Dates: Public safaris and private charters are available 7 days a week. Click on calendar date for live availability and departure times.
Capacity: For safe social distancing we have reduced guest capacity on all cruises.
Cetacean Declaration: No dolphins or whales sighted on your public safari? Join us again for free within one year.
- Safe, clean, uncrowded, and 100% outdoors from start to finish. Learn more about our health and safety measures.
- Eco-friendly. Dana Point is a certified Whale Heritage Site.
- Exclusive eye-to-eye underwater view pods on Manute’a.
- Dana Point’s only zodiac-style (rigid inflatable boat) whale watching tour.
The Dana Point Festival of Whales takes place annually during the first two weekends in March. In 2021, the 50th annual Dana Point Festival of Whales will be temporarily reduced to one weekend on March 6 and 7.
- From :
- $ 65
Dolphin & Whale Watching During the Dana Point Festival of Whales
Experience up-close wild dolphins, migrating gray whales, playful humpback whales, huge fin whales, silly sea lions, and so much more! Mere minutes from the harbor, the waters off Dana Point are teeming with all kinds of marine wildlife for you to enjoy.
Bring the kids, family, and friends for a chance to connect with dolphins and whales underwater in our exclusive Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods on our catamaran sailboat Manute’a. Or, get within arm’s reach of the animals on our fast and adventurous zodiac whale watching safari.
Dana Point Festival of Whales – Dolphin & Whale Watching Super-Safe Signature Safari
- Duration: 2.5 hours
- Ages: all ages welcome
- Prices: $65 per adult (13 & older), $45 per child (1 – 12), $5 per infant
- Manute’a Features: Large, stable sailboat catamaran. Never crowded, with reduced guest capacity for social distancing. Two eye-to-eye underwater viewing pods, eye-spy dolphin and whale tram nets, micro-museum of artifacts, live narration, Mrs. Capt. Dave’s triple fudge brownies. Perfect for all ages.
You’ve never experienced anything like this. Our exclusive underwater glass viewing pods put you face to face with some of the largest creatures on earth! Book your seat today!
- 2 ½ Hours Duration 2 ½ Hours
- All Ages Ages All Ages
- Manute'a Boat Manute'a
- Underwater Viewing Pods Underwater Viewing Pods Underwater Viewing Pods
Dana Point Festival of Whales – Zodiac Dolphin & Whale Watching Super-Safe Safari
- Duration: 2 hours
- Ages: 8 or older
- Prices: $65 per person (all ages)
- Zodiac Safari Features: Fast, fun, and bouncy ride. Intimate tour with reduced guest capacity for social distancing. Extremely close to the water; GoPro friendly. Heavily padded seats, large sunshade, wide bow area, live narration, Mrs. Capt. Dave’s triple fudge brownies served. Perfect for adventurous types.
Get within arm’s reach of wildlife on our speedy and fun dolphin & whale watching zodiac-style boats. VERY low to the water & GoPro friendly. Our fastest vessels!
- 2 Hours Duration 2 Hours
- Ages 6 & up Ages Ages 6 & up
- Fast Cat, Boat Fast Cat AllsWell Boat AllsWell
Dana Point Festival of Whales – Private Charters
- Duration: 2 to 2.5 hours, although extended charter times are available
- Ages: all ages
- Prices: from $350. Prices vary depending on number of passengers and the boat you choose
- Private Charter Features: The ultimate whale watching experience on a safe and spacious boat all to yourselves! Only your group and the vessel’s crew will be on board.
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!
- All Ages Ages All Ages
- Choice of Boat Boat Choice of Boat
- Private Charter Category Private Charter
About the Dana Point Festival of Whales
The Dana Point Festival of Whales began 50 years ago as an annual community event in the coastal town of Dana Point, located in picturesque Orange County, California. During the two-weekend whale watching festival held each March, residents and visitors celebrate migrating gray whales and other marine wildlife with ocean-themed activities and presentations emphasizing education and environmental responsibility.
A wide variety of family-friendly activities will take place and the premier event is, of course, whale watching! With an abundance of year-round whales, dolphins, and other sea life, Dana Point is the Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World®.
Dana Point, California, is also an official Whale Heritage Site. A Whale Heritage Site is an outstanding location where cetaceans (whales, dolphins, or porpoises) are embraced through the cultural, economic, social, and political lives of associated communities, and where people and cetaceans coexist in an authentic and respectful way.
In addition to whale watching, Capt. Dave’s is hosting a Whale-World Changers Virtual Interview Series.
Join Gisele (Mrs. Capt. Dave), for a series of live discussions on our YouTube channel with renowned guests who have made changes in the lives of whales by their service and sacrifices.
It’s free to watch and participate in the chat with no registration required.
How to watch: subscribe to our YouTube channel (and be sure to hit the little bell icon) to be notified when the interviews are live.
Meet the Whale-World Changers
Louie Psihoyos is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker and Executive Director of the Oceanic Preservation Society (OPS). He is recognized as one of the top still photographers in the world, having created iconic images for National Geographic for 18 years, and hundreds of covers for other magazines.
Psihoyos’ first documentary film, The Cove, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film of 2009 and over 75 other awards around the world. His second film, Racing Extinction, was nominated for an Emmy (Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking) and an Academy-Award (Best Song), and sparked the #StartWith1Thing movement. Psihoyos more recently finished directing The Game Changers, executive produced by James Cameron.
Dylan Walker is CEO of the World Cetacean Alliance, Ben Williamson is Executive Director of World Animal Protection, and Donna Kalez is Co-President of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching and Co-Director of the Dana Point Whale Watching Company.
In January 2021, two competing Dana Point whale watching businesses collaborated to become the first Whale Heritage Site in the US.
They will be discussing the launch of the new whale heritage site and its importance to wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism.
Captain Dave will be joining us to talk about his work with disentangling whales, his whale tracker invention, and his efforts to stop whale entanglements from happening.
Ric O’Barry is Founder/Director of Dolphin Project. He has worked on both sides of the captive dolphin issue, for the first 10 years, within the dolphin captivity industry, and for the past 48, against it.
O’Barry has been recognized by many national and international entities for his dedicated efforts, such as being voted Huffington Post’s 2010 Most Influential Green Game Changer, and being listed on O Magazine’s 2010 Power List – “Men We Admire for his “Power of Passion.” He received an Environmental Achievement Award, presented by the United States Committee for the United Nations Environmental Program.
Dolphin Project is the longest-running, anti-captivity dolphin welfare organization in the world. Their mission remains the same as it did in 1970: Let’s protect dolphins together!