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Whale Watching in December

Gray whales approach people on whale watching boat

Winter whale watching in December means more than dazzling holiday lights and festive fun around Dana Point Harbor. Here are our top reasons why whale watching in December will make you want to book your whale watching adventure right now. December means the opportunity to capture a glimpse of the most well-known large baleen whales, see thousands of dolphins plus other marine life up close and personal while creating a family fun experience during the holidays! Keep reading to find out more.

You could see gray whales!

This has to earn the top spot on our highlight reel when it comes to whale watching in December. Eschrichtius robustus, or commonly called gray whales, are magnificent beauties who spend summers feeding in the frigid Arctic waters, filling up on amphipods dwelling within the muddy subsurface just below the ocean floor. When the icy cold winter months arrive and ice starts to form on the water, it’s time for these gentle giants to make their way to warmer waters. Over 20,000 gray whales will make this long migration each year, embarking on a journey lasting as far as 6,000 miles each way. This is known as one of the longest of any other whale species on earth. By late November, we are delighted to see the onset of these stunning gray whales gracing our presence along their path as they head to the protected lagoons of Baja California, Mexico. Pregnant mothers (as young as eight to nine years old when they reach sexual maturity) are always the first to arrive as the lagoons of Mexico offer protected waters for their newborn calves from predators like orcas and other predators. These little ones are anything but tiny. Newborn baby gray whales are born reaching boasting lengths of 15 feet and can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds! By the time they reach adulthood, they will grow to be just like mom, reaching as large as 50 feet in length and weighing nearly 40 tons by adulthood. When they pass by our boats while we are whale watching in December, it is a spectacular sight to see. This moment is one that will leave a lasting imprint on your heart and mind as your connection to these animals grows deeper with each passing exhale of their breath at the water’s surface. When whale watching in winter months turns to spring, gray whale sightings continue as cows and calves are paired up ready to head home during the back half of their long and arduous journey together back to their abundant feeding grounds up to the icy arctic north. Whale watching in December becomes whale watching in February through May making Dana Point, California one of the very best places to see whales all year long.

See thousands of dolphins!

Gray whales are not the only thing making a splash during this wintery season. Whale watching in December also means the chance to view hundreds to thousands of dolphins! Home to 450,000 common dolphins, hundreds of bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s, pacific white-sided dolphins, and more, these friendly toothed acrobats are sighted by our passengers all year long! Dolphins are a delight to witness in their free and natural, wild environment. Some species of dolphin can swim nearly 45 mph as they whizz past the boat changing direction at any given time. When they propel their five to thirteen-foot bodies out of the water (depending on the species), you will not believe your eyes. Playful and highly social and oftentimes traveling with the masses, whale watching in December hopefully includes an interaction where you can see these gorgeous animals doing what they love to do best. Whether it’s feeding on schools of herring, mackerel, or anchovy, or riding the pressure of our bow or playing in the wake of our stern, dolphins have a fabulous way of making everyone’s day more magical and surely, memorable so whale watching in winter is an absolute MUST DO!

Experience marine life in the Whale Watching Capital of the World®!

Do you like visiting historic locations and the best of the best when it comes to your activities? As the Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World® and the first Whale Heritage Site in the Americas, you are bound to have a memorable trip with unlimited sightings of various species of whales and dolphins who call Dana Point, California “home.” Year-round weather for whale watching is something you can count on in Orange County and another reason why whale watching in winter is a local favorite both on and offshore during the winter months in most other vacation destinations. Planning a vacation? We have you covered. Whale watching in December is the best wintertime activity regardless if you are already located right here in town or are planning on visiting from Orange County and Greater Los Angeles areas! Captain Dave’s is a short drive from nearby surrounding cities including North San Diego, South Bay, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Dana Point, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, and Newport Beach too!

It’s the perfect family fun activity of the season!

Looking for an activity you can enjoy with the kids and grandparents alike? Whale watching in December is perfect timing for scheduling a fun family activity that the whole family can enjoy together during the holiday weeks when kids are off of school and families are looking for engaging ways to connect with one another while also enjoying time spent outdoors. Our state-of-the-art underwater viewing pods take you places you can’t go with any other boating trip in Southern California. Manute’a, our high-tech catamaran, features Capt. Dave’s exclusive eye-to-eye underwater viewing pods, giving your family the extraordinary experience of feeling what it’s like to swim with dolphins under the water but without getting wet. Our state-of-the-art see-through pods turn whale watching in winter into a truly under the sea experience capturing the closest look at dolphins you will ever have the chance of seeing. Now that is something that Santa cannot pull out of his bag no matter how hard he tries! And, there is always more plus the unexpected!! Pinnipeds like California sea lions, an array of spectacular seabirds, Mola mola, and even shark sightings are also seen aboard our whale watching in December trips too. There is always something cool to see and the education is always worth it when whale watching in winter.

We look forward to seeing you for some festive fun this winter, really soon!

Until Next Time,

The Team at Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and 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