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Dana Point Festival of Whales

Celebrating the Annual Gray Whale Migration
Gray whale, by staff photographer Mark Tyson, during our whale watching safari.

47th Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales

March 3 – 4 and 10 – 11, 2018

The Dana Point Festival of Whales began 46 years ago as an annual community event in the coastal town of Dana Point, located in picturesque Orange  County, California. During the two-weekend festival held every March, residents and visitors celebrate the migration of Gray Whales and other marine wildlife with ocean-themed activities and presentations emphasizing education and environmental responsibility. A variety of family friendly activities will take place and the premiere event is, of course, whale watching!

About Gray Whales

Gray whales can be seen migrating off the coast of Dana Point from December through May. Gray Whales are often are seen within just a mile or two of the shoreline, where they’re believed to use Dana Point’s headlands as a landmark on their journey.  Gray whales make one of the longest migrations of any mammal. They travel about 12,000 miles from the cold waters near Alaska, where they feed, to the warm lagoons of Baja California, Mexico, where the whales mate and give birth to their calves.

The following Festival of Whales events are hosted by Captain Dave’s

Captain Dave’s Under the Sea Eco Carnival

Date: Saturday, March 10, 2018

Time: 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Location: Our Dolphin Deck at 24440 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point.

Cost: Free Entry

It’s adventure time again with Captain Dave and his crew! Join us at our carnival, and learn how you can do your part to keep our ocean clean while still having fun. Bounce the day away in our under the sea bounce houses, have fun at our selfie station, come see how much waste we can fit in our fluke, and learn about different ways we can recycle household items. Dive deep with Captain Dave’s one-of-a-kind Underwater Viewing Pod simulation to see what it’s like to bow-ride with some of Dana Point’s most beautiful inhabitants while you wait for a chance to get your face painted. All ages are welcome! Carnival entry is FREE, face painting available for a small fee. 


Capt. Dave Presents Entangled Whales: What Can We Do?

Date: Saturday, March 10, 2018

Time: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Location: OC Sailing and Events Center, 34451 Ensenada Pl, Dana Point, CA 92629

Cost: FREE

Join Captain Dave Anderson for an informative presentation about whale entanglement and rescue. Learn about recent disentanglements that Captain Dave and others were hands-on involved with, including the first disentanglement effort of a blue whale that recently made national headlines. You’ll discover more about what is being done to help these animals, including new equipment Capt. Dave is developing for tracking whales, and also what you can to do, (such as buying U.S. caught fish), to make a difference.

Throughout the presentation you’ll enjoy amazing, never-before-seen rescue footage and drone video, and have the opportunity to look at and touch the special equipment used to help entangled whales. Captain Dave believes it is critical to let people know that that nearly 1,000 dolphins and whales are estimated to die every day worldwide in fishing gear entanglement. He has been able to share this information through many of the television shows he has been featured on such as The Ellen Show, CBS this Morning, National Geographic, the Today Show and many others, and through his book and his videos which have reached over 25 million views on YouTube.

Captain Dave organized Orange County’s first whale disentanglement group in 2008. As part of a network of NOAA trained disentanglement teams he has been hands-on involved with multiple disentanglement efforts in coordination with NOAA. Captain Dave is also a marine naturalist, award winning wildlife filmmaker, author, conservationist, whale watching captain and YouTube vlogger.

Dolphin & Whale Watching

During the Dana Point Festival of Whales

Join Orange County’s number one rated whale watching tour on TripAdvisor, Google+ and Yelp.

When: Every day! Departure times can vary. View trip calendar.

Time: 2 and 1/2 hours.*

Cost: $65 per adult, $45 per child (1 – 12 years old), $20 infants (up to 12 months).*

Reservations and information: Call 949-488-2828 or book online.

* Trip length and cost applies to vessels Manute’a and only. Lily is $65 for all passengers regardless of age for 2 and 1/2 hours. Fast Cat is $65 for all passengers for 90 minutes.

Bring the kids, family, and friends for a chance to get up close and personal with gentle gray whales as well as fin whales, humpback whales, minke whales and more, plus five different species of amazing wild dolphins, including mega-pods that can number in the thousands!

Why Captain Dave’s? Because you and your family deserve the very best!

• Five star rating AND Dana Point’s #1 Outdoor Activity on TripAdvisor.

• Our trips to see dolphins and whales are the highest rated in Dana Point according to Yelp, Google+, and TripAdvisor. We offer the best customer service!

• Exclusive Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods! Go underwater, and without getting wet, feel what it’s like to swim with dolphins and whales while aboard our hi-tech catamaran sailboat Manute’a.

• Captain Dave’s unique catamarans are never crowded with a maximum of 12 to 49 passengers, depending on the vessel, for an intimate whale watching experience.

• We are a real Eco-tourism company providing only sustainable wildlife viewing. No fishing = no animal bycatch.

• Originators of the Eye-Spy viewing platform! Our Eye-Spy Dolphin & Whale Tram Nets on our catamaran sailboats puts wildlife inches below your feet.

• Our knowledgeable marine naturalists explain how these animals live for a fun and educational oceanic adventure that adults and children of all ages will love.

• Captain Dave and rescue team members have been recognized worldwide for their conservation and whale rescue efforts.

• Mrs. Captain Dave’s famously yummy Triple Fudge Brownies are served complimentary on every whale watching trip.

• Orange County’s only U.S. Coast Guard inspected rigid hull inflatable boat, FAST CAT, is also available for trips throughout the Festival. Fast Cat is turbo charged for fun, and with speeds up to 30 knots, a small group of up to 12 passengers will spend less time looking for animals and more time enjoying them.

• ORCA, our luxury motor yacht, is available for intimate whale watching private charters for up to 6 guests.

• Home of Dana Point’s most viewed YouTube Channel, featuring Captain Dave’s award winning (Phinfest 2015) drone footage of whales and dolphins with over 12 million views. Subscribe to our channel!



Festival of Whales dates are very popular for whale watching tours. Be sure to reserve your tickets in advance!