Passionate About San Diego
and the Moms Who Live Here

Whale Watching in San Diego

   whale watching  

 If you are looking for a way to spend a great day making memories with your family… search no further! It is whale watching season here in San Diego and it is sure to be an experience for everyone in your family to enjoy!

We are a large family and always trying to find ways to connect with each kiddo one on one. We have a true ocean lover and since it was his turn in the rotation… whale watching seemed like the right thing to do.

whale watching

It was super easy to book our tour online through H & M Landing’s website. There are even a few Groupon options… might be worth a quick look-see. 

whale watching

The day of the tour we were told to arrive 45 minutes before departure… which was more than enough time. In fact, we boarded the boat and hung out for a bit and then got off and went searching for crabs along the dock to kill a bit of time for a busy boy. While searching for crabs we found an adorable seal playing there in the harbor!

After re-boarding, we set out for the open water. The sights alone were worth the trip. The captain was very informative and gave a very interesting tour of the harbor as we set out for sea.

We had an experience with a juvenile whale that the captain called “the best encounter in his 40 years of whale watching.” It was truly magical and one that we will never forget. Our curious juvenile whale was even met with a playful and very nosey seal. You can’t make this stuff up! This was nature and its amazing creatures just existing in their natural habitat. Truly breathtaking. 

whale watching

After enjoying the juveniles playful presence for over 40 minutes, we encountered 4 other full grown whales. We watched them for a bit and then it was time to head back to the harbor. 

The 3 hours that went by in the blink of an eye!

In the cabin of the boat there was a cash-only galley and several tables with playing cards and dominoes. 

whale watching

A few tips I would give…

  • bring cash for parking… it was very reasonable… $2 for the first hour and $1 an hour thereafter, with a max of $8 a day – but cash only!
  • bring cash for the galley as well… they have snacks, water, and beer 
  • wear layers… you go from too hot to too cold every 10 minutes
  • pack some of your own snacks/water
  • bring a camera/make sure you have plenty of storage on your phone
  • wear a hat
  • use sunscreen
  • bring binoculars
  • get some polarized sunglasses

Once we were back at the harbor and the boat was docked, we were given an official whale watcher certificate. My little guy was so excited for this and hung his proudly on the wall in his room.

This is an experience we plan to do many more times. Although there were several young children on the boat… I personally wouldn’t want to take anyone under 4. It’s such a wonderful family outing whether for the young family or the empty nester with kids home from college looking for some forced family fun.

Have you been whale watching in San Diego or elsewhere?
Do you have any tips I may have missed?

whale watching


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One Response to Whale Watching in San Diego

  1. Heather Bennett January 5, 2018 at 9:07 am #

    I really really want to do this!!! How long does the season last?! Great tips!

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