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Best SoCal places to go whale watching right now

Humpback whales can be seen in Southern California waters in summer.
(National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Southern California does have a summer whale-watching season. Most people think seeing whales is limited to winter, when Pacific gray whales make their annual migration along the coast between Mexico and Alaska. In summer, you have a chance to see different species.

Half-day or daylong tours provide an opportunity to see blue, humpback and minke whales — and spend time at sea on a hot day. Blue whales migrate from mid-June through October as they follow krill, one of their favorite foods.

Tours usually include a naturalist to help identify whales and other wildlife such as dolphins and seals. It’s worth looking at different tour websites to get a feel for what to expect. Davey’s Locker in Newport Beach, for example, posts daily sightings such as the huge pods of dolphins (more than 1,000) that turned up this week.

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In keeping with coronavirus safety rules, boats sail with fewer passengers to allow for social distancing. For example, Island Packers Cruises in Ventura takes 56 people on a boat that usually holds 150. Masks are required too. Make sure you read the rules for each tour provider before you go.

Here’s a list of whale-watching tours offered this summer in L.A., Orange, Ventura and San Diego counties. Prices listed are for adult tickets.

Los Angeles County

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Orange County

San Diego

Ventura and Channel Islands

  • Island Packers, 1691 Spinnaker Drive, No. 105B, Ventura; 3½ hours, $68

Santa Barbara

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