Whale Watching Near San Francisco

Can I go whale watching near San Francisco

California is one of the best places for whale watching in the world. Many people experience the joy each year of whale watching near San Francisco. Every year about 20,000 gray whales make their annual journey from Mexico to Alaska and back again. This epic 6,000 mile journey occurs during winter and spring along the coast of California. The whales mate and breed along Baja California in Mexico and then migrate to feeding grounds in the Bering Sea. A variety of boats offer half-day and full-day trips to see the whales. It is one of the most spectacular wildlife migrations to view in the world. 

The proximity of this annual migration makes California a perfect viewing spot for whale watching. Whale watching tours make it easy for humans to witness these majestic mammals in their natural environment. Avid whale watchers can see whales spouting, breaching, and fluking from ocean bluffs near San Francisco, especially if you have binoculars. While gray whales dominate the California coast with their numbers, other cetaceans—including orcas, humpbacks, and blue whales may also be seen at certain times of year. Increasing your chances of seeing these beautiful beasts out at sea.

San Francisco whale watching tours

Whale Watching Tours – San Francisco

Angel Island – Tiburon Ferry

21 Main St, Belvedere Tiburon, CA 94920

Website: https://angelislandferry.com/

Phone: 415-435-2131   

During the season there can be exceptional whale activity in San Francisco Bay and around the Golden Gate Bridge. The Tamalpais is 59ft and is ideal for whale watching, comprising a main deck and an upper level. Relax in luxury in search of these majestic mammals, as we journey the Bay and just outside out the Golden Gate Bridge.

This 3 hour wildlife tour departs Tiburon on Saturdays through the whale watching season from mid-June through September .

Incredible Adventures

765 Pennsylvania Ave, San Francisco, CA 94107

Website: https://incadventures.com/

Phone: 415-642-7378

Oceanic Society

3950 Scott St, San Francisco, CA 94123

Website: https://www.oceanicsociety.org/

Phone: 415-256-9604   

Whale watching trips from San Francisco and Half Moon Bay on 50-foot vessels, offered year round. Programs include whale watching and nature cruises to the Farallon Islands (May through November).

Queen of Hearts

27 Johnson Pier, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Website: https://fishingboat.com/

Phone: 510-581-2628   

Whale watching trips from Half Moon Bay on the 50-foot Queen of Hearts, January through March. Sportfishing trips year round. Also available for private charters.

Riptide Sportfishing and Whale Watching

1 Johnson Pier, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019

Website: https://www.riptide.net/

Phone: 888-747-8433   

Half-day and full-day whale watching trips from Pillar Point Harbor (Half Moon Bay). Rock fishing and tuna during the open seasons (and salmon when there is a season). Also offers an ashes scattering service.

SF Bay Adventures

1001 Bridgeway #238, Sausalito, CA 94965

Website: http://www.sfbayadventures.com/

Phone: 415-331-0444   

There has been a noticeable increase in migrating whales visiting the San Francisco Bay in recent years. Gray Whales can be seen in the winter and early spring. Blue Whales and Humpback Whales visit in summer and fall. Humpback Whales have been increasingly spotted inside the Bay itself!

San Francisco Bay Whale Watching

Pier 39, San Francisco, CA 94133


Phone: 415-331-6267   

Whale watching trips, pick up at Gas House Cove (adjacent to Fort Mason) in San Francisco.

San Francisco Whale Tours

Pier 39, San Francisco, CA 94133

Website: https://sanfranciscowhaletours.com/

Phone: 415-706-7364   

Six-hour Whale Watching watching trips and 3-hour coastal cruises, departing from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. Cruises leave several times a week on a 65-foot catamaran and a 43-foot Delta.

Schooner Freda B

Yacht Harbor, Slip 465, Sausalito, CA 94965

Website: https://schoonerfredab.com/

Phone: 415-331-0444   

Set sail from Sausalito for an ecology-themed tour of the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands and San Francisco Bay!

Their signature wildlife experience sail will take you under the Golden Gate Bridge and out to Point Bonita Lighthouse. This is a prime area for wildlife, and we’ll have a naturalist on-board to guide you through the whole experience!

Whale Watching Tours – Monterey Bay

Chris’s Fishing and  Whale Watching

48 Fishermans Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940

Website: https://www.chriswhalewatching.com/

Phone: 831-375-5951   

Get up close and personal with the whales with Chris’s Whale Watching, Be enthralled as whales sometimes do a somersault for onlookers. Our guests may even be splashed as the whales come up for air. Chris really knows his stuff and has been providing guided tours for over 50 years.

Discovery Whale Watch

66 Fishermans Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940

Website: https://discoverywhalewatch.com/

Phone: 831-372-7064   

Discovery Whale Watch tours depart from Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf daily. Guaranteed whale sightings with whales being sighted every day. Enjoy the amazing wildlife in Monterey Bay on a whale watching cruise with Discovery.

