2024 Summer Whale Watching Report

Date Morning Cruise Notes
7/12/24 50+ common dolphins
1 juvenile humpback
2 blue whales
2 mola mola
We headed out of San Diego Bay and soon after entering the ocean saw 50+ common dolphins. Then the captain spotted 1 juvenile humpback whale rolling, displaying its pictorial fins, and positioned the boat for all guests to enjoy. With time left on the cruise, we headed out about 12 miles and found 2 blue whales showing their dorsal fins and occasionally a fluke.
7/8/24 10 bottlenose dolphins
300 common dolphins
1 elephant seal
No whales were sighted. 10 bottlenose dolphins were seen in the San Diego, CA harbor at the beginning of this cruise. Out on the ocean, 1 elephant seal were sighted. 300 common dolphins in a large pod were a joyous event for the guests.
7/7/24 50 Bottlenose dolphin
700 Common Dolphins
We left under a marine layer with high expectations for seeing Blue Whales, given the last two trips where many were spotted. But the whales had other ideas and must have moved on to other areas more rich with krill! The dolphins saved the day: first, a pod of about 50 Bottlenose dolphin and then several large pods of very active Common dolphin that leaped through the air, swam with the boat, and kept everyone entertained. We returned under blue skies after a beautiful cruise with calm seas the whole time.
7/5/24 8 Blue Whales
50 Common Dolphins
1 Mola Mola
Captain Rick took excited guests out about 5 miles off Point Loma for an incredible outing where we encountered EIGHT blue whales over a several hour period. Lots of really close looks, amazing big blows and several tail flukes.
7/1/24 3 adult Blue Whales and 2 juvenile Blue whales
12 inshore bottlenose with one baby
25 Common Dolphins
We headed out in a westerly direction about 5 miles from the tip of Point Loma. Where we came upon a small pod of 25 Common Dolphins enjoying themselves near the vessel. Shortly after seeing the Common Dolphins we encountered a small pod of Inshore Dolphins and 1 calf within the mix. They enjoyed taking the thermal glide near the bow of the vessel. Guests were delighted to see two types of dolphins so soon after leaving the bay.
There were several large spouts that could be seen about 1/2 mile away from where our vessel was when we heard the exciting words,"There she blows!" Adventure had found 3 Blue Whales. As we observed the Blues we noticed that none of them were showing us their 25 foot flukes. Adventure continued to observe these 3 Blues when we noticed several more spouts about 300 yards away from the vessel. We came upon 2 juvenile Blue Whales and observed that they did not show their flukes too.
6/29/24 6 Blue Whales
50 Bottlenose Dolphins
3 Mola Mola
1 False Killer Whale
! We spotted 6 different blue whales out at the 9 mile bank, relaxing and spouting in the sun. Three mola molas were out sunning themselves. We encountered 2 pods of bottlenose dolphins, frolicking in the waves. There was even a false killer whale hanging out with one of the dolphin pods!
6/28/24 2 fin whales
1 blue whale
5 bottlenose dolphin
50 common dolphin
We made our way to the nine mile bank were delighted to find two fin whales and a blue whale feeding in the area upon our arrival. The blue whale emerged close to the boat and guests got to hear the whoosh of the whale’s breath and see a huge tail fluke. Soon after, we were joined by a pod of about 5 bottlenose dolphins. On the way back we encountered a pod of common dolphins that played in our wake.
6/24/24 1 Blue Whale
500 Common Dolphin
1 Mola Mola
Saw several sea lions on buoys on the way out of the bay and more at the bait
dock upon returning. The boat mostly stayed between 3-9 miles out or so from shore, eventually in over 1100 feet of water. On the way we saw several fairly
large pods of common dolphins that rushed to the boat to bow ride, much to the children's delight. They were relieved to be out
on the ocean with a cool breeze looking for what rises - one blue whale, hundreds of common dolphins, and the spectacular sunfish or Mola Mola.
6/21/24 0 dolphin
0 whales
The ocean had 3-4 ft swells at 12 second intervals with occasional larger swells, especially at the 9 mile bank. The ride back was smoother with the sun burning through the marine layer, providing sunny skies, at about 12pm. Occasional sea lions we spotted swimming & sunning with 1 flipper out of the water. Sea gulls and turns occasionally flew by. No other marine wildlife was spotted.
6/15/24 2 Blue whales
600 Common dolphins
We sailed out under marine layer conditions and saw several sea lions before leaving San Diego Bay. Soon a large pod of common dolphins was sited just beyond Point Loma.
Heading west, we found 2 blue whales frequently showing their backs and small dorsal fins. We stayed with them for quite a while.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you do whale watching tours in San Diego?

You sure can! City Cruises offers some of the best whale watching tours around in 2024. Enjoy a narrated experience by our expert guides and see whales up close and personal. If you are looking to see specific whales, be sure to visit during the appropriate season! 

How much is whale watching in San Diego?

Prices for whale watching tours in San Diego usually range from $60 to $75 per person. It depends on the day, time of year and a few other factors. It is well worth the experience! 

When can you see gray whales in San Diego?

Gray whales can be seen in San Diego from mid-December to early April. This is the time of year when they migrate from Alaska to Baja California. Book your whale watching cruise for the winter season! 

When can you see blue whales in San Diego?

Blue whales are more likely to be seen in the summer months, from June to September. This is the time of year when they migrate from Central America to California. If you want to see blue whales, book your whale watching tour for the summer! 

How long are whale watching cruises in San Diego?

They are usually about three and a half or four hours long. This includes time for boarding, the cruise itself, and disembarking. 

What should you bring on a whale watching cruise?

Be sure to dress in layers as the weather can change quickly out on the water. It is also a good idea to bring sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, binoculars and cameras. And don’t forget your sense of adventure! 

Will you see dolphins on the cruise in San Diego?

It is very likely!  San Diego is home to a large population of common dolphins. They often swim alongside the whales, so you may get to see them up close. 

What other wildlife will you see on the tour?

In addition to dolphins and whales, you might see California sea lions, seals, pelicans, birds and more. Keep your eyes peeled and your binoculars handy! San Diego is home to some of the best wildlife in the state.  

What is the best time of day for whale watching?

The best time of day for whale watching is usually early morning or late afternoon. This is when the sun is not as harsh and the whales are more active. 

When is whale watching season in San Diego?

The whale watching season in San Diego runs from mid-December to early April. This is when the gray whales migrate from Alaska to Baja California. The blue whale season runs from June to September, when they migrate from Central America to California.