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Whale Watching Central Coast

Whale Watching Overview

Whale Watching

Whales that migrate off the California coast include Humpback Whales, Gray Whales, Blue Whales, Killer Whales (Orca), Sperm Whales, Pilot Whales, Minke Whales, Fin Whales and Baird's Beaked Whales. Spotting whales is possible year round as migrating whales pass by our coast twice a year on their way between the cool waters of Alaska to the warm waters of Baja California. Nearly every major marina, port or harbor along the California coast offers some sort of whale watching tour from up close kayak tours to tours aboard luxury yachts. The Central Coast includes everywhere from the Monterey Bay to Santa Barbara. Migrating whales such as the Humpback Whale and Gray Whale are the most commonly seen and pass by the Central Coast twice a year between December and May. Killer Whale sightings are most common March through May but can be spotted year round. Blue Whales are the largest at nearly 100 feet in length and frequent Central Coast waters during the summer months. Additional marine life you may encounter include dolphins, porpoises, sea otters, seals, sea lions, sunfish, sharks, basking sharks, jellyfish and sea turtles.

Monterey

Stagnaro Sport Fishing is located off Highway 1 in Santa Cruz Harbor. They offer whale watch tours in a large 60-foot long fishing boat, complete with a restroom and full service galley. Stagnaro's offers 3-4 hour whale watch cruises as well as 1 to 2-hour wildlife tours and fishing charters.

Stagnaro Sport Fishing
500 7th Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
(800) 979-3370

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Sanctuary Cruises is located off Highway 1 midway between Santa Cruz and Monterey. They offer whale tours in a moderate-size fishing boat, complete with a restroom and snack bar. Sanctuary Cruises specializes in Monterey and offers 4 to 5-hour boat cruises. They boast about their longer trips and less crowds than other Monterey tour operators.

Sanctuary Cruises
7881 Sandholdt Road
Moss Landing, CA 95039
(530) 778-3444

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Princess Monterey Whale Watching is located off Highway 1 at the Monterey Fisherman's Wharf. They offer whale watch tours in one of two large fishing boats, complete with restrooms and snack bars. Princess Monterey specializes in spotting whales off Monterey and offers 2½ to 3-hour boat tours.

Princess Monterey
96 Fishermans Wharf No. 1
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 372-2203

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Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center is located off Highway 1 at the Monterey Fisherman's Wharf. They offer whale tours in one of two large fishing boats, complete with restrooms. Monterey Bay Whale Watch specializes in spotting whales off Monterey and offers 3 to 5-hour boat cruises that often head south as far as Big Sur.

Monterey Bay Whale Watch Center
84 Fishermans Wharf
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 375-4658

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Chris' Whale Watching Tours is located off Highway 1 at the Monterey Fisherman's Wharf. They offer whale watch tours in one of four large fishing boats, complete with restrooms. They specialize in spotting whales off Monterey and offer 3-hour boat tours.

Chris' Whale Watching Tours
48 Fisherman's Wharf
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 375-5951

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Randy's Whale Watching Trips is located off Highway 1 at the Monterey Fisherman's Wharf. They offer whale tours in one of two large fishing boats, complete with restrooms. They run fishing and whale tour options out of Monterey Bay and offer 2 to 3-hour boat cruises.

Randy's Whale Watching Trips
66 Fisherman's Wharf
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 372-7440

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San Luis Obispo

Virg's Landing is located off Highway 1 at the Embarcadero in Morro Bay. They offer whale watch tours in one of three large fishing boats, complete with restrooms and full galley. Virg's runs fishing and whale watching trips our of Morro Bay and offer 2½-hour boat tours December through June.

Virg's Landing
1185 Embarcadero
Morro Bay, CA 93442
(805) 772-1222

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Sub Sea Tours is located off Highway 1 at the Embarcadero in Morro Bay. They offer whale tours on a large 33-foot catamaran. Sub Sea Tours runs submarine, kayaking and whale tour options from Morro Bay and offers 3 to 4-hour boat cruises.

Sub Sea Tours and Kayaks
699 Embarcadero
Morro Bay, CA 93442
(805) 772-9463

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Patriot Sportfishing is located off Highway 1 at Port San Luis. They offer whale watch tours in one of two large fishing boats, complete with restrooms and galleys. Patriot Sportfishing runs fishing and whale watching trips from Avila Beach and offers 2½-hour boat tours December through April, Friday through Sunday.

Patriot Sportfishing
Harford Pier
Avila Beach, CA 93424
(805) 595-7200

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Santa Barbara

Condor Express is located off Highway 1 at the Santa Barbara Harbor. They offer whale tours on a large 75-foot catamaran, complete with restrooms, a full galley and cocktail bar. Condor Express runs party cruises, wildlife viewing and spotting whales. Whale tour options are from 2½ to 4½-hours long.

Condor Express
301 W. Cabrillo Boulevard
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
(805) 882-0088

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Captain Jack's Tours & Events is located off Highway 1 at the Santa Barbara Harbor. Join a whale tour on a large 75-foot catamaran, complete with restrooms, a full galley and cocktail bar. Tours are 4½-hours long aboard the Condor Express and meet in the harbor. Other Captain Jack's tours include wine tasting, kayaking, horseback riding, paragliding and more.

Captain Jack's Tours & Events
933 Castillo Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 564-1819

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Sunset Kidd is located off Highway 1 at the Santa Barbara Harbor. They offer whale watch tours on a large 41-foot sailboat, complete with restrooms, a galley and cocktail bar. Sunset Kidd runs sailing cruises, private charters and whale tours. Tours are offered February through May, Thursday through Monday.

Sunset Kidd
125 Harbor Way
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
(805) 965-1675

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Santa Barbara Sailing Center is located off Highway 1 at the Ventura Harbor. They offer whale tours on a large 50-foot catamaran, complete with restrooms and snack bar. Santa Barbara Sailing runs sailing cruises, private charters, sailing instruction, boat rentals and whale watch tours. Boat tours are 2½-hours long and offered February through May.

Santa Barbara Sailing Center
133 Harbor Way
Santa Barbara, CA 93109
(805) 962-2826

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Ventura

Island Packers is located off Highway 1 at the Ventura Harbor. They offer whale watch tours on large fishing boats, complete with restrooms and galleys. Island Packers runs multiple boat cruises and tours including whale tour options that are 3 to 3½-hours long.

Island Packers
1691 Spinnaker Drive
Ventura, CA 93001
(805) 642-1393

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Channel Islands Sportfishing Center is located off Highway 1 at Channel Islands Harbor. They offer whale tours in a large 85-foot fishing boat, complete with restrooms and a full galley. Channel Islands Sportfishing runs fishing and 3-hour whale watch tours January through April.

Channel Islands Sportfishing Center
4151 S. Victoria Avenue
Oxnard, CA 93035
(805) 382-1612

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