Los Angeles Whale Watching Visitors
Los Angeles whale watching is a year round activity with whale watching cruises offered daily from Newport Beach about 45 minutes from downtown Los Angeles. Whale watching in Los Angeles was not always year round. Before 2005 whale watching took place during the months of the gray whale migration primarily in the winter and spring months. After 2005 giant blue whales, finback whales, and more recently humpback whales migrated into greater LA waters in large numbers from May through November. This transformed Los Angeles from a seasonal whale watching destination to one of the top whale watching destinations in the world. Along with year round sightings of over 7 different types of whales and 5 different types of dolphin Los Angeles whale watching takes place in the calm waters off the Newport Beach coastline. Protected by the 26 mile long island Catalina located offshore and by Palos Verde Peninsula to the north, the waters off Newport Beach are often lake like, ideal conditions for spotting and viewing whales and dolphin. Couple Los Angeles ideal mild climate and there are few locations in the world that offer such amazing viewing with such great conditions to do it in.
Whale Watching for Los Angeles Visitors
For summer and fall months (May to September) our whale watches see Blue Whales, Humpback Whales, Finback Whales, Minke Whales along with many other species of marine life. If you are coming to Los Angeles for a vacation or love being out on the ocean, there is plenty to see during the summer. In the fall months our local Humpbacks and Minkes continue to feed off our shore with blue whales and finback whales also still in our area.
December through April Los Angeles whale watching enthusiasts can come down to Newport Beach and witness the longest annual migration of any whale. The Gray Whale makes an almost 12 thousand mile journey down the coast of the western United States. Almost 20,000 individual Gray Whales travel through Los Angeles waters during winter and spring. Los Angeles visitors also have the opportunity of seeing Finback Whales, Humpback Whales and Minke Whales with an assortment of dolphin species during the winter and spring months.
Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, Elephant Seals, Mola mola, sharks, and other animals are found in Newport Beach, greater Los Angeles year-round. Why are there so many different types of whales and dolphin located in the waters off Newport Beach? A giant marine protected park that covers over 15 miles of coastal waters provides the ideal habitat and supports a thriving marine system. Whales & dolphin live in the protected marine reserve taking advantage of the rich ecosystem. Unlike other whale watching locations in Los Angeles, Newport Landing has only a 10 minute travel time until outside the bay and almost immediately enter the marine protected park. Whale and dolphin sightings are so good that whale watching cruises of 2-2.5 hours is all that is needed to view these amazing mammals.
Blue Whale - Whale watching Los Angeles visitors will have the opportunity to witness the largest animal that has ever existed on Earth. Large Blue Whales are the size of a commercial jet, weighing up to 150 tons. Larger blue whales can grow to even longer length of up to 100 feet! 50 humans can stand on a Blue Whale's tongue and its heart is the size of a Volkswagen bug. Its throat can take in up to 50 tons of water in one gulp and the blow can be up to 30 feet when surfacing for air. Blue Whales can consume up to six tons of krill a day by sieving the krill from the sea water they suck into their mouths. They use a comb-like structure that hangs from the upper jaw to filter their food; these plates are called baleen which is made from the same material as human fingernails.
Grey Whale - California Gray Whales travel over 8,000 miles a year from their feeding grounds in the North, where they feed on amphipods in cold arctic waters during summer months. In fall and winter they travel all the way south along the Los Angeles coastline to Baja California to breed. Whale watching Los Angeles visitors will have the chance to see the California Gray Whale during their extensive migration. These baleen whales use their baleen plates to strain crustaceans from the muds in the Bering Sea. Gray Whales are the 8th largest species of baleen whales, generally weighing somewhere between 35 to 40 tons, and reaching 35 to 45 feet in length, with the females being larger than the males.
Fin Whale - Growing up to nearly 78 feet and weighing 60 tons, Finback (Fin) Whales are the fastest baleen whale, nicknamed the “Greyhound of the Sea”, capable of top speeds hitting 23 mph. Another amazing spectacle for whale watching Los Angeles visitors Finback's are the second largest animal in the world after the Blue Whale. Their mouth holds 800-900 baleen plates to feed on fish and krill, eating up to 2-3 tons a day. Finbacks are very long lived with an average life span of 85-90 years old!
Orca (Killer) Whale - Whale watching near Los Angeles, Orcas are encountered on occasion in the waters off greater Los Angeles but when they are encountered they have an outstanding reputation with the public and are quickly identified. These famous black and white dolphin are commonly referred to as the Killer Whale because of their behavior of preying on other whales. Orcas live and hunt in pods of sometimes 30 individuals. Migration patterns have not yet been fully understood by scientists yet we have sighted pods from Alaska all the way down the coastlines of Los Angeles, California, Orcas can be found worldwide reaching every ocean. Each Killer Whale eats over 500 pounds of food a day and have been known to even swim onto beaches to catch seals and sea lions.
Sperm Whale - Adult Sperm Whales can weigh up to 50 tons and grow to be 50-60 feet in length. Los Angeles visitors would be very lucky to sight these toothed whales on a whale watching cruise. The Sperm Whale has a very large brain in fact one of the largest of any animal in existence, their brains weigh up to twenty pounds! Naturally, with their large brains, Sperm Whales also have the largest head of any animal, comprising 1/3 of the whale's body. Sperm Whales have a unique S-shaped blowhole on the front left side of their large heads. Their heads often feature prominent scars from giant squids that they primarily feed on.
