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Monterey Bay Whale Watch
Winter and Spring Trips


Gray Whales, Dolphins - January through March

Gray whales, photo by Richard Ternullo
Gray whales in Monterey Bay
Photo by Richard Ternullo

The entire Gray Whale population migrates past the Monterey coastline every winter and spring. These whales have one of the longest animal migrations known, traveling over 12,000 miles from their summer feeding grounds in the Bering Sea to their winter breeding grounds in Baja California and back again. Gray whales are easily observed as they hug the coastline during migration. Gray whales are normally present off Monterey from mid-November or early December through mid-May, with peak observations occuring during our winter/spring season January through March.

Several species of dolphins and porpoise are also present at this time, including Common Dolphins, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Risso's Dolphins, Bottlenose Dolphins, Dall's Porpoise, Harbor Porpoise, and Killer Whales! Humpback Whales are sometimes seen on the winter/spring trips, though not in the large numbers observed during the summer/fall season. Sea Otters, California Sea Lions, and Harbor Seals are seen on all trips.

Monterey is the best place along the California coast to observe Gray Whales. Whales can be seen very close to shore here due to the proximity of the submarine canyon, as the Gray Whale prefers shallow water and therefore migrates closer to shore here than at other places along the coast. This allows us to find the whales easily and spend more time with them, leaving enough time to search for deep water species of dolphins and porpoise and Killer Whales near the canyon edge.

We offer 4-hour trips in the mornings and 3-hour trips in the afternoons. All trips are led by marine biologists who fully narrate and answer questions on trips. Our marine biologists feel that three or four hours are needed to allow excellent viewing opportunities for whales and dolphins under unrushed conditions. For best viewing conditions we recommend the four-hour morning tours, which provide us with more time to spend with the whales and dolphins, in addition to increasing our chances of encountering rarer wildlife such as orcas and blue whales. Due to the lengths of these trips, our success rate for sighting whales averages close to 98% during this season. We also offer a Junior Marine Biologist program for children.

From January 1 through March 31, 4-hour trips run daily at 10 a.m. and 3-hour sunset trips run daily at 2:30 p.m. On some Saturdays and Sundays there are also trips at 9 a.m. and 12 noon. A limited number of Premium upper deck spaces are available on the10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. trips. There are also 8-hour all-day trips on selected dates. See our Schedule for exact dates and times of trips.

Prices of Winter/Early Spring Trips -
Note that a 6% Booking Processing fee is added to all purchases.

        Adults    Children    Children
       4 to 12   3 & under
4 hour trips (mornings):  
  a.m. $78 $67 $20
  a.m. Premium (upper deck) $92 $81 $20
3 to 3.5 hour trips (afternoons):  
  p.m. $72 $61 $20
  p.m. Premium (upper deck) $86 $74 $20
All-day (8-hour) trips: $160 n/a n/a

Reservations are required. Reservations can be made using our online reservation form or by calling (831) 375-4658 with a credit card number.

Go to Whale Watch Trip Information Page for further details (trip preparation, directions, etc.).

Gift Certificates are available for these trips.

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Killer Whale and Pt. Sur Clipper, photo by Nancy Black
Killer Whale and Pt. Sur Clipper
Photo by Nancy Black


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Monterey Bay Whale Watch logo (2K)
Monterey Bay Whale Watch, LLC
84 Fisherman's Wharf
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone 831-375-4658  

.Copyright © 1997-2024 Monterey Bay Whale Watch, LLC. All rights reserved.
Photos by Richard Ternullo and Nancy Black.

Last updated January 20, 2024