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Captain Dave's Dana Point Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari

“…the best whale watching in the world…!” – CBS Los Angeles

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  • Safe & Private

Booking a super-safe private boat charter gives you all the beauty Dana Point has to offer, and with exclusivity of a private event. All boat rentals come with Captain & crew. Explore suggested private charter itineraries or make your own!

  • Instant Special Discount
  • Intimate

Reserve online your luxury boating experience by booking ORCA for your private yacht charter. Gorgeous, comfortable, and the ideal way to spend time with friends, family, or colleagues. Up to 6 guests + our Captain.

  • Instant Special Discount
  • High speed

Book online a zodiac (rigid inflatable boat) private charter w/Capt. for up to 24 guests on Fast Cat or AllsWell. A super safe, fast, & fun whale watching experience. Get within arm’s reach of wildlife!

  • Limited Edition Cruise

Exclusive & intimate 3.5-hour cruise for up to 6 guests that primarily focuses on getting you up-close with the magnificent year-round whales off Dana Point, the World’s Whale Capital® and the first Whale Heritage Site in the Americas.

We’ll help you arrange the perfect charter to disperse ashes at sea off the beautiful coast of Orange County in peace and comfort, for a meaningful and dignified final farewell.

More Fun from Captain Dave

Dana Point's highest rated whale watching adventure on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google.

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Amazing day with an amazing crew!

Every single person working on our boat was amazing and engaging with everyone. The COVID precautions that are taken are wonderful and still allow you to have a fantastic time. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience.. and seeing 6 humpback whales was definitely the cherry on top of a perfect day cake.

– Knzknz0204, TripAdvisor
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Great service. They had reduced capacity for COVID and everyone there had a mask. We saw a gray whale and a ton of common dolphins. The dolphins were great

– Gerrit D., Yelp
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Very safe! Everyone is wearing a mask and using lots of disinfectant spray and minding social distance. This was my fifth trip with Captain Dave's and as usual it never disappoints. Fantastic time. Took my granddaughter this time and we went down into the pod for some underwater viewing of the Dolphins. Saw many dolphins and quite a few babies. Saw the famous patches dolphin too. This is the only dolphin or whale watch company I would ever go out with. Always a terrific time.

– Shelley W., Yelp
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This dolphin watch tour did not disappoint, I haven't seen my team members in over 4 months and wanted to organized something special and safe during Covid. The staff sanitized the boat and followed all the safety precautions which gave us a peace of mind. And of course the beautiful pods of dolphins was an unbelievable sight. I highly recommend this tour! Thanks for everything!

– Ennie L., Yelp
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Spectacular Adventure

It was worth the time. The Captain and his crew are wonderful, knowledgeable and I felt safe(all around COVID-19 included) it was definitely a safari, I learned a lot about the different types of dolphin. We met up with several view of dolphins. But the adventure was in finding the Bryde's Whale and her calf. It was all so worth the speedy ride with few bumps and splash-

– sistasister_2000, TripAdvisor
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Very safe with masks, distance and hand sanitizing. Very informative crew with lots of great info about wild life. We were lucky and saw hundreds of dolphins. Highly recommend!!

– Kim S., Yelp
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Took the family of four on Captain Dave's Dolphin Safari and had a blast! During covid, it's hard to find things that are fun, accessible, and safe! Captain Dave's was that. All tours are at half capacity, thus making it easy to maintain six feet apart. We did the 2 1/2 hour tour with our 6 & 8 year olds, they had a really good time! It was an early birthday present for my oldest, and the crew wished him a happy birthday. There's something about being on the ocean with your family, just felt like an adventure.

– Mike H., Yelp
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Absolutely perfect morning on the water with Cap't Tom, Buck and Stacy. We saw countless common dolphins and 2 Humpbacks!!! The whales were familiar to the crew and had the names "Twitch" and "Flicka". The boat was clean and safe too, safety was paramount to this crew. We even got to see the common dolphins from the "underwater" viewing area. You can't go wrong choosing this AWESOME Adventure!

– Philip R., Yelp
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Great trip and value!

Had a great time and we saw bottlenose and common dolphins! Loved that the time was longer than other than other boat rides. Felt safe with the Covid precautions the company took. Great job Captain Steve and crew!

– Tiffany R., TripAdvisor
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We were surrounded by hundreds of dolphins and we were lucky to spot Patches, it was an amazing experience. The crew were welcoming, professional and informative. There was plenty of room on our boat for everyone to feel safe. Definitely coming back.

– Renee R., Yelp
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Had a blast.... so fun so much to see very informative... every thing was so clean and safe staff was amazing, friendly and engaging just an overall good feeling.... definitely will be doing this tour again thanks Captain Dave

– Lourdes C., Yelp
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In spite of Covid we had a really really nice time! The boat ride was smooth and exciting with A fun crew and happy guest. I would do it again I just wish it cost a little less. Just a smidge :)

– Danielle D., Yelp
Beautiful Orange County coastline as seen from a boat
Amazing trip!! Worth every penny!!!

"Really fun, would highly recommend, even if traveling with teenagers. Underwater viewing-pod was awesome, where dolphins were very interactive. Boat was very comfortable and never felt sea-sick. Crew was excellent, they are very knowledgeable, and answered all questions."

– Joerod01, TripAdvisor
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What an amazing morning with the whales

"Capt Dave delivered. We spent about an hour and a half with two Blue Whales. I have travelled the world looking for these rare creatures and they were a 15 minute boat ride off the Californian Coast. Capt was very knowledgeable and gave us good viewing without interfering with the whales. Absolutely amazing tour. Oh, there were dolphins as well."

– NeilK_13, TripAdvisor
Visiting from the UK
Fourth time back from the U.K.!

I have recommend this trip to all my friends coming to Southern California from the U.K. and EU. It’s just awesome...we had hundreds of dolphins which was incredible. The boat is great and you can move around so easily and get great views of the wildlife especially in the underwater pods. I will be back for another trip I am sure in the future. Well done guys you never disappoint!"

– Mark C., TripAdvisor
Great Boat Trip

"The tour said that we would see dolphins and we saw plenty! Our trip was on one of the catamarans with the viewing windows which allow underwater viewings. Amazing close-up views of schools of these beautiful animals. Crew was friendly and helpful. Wear sunscreen!"

– Jeff M., TripAdvisor
Humpback whale jumps out of the water near Dana Point, California
An Awesome Adventure

"My family and I were touring California on a road trip. We wanted to book a boat trip at some point in our holiday and read about Captain Dave's tours and were impressed by the reviews. I'm so glad we did this tour as it was one of the best experiences we have ever had."

– Neil P., TripAdvisor
Marine Mammals coming to the surface!
Whales and More!!

"I was so pleased by the whole experience. It was great!!! Not only did we see whales, but we saw a dolphin baby pod of some 400 dolphin...The under water viewing was so cool!!! Our trip lasted longer than advertised after group permission was granted (just in case someone needed to get back on time but no one did!)."

– Ben C., TripAdvisor
whale and dolphin watching in Dana Point

"My husband and I went on the 2.5 whale watching trip, and it was absolutely amazing! We saw 3 blue whales, sea lions, dolphins. It’s an experience we will never forget, and we will return and bring our children too. I highly recommend. Staff was amazing."

– Amy O., TripAdvisor
Group of dolphins swimming
Great Morning of Dolphin Watching

"Our first trip with Captain Dave's was fantastic. The captain and crew were informative and welcoming. We felt safe and comfortable and, most importantly, saw hundreds of dolphins and a few sea lions. Luckily we went on a day when the boat was only about half-full but I think it would have been enjoyable even on a full boat. We look forward to going back in the future."

– ncinaz, TripAdvisor

Dana Point is the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World!®

Dolphin and whale watching capital of the world logo

Whale, Hello There!

Highest Rated Whale Watch

Consistently awarded for Best Customer Service, our dolphin and whale watching tours in Dana Point are the highest rated on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google.

Underwater Viewing Pods

Experience an eye-to-eye underwater adventure with dolphins and whales in our exclusive underwater viewing pods. The perfect view for Dana Point whale watching!

Truly Eco-Friendly

As a dedicated eco-friendly whale watching tour group in Southern California, we are dedicated to providing only sustainable wildlife viewing. We believe in being good stewards of the ocean. That means using the best sustainable technology available and not watching whales from a fishing boat.

More Blue Whales

There’s a reason whale watching is popular in Southern California! We have the largest concentration of blue whales in the world.

More Dolphins

Dana Point features more than just whale watching — We have more dolphins per square mile than anywhere else!

More Variety

60+ species of whales, dolphins, sharks, sea lions, birds, and more are seen year-round.

Never Crowded

Our customized catamarans carry up to 49 passengers and offer ample elbow room. Some of our vessels carry as few as six guests for a more intimate whale watching experience.

Whale Rescue

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


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

Embark on the Journey of a Lifetime With Whale Watching Adventures in Dana Point

Have you ever dreamed of getting up close and personal with a blue whale or being eye-to-eye with a dolphin? Now you can make your dreams a reality with Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari in Dana Point! One of the highest-rated whale watching companies in Southern California, we offer year-round boat tours and educational whale watching field trips for an ocean adventure you’ll never forget.

Three dolphins swimming at the surface of the blue ocean

Join us for an exciting Dolphin & Whale Watching Tour aboard Manute’a, our high-speed catamaran sailboat, or get your adrenaline pumping with a cruise in the Fast Cat on our Zodiac Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari. Whether you’ll be joining us for a public tour or private boat charter, you can always expect exceptional, personalized service. You’ll even be treated to one of Mrs. Captain Dave’s famous brownies as our way of saying, “thanks.” It’s the special touches that make us one of the best whale watching tours in Southern California, and it’s what keeps our customers come back again-and-again!

See What Sets Us Apart By Booking Your High-Seas Adventure Today!

The Largest Variety of Marine Mammals

Not only does Dana Point have the highest number of dolphins per square mile than anywhere else in the world, but it is also the home of a variety of large whales, including:

On your Dana Point whale watching tour, you’ll want to keep your eyes open and your camera ready because we regularly see a wide range of other marine animals, too! This includes seals, sea lions, sharks, sea turtles, local marine birds, jellyfish, and much, much more!

While we do see dolphins and whales on more than 95% of our tours, our large marine friends occasionally decide to take the day off. Don’t worry if this happens! We will provide you with another tour within the year—totally free of charge!

Fun for the Whole Family

If you’ve got kids, teens, or even babies, you can go ahead and bring them on-board with you for your whale watching tour in Dana Point. Most of our large catamarans are suitable for children of all ages and offer an experience that your little ones are unlikely to forget.

Complement their wildlife experience with a visit to our on-board micro-museum! They will have the chance to see dolphin and whale artifacts, and you can accompany them to our exclusive underwater viewing pods where they can “swim with the dolphins” — All without getting wet!

Instill an even deeper love and appreciation for ocean creatures by joining us for the annual Dana Point Festival of Whales or discover our other whale watching tours in Southern California like our wildlife-intensive Whale Geek Safari or luxury private yacht Orca charter tour! No matter which one you choose, we promise you’ll have a whale of a time!

A catamaran sailboat in the ocean with a pod of dolphins swimming.
A close up of a dolphin in the ocean.
A group of people on a boat watching a whale at the surface of the ocean

Join us for the Highest-Rated Whale-Watching Adventure Today!

Boasting the highest ratings on TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Google, whale watching in Southern California doesn’t get any better than Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari in Dana Point — the dolphin and Whale Watching Capital® of the world! Contact us for more information and book your unforgettable adventure today!