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Top Ten Surprising Things About Whale Watching in Dana Point

Humpback whale jumping out of the water in front of Dana Point, California

On your upcoming Dana Point whale watching excursion, surprised faces are what you’ll see when more than 66,000 massive tons of pure power lunge out of the water. Our passengers have an up-close and personal look at a whale as it gracefully soars through the air.

Booking a trip on a Dana Point whale watching excursion with Capt. Dave’s Whale Watching and Dolphin Safari is an experience that may forever change your life.

The start of 2023 brought even more excitement to Capt. Dave’s Whale Watching and Dolphin Safari as multiple trips that went out were able to witness a baby gray whale being born just off the Dana Point Headlands. Whether your Dana Point whale watching excursion takes a private whale watching cruise or a public whale watching adventure, you are bound to have an incredible day out to sea.

Whale watching in Dana Point, California, is available all year but certain seasons bring about different visitors.

1. You get to see WHALES!

As with so many things in life, the most simple truths are the most important. Seeing whales is one of those moments that forever changes your life. They are magnificent in all shapes, species and sizes!

2. Whale watching happens all year long in Dana Point

That is right, moderate weather allows our visitors to whale watch all year long and no matter the day or month you choose to book your Dana Point whale watching excursion with us, the best time to whale watch in Southern California is ANY day that works for your schedule. Unlike most other whale watching locations in the world, California Is one of the sunniest states in the United States with more than 275 days of pure sunshine every year, making trips out on the water comfortable and enjoyable.

3. You could see more than whales and dolphins off the coast of Dana Point

A myriad of marine animal sightings can be seen on a trip that may surprise most passengers! From a breaching baleen whale to catching a glimpse of thousands of dolphins, and even possibly a swordfish, shark, or turtle during your Dana Point whale watching excursion, any day is a day that something could be seen for the very first time – EVER!

4. Dana Point has more whale and dolphin species at our Harbor entrance than any other place on Earth

Blue whales, fin whales, humpback whales, Bryde’s whales, sei whales, and minke whales plus dolphin species such as common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, and Pacific white-sided dolphins are all possible sightings when out on a whale watching adventure. If you’re passionate about checking off sighting marine mammals, then Dana Point, CA is the best city to book your Dana Point whale watching excursion.

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5. The largest animal on earth is right here in Dana Point,

The summer months are the perfect opportunity to see the largest animal to ever live on Earth. Blue whales begin to enter our waters as early as May and are commonly seen all summer long, through the end of September or sometimes October. A Dana Point whale watching excursion is that much better when you gain bragging rights of seeing an animal that only 1% of the world will ever see.

6. New friendly marine life migrates through Dana Point, CA during winter

As the leaves begin to fall and summer becomes winter, the start of winter whale season begins. Both gray whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins grace our waters as the days grow shorter. While we may be hunkering down for winter these animals are taking part in their migrations and lucky for us, stop by to say hello for a few months while they cruise by.

7. You could see whales underwater

Do you want your Dana Point whale watching excursion to have something a little “extra?” When you book a trip aboard our state-of-the-art catamaran, Manute’a, finding interesting sights under the sea inside our two underwater viewing pods onboard is a sinch! You’ll see first-hand what it looks and feels like to be “one with the pod” and swim with dolphins under the water, without ever getting wet! This is an extraordinary experience that you and your guests will remember for a lifetime.

8. In the whale watching capital of the world, sea lions and elephant seals are seen all year long

Sea lions, or pinnipeds, are abundant and visible both on land and out to sea during most Dana Point whale watching excursions. Pinnipeds are marine mammals that possess both front and rear flippers. They eat many of the same small schooling bait fish toothed whales find in abundance off the coast in Dana Point. It is not uncommon to see sea lions with common dolphins and other species of toothed whales. Sometimes we see huge elephant seals relaxing at the surface!

9. Whale watching means dolphin watching too!

Dana Point water-based residents known as Risso’s dolphins, common dolphins, and Pacific white-sided dolphins are part of a group of toothed whales called Mysticetes and are considered toothed whales. So, when you are seeing smaller dolphins or toothed whales known as odontocetes, you are watching whales too! Some passengers aboard our Dana Point whale watching excursions have been surrounded by a few thousand of these amazing animals during a trip. ‘Dolphinately’ a site to see and one you’ll never forget once you do.

10. You could see a baby whale

The winter months are an exciting time for whale watching enthusiasts when gray whales pass right by the Dana Point Headlands as they travel down to warmer Mexican waters to birth their young and escape frozen northern winters. Having the longest migration of any animal on earth sometimes means that your plans need to be more like an outline. Dana Point whale watching excursions also provide an opportunity to see juvenile whales who arrive earlier than expected. Mothers will need to stop along the route along the coast to find protective refuge while they give birth to their young before arriving in protected Mexican lagoons. When we see two whales of varying sizes traveling together, it often means we are seeing what we call a cow and calf pair or mother and child traveling together. Seeing two whales means a growing population and for an animal that is on the endangered species list, this is always an incredible sight for our passengers and crews alike to see on Dana Point whale watching excursions.

So what are you waiting for? Book your trip today and start daydreaming about the amazing journey you are about to take with Capt. Dave’s, Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari.

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Until then,

Jess Wright
First Mate and Marine Naturalist
Capt. Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari

Gift an unforgettable dolphin and whale watching experience! With year-round whales, dolphins, sea lions, sharks, and more, any time is a great time for your recipient to enjoy their gift.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods…” – Dr. Thomas Gilovich