Ventura- Gray whales have been spotted here from December to March. Blue whales are best seen from the months of July to September, along with humpback whales as well as minke whales and orcas.
Malibu- At Point Dume State Beach and Preserve, the bluffs and cliffs that stretch out to the ocean and the close proximity from the parking to the edge of the land makes this location one of the best to whale watch in this area of Los Angeles. This 63-acre preserve is located on the northern end of Santa Monica Bay and is open from sunrise to sunset. Other wildlife run around this preserve which gives you the feeling that you are surrounded by nature from land to sea.
Rancho Palos Verdes- The Point Vicente Interpretive Center is a popular location for many whale watchers to congregate, especially during the gray whale migration period. There are volunteers from the American Cetacean Society who conduct their annual gray whale count as well as answer questions from whale watchers in the field of their expertise. Palos Verdes Peninsula is known to be one of the best whale watching posts close to Los Angeles. The best times to see whales here are during December/January and March/April.
Long Beach- This is the prime location to set off for whale watching cruises and boat tours. Tours can range from as low as $10 per person to high end amounts for private charters. Although going out to the pacific increases your chances of seeing big pods of whales, November through March is generally the best time for gray whale sightings, and peak summer months are the best for watching blue whales. Being farther out in the ocean also increases your chances of seeing orcas and dolphins as well.
Santa Catalina Island- Getting to Catalina requires taking a boat from one of the coastal harbors (San Pedro, Long Beach, and Marina del Rey). If you're up for spending some bigger bucks, you can always take one of the helicopter services flying out of Long Beach, or even a private aircraft landing at the "Airport in the Sky". Catalina Island offers many water activities that take you a off shore enough to see whales as well as other sea animals.
Newport Beach- the area surrounding Newport Bay are known to be some of the most fertile waters in California. The migration of gray whales in the winter months and the large influx of blue whales during the summer and fall has bestowed upon Newport the title of a world class year-round whale watching destination. Many whale watching cruise services and boat tours are also available at this location.
Laguna Beach- At Crescent Bay Point Park, the Japanese garden-esque feel and a coastal bluff that has seating areas and protective railing allows for a 180 degree view of the Pacific Ocean. Not only are you able to sight whales swimming along the coast but be sure to also look down for a slew of sea lions that are hanging out on the rocks.
Dana Point- This is by far one of the best locations for whale watching as they have been dubbed the "Whale Capital of the West" and even has a Festival of Whales every march when the migration season begins. Many believe that Dana Point is the reference "landmark" for whales and is a famous gathering area for these pods. As the whales tend to migrate along the coast and hug the shore, this rounding point juts out in the ocean just enough to see this wonderful spectacle year-round. Many cruises and boat tours also leave from the Dana Point Harbor, although whales can be seen from the shore as well.
San Diego- At Cabrillo National Monument located on the tip of the Point Loma Peninsula, there is a designated Whale Overlook section past the lighthouse that provides a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. Look for whale spouts beyond the kelp forest in the southern direction and talk to the rangers at the visitor's center for their expert knowledge on whale watching.
Always keep in mind that whales, dolphins, and other sea creatures can easily be seen off the coast of Southern California beaches. These few locations above are just some of the many to choose from when exploring the west and the whale's migratory path, so be sure to research all of your options and budget accordingly for the best vacation out there. Just remember that SunTrax.com has plenty of Southern California beach packages that will jump start your vacation at low costs! Have a great time enjoying nature's wonders, but be sure to keep that sunscreen on at all times (we all know how Southern California sun can be...)!