Humpback Whale - Humpbacks are the most loved whale by Los Angeles whale watchers. They are the most acrobatic and curious baleen whales we find off the coast of Southern California. The Humpback Whale weighs on average about 79,000 pounds, females being larger at 40-50 feet. Humpbacks will typically feed in polar waters during the summertime but many individuals find prey down the western United States. The southern migration starts in late fall, to subtropical and tropical waters to breed. Bubble netting, lunge feeding and gulping are all techniques Humpback Whales will use to feed and can be seen by our whale watchers from all over greater Los Angeles.
Minke Whale - Minke Whales are the most common baleen whale in existence, numbering nearly three quarters of a million across the globe. Our whale watches near Los Angeles have high probabilities of spotting this species. Minkes are one the smaller whales attaining lengths of 30 feet and weighing up to 10 tons. Minke Whales swim at a rate of 5-10 mph, but can sprint up to 20 mph when chased by other predators such as Orcas. Minkes are easy to ID entify with their torpedo shape and having white bands on their fins.
Common Dolphin - Common dolphin live and travel in enormous pods sometimes numbering in the thousands completely surrounding our whale watching boats. They are the most common species of dolphin we find off of greater Los Angeles coastline. The Common Dolphin generally weighs about 200 pounds and grows to about 6 feet. They are the fastest species of dolphin, and hit top speeds of over 20 mph. They are highly social and extremely energetic, making lots of whistling and buzzing, talking to each other. They often like to ride the bow and surf the wakes of our whale watching boats. Common Dolphins are known to be one of the most intelligent animals on Earth.
Bottlenose Dolphin - Scientists working with the Aquarium of the Pacific in Los Angeles County, run a coastal bottlenose dolphin survey tracking year round to help monitor and understand more about the bottlenose dolphin and their behavior. Bottlenose Dolphin generally weigh 800-1000 pounds and some are known to be as long as 12 feet, but most are under 10 feet. Whale Watching Los Angeles customers love to see this species of dolphin as they come right to the boat, playing in the waves of the whale watching ship. Bottlenose Dolphin like all dolphin use echolocation to locate and hunt prey items, sensing the distance and density of objects with the melon organ that sits in the forehead. They live often past thirty years in the wild and eat about 30 pounds of fish, squid, octopus, and other sea creatures a day.
Risso's Dolphin - Risso's Dolphin have thick bodies and narrow tails are recognizable by the scars that cover the entire body and upturned mouths. Found in pods of up to 50 members, but usually falling within the 10 to 30 member range per pod. They weigh anywhere from 650 to 1,100 pounds and are 9 to 13 feet in length. Risso's are able to dive for thirty minutes to depths over one thousand feet pursuing their favorite food source, squid. They have 4 teeth in their mouth which allows them to grab on to the squid during these long dives.
Pacific White Sided Dolphin - Whale Watching Los Angeles patrons may also have an opportunity to view the shy Pacific White-sided Dolphin. Male Pacific White-side Dolphins weigh up to 450 lbs and females weigh up to 350 lbs. The males get up to 8 feet in length while the females are smaller, at about 6 feet in length. These dolphin are easy to distinguish by their hooked dorsal fin and blunt snouts. The coloration on Pacific White-sides is beautiful black that then is white with all the grays in between, definitely the most intricate patterns of the dolphin species seen off Los Angeles.
The Aquarium of the Pacific – Located in Long Beach just minutes from downtown Los Angeles in Los Angeles County, this aquarium gets people up close to marine species like sea horses, jellies, sharks and rays, and plenty of fish. Learn about the lifecycle and habitat of numerous aquatic species. Touch the smooth bamboo sharks and sandpaper skin of Bonnet head Sharks in the shark lagoon. After a visit to the famous Aquarium of the Pacific come out on our whale watching cruises just south in Newport Beach to see some of the largest animals on the planet in the wild!
The Queen Mary – Set in Long Beach Harbor, only 25 miles from the heart of LA, this 1,000 foot war and luxury ship hosts thousands of visitors each year. The Queen Mary was built in 1930-1936 and has become a historical attraction for all ages. Go out and take a tour, eat at their restaurant or stay a night in the extravagant rooms. Just thirty minutes from Newport Landing.
The Griffith Observatory – Located near the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. The Griffith Observatory and grounds are free to explore. This is a neat place to go and look through telescopes, view LA’s city scape and discover the educational exhibits.
La Brea Tar Pits and Museum – This is an active excavation site for the Ice Age right in the heart of LA. The tar pits hold fossils of birds and prehistoric animals that all lived thousands of years ago.
Santa Monica Pier and Bay – There is so much to do at this historical pier, from rides, to food, shopping, fishing and live music. Fun for all ages!
Whale watching coupons for Los Angeles visitors. Save 60% with this $16 whale watching cruise special. Newport Landing's Los Angeles whale watching coupon is a great offer that can be used on any of our whale watching & dolphin cruises. The whale watching cruise coupon is valid for up to 10 persons per coupon and is valid for any of our 2.5 hour whale watching cruises offered year round multiple times daily departing from Newport Beach. View the annual gray whale migration during the winter and spring months and the giant blue whales during the summer and fall months.
|Dates||Cruise 1||Cruise 2||Cruise 3||Cruise 4|
|Nov - Feb (Mon - Fri)||10:00 am||1:00 pm||n/a||n/a|
|Nov - Feb (Sat & Sun)||9:30 am||12:00 pm||2:30 pm||n/a|
|Mar - Oct (Daily)||10:00 am||1:00 pm||3:30 pm||6:00 pm*|
|Adults (Ages 13 - 59)||$32.00||$36.00|
|Juniors (Ages 3 - 12)||$26.00||$30.00|
|Toddlers (Ages 0 - 2)||Free||Free|
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