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#1 Rated Whale Watching Adventure in Laguna Beach

Featuring Exclusive Underwater Viewing Pods

Humpback whale, by staff photographer Daryn Cazin, during our whale watching safari.

Captain Dave’s whale watching safaris are ranked #1 on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google. From our award winning customer service to our most unique whale watching boats, our safaris are sure to give you an exciting and memorable experience.

Whales, dolphins, sea lions, and more, are encountered throughout the year. Every day brings a new adventure!

Our whale watching trips depart from beautiful Dana Point Harbor, located just minutes from Laguna Beach.

Get Eye-to-Eye Underwater with Dolphins and Whales

Two dolphins underwater with inset image of child watching from Underwater Pods

Feel what it’s like to swim with wild dolphins and whales, without getting wet, in our two Underwater Viewing Pods.

Featured exclusively on Capt. Dave’s high-tech catamaran, Manute’a.

Whale Watching Safari Schedule and Prices

Departure times vary by date.  Trips are available year-round.

Whales Seen Off Laguna Beach

Blue Whale Spy-hop
Humpback Whale Jumps Out of the Water
Breaching Gray Whale
Overhead view of Fin Whale from a drone

Year round whales inhabit the waters off Laguna Beach. From majestic blue whales in the summer and friendly gray whales in the winter, to playful humpback whales and huge fin whales throughout the year, just to name a few, Southern California waters host a smorgasbord of baleen (Mysticeti) and toothed (Odontoceti) whales.

Begin your wildlife adventure now!

The most unique dolphin and whale watching in the world, with two Underwater Viewing Pods and more! Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari provides daily, year round, whale watching trips aboard a high-tech, high-speed, Catamaran Sailboat that can get you up close and personal with magnificent blue whales (May through October), gray whales (December through April), fin whales, humpback whales, minke whales, killer whales, five species of wild dolphins that can number in herds of up to 10,000 and more for an educational and incredibly exciting dolphin and whale watching experience. 


About Laguna Beach Whale Watching Trips


• You can be one of the pod and feel what it’s like to swim with dolphins and whales without getting wet in our two Eye to Eye Underwater Viewing Pods aboard “Manute’a”.


• Southern California has the greatest density of dolphins per square mile than of anywhere on earth! Our whale watching trips are home to the Dolphin Stampede!


• Our high-tech catamarans “Manute’a” and “Lily” are never crowded with a maximum of 49 passengers. Our original catamaran “” carries a comfortable 20 passengers.


• We are a real eco-tourism company! Captain Dave’s whale watching and dolphin safaris go out on boats that do only dolphin and whale watching. No whale watching on a fishing boat!


• Our knowledgeable marine naturalists explain how these animals live for a fun and educational whale watching experience.


• See and touch our micro-museum collection of dolphin and whale watching artifacts.


• Listen below the surface too with our underwater hydrophone.


• Southern California has the largest concentration of blue whales of anywhere else in the world! Blue whales are the largest known animal to have ever lived.


• And Mrs. Capt. Dave’s yummy triple fudge brownies are served as a special treat on the ride back.






What Will I See on my Whale Watching and Dolphin Safari?


Blue Whale Watching off Laguna Beach is May through October.


The Blue whale is, and always has been, the largest animal ever to exist on earth. This whale can grow to a length of 33m (110ft) and weigh 200 tons, about a ton per foot, but on the average it is much smaller. The Blue whale is called a “rorqual” a Norwegian word for “furrow” and refers to the pleated grooves running from its chin to its navel. The throat grooves, in addition to streamlining the shape of the whale, allow the throat area to expand tremendously during feeding, and can hold 1,000 tons or more of food and water when fully expanded. By taking tons of water into its mouth and filtering out the fish or krill with its baleen plates a medium-sized Blue whale can eat over four tons of krill a day. Learn more about blue whales.


Gray Whale Watching off Laguna Beach is December through April.


Gray whales make one of the longest migrations of any mammal and are seen every winter off Orange County. The whales travel 10,000 to 12,000 miles from the Chukchi and Bering Seas near Alaska to the lagoons of Baja, California, where they mate and have their calves.


