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Whale Watching Tips for Kids

Ocean Education

The sound of children’s laughter wafts through the open ocean air as the crest of the wave across the boat’s bow. Dolphins porpoise out of the water, and as the giant whale spouts can be seen in the distance, the sounds of children laughing, clapping, and cheering become infectious. Does this sound like an experience you want for your family? Keep reading for all our whale-watching tips for kids, so your family’s next family-fun adventure is a trip for the record books!

“The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” ― Jacques Cousteau

At Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari, we offer state-of-the-art marine tours, leaving from Dana Point Harbor. All of our safaris are the safest and very best boating options for you and your little ones in Orange County. Whether you are planning a family trip, family reunion, or larger group activity, look no further! We have a variety of always-safe and family-friendly kid whale watching safaris to choose from. If you are looking for whale watching tips to ensure your group of kiddos has the best day possible out at sea, then you are in the perfect place.

At Capt. Dave’s, we never overcrowd our passengers. Our spacious flagship vessel Manute’a boasts tons of room for you and your family to create a memorable experience. Manute’a is famous worldwide for having the world’s only underwater viewing pods too! One of our top expert whale watching tips includes checking out the underwater viewing pods! That is right! You can make your little one’s dolphin swimming dream a reality by taking a few steps down into the hull to grab a first-hand look at what it is like to live underwater with a pod of active, curious dolphins. There is truly nothing like it, and you never know what else you may see while you are down there. Many passengers have seen large bait balls of fish as dolphins herd them into tight balls, jellyfish, and even baleen whales below the surface. The best part is that these pods are big enough for you to enjoy with your kids, so you can see their faces light up like yours will too when you see pods of dolphins swimming by.

Passenger watching dolphins from underwater viewing pod on Manute'a

Another one of our whale watching tips that comes with going into the underwater pods goes hand in hand with paying attention to your body. If you are someone who suffers from motion sickness or thinks you could succumb to the motion of the ocean, we recommend enjoying the animals from the back of the boat. Investing in over-the-counter motion sickness medicine like ginger chews or taking something such as Dramamine the night before and the morning of your trip also helps to relieve temporary uneasy tummies. These can be given the night before when your body is naturally sleepy and then again before you leave the dock and will hopefully prevent sickness.

A woman feeling seasick on a boat

[NOTE: *Please always be sure to chat with your doctor about any medical concerns before taking any medications.]

The Earth is a complex, fascinating place. From its vast oceans to its towering mountains, arid deserts, and lush forests, the beauty and wonder of our planet is truly staggering. – Michael Bright, 1001 Natural Wonders You Must See Before You Die

There’s so more to whale watching than just seeing the animals. Our passengers not only have a fun-filled day whale-watching but will also gain insider expert knowledge from our seasoned team. As you journey through the open ocean with your families, friends, and kids of all ages, you will also provide the platform to help them understand why it is important to connect with nature. Your marine-mammal ocean adventure will be filled with opportunities to hear more about human impact on ocean wildlife.

Boy Holding Shark Jaw

Some of our most impactful whale watching tips support sharing how each trip can contribute to ocean clean-up. You have all heard the age-old saying, “what goes up must come down,” right? While you are out at sea, you and the crew will do their best to help protect our local ocean by picking up floating balloons found on the ocean’s surface from being let go on land. These balloons are detrimental to our loveable ocean dwellers, and you are contributing to saving ocean wildlife by picking them up. When you are on board, you’ll find out why it is essential to dispose of balloons properly and how easy it is to protect underwater wildlife. Our captain and crews share the same love for seeing the animals. Our expert crews will share their whale watching tips for protecting the environment throughout your excursion.

Picking up balloons from the water because balloons blow

Creating a dialogue about the ocean and the life living inside of it will support the growing connections you’ll make with the sea on your trip. Our captains and crew LOVE interacting with passengers (both young and grown-up kids of all ages), so be sure to remind your little ones to bring their questions along too! If your little ones have a favorite joke, be sure to pack that along with you on your trip.

When thinking about what to bring with you on your next whale watching trip, our next set of whale watching tips focuses on what you’ll want to be sure to have with you, so your kiddos have what they need for a successful trip.

  1. Positive attitude
  2. Camera or phone
  3. Jacket
  4. Sunscreen
  5. Water (bonus points for bringing a reusable bottle)
  6. Lunch or snack
  7. Hat
  8. Extra funds for souvenirs
  9. Friends or family members
  10. Boarding pass

Think in layers! The temperature up at the check-in area of the Dolphin Deck can sometimes be deceiving. Once you’re out in the open ocean, temperatures can drop dramatically and, sometimes, as much as 15 degrees. You’ll want to dress in layers and bring jackets for everyone on board (even if you are traveling in the summer months). Bringing along a hat to help shield your little one’s face is a great idea to block the sun and applies to everyone looking for essential whale watching tips. If you have children over six years of age and book one of our zodiac whale watching tours, just remember to button down your hat as our zodiacs are the fastest whale-watching boats leaving Dana Point Harbor.

Child having fun with bow riding dolphins

Our public trips range from two to two and a half-hour ocean tours, so even though our state-of-the-art vessels have onboard restrooms, our list of whale watching tips would not be complete without reminding you to use the restrooms on land before heading down to the dock. If you think your kiddo would benefit from a snack while out on the water, also be sure to pack something with you in your bag. If you forget, don’t worry – we have you covered! Our Dolphin Deck has plenty of snacks and drinks available for purchase as you check in for your trip.

The opportunity to see whales and dolphins is a vacation activity your whole family (and friends) will remember forever. To commemorate your adventure together, pick out your favorite “stuffies” or take home your favorite cetacean trinket. When you check in at the Dolphin Deck before your trip departs, our recommended whale watching tips must include asking our friendly staff about our purchasable windbreakers, fleece jackets, hoodies, t-shirts, and more!

Humpback whale in the water

“The beauty and mystery of the ocean, fills our lives with wonders, vast beyond our imagination.” – M. L. Borges, By The Sea

Once you pick the time of year you want to visit and the boat you want to go on, it is time to choose when you want to leave the harbor. Many passengers also ask us, “what’s the best time of day to go whale watching?” and our expert answer is “anytime it works for your family’s schedule.” From the warmer summer to the temperate winter months, there’s always plenty of whale watching all year long. Dana Point, CA, is the Whale Watching Capital of the World. We are lucky to see more species of dolphins and whales per square foot right here than in any other place on earth. Krill and small schooling bait fish are abundant in this part of the world, giving large whales an excellent reason to call this place their home. And, with nearly half a million dolphins comprised of only one species, we know you will have a great time interacting with nature on your trip. Your adventure is waiting for you; all you have to do is book your trip. So what are you waiting for? There is no better time than right now to book your whale-watching adventure!

Until then,

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

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If you’re looking for whale watching near Dana Point, we guarantee 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!