Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Whale Watching Huntington Beach

Were you aware that Captain Dave’s Whale Watching is a TripAdvisor 5-star tour provider for whale watching in Huntington Beach, CA? If you’re visiting the area for a vacation with family, planning a day out with friends, or organizing a school field trip, Huntington Beach whale watching with Captain Dave’s will be a thrilling experience! All of our experiences depart from Dana Point Harbor in Dana Point, just 32 miles from Huntington Beach.

Captain Dave’s Offers Several Ocean Safari Options:

All of Captain Dave’s boats provide comfortable seating and fewer guests.

Crystal clear water in one of Southern California’s most famous beach communities isn’t the only thing you will find when visiting Huntington Beach, CA. Earning the name “Surf City” for its epic waves with over 10 miles of stunning coastline is filled with soft white sand beaches and famous surf. Professional and amateur photographers alike can’t help but soak in all of the beauty of the iconic Huntington Beach Pier. The U.S. Open of Surfing, located in Huntington Beach, CA, is also home to another main attraction. Whale watching! That is right, nestled close to Dana Point, CA, the Whale Watching Capital Of The World®, whale watching in Huntington Beach is as good as it gets.

Huntington Beach Whale Watching Tour

Whale watching in Huntington Beach, CA

If you’re eager to find a tour provider for dolphin and whale watching in Huntington Beach, California, Captain Dave’s 2 ½ hour tours are offered seven days a week on our high-speed catamaran. This is our most popular tour because the sailboat features Eye-to-Eye Underwater Viewing Pods that allow you to see all the ocean wildlife underwater!

Home to the largest animal in the world and nearly ½ million dolphins, Huntington Beach whale watching is one of the best ways to spend the day in Orange County. Whether on vacation or you live nearby, a day out on the water connecting with the open ocean creates the perfect environment to let all your worries drift away. Humpback whales, minke whales, fin whales, and sei whales visit us all year long. The abundance of food from nutrient-dense waters packs our waters with the world’s gentle giants, making whale watching in Huntington Beach a “must try” activity. Our five-star dolphin and whale watching safari’s are only a short drive from downtown Huntington Beach.

Zodiac-Style Dolphin & Whale Watching


Huntington Beach whale watching tour
When you book a tour on our Zodiac-style boat, you’ll be amazed at how close you are to the whales and dolphins! If you’ve previously avoided open ocean tours because of seasickness worries, the well-cushioned seats and low profile of this boat will keep you feeling comfortable.

Huntington Beach whale watching is fun, and you may just find yourself amongst animals that only 1% of the world’s population has ever had the chance to see! Each summer, the largest animal to have ever roamed Earth makes its way into South Orange Country, gracing us with its presence. Balaenoptera musculus, commonly known as the blue whale, know that our waters are home to the abundance of their favorite food group called krill. These tiny shrimplike planktonic crustaceans live in the open seas but are abundant in Dana Point.

Huntington Beach whale watching also means that you could be a spectator of a rare climate event! A phenomenon known as upwelling occurs when coastal offshore winds churn up the water, pulling colder, dark, and nutrient-dense water up from deep ocean trenches at the base of vast undersea mountains. This process creates the perfect condition for phytoplankton (microscopic ocean plants suspended in the upper water column where light is sufficient to allow for growth) living in the upper water column to bloom. Huntington Beach whale watching creates the perfect opportunity to see this phenomenon. Whale watching in Huntington Beach when the water’s nutrients are rich and the phytoplankton blooms create the foundation for all life in the ocean. Krill rises from within the middle water column to feed on the phytoplankton in the upper water column in the newly oxygenated surface water. Once full, the krill lay their eggs in deeper water. When these circumstances are aligned, the great rorqual (or baleen) whales are triggered to come and enjoy the bountiful feast.

Private Whale Watching at Huntington Beach (Captain Provided)

Dolphin and whale watching in Huntington Beach

At Captain Dave’s, you can easily book private excursions for whale watching in Huntington Beach. Choose from motor yachts, Zodiac-style boats, a catamaran with an underwater viewing window, and more!

