Winter Whale Watching

December through April

Every year from December through April, magnificent gray whales pass through San Diego’s coastal waters on their way to and from their breeding grounds. Gray whales spend the summer months in the Arctic Bering and Chukchi Seas, and then leave for the breeding lagoons off the coast of Baja California. The gray whale makes the longest migration of any mammal on earth traveling 10,000-12,000 miles each year.

The Nat partners with City Cruises anchored by Hornblower to provide an unparalleled opportunity to experience gray whale watching off the San Diego coast. Each gray whale watching experience is narrated by experienced City Cruises captains along with the Museum Whalers, museum-trained naturalists. The Museum Whalers receive training from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) scientists and other local experts.

Due to the predictability of the gray whale migration and the high likelihood of seeing whales during this season, whale watching tours are typically the mornings of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. These 3.5-hour cruises are great for guests of all ages. Come meet some of nature’s largest animals and enjoy a day on the water with family and friends. Learn more here.

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In addition to gray whales, guests may also spot large pods of dolphins. Check out Hornblower's Whale Sightings Report for up-to-the-minute information.

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Did you know?

Gray whales have baleen, but rather than using it to filter krill from the water, they are bottom feeders that forage for crustaceans along the ocean floor. They give birth in the warm waters of Baja California to calves that measure up to 16 feet in length. Visit the NOAA website for more information on the gray whales and other marine life.

Gray Whale Watching with Lena

Hop on board the Hornblower with Lena, our young whale watching enthusiast, to learn more about gray whales' migratory patterns and more. Join the Museum Whalers, museum-trained volunteer naturalists on one of these adventures: