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Happiness comes in waves in Dana Point. Southern California’s lavish seaside city is known as the “Whale Watching Capital of the West”. Gray whales, humpback whales, fin whales, minke whales, blue whales and many other species migrate to the Dana Point Harbor year-round. It’s not uncommon for surfers, kayakers and paddle boarders to get up close to the beautiful creatures here. We’ve put together a guide on where to experience the best of whale watching in Dana Point.

Enjoy the gorgeous sunrise ocean views from the lawn of The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. It’s not uncommon to see dolphins swimming with surfers and you may even spot a curious whale in the coves. However, if you want to get an up-close look at these majestic creatures, visitors should take a whale watching tour out of Dana Point Harbor.

Local favorite Dana Wharf Whale Watching & Sportfishing is the original whale watching business of Orange County. Since 1971, visitors have taken adventurous trips out at sea. With year-round whale watching tours available, the company offers a variety of boating experiences on their extensive fleet of vessels. In addition to seeing whales, you’ll likely spot dolphins, sea lions and even sharks during a tour!

Experts say there isn’t a “best” time to see whales, but the weather on the water is usually calmer in the morning. If you’re staying at the Monarch Beach Resort, enjoy an early morning breakfast then journey to sea with Ocean Institute scientists. Here you’ll explore the ocean from top to bottom, while searching for some of the world’s largest and smallest creatures during a 2.5-hour long whale watching program. You’ll discover the amazing and sometimes bizarre life that lives beneath the waves!

If you’re staying at Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa or DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Doheny Beach, you might be able to spot a fin from your hotel. However, there is nothing more breathtaking than looking into a whale’s eyes. On Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari, you can do just that. Captain Dave’s is home to the world’s only underwater viewing pods. Get eye-to-eye with dolphins and whales on his one-of-a-kind vessel that is outfitted with underwater viewing stations and microphones, so you can see and hear the beautiful creatures up-close. It’s the next best thing to going underwater yourself!

Dana Point is truly home to some of the best whale watching spots in the world. These are just a few ways you can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Earth’s largest creatures. Take time to coast and create a once in a lifetime memory in Southern California’s luxurious seaside city. Book your trip today!

Dana Point, Southern California

Dana Point, Southern California