Although whales can be spotted from the California coast mostly year-round, wintertime offers the best chance to see one from Los Angeles. That’s when humongous gray whales are migrating between their feeding grounds in the Arctic and the warm lagoons off Mexico, where they give birth, and then back again.
It’s an amazing spectacle to see these giants up close—they can be up to 46 feet long—and a whale-watching cruise that leaves from Marina del Rey, in Los Angeles, increases your odds of an encounter. Also common to California, though to a lesser extent than grays, are humpbacks, blue whales, and orcas.
Marina del Rey Sportfishing runs whale-watching tours in Santa Monica Bay. Board at Dock 52 13552 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey. Advance bookings (recommended) are available online, or call 310-822-3625.
Click for more whale information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.