Huntington Beach whale watching aboard any one of our safe and unique ocean safari tours means you may have the opportunity to see whales and dolphins of various species. Sometimes the conditions are just right, and we observe multiple whale species on each trip! Humpback whales indeed migrate, but unlike many other places in the world, the waters off Dana Point are so rich and full of food that we see these whales all year long.

Humpbacks and fin whales, Bryde’s whales, sei whales, and minke whales take in seawater full of krill and tiny fish. When the krill are in abundance, the fish are too. Watching whales feed on a Huntington Beach whale-watching tour is a unique and memorable experience. These whales use their baleen like a sieve, trapping the krill and fish inside. Dolphins are considered toothed whales, and just like their gentle giant ocean friends, they also love a fish food feast. The sounds of thousands of common dolphins, hundreds of bottlenose, or Risso’s dolphins, are an invitation to the surrounding whales to sound the “dinner bell” and begin the feast.

Huntington Beach whale watching is the perfect opportunity to see multiple mammal species together in one place. Often seen together feeding, fin whales and common dolphins set the stage for incredible whale watching in Huntington Beach. This activity will amaze your mind with how many species you can see in one day! Fin whales, which can gulp up 3,000 herring in a single gulp, frequently share the water with common dolphins and humpback whales! When feasts like this take place, the rich rewards of the fertile ocean aren’t just for the whales.

Seeing the wildlife from above is a tried and true tell-tail sign of potential whales lurking underneath. That is right! Sea birds play a huge role in assisting whale-watching enthusiasts worldwide. Many species hunt for the same food source in the ocean. So, when it comes to thinking about how to spot whales while whale watching in Huntington Beach, one of the best things you can do is look up at the birds. Diving California brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus), circling arctic terns (Sterna paradisiacal), coupled with sooty shearwaters (Ardenna grisea), Brandt’s cormorants (Phalacrocorax penicillatus), and Pacific gulls (Larus pacificus) love a good fish feed too. They know dolphins have the inside knowledge of where to find the most fish. Using echolocation, toothed whales can seek out their fishy food of choice from miles away, and birds have learned that if they follow the dolphins, they can all share in the feast!

Things to Do While Watching Watching in Huntington Beach

The Huntington Beach Pier maintains the role of owning the centerpiece beach attraction and local landmark of the city. Extending 1,800 feet into the ocean, it’s one of the best places to view some of the incredible sea birds who call Orange County “home.” Grab some food at a favorite local eatery nearby before or after your Huntington Beach whale watching Safari at Capt. Dave’s! Gray whales make their way to and from the frigid, icy waters of Alaska before heading to Mexico to mate and breed. Along their journey, they hug the coastline, and the Pier is commonplace to see gray whales swim nearby. Catch a sunset, and you never know; you may catch a glimpse of a whale passing by!

Choosing the perfect place to grab good eats before or after whale watching in Huntington Beach is another reason to hang out after a whale watching trip in Huntington Beach. If you are looking for a few local favorites, check out our list below for something your whole family will enjoy after all of your senses are delighted when whale watching in Huntington Beach.

Huntington Beach’s main street has many dining options and is located just across from beach parking. From fine foods to eclectic tastes or just grabbing a cup of frozen yogurt or a hot coffee, you will find something yummy to suit anyone’s palette before or after your whale watching in Huntington Beach safari with Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari tours. If you plan to stay in the area or have an early Huntington Beach whale watching safari and are looking for a place to stay overnight, the main street also has you covered (literally). Prime oceanfront locations at the Waterfront Hotel, the Hyatt, and the Kimpton Shorebreak Hotel boast breathtaking views and fabulous food options for even your pickiest eaters for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Luxurious Hotel Huntington Beach and Springhill Suites by Mariott, located just off the main strip and minutes from downtown, are excellent options and have more space with their suite-style accommodations. If you’re looking for something a little lighter on the budget, check out Best Western Surf City and Quality Inn and Suites.

