautiful day to be out on the water
Would go again, had a great time.
Aaron_S, Jan 2024
Lots fun, comfortable ship with lots of indoor and outdoor seating options. Saw lots of animals in the harbor, aircraft, and several US Navy ships along with a migrating pod of dolphins. Great fun.
Amazing wonderful Crew
Kyle_S, Jan 2024
Was a beautiful day. Staff of the cruise were amazing. Very informative. Very friendly. Would do it again at a different time of year to see different types of whales.
Highly reccomend!
Jonathan_D, Jan 2024
Amazing tour! We saw lots of whales, dolphins, and sea lions! The tour guide was excellent and really knew what he was doing.
Once in a lifetime!
Cheryl_G, Jan 2024
We had an amazing tour with a young gray whale coming up right next to the boat. The crew was determined to find more wildlife even after a once in a lifetime sighting. It’s also a great tour of the bay! We loved it!!
Great experience
Michelle_G, Jan 2024
We had a great time. The captain and crew did a great job pointing out the whales and explaining how they eat and travel. We saw 2 whales and a large group of sea lions.
Fun excursion for the whole family!
Alisha_L, Jan 2024
It was a great tour. The captain and crew were friendly and very Knowledgeable about animal sea life. We were able to witness not only whales but also dolphins!! Well worth the price!!
Great experience all around
Jason_B, Jan 2024
Incredibly knowledgeable and funny guide, great crew on a nice watching vessel. We saw two grey whales beautifully surfacing. Saw sea lions and seals as well. The view of the city and coast is worth it too.
Great value IF you enjoy offshore experiences.
Rexcrisanto_D, Jan 2024
We decided to do this tour instead of other in Oceanside and San Diego, and I'm very happy with the decision. We saw 1 grey whale as close as 15 yrds to the boat, at least a dozen seals/sea lions, pair of dolphins, assortment of birds. We left harbor with winds @1 mph and swales 1-2' (Check the winds beforehand to determine how rough trip will be), and towards the end winds were at 3 mph w/2-3' swales. This made for a pleasant tour. IF you like being offshore on a boat, the 3 hrs make for a great time even if you don't see any whales. We had a little over 100 passengers. Most were on the top deck for the first half, but that quickly diminished because because most people obviously didn't appreciate the open water. About a dozen people got sick once we got into the 2-3' swales (take dramamine at least 30 min beforehand) if your not sure how you will handle it!) and many slept in their seats. For me, however, this proved to be a great value for the buck! If I were a local and didn't have a boat, I would use this just to get out offshore for a few hours.
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