Discover the Adventure
Whale Watching Trips Asea

Whale Watching Trips Asea Can Get You
Up Close and Personal!

Whale watching boats and tours can't promise they'll find whales every time they go out, but they find them often enough because they're experienced and they know what to look for.

And when they find the whales, you may be surprised at how close you get - whales have been know to come right up to the side of a boat!

Have you had an exciting Whale Watching adventure?
Share your story here!

Find the best prices on centrally-located coastal and nearby hotels at - Pack full of the best deals

Whale Watching Trips Asea: What do they en-Tail?


There are a variety of whale watching trips available all up and down the Northern California coastline.

A trip might be anywhere from two hours to all day. But whale watching trips asea probably average about three or four hours.

The skipper will generally get you quickly out to the general area where s/he hopes to find whales for you, then throttle back to begin the search.

For some tips to help you prepare for your excursion on the ocean blue, check out my: Whale Watching Tips.

There are many different types of vessels to go out on, too. You can choose between open-load charter boats and private charter; twin diesels, catamarans, yachts, clippers, sailboats, and even - for the very adventurous - canoes and kayaks.

Amenities might include any or all of the following: enclosed cabin, sundeck, restrooms, fully-equipped snack bar, and walk-around deck. Some tours are aboard boats that are also used for deep-sea fishing (those might be a bit smelly), and some boats are used strictly for wild-life viewing.

Most commercial whale watching tours will have a narrator or naturalist aboard to help you know what to look for and to interpret what you're seeing.

Many are knowledgeable about geology, natural history, sea birds, and ocean critters other than whales, such as this Leatherback Sea Turtle.

And you will have the opportunity to view more than just whales - other possibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Sea-going birds like the Tufted Puffin
  • Sharks like the Great White
  • Dolphins (there are 5 different kinds)
  • Porpoise like the Dall's or the Harbor Porpoise
  • Deep-sea fishes
  • Seals and sea lions (including the Elephant Seal)
  • And my personal favorite - the adorable little sea otter

Compare hotel prices and find the best deal -

Whale Watching Trips Asea: Where to Go?

First, an Insider Tip: Where ever you're visiting in Northern California, check with your hotel concierge or the local Visitor's Bureau to see if there are any locals who offer whale watching trips - you may be pleasantly surprised!

Starting in the North and moving South, here are some suggestions to help you have the best Northern California whale watching experience possible:

Crescent City, Del Norte County

  • Tally Ho II Ocean Charters
  • And, for a slightly different experience, Brent Baker offers whale watching trips asea via sailboat
  • Both are out of Crescent City Harbor

Trinidad, Humboldt County

  • Humboats Kayak Adventures offers whale watching by kayak out of Trinidad Bay (although their offices are in Eureka)

Eureka, Humboldt County

  • See Humboats above (under Trinidad)

Fort Bragg, Mendocino County - Visit Fort Bragg's Noyo Harbor to discover several venues for whale watching trips asea.

  • Telstar Charters offers both fishing and whale watching trips
  • Noyo Fishing Center has both as well
  • Anchor Charter Boats offers crabbing trips, fishing trips, and whale watching trips
  • All Aboard Adventures has crabbing, fishing, and whale watching trips

Point Arena, Mendocino County

  • Fair Chase Sport Fishing offers fishing, abalone diving, spear fishing, and whale watching leaving from Arena Cove

Gualala, Mendocino County

  • If you're staying in Gualala, ask your innkeeper for phone numbers of seasonal whale watching tour providers.

Bodega Bay, Sonoma County

  • The Oceanic Society offers trips rain or shine!
  • Will's Bait and Tackle offers fishing, crabbing, and whale watching trips
  • Bodega Charters has fishing and whale watching voyages
  • All of these operate out of Porto Bodega

San Francisco, San Francisco County - As you would expect, San Francisco offers some excellent whale watching trips asea.

  • The Oceanic Society operates whale watching trips out of San Francisco Bay
  • San Francisco Bay Whale Watching departs from Gas House Cove Marina (the Kitty Kat is a catamaran-type vessel)
  • San Francisco Whale Tours is another excellent provider; it too leaves from Gas House Cove Marina
  • California Whale Adventures has a sleek and fast boat called the Wacky Jacky and takes off from Fisherman's Wharf
  • All go out to the Farallone Islands and to the Point Reyes Wildlife Sanctuary

Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County

  • The Oceanic Society has trips out of Half Moon Bay for during the Gray whale migration
  • Riptide Charters is one of the companies that offer half-day and all-day trips
  • The Queen of Hearts of Houdini Sportfishing offers whale watching during the season
  • Huck Finn Sportfishing offers whale watching trips year-round
  • These tours all leave from Pillar Point Harbor

Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz County - There's more to Santa Cruz than its boardwalk and its beaches!

  • Stagnaro Charter Boats/Santa Cruz Whale Watching offers scenic, sunset, and/or whale watching tours pretty much year-round
  • Chartle Charters provides sport fishing, photographic, and whale watching trips
  • Reel Sport Fishing also has whale watching trips, as well as crab and giant squid combo trips, and fishing trips
  • These options all operate out of Santa Cruz Horbor

Moss Landing, Monterey County

Monterey, Monterey County - You might call Monterey Bay the Whale Watching Capital of Northern California!

Santa Cruz sits at the northern end of Monterey Bay, and Monterey sits at the southern end - and Monterey Bay is renowned for its sea life. So you can't go wrong anywhere along the coast between the two! But Old Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey has excellent opportunities for whale watching trips asea - all departing from the same convenient downtown location - Old Fisherman's Wharf!

  • Monterey Bay Whale Watch provides year-round whale watching opportunities with marine biologists on all trips; out of Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey (Click here to see a video of a Monterey Bay Whale Watch trip)
  • Monterey Whale Watching offers year-round whale watching and nature tours, fully narrated by experienced marine biologists/naturalists
  • Chris' Whale Watching Tours specializes in full-service guided family-friendly whale watching trips - many outfits don't allow younger children aboard, so this might be something for you to consider if you want to bring the young ones along
  • Randy's Fishing Trips and Whale Watching is also kid oriented and offers excellent whale watching trips

Many of these companies offer open-load - meaning, show up, buy your ticket, and hop aboard - as well as private charter options.

For more Northern California adventures, try some of these pages (or those in the right column):

Please continue your exploration of what Northern California has to offer by using the Nav Bars in the left and right columns or by using the links at the bottom of the page.

Return to Discover Northern California's Home Page from
Whale Watching Trips Asea

Like what you're finding here at Discovering Northern California? Then please share with the Social Network of your choice.

And thanks for coming!