Huntington Beach Dining Suggestions

317 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 374-6446

Start or end your day with Duke’s on the beach. Originally from the tropical beaches of Hawaii, Duke’s serves up the beautiful ambiance and delectable seafood that pairs well with specialty cocktails from their iconic barefoot bar. The lovely sounds of the ukulele paint the perfect backdrop of the endless waterfront views and salty open-air seating.

Pacific Hideaway
500 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 965-4448

Just off the main street’s hustle and bustle, you’ll find breakfast, lunch, and dinner waiting for you at the Pacific Hideaway on 5th street. With a revamped menu from Executive Chef Gilbert, you’ll find an assortment of colorful, modern menus inspired by Pacific flavors of Southeast Asia and Latin America while overseeing daily operations at this popular coastal restaurant located inside Kimpton Shorebreak Resort. Their relaxed beach bungalow vibe also offers up validated parking, and if you are traveling, you can book a room and stay the night before heading off to your next adventure! Whale watching in Huntington Beach has never been easier when you know where your next stop is, either before or after your trip!

Paséa Hotel & Spa
21080 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(855) 622-2472

Did someone say “brunch?” Huntington Beach is known for brunching, and hotels like the Paséa Hotel & Spa are local hot spots. Winning the Diners’ Choice Awards from Opentable 2022 and Best Waterfront Restaurants in Orange County from Locale in 2021 they not only have incredible wood-grilled brioche french toast, sausage, bacon, egg, and potato breakfast burrito enchiladas, but they also offer salty air in your hair, floor-to-ceiling views of the Pacific. Their fresh, contemporary coastal cuisine, inspired by Southern California’s farms and coastal waters, is served all day from 8:00 AM – 10:00 PM on weekdays and is open late until 11:00 PM on Friday and Saturday. Weekend brunch is popular, so you’ll find this new neighborhood favorite available on both Saturday & Sunday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Sugar Shack Cafe
213 1/2 Main Street
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 536-0355

Whale watching in Huntington Beach would not be complete without stopping at an iconic eatery. Open for breakfast and lunch and still standing in its original location on 213 Main Street since its inception in 1967, this family-owned and dog-friendly establishment tells a story and serves up a delicious meal. Decorated from wall to wall with a historical photographic journey of the surrounding area and family history, this local highlight is a great spot to grab some delicious eats with a unique lunch item every day on the menu. Some may say that this spot possibly has the best burgers in Huntington Beach! Find yourself in Huntington Beach on a Wednesday? You are lucky because The Sugar Shack makes an exception and stays open for dinner, serving its special “Turkey and all the Fixin’s.” This is the spot to be, and the best part is that it’s the biggest bargain on Main Street! So bring your furry friend after a swim at nearby Dog Beach and order something your entire family will enjoy!

Old Crow Smokehouse
21022 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(714) 536-0381

Our next eatery is where the country rules and barbecue keeps coming on the Pacific Coast Highway! Bring your whole family, and friends, and get ready to meet someone new at this communal dining experience. Old Crow serves the best barbeque styles from the Carolinas, Memphis, Kansas City, and Texas. Open LATE on the weekends, Old Crow provides live country music every weekend, so if you are looking for some weekend fun with friends and family after whale watching in Huntington Beach, this is the place for you!

Why Pick Captain Dave’s for Whale Watching in Huntington Beach, CA?

Dana Point is the Dolphin and Whale Watching Capital of the World®, and when you book a tour with Captain Dave’s sightings are guaranteed! Contact us for an ocean safari adventure you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Huntington Beach whale watching is so much more than just an excursion. It is an experience to connect with the earth in its purest form. And, for choosing to ride with us, we have an extra special sweet treat for you too! Mrs. Capt. Dave’s family’s triple chocolate fudge brownie recipe is just as five-star as our safaris. A sweet treat is a perfect way to end a trip and our way to thank you for joining us on a Huntington Beach whale watching trip!

Seeing marine animals in the wild is incredible and having the chance to be up-close and personal with them in the deep blue sea is unforgettable. In Huntington Beach, whale watching is something you won’t want to miss, so book your trip with Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari today!