Where to see Southern California’s gray whale surge

Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger

Gray whales have been turning up early and in record numbers as they migrate south along the Southern California coast heading to Baja, so don’t let this be the season you miss the boat.

Tony Barboza reports in this L.A. Times story: “Whale spotters stationed at Point Vicente in Rancho Palos Verdes have logged a record 163 sightings so far [in] December, more than they have seen at this point in 28 years.”

Check out these whale-watching places to see the migration firsthand:


Point Vicente Interpretive Center, 31501 Palos Verdes Drive West, Rancho Palos Verdes; (310) 377-5370: Ground zero for whale-watching from shore. This is where observers from the L.A. Chapter of the American Cetacean Society spot whales and compile the official count. The Whale Census project runs Dec. 1-May 15.

Cabrillo Whalewatch, (310) 548-7562 ext. 249 or email A partnership between the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro and the local American Cetacean Society chapter, it sponsors two- to three-hour boat trips with a naturalist on board now through March 31. Trips depart from Redondo Beach, San Pedro and Long Beach daily. Times vary; prices range from $15 to $25 per adult, depending on the day of the week.

Harbor Breeze Cruises, 100 Aquarium Way, Dock No. 2, Long Beach; (562) 432-4900: Two to three gray whale cruises a day now through April (or longer if the whales stick around). It’s a two- to 2 1/2-hour tour where dolphins, sea birds and other marine life also are seen. Tickets cost $25 per adult online (plus $2 handling fee), $30 walk-up.

Davey’s Locker, 400 Main St., Newport Beach; (949) 673-1434: Leads 2 1/2-hour whale-watching cruises aboard a 65-foot boat. I like the updated whale and dolphin sightings on the website; gives you an idea of what you might see on the tour. Tickets cost $34 per adult; 10% discount for online purchases.