Best time to travel to Los Angeles

Whale and Dolphin Watching in Los Angeles 2024-2025

To see a giant mammal in the Pacific and hear its powerful voice is a memorable event

Best time: December–May

Whale and Dolphin Watching
Whale and Dolphin Watching
Whale and Dolphin Watching
Whale and Dolphin Watching

In Los Angeles, you can see grey whales through binoculars, standing on the shoreline. The migration can be observed from December to May, during this season they keep closer to the coast. You can also see whales in the open ocean—in the nature reserve Point Dume and Park Point Fermin Park by boat. Be sure to take a camera with you to capture the pirouettes of grey whales over the water, in their natural environment. After all, finback whales are real acrobats and love to show off to the public.

Dolphins live in the Los Angeles coastal waters. You can see the Common Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Pacific White-Sided Dolphin, and the large Risso's Dolphin all year round. The largest member of the dolphin family, Orcas, often visit the coast too. You can see them mostly in December and January, although witnesses have seen Orcas at other times of the year too.

Every spring, thousands of grey whales and their toddlers begin their journey back to the north, travelling quite close to the coast of Southern California. Not surprisingly, such a spectacle attracts big audiences. In early March, Dana Point hosts the Festival of Whales. The event lasts for two weekends and includes a parade, a fair, a themed concert, and whale watching.

Practical info

When is the ideal period to witness whales in Los Angeles?

From December to May is the ideal period to witness whales in Los Angeles. The reason being that during this time, grey whales move from the southern to the northern hemisphere and often swim closer to the coast. Dana Point hosts the Festival of Whales during this time, in early March, when the whales travel north in large numbers and can easily be observed on land or sea. Show more

Is it possible to spot whales from the coast in Los Angeles?

Yes, you can use binoculars while standing on the shore in Los Angeles to spot whales. The best time for this is from December to May when grey whales migrate close to the coast on their way to the northern hemisphere. Huntington Beach located in Orange Country, is a recommended spot for whale watching. Here, visitors can enjoy peaceful surroundings while watching these giant mammals make their journey. Show more

What are the various types of dolphins that can be found in the coastal waters of Los Angeles?

The coastal waters of Los Angeles are home to several types of dolphins, including the Bottlenose Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Risso's Dolphin, and Pacific White-Sided Dolphin. Orcas, the largest members of the dolphin family, also visit the area and can be spotted off the coast. Although their annual migration period is December and January, they have been sighted in other months before too. Show more

Are Orcas frequently sighted off the coast of Los Angeles?

Although Orcas are not frequently sighted off the coast of Los Angeles, they do visit the area. Their annual migration period is in December and January, but they have been spotted in other months as well. Experiencing these magnificent creatures swimming and playing in the waters off the Los Angeles coastline is truly a sight to behold. Show more

What is the Festival of Whales and when does it take place in Dana Point?

The Festival of Whales in Dana Point, Southern California, is an annual event that celebrates the migration of the grey whales from the southern to the northern hemisphere. The event is held during the first two weekends of March when the whales are on their migration in large numbers. The festival offers whale watching, as well as a parade, fair, and a themed concert, making it an ideal opportunity to experience the thrill of whale watching while enjoying the activities and entertainment provided. Show more

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