Whale Watching Cruises
For times and scheduling, visit our reservation page.
Whale watching on the Monterey Bay is a year-round adventure. We see whales and/or dolphins on well over 95% of our trips, plus pulsating jellies, foraging sea otters, playful California sea lions, harbor seals, local and migratory birds and a lot more. So bring your sense of wonder, awe and anticipation for what may well be the adventure of a lifetime.
3-3.5 hour trips - adults: $55.00, children: $45.00
2-2.5 hour trips - $45.00 flat rate, adults and children.
NOTE: No children under the age of 5 are allowed during morning trips, and none under 8 for our afternoon cruises.
Depart from Moss Landing, midway on the Monterey Bay and entrance to the Monterey Submarine Canyon
Whale Seasons in Monterey Bay
Spring: Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, Orcas and Dolphins
Summer: Blue Whales, Humpbacks, Orcas, Dolphins, Albatross, Mola, Sea Turtles
Fall: Humpback Whales, Orcas and Dolphins
Winter: Gray Whales, Orcas and Dolphins
Moss Landing is THE Gateway to Monterey Bay!
Moss Landing Harbor is centrally located midway between Santa Cruz and Monterey right on Highway One. Our harbor mouth opens directly to the head of the massive Monterey Submarine Canyon which means we are able to enter the deep water immediately. The slopes of this canyon provide very productive waters and feeding grounds for marine mammals, so we are in the perfect position to find whales quickly.
Moss Landing is also the easiest access from the SF Bay Area and has quick, easy parking right by the boat dock. The Village and harbor offer great eateries, wildlife viewing and walks, so that you can make a full day of your whale watching excursion.
Whale Watching Through the Seasons
Spring: Baby Grays lure in Orcas
View the northbound migration of the California gray whale and their calves, as well as the arrival of the humpbacks, and frequent visitations by killer whales. April is the best time to experience orcas on the hunt, as they attack gray whales, sea lions and other marine mammals in the bay. Risso's dolphins are seen year-round. Expect windy afternoons in the spring, but lots of sunshine.
Summer: Krill Blooms Bring Large Whales
A great time for whale watching here, with every month of the season providing excellent Photo Blog. Monterey Bay is the summer feeding grounds for the great baleen whales, which swarm into the bay to feed on the abundant krill blooms. Humpbacks, blues whales, fin whales, and minke whales can be found in our waters feeding on the seasonal krill blooms. We also often see large pods of Pacific white-sided dolphins, Risso's dolphins, and northern right whale dolphins. Orcas come and go to feast on marine mammals. Pelagic birds are absolutely awesome in the summer with hundreds of thousands of sooty shearwaters and daily Photo Blog of black-footed albatross. Enormous ocean sunfish (Mola mola) and huge leatherback sea turtles come to feed on the prolific pulsating jellies. Expect a high marine layer (fog), although the occasional sunny day is a treat.
Fall: Sunshine and Calm Seas
Some of our best weather is in the fall, when we have many calm, sunny, beautiful days and marine life galore. Some blue whales visit the bay in fall and many humpback whales come to feed on the bait fish which can be very abundant this time of year. Risso's dolphins are seen year-round as well as our diminutive shy harbor porpoise and the coastal Pacific bottlenose dolphins. Orcas come and go.
Winter: A Parade of Gray Whales
All winter, we see gray whales, with orcas showing up every so often. First, the grays are southbound. Then in February we see them going both ways. By March they are all heading north along with a few calves. Common dolphins show up in the winter and can be seen by the hundreds riding the bow and making graceful synchronous leaps out of the water. The very entertaining Risso's dolphins are seen year-round.
Seabirds vary seasonally. Summertime brings albatross, fulmars and shearwaters in abundance. Winter hosts auklets, murres and pelicans. Some whales don't follow the pack and show up at any time of the year! There are often surprises such as: basking sharks, rare whales (beaked, minke, fins) and mesmerizing swarms of jellies.