Winter is a great time for dolphin and whale watching! Dana Point is the World’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital® and is blessed to have moderate weather all year long, and this includes mild winter weather and ocean conditions.
Great Grays: During the winter and spring months, the animal that started the whale watching industry in Dana Point can be seen migrating along the coast. Now through May, thousands of gray whales are migrating past Orange County and locals know Dana Point to be one of the best places to view the migration. Gray whales often travel within a mile or two of the coast and are believed to use Dana Point’s headlands as a landmark on their route.
Dana Point has a few year-round baleen whale species including playful humpback whales, large and friendly fin whales, and curious minke whales, too. These majestic creatures can be seen on our Dana Point whale watching tours anytime from January through December. All three species are known to be curious about boats, and will sometimes come over and check you out! That’s called whale mugging.
You also have the possibility of seeing orcas (killer whales) throughout the year while on a whale watching tour in Dana Point. They can appear at any time, without warning, so have your camera ready! Or you might have a rare encounter with pilot whales, false killer whales, or even sperm whales. Other special sightings could include basking sharks, the second-largest shark in the world, and huge elephant seals.
Hold on to your safari hats because we’re not done yet! Several species of wild dolphins are seen throughout the year while whale watching in Orange County —some in pods that can number up to 10,000. Imagine nothing but dolphins in every direction as far as the eye can see! It’s during these cooler months that we see one of our favorite dolphins, the beautiful black and white pacific white-sided dolphin. And that’s not all. Over 50 species of pelagic birds, sea lions, seals, and sharks, including the great white, mako, hammerhead, thresher, and more could be encountered.