Fast Raft

66 Fishermans Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940

Website: https://www.fastraft.com/

Phone: 408-659-3900   

Fast Raft Ocean Safaris operate whale watching tours from Moss Landing. April through November provides the best viewing for humpback whales, blue whales, and dolphins. Our boat, Ranger, is comfortable, quiet, and operates with a maximum of six passengers. Each tour is customized to the unique desires of our guests.

Monterey Bay Whale Watch

84 Fishermans Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940

Website: https://gowhales.com/

Phone: 831-375-4658   

Our marine biologists lead year round whale watching boat tours, where you can view whales, dolphins and other marine life. Offering either morning or afternoon departures to suit your schedule. Our vessels currently have capacity for 24-60 passengers (due to COVID restrictions. January – March, Gray Whales and Dolphins, April – December Humpback Whales, Blue Whales, Orcas and Dolphins.

Princess Monterey Whale Watching

96 Fishermans Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940

Website: https://montereywhalewatching.com/

Phone: 831-372-2203   

Princess Monterey Whale Watching has the 2 best vessels for whale watching in Monterey. The Princess Monterey (110 foot) & the Atlantis Monterey (100 foot), are specifically designed for whale watching and your comfort.

Whale Watching Tours – Moss Landing

Blue Ocean Whale Watching

7881 Sandholdt Rd, Moss Landing, CA 95039

Website: https://www.blueoceanwhalewatch.com/

Phone: 831-600-5103   

Blue Ocean Whale Watch  is the perfect activity for families and ecotourists looking for a Monterey Bay whale watching trip. Whale watching tours in Monterey Bay are becoming more and more popular. Enjoy some of the best whale watching in the world with a chartered whale watching cruise. Come on board our 60 foot certified charter vessel High Spirits for the trip of a lifetime.

Kayak Connection

2370 CA-1, Moss Landing, CA 95039

Website: https://kayakconnection.com/

Phone: 831-724-5692   

One of our favorite tours leaves Santa Cruz Harbor to explore the kelp forests of Monterey Bay. During spring Gray Whales are often spotted, while in summer, Humpback Whales may be found close to shore. Frequent wildlife sightings include the always popular Southern Sea Otter, California Southern Sea Lion, Harbor Seals, and Dolphins.

Sanctuary Cruises

7881 Sandholdt Rd “A Dock, Moss Landing, CA 95039

Website: https://www.sanctuarycruises.com/

Phone: 831-350-4090   

Experience the premier whale watching adventure in Monterey Bay with the eco-friendly Sanctuary Cruises. Our marine biologists provide expert, in-depth marine wildlife insights on board our bio-diesel powered vessel the Sanctuary.

Sea Goddess Whale Watching

7881 Sandholdt Rd, Moss Landing, CA 95039

Website: https://seagoddesswhalewatch.com/

Phone: 831-920-1499   

The Monterey Bay is California’s best location for viewing humpback whales, killer whales a.k.a. orcas, gray whales, blue whales, great white sharks. Sea Goddess Whale Watching promises you a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Our whale watching tours depart from Moss Landing, at the mouth of the Monterey Bay Canyon, one of the largest underwater canyons in the world!

Secret Harbor Charter – Monterey Bay

Harbor Dock A, 7881 Sandholdt Rd, Moss Landing, CA 95039

Website: http://secretharborcharter.com/

Phone: 831-800-5980   

Secret Harbor Charter offers an awe-inspiring adventure like no other.  Catering only to small groups of six people or less to ensure a personalized and ultra-special experience. Moss Landing Harbor is one of the planet’s premier locations for whale watching and wildlife viewing.

Whale Watching Tours – Santa Cruz

Blue Water Ventures

127 Mason St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Website: https://bluewaterventures.org/

Phone: 831-459-8548   

Wildlife and whales by kayak! How does it get any better than that. Experience whales up close on kayak in all their majesty. Our naturalists will lead you on the adventure of your lifetime in the safety of Monterey Bay.

California Whale Adventures

367 Coral St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Website: https://www.caoceanadventures.com/

Phone: 831-713-5975   

Whale watching, pelagic bird watching, and even great white shark trips. All trips leave from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, on modern fishing boats in the 50-foot range.

Santa Cruz Whale Watching

1718 Brommer St, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Website: https://www.santacruzwhalewatching.com/

Phone: 831-427-0230   

Climb aboard our luxury charter boats for the experience of your life. Travel in comfort in either the 60 foot Velocity, or 56 foot Legacy. Experience the Monterey Bay area like never before! Year round, we take you to the heart of whale territory as we spot these magnificent creatures and much more!

Venture Quest Kayaking

2 Municipal Wharf, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Website: http://www.santacruzkayak.com/

Phone: 831-425-8445   

Venture Quest Kayaking offers a unique opportunity to explore the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary from a kayak! Join us on a guided tour and enter the realm of marine wildlife. Experience sea otters, seals, sea lions, pelicans, dolphins, whales and a variety of other bird and marine wildlife.