Dana Point whale watchers often see gray whales within a mile or two of the shoreline. Many believe they use Dana Point’s headlands as a landmark on their journey, making them a popular whale to watch. In early March, we celebrate the annual Dana Point Festival of Whales with ocean-themed events and activities that have an emphasis on education and environmental responsibility. Learn more about gray whales.


Throughout their migration gray whales face many challenges one of which takes the lives of nearly 1,000 whales and dolphins every day. Scientists estimate that 308,000 dolphins and whales die because of fishing gear entanglement every year worldwide. Captain Dave organized Orange County’s first whale disentanglement group in 2008 and has successfully disentangled several gray whales, including Lily, a horrifically entangled Gray Whale that made national headlines when she stranded herself inside of Dana Point Harbor. To help raise awareness Captain Dave authored the book, “Lily, A Gray Whale’s Odyssey“, a magnificent photographic journey of a gray whale’s migration based on her true story. In 2013 his book won eight awards, including the prestigious Benjamin Franklin award for Best New Voice from the Independent Book Publishers Association.


YEAR ROUND WHALES include Fin Whales, Minke Whales, Humpback Whales, and occasionally Killer Whales, Sperm whales, and False Killer Whales.


Fin whales are the second largest baleen whale, after the blue whale, with adults measuring 70 to 80 feet. The fin whale is a fast swimmer leading to the nickname “greyhound of the sea”. We see fin whales on our Laguna Beach whale watching trips January through December. At 26 to 30 feet in length, Minke whales are the smallest baleen whale seen on our dolphinn and whale watching trips. Minke whales have dark gray to black coloring on top with a tall, curved, dorsal fin. They are sometimes mistaken for a large dolphin! Minke whales are still hunted by some countries around the world including Japan, Iceland, and Norway. Minke whales are seen on our whale watching trips throughout the year. Humpback whales average 40 to 50 feet in length and are well known for putting on energetic shows with breaching, lobtailing, and fluking. We don’t see Humpback whales on our whale watching trips frequently so when we do at various times throughout the year it’s a special treat. Killer whales, also called Orcas, are a favorite whale to watch for both passengers and crew. Killer whales can be seen at any time though most frequently they appear in the winter months.


YEAR ROUND DOLPHINS include Short-beaked and Long-beaked Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Risso’s Dolphin, and Pacific White-sided Dolphin.


Southern California has the greatest density of dolphins per square mile than anywhere else on earth. Laguna Beach whale watching trips see several species of wild dolphins, sometimes in herds of up to 10,000. Common dolphin, Bottlenose dolphin, and Pacific White-sided dolphin love to bow ride with our boats. Our unique catamaran sailboats are specially designed for dolphin and whale watching. Our Eye to Eye Underwater Viewing Pods let you be underwater with dolphins without getting wet! And our Eye-Spy Dolphin Nets on the bow can get you so close you feel like you can almost reach down and touch the dolphins!



Whales, Dolphins, and MORE!


Laguna Beach Whale Watching - Mola Mola or Sunfish


Whales and dolphins are not the only wildlife our Whale Watching trips encounter. Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari also sees unique marine birds such as Pelicans, Cormorants and Terns, sea lions, and fish including Basking Sharks, Great White Sharks, Mako Sharks, Blue Sharks, and Mola Mola or Sunfish (like this huge one seen here from our Eye to Eye Underwater Viewing Pod).


About Dana Point, California


Dana Point Harbor, where our whale watching trips depart from, is romantic and historic. Located just south of Laguna Beach, only 40 miles south of Disneyland, and 60 miles north of San Diego, Dana Point offers breathtaking vistas, beautiful beaches and more wild dolphins than just about anywhere else in the United States.


Our dolphin and whale watching safaris are unique because the waters surrounding Dana Point have unusually deep underwater coastal canyons within one mile of shore, where small fish live. The kind of fish dolphins love to eat! That means that on most of our whale watching trips we don’t go much further than five miles to see magnificent dolphins and whales.


While you’re visiting Dana Point for whale watching, be sure to browse our unique shops and delicious restaurants. Below is just a small selection of the many dining and shopping choices. Most are within 10 to 15 minutes walking distance from our whale watching location.




What should I bring on my Laguna Beach whale